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Digital Proficiency

Digital Proficiency

Sawyer Digital Proficiency Initiative

Along with the changes in our society related to the development and use of technology in all disciplines, the scholarship skillsets of our educators and students are evolving.  This evolution has affected the educational continuum from the learning tools of instruction to the end-products of scholarship.  Educators and students need resources to be continually educated on this continuum.  Our students upon graduation must possess such skills in order to compete in the employment marketplace and those who do stand out.  

Recognizing this changing factor in the higher educational environment, the strategic plan of Messiah University includes a focus on digital proficiency while preparing "educators to cultivate appropriate teaching and learning outcomes that meet the needs of a changing student body" in Theme 3, Goal 3. The Information and Web Technology Plan includes a similar focus with action steps toward implementation of a digital repository (Theme 4, Goal 1) and programming approaches that "improve the digital proficiency of educators and students" (Theme 4, Goal 2). This initiative supports these strategic plans.

This three-year project includes:

  • Fellows (15 educators – selection will consider balance across academic divisions)

  • Digital Scholars (students)

    • Interns (Students partnering with Fellows) – also eligible to participate in the certificate program

    • For digital proficiency certification (up to 100 students participating in Certificate program/year, 50/semester)

    • Digital Proficiency Geniuses (year 2) – outstanding certified digital proficiency scholars or other capable students, hand selected to be part of a support group beginning year 2. 

  • A list of equipment/technology to assist in this initiative

  • A Digital Repository – Software to host collection(s) of online resources from educators, students, the library, and potentially other areas of the university

  • A Steering Committee


Open to all Community of Educator members. Fellows apply and agree to:

  1. Develop a new academic experience for students that includes activities involving technology that engage learners toward improved digital proficiency.
  2. Participate in a summer intensive week-long program where they work with digital tools.
  3. Join and attend a professional learning community on campus based on the digital proficiency initiative.
  4. Implement and disseminate their results with a larger campus audience.

Digital Scholar Intern Grant (Students)

Open to all full-time students who will be returning to Messiah University in the fall of 2018, 2019, or 2020.  

Fellows may recommend and include an interested student as part of the fellowship throughout the redesign phase and potentially for the subsequent implementation phase. In addition to partnering with a Fellow, Digital Scholar Interns may participate in the digital proficiency certificate program. The student receives $575/semester, two semester maximum, for up to 75 hours of work per semester as an intern.  The work of the student can be wide ranging but must at least include the student learning and applying for themselves the digital skills that are a part of the project.  

Digital Scholar Genius (Students, beginning Year 2)

These students require proven proficiency on various aspects of the certificate program and beyond and would assist with technical aspects of projects with both educators and students.  These students would be deployed from the Innovation Zone (possibly from the Library or Digital Humanities Lab) depending on where digital proficiency spaces are located. 

Digital Literacy Competency Course (Students)  [2 credits]

Open to all full-time students who will be returning to Messiah University in the fall of 2019 or 2020.

Upon completion of this course, participants will demonstrate competencies gained in many areas including: Data Visualization, Audio Production, Video Production, 3D Printing/CAD Design. Basic web design/e-portfolio and 360 video/VR may also be included as time permits. All projects require active collaboration with others, consideration of social responsibilities, and an awareness of digital integrity. Participants should expect to spend 2.5 hrs per week in class and 4-5 hrs per week working on assignments outside of class.

Digital Repository

Supporting both educator and student research/scholarship, a digital repository will distribute, make accessible, and protect the scholarly information resources of educators, students, and the University. Artifacts included in a digital repository accessible to anyone with an internet connection include: theses, honors projects, capstone projects, and scholarship developed through this Digital Proficiency Initiative.