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Digital Literacy

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are reimagining how entire generations communicate. The primary sources of tomorrow—email, SMS messaging, photographs—are now born digital.

At the same time, digital methods are changing the way history is done. Many archives are now digital. Authors can collaborate on prose in a digital space. Historians have taken to blogging and tweeting about their work. For many historians, developing and managing an online persona is an essential skill. Graduate school is often an ideal place to cultivate one’s professional digital presence.

Many graduate students are “digital natives,” having grown up in the internet age. The digital skills many take for granted can actually be professional assets. It is important to know how to communicate how these skills make graduates better candidates for jobs inside and outside the academy.

At U-M History, there are several programs available to get students started thinking about digital literacy:

  • Internships: Jump into an organization that uses digital tools to burnish your own skills; available as an alternative to GSI assignments or during the spring-summer term
  • Reverb Effect: Work with recording equipment, audio editing, and production software
  • Michigan in the World: Lead a group of undergraduates to produce online history exhibits
  • Gerald Saxon Brown Digital Skills Internship: Develop digital, collaboration, and communication skills while working on the History Department’s public engagement projects
  • Check out the Innovative Pedagogy Blog to learn how U-M History faculty are implementing cutting-edge teaching techniques in their courses

Learn more about boons and burdens of a rapidly digitizing professional world. Digital literacy is one of the AHA’s five career diversity skills.