Many people believe that the "digital divide" is merely generational but studies have shown disparities according to race, ethnicity, socio-economic level and even between the sexes. Professor Rey Junco, an associate professor at Purdue University and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, refers to this as "digital inequality." "There's an assumption that all students are equally great with technology," said Professor Junco.
As Xavier University is moving to expand the eLearning initiatives across campus, I believe it's important for us to be mindful of this and to not assume that all of our students are proficient, especially with social media. As we implement more technology in the classroom and especially online, we must remember to provide detailed instructions for the students as well as adequate technical support and training.
To read a little more about the very interesting studies concerning “digital inequality” and the implications for academic success, please check out this link from the Times Higher Education (THE) site and from an earlier CAT food podcast: http://cat.xula.edu/food/conversation-7/
I also invite you to share with the community your experiences and findings concerning "digital inequality" amongst our students. Perhaps together we can propose suggestions for helping the students increase their proficiency and ultimately, their chances for success here at Xavier.
Photo credit: "Couple Taking Photos" by iofoto via Yay Image Bank