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Digital Equity

Digital equity means ensuring students have equal access to technology, as well as digital literacy skills to navigate digital tools for success throughout their educational careers. COVID-19 has amplified the digital divide among CSUN students. Championing equitable access to technology is at the core of our mission, we are engaged in scholarly and technology initiatives that support the amelioration of digital disparities.

We are excited to share several rewarding developments in our quest toward digital equity. 

Academic Technology Digital Equity Initiatives

Diversity & Equity Innovation Grant

Northridge, California, November 2021 - Academic Technology has been awarded a CSUN Diversity & Equity Innovation grant as part of the program established “to support educational projects, scholarly research, creative activities and other programmatic initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-racism and social justice for the benefit of the CSUN community."

The grant proposal, titled "Disseminating the Keys to Digital Equity: The CSUN Digital Grapevine," presents a plan to help improve the digital literacy skills of CSUN students by engaging student ambassadors. By leveraging social media platforms and YouTube, student ambassadors will create and share timely and relevant equity-minded content on the use of technology. According to Buzzetto-Hollywood et al. (2018), digital literacy is a barrier to success for underserved students.

The proposed model of Digital Equity Ambassadors will allow students to learn organically from their peers and empower them to seek help. This research-based model targets students who are in the most need of technology-based content to help fill in the digital literacy gaps. Research demonstrates that resources and programs created with the intention of targeting underserved audiences have a larger impact across the board, including the general audience (Thayer, 2000).  An article from EDUCAUSE suggests that institutional leaders should focus their student success efforts on student leader inclusion. The peer-to-peer ambassador model cultivates leadership and encourages students to connect with each other.

The CSUN Digital Grapevine will create resources with that specific underserved audience in mind. Moreover, this project intentionally builds upon Yosso’s (2005) ideas on community cultural wealth as it will empower students to use social and navigational wealth to engage with technology.

References

Buzzetto-Hollywood, N., Hwei Wang, Elobeid, M., & Elobaid Red Rug, M. (2018). Addressing Information Literacy and the Digital Divide in Higher Education. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, 14, 77–93. https://doi-org.libproxy.csun.edu/10.28945/4029
Thayer, Paul B. Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds. Washington, DC: Council for Opportunity in Education, 2000. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED446633.
Yosso, T.J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race ethnicity and education 8(1), pp. 69-91.

Doctoral Student Academic Technology Equity Fellowship

CSUN's Office of Academic Technology in collaboration with the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, and the Research and Sponsored Programs office, launched the Doctoral Student Academic Technology Equity Fellowship. This fellowship supports doctoral-level research and professional development in topics that include digital equity, identification and promotion of best practices in technology-based education, and solutions toward improved access to technology regardless of ability and socio-economic background.

The application for the 2022-2023 Fellowship is now open! The application deadline for the next Fellowship is April 1, 2022, at 11:00 pm. The Awardee will be notified by May 31, 2022.

For more information and to submit an application, visit our Doctoral Student Academic Technology Equity Fellowship page.