Chapter 4 - Digital Literacy

Student looking at available apps on an iPadWhat is Digital Literacy?

Digital Literacy is being familiar and comfortable with a variety of digital tools so that you can be successful as a student and in your future profession. Our goal is to help equip you with the knowledge to be able to troubleshoot your problems, know where to seek help when needed and be comfortable learning new digital skills.

This section will expand more on specific skills that will enhance your digital literacy – like file formats, editing images, and creating videos. But before digging into the details, we have some key attributes that are necessary to grow your personal digital literacy, which we believe will make you successful inside and outside the halls of Ohio State.  

1. Be proactive

When Questions Arise 

A proactive attitude will take you far in the realm of digital literacy. Digital literacy isn’t about knowing all the answers, but one key aspect of it is the ability to find answers to questions you have. A good first step when a problem arises is to do a simple Google search or to ask your friends and classmates. For bigger questions, Ohio State has resources such as the IT Service Desk which allow you to get help in-person, over the phone or by email. Being proactive when you have questions will strengthen your digital literacy.

Downloading Apps

The iPad is a powerful tool. Take advantage of this and explore apps outside of the ones your instructors recommend. Your digital literacy will grow as you take a proactive approach to exploring a variety of apps. As you explore more apps, you’ll discover new skills, new ideas and new workflows. 

Make the Self Service app on your iPad your first resource when searching for apps. Not all of these apps are free in Apple’s App store, but Ohio State has purchased licenses for some of those paid apps for you to use for free as a student. You’re not limited to the apps in Self Service and we encourage you to download anything you’d like from the Apple’s App Store. 

2. Be flexible

Flexibility is key to growing your digital literacy. There’s rarely one single way to accomplish a task. Similarly, just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean another way won’t work better. Flexibility will help you approach problems from different angles and will introduce you to new skills. Here are a few ways you might develop this aspect of your Digital Literacy: 

Create a Workflow

With so many apps, multiple devices, and a demanding class schedule, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed at times. There’s a lot to manage, so figuring out your best workflow will help you keep everything in order. How do you want your apps to be organized on your iPad? Do you prefer all the apps to be on the home screen, or do you like to categorize them in folders? Do you like notifications on your iPad and smartphone, or would you prefer to turn them off? How will you access files when you don’t have your primary device on hand – will you use BuckeyeBox, OneDrive, or another form of cloud storage for backing up and making changes on the go? All of these questions are topics to consider to help streamline your workflow. There’s no right answer, and it takes some time to learn your own preferences. Depending on your needs, your workflow could change over time. 

With Others

In the same way that it’s important to find a workflow that works for you, it’s important to remember that everyone works differently. Be flexible when working with others, considering the workflows they’ve established. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong, and you might even learn something new! 

Also, consider the tools available to your peers using a different device than you if you’re in group projects, study groups, or other collaborative meetings. Accommodating multiple devices or operating systems will follow you when you graduate and head into the workforce or graduate school, so learning which tools are available to everyone is a skill to embrace.

3. Be Creative

Find a new way to use an app for class, or as a way to organize your life? Let us know, teach your friends, and keep learning! Take advantage of the resources provided to you. Want to learn more about audio production? Explore the Garage Band app on your iPad, or head to the Digital Union to get some production experience in a studio. Your creative endeavors, whether it’s creative problem solving or learning new skills, will help you think about problems differently and make you a well-rounded, digitally literate student ready to take on the world!

Share your great example with us by emailing