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University Libraries to Host Digital Literacy Symposium

The University Libraries will host an inaugural digital literacy symposium on Thursday, November 2 in the Newman Library Multipurpose Room. The symposium theme is Explore, Create, Connect. As exploring, creating, and connecting in digital environments becomes increasingly complex, how can we empower students as both critical consumers and active producers of a variety of digital knowledge? The digital literacy program at Virginia Tech aims to answer this question by bringing diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives together. Attendees will share ideas, connect with those doing similar work, and give feedback on a framework for digital literacy at Virginia Tech.

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The symposium will feature keynote speaker Renee Hobbs, an internationally-recognized researcher, educator, and advocate of media and digital literacy. Professor of Communication Studies at the the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island, Hobbs has shaped media education policy, curricula, and educator training. She co-founded the Partnership for Media Education now known as the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and is also the founder and director of the Media Education Lab, which works to improve media literacy education through both community service and research.

A major goal for the symposium is to build conversation and community to develop student digital literacy at Virginia Tech. Attendees will connect with those who are doing or may want to do similar digital literacy work, including collaborators within the Libraries and other campus units. During the afternoon sessions, attendees will explore topics such as the relationship between digital literacy and student online identity, ePortfolio, and use of University Libraries studio spaces. The afternoon will also include a series of participant lightning talks. Morning and afternoon sessions are geared towards those who interact with students, but all who are interested are welcome to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Symposium attendees will have the opportunity to give feedback on a digital literacy framework,  a foundational piece of program development at VT. University Libraries is excited to partner across the university in support of student digital literacy. Preparing our students to learn, work, and live in a digital society–to become engaged digital citizens–is a complex undertaking. Digital literacy involves developing technical, cognitive, and social abilities within the context of varying disciplinary needs and personal goals. To be successful, we must come together in shared responsibility for student learning.

All are encouraged to return in the evening for a panel discussion on hip hop & digital literacy from VT Digging in the Crates (#VTDITC). The panel will run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Newman Library Multipurpose Room, and will feature Dr. AD Carson (University of Virginia, Assistant Professor of Hip Hop), Sum (Los Angeles-based recording artist and organizer), Nathan Zed (Virginia Tech student and creator), Stimulator Jones (Stones Throw Records), and Dr. Kwame Harrison (Virginia Tech Sociology/Africana Studies Professor).

University Libraries looks forward to facilitating discussion and connection around digital literacy on November 2. We welcome all who interact with students or have interest in digital literacy. Contact Julia Feerrar at with any questions.

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Written by Julia Feerrar, Head, Digital Literacy Initiatives

Edited by Maria Atilano, Creative Editor