Digital literacy during COVID

By: | August 25, 2020

College libraries, already a key provider of digital literacy and wellness, are finding new ways to offer guidance to students as online learning continues into the fall on most campuses.

Since the massive shift online in the spring, some students and faculty have experienced “video chat fatigue,” says Julia Feerrar, the head of digital literacy initiatives for University Libraries at Virginia Tech.

“It can take a physical toll,” Feerrar says. “It’s hard to make eye contact through a video chat, and we’re sitting more at those screens, not having to walk.”

This situation can also leave many craving the social connections that would naturally occur when campuses are open—even the short chats that follow when students and faculty “bump into each” while transitioning between classes and other activities.


More from UB: 9 new distance learning rules—What you need to know


Librarians at Virginia Tech have replicated these interactions by hosting online book clubs and other virtual groups that encourage students to use the internet and social media more productively, Feerrar says.

Feerrar and her team have joined online classes, such as first-year writing programs, to share guidance in digital literacy and well-being.

“We teach workshops that help students evaluate the places where they spend time online and think about their goals in those places,” she says. “Weeding out some of those places can be really fulfilling.”
Read the other stories in our Campus Life During COVID series: 

  1. Self-assessing symptoms at the University Central Florida
  2. ‘The semester is in their hands’ at the University of New Haven
  3. Foodservice flexibility at the University of Rochester
  4. Research recovers by mid-summer
  5. 5 snapshots of campus life during the COVID-era