Improving digital literacy for teachers – The Daily Texan

UT faculty carefully construct their courses to provide students with a variety of educationally rich online resources. However, some professors do not provide students with enough information about technological resources due to a lack of familiarity. The digital literacy of professors on campus is an issue that should not be overlooked.

In order to improve faculty digital literacy, UT should provide its faculty with more funding and materials to learn programs that would enhance their courses. This would give teachers the practice they need to keep up with changing technology, creating a better classroom environment for students.

Digital literacy refers to the skills needed to participate and engage on different media platforms. In September 2021, UT Austin’s Office of Internal Audit released an online education technology report. While this report focused on the many challenges UT faced with online education and technology, it also indicated that faculty lacked digital literacy in their classrooms.

Although teachers do a great job of incorporating various media into their lessons to reinforce the classroom curriculum, that effort is weakened if they don’t know how to use them. The University has helped professors in the past with some aspects of digital literacy. Associate Professor of Anthropology Suzanne Seriff is one of many people who have received digital literacy training for her classroom work.

“I would certainly agree that digital literacy takes time and attention (and) faculty members are already in high demand… So yeah, I think it’s important to have incentives to learn how to integrate digital work into your classroom,” said Seriff. “I think the funds to have technicians to work with you in the classroom, to do the work, is also important.”

After spending two years learning from the comfort of our homes due to the pandemic, education has evolved to change with advances in technology and unexpected circumstances. The teachers had to adapt from chalkboards, powerpoints and in-person classrooms to Zoom meetings and online office hours.

Irrespective of education changing its teaching methods again, professors should be well equipped for any kind of turnaround by mastering digital literacy thoroughly. the Teaching and Learning Center (CTL) at UT works with professors and assists them with any type of needs the professors might have. The report also mentions that the CTL should be involved in efforts to improve digital literacy.

“The role of the Center for Teaching and Learning is to equip instructors to create effective learning experiences and environments for students,” a CTL spokesperson said in an email. “While this can and often includes the use of digital technologies, CTL is just one unit on campus working on digital literacy….by supporting (our) efforts and starting new ones, UT Austin can make the most of digital technologies to better equip instructors and students.

The University should promote faculty digital literacy by providing funding for training and connecting faculty with experts in the programs they use. This would allow teachers to globally enrich their class program and improve their communication with students.

Digital literacy is an important skill teachers need to have. Once teachers acquire digital literacy skills, it will be easier for classrooms to run more efficiently without the occasional technological hiccup.

Ramos is a freshman journalism student from Laredo, TX.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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