Digital Liberal Arts at Trinity College represents a commitment to support our students as they fulfill our mission to become independent thinkers who lead transformative lives.

This framework offers students opportunities to reflect on and develop digital skills in the following areas: Information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation and making, safety, and problem solving. Trinity students may encounter opportunities to explore these areas as part of in-class workshops and trainings or may opt-in to learning about these areas through programming and individualized tutorials offered by Information Services. Our goal with this framework is not simply to provide opportunities for students to become proficient in different technologies, but rather to create an environment in which exposure to digital scholarship, training, and tools can provide students with perspectives to enhance a part of their overall liberal arts education.

Our framework draws on a model proposed by the European Union, and builds on earlier adaptations proposed by other liberal arts colleges. The focus on digital liberal arts reflects our college’s strategic plan to design a 21st century liberal arts education, and recent research that suggests “how someone thinks, solves problems, and learns, has a greater impact on a person’s ability to function in a technologically rich society than just being knowledgeable about specific software.” (van Laar, van Deursen, 578).

Elements of the Digital Liberal Arts Framework

Ability to identify, locate, retrieve, store and organize digital content as well as judge its relevance and purpose.

  1. Browsing, searching and filtering digital content
    1. Articulate information needs
    2. Search for content in digital environments, access it, and navigate between different pieces of content
    3. Create and update personal search strategies

  2. Evaluating data, information and digital content
    1. Analyze, compare, and critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of sources of digital content
    2. Analyze, interpret, and critically evaluate the digital content itself

  3. Managing digital content
    1. Organize, store, and retrieve content in digital environments
    2. Organize and process content in a structured environment
Ability to communicate, collaborate, and participate in virtual teams and networks as well as select the appropriate media, tone, and behavior.

  1. Communicating through digital technologies
    1. Communicate through a variety of digital technologies and understand appropriate digital means for a given context
    2. Ensure content is as accessible as possible to intended audiences

  2. Sharing through digital technologies
    1. Share digital content with others through appropriate digital technologies
    2. Act as an intermediary, to know about referencing and attribution practices

  3. Engaging in citizenship through digital technologies
    1. Participate in society with public and private digital services
    2. Seek opportunities for self-empowerment and for participatory citizenship through appropriate digital technologies
    3. Create consciousness of a digital divide which may limit participation in society

  4. Collaborating through digital technologies
    1. Use digital tools and technologies for collaborative processes, as well as for co-construction and co-creation of resources and knowledge

  5. Netiquette
    1. Be aware of behavioral norms while using digital technologies and interacting in digital environments
    2. Adapt communication strategies to the specific audience and be aware of cultural and generational diversity in digital environments

  6. Managing digital identity
    1. Create and manage one or multiple digital identities
    2. Be able to protect your own reputation
    3. Deal with the data that you produce through various digital tools, environments, and services
Ability to create, configure, and edit digital content as well as solve digital issues, exploring and learning new ways to take advantage of technology.

  1. Developing digital content
    1. Create and edit digital content in different formats
    2. Express yourself through digital means
    3. Design with consideration for accessibility and future-proofing

  2. Integrating and transforming digital content
    1. Modify, refine, improve, and integrate content from an existing body of knowledge to create new, original, and relevant content and knowledge

  3. Copyright and licenses
    1. Understand how copyright and licenses apply to digital content

  4. Programming
    1. Plan and develop a sequence of understandable instructions for a computing system to solve a given problem or perform a specific task

  5. Making
    1. Understand the interactions between digital tools and machines that create physical objects according to digital content
    2. Modify existing digital content to produce modified physical objects
    3. Create physical objects using digital tools
Ability to use digital technology in a safe and sustainable way (protecting data, personal identity, and occupational health and safety) as well as being aware of legal implications, rights, and duties.

  1. Protecting devices
    1. Protect devices and digital content, and understand risks and threats in digital environments
    2. Know about safety and security measures and have due regard for reliability and privacy

  2. Protecting personal data and privacy
    1. Protect personal data and privacy in digital environments
    2. Understand how to use and share personally identifiable information while being able to protect yourself and others from damages
    3. Understand that digital services use a “Privacy policy” to inform how personal data is used

  3. Protecting health and well-being
    1. Be able to avoid health risks and threats to physical and psychological well-being while using digital technologies
    2. Be able to protect yourself and others from possible dangers in digital environments (e.g., cyberbullying)
    3. Be aware of digital technologies for social wellbeing and social inclusion

  4. Protecting the environment
    1. Be aware of the environmental impact of digital technologies and their use
Ability to identify needs and problems, and to resolve conceptual problems and problem situations in digital environments; to use digital tools to innovate processes and products; to keep up-to-date with best practices and digital evolutions.

  1. Solving technical problems
    1. Identify technical problems when operating devices and using digital tools, and solve them (from troubleshooting to solving more complex problems)

  2. Identifying needs and technological responses
    1. Assess needs and identify, evaluate, select, and use digital tools and possible technological responses to meet them
    2. Adjust and customize digital environments to personal needs (e.g., accessibility)

  3. Creatively using digital technologies
    1. Use digital tools and technologies to create knowledge and innovate processes and products
    2. Engage individually and collectively in cognitive processing to understand and resolve conceptual problems and problem situations in digital environments

  4. Identifying digital competence gaps
    1. Understand where your own digital competence needs to be improved or updated
    2. Be able to support others with their digital competence development
    3. Seek opportunities for self-development and keep up-to-date with digital evolutions

View content and resources from our DLAF-focused events