Assessment of Students’ Digital Literacy to Determine Readiness for Blended Instruction
Purpose: Digital literacy is the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools to identify, access, manage, integrate evaluate, analyze, and synthesize digital resources. As technology continues to advance, digital learning has proliferated into higher education. There is a growing interest for academic environments to adopt online teaching and learning methods; however; educator and students’ abilities may not always be equivalent. In addition, there is a lack of research in the physical therapy literature that describes students’ readiness for adoption of digital technologies in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine graduate students’ perceptions of digital literacy that may influence curricular changes related to online instruction.Methods/Description: One hundred and fifteen graduate students in the College of Health Professions from a rural, private, liberal arts college participated in the study. Digital literacy surveys from the literature helped construct questions. Content validity was established by expert and peer review. A Likert scale ranked responses from the participants. Survey Monkey software emailed the survey. Two hundred forty three (243) graduate students in the College of Health Professions received the survey. One hundred fifteen (115) responded (46% response rate). Frequency counts in Microsoft excel analyzed the data. In addition, Chi-square analysis compared responses of physical therapy traditional and weekend students to the population sampled.Results/Outcomes: The majority of students identified themselves as digitally literate. Furthermore, students felt competent using online tools during their educational experiences. A majority of students found new technology by friends and family and learned how to use new technology by trial and error. The most frequently used device at home and school was the laptop and smart phone with internet access. No statistical differences in survey responses existed between the traditional and weekend physical therapy students when compared to the population sampled related to perceptions of digital literacy skills, ways to find and learn new technologies, and the benefit of a digital literacy course prior to matriculation. Both Traditional and weekend physical therapy students favored "in person" and blended instruction.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: The results suggest that graduate students in the College of Health Professions consider themselves literate in the digital world; however, half recommended a digital literacy course. Many students learn new technology through trial and error. Variety of sources help students’ access information with reported daily use of the Internet. As many DPT programs move forward in online teaching and learning, assessment of digitial literacy is important. This research may enlighten health profession educators to solicit student input related to digital literacy when making curriculum changes from “in person” to online or blended instruction.References: Madigan D, Martin A. Digital Literacies for Learning [e-book]. London: Facet Publishing; 2006. Available from: eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Thonney T, Montgomery J. The Relationship between Cumulative Credits and Student Learning Outcomes: A Cross-Sectional Assessment of Information Literacy and Communication Skills. Jour of The Scholar of Teach and Learn. Feb 1, 2015;15(1):70-87. Fedorov A, Levitskaya A. Modern media criticism and media literacy education: The opinions of Russian university students. Euro Jour of Contemp Edu. Jan 1, 2016;16(2):205-216. Topkaya S, Kaya N. Nurses' computer literacy and attitudes towards the use of computers in health care. Intern Jour of Nurs Prac. 2015;21:141-149. Cydis S. Authentic Instruction and Technology Literacy. Jour of Learn Des. Jan 1, 2015;8(1):68-78. Li Y, Ranieri M. Are ‘digital natives’ really digitally competent?—A study on Chinese teenagers. British Journal of Educational Technology [serial online]. November 2010;41(6):1029-1042. Available from: Education Source, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 18, 2017.