Defining Digital Literacy: A Case Study of Australian Universities


  • Nona Press
  • Puvaneswari. P. Arumugam
  • Kevin Ashford-Rowe


Digital literacy, digital fluency, digital capability, higher education, case study


The contemporary appearance of the term “digital literacy” on university websites suggests institutional interests on digital literacy that focus not only on the development of technology skills but also cognitive and attitudinal aspects in student development. This paper presents an exploration of institutional conceptions of digital literacy based on document analysis of university published information online. The investigation involved universities located in Australia as embedded case studies (n=42). Evidence suggests variations in defining this term and shows that universities have diverse goals as espoused in their corresponding definitions of digital literacy, from developing technical skills of using and understanding technology, to possessing a set of capabilities for living, learning and working in an increasingly digital world. For universities who enumerated a coherent account of digital literacy, the results indicate that their practices of promoting the development of digital literacy are entrenched in their espoused intent of graduate outcomes. The paper concludes with curricular and pedagogical implications in preparing and assisting students for the challenges of 21st century living, learning and working.




How to Cite

Press, N., Arumugam, P. P., & Ashford-Rowe, . K. (2022). Defining Digital Literacy: A Case Study of Australian Universities. ASCILITE Publications, 255–263. Retrieved from