Doug Belshaw

Dr. Doug Belshaw

📃 What is 'digital literacy'?

A Pragmatic investigation

On Monday 3rd October 2011 I submitted my doctoral thesis to Durham University. After successfully defending it in my viva voce and making some minor changes, I graduated in April 2012.

I wrote my thesis in the open, on a wiki at (how it felt at the time!) which now redirects here. The thesis has a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning I have donated my work to the public domain.

Just before graduating, I had the opportunity to give an overview of the findings from my doctoral work in a TEDx talk at the University of Warwick. This was an important opportunity for me to explain complex things in a simpler way.

Subsequently, I rewrote and updated my thesis as an ebook entitled The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies with v1.0 being finished by mid-2014. This has been used as a set text on postgraduate courses in (to my knowledge) Canada, the UK, and Australia.

These three artefacts: my thesis, ebook, and TEDx talk are collected below for the benefit of those that still find them useful. The wiki that I wrote the thesis on is available via the Internet Archive and I've expanded on some of this work in posts and presentations at my blog.

I continue to consult and present on digital literacies (with more of a focus on the 'civic' aspect of digital literacies) via Dynamic Skillset and We Are Open Co-op. At the moment, I'm particularly interested in how disinformation is propagated online, as I discussed in a recent keynote entitled Truth, Lies, and Digital Fluency.

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Thesis (PDF)
Durham University E-Theses

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies book cover
E-book (PDF)

TEDx talk