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Digital and information literacy

What is digital and information literacy?

Digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.


In the context of OU study, digital literacy refers to the skills and capabilities of OU students using digital technologies to achieve personal, study and work-related goals.

Digital literacy includes the ability to find and use information (otherwise known as information literacy) but goes beyond this to encompass communication, collaboration and teamwork, social awareness in the digital environment, understanding of e-safety and creation of new information. Both digital and information literacy are underpinned by critical thinking and evaluation.

Library Services staff work with module teams to provide opportunities for students to develop their digital and information literacy skills across qualifications and modules. Students and staff can also make use of the support materials on the Library website to develop their skills.

Integrating digital and information literacy into modules and qualifications

We provide a clear vision for the integration of digital and information literacy into the curriculum, enabling students to become confident and independent learners and the OU’s learning and teaching strategy to be delivered.

  • "Developing digital literacies through learning and teaching" (2013) is a booklet written by OU Library Services and the Institute of Educational Technology to support the successful integration of digital and information literacy (DIL) into the curriculum. It sets out what DIL is, why it is important, its relationship to employability and how to go about building it into qualifications and modules. OU staff can access the Developing digital literacies through learning and teaching publication on the library intranet site. Printed copies are available on request from
  • The Digital and information literacy framework suggests how students can demonstrate progression and achievement in digital and information literacy skills. It provides a common reference point for module, programme, and qualification teams to use when identifying learning outcomes, assessment and learning activities for digital literacy to be integrated with other learning outcomes and student attributes.
  • The Information literacy toolkit supports tutors seeking to teach information literacy skills to their students.

For more information on integrating digital and information literacy into modules and qualifications, visit the Supporting Learning and Teaching section of the Library Services intranet site or talk to your Library contact.

Digital and information literacy support materials

The following materials are available to support the development of skills in finding, evaluating, using and managing information:

  • Being digital is a collection of short, easy-to-follow activities on finding, using and creating information online. It aims to support the development of digital literacy skills and complements the Digital and information literacy framework. In 2013 Being digital won the Credo Reference Digital Award for information literacy. In 2014, Being digital won an OU Teaching Award for Excellence in developing students' academic and learning skills.
  • DiSC (Digital Skills and Capabilities) is a groundbreaking OU-wide initiative to ensure a fully 'digitally capable' university. Working with OU stakeholders and experts in the HE sector, DiSC will develop a range of resources and approaches to grow the digital capabilities of OU staff, tutors and students using new and innovative methods. Building on existing tools and frameworks, digital skills and capabilities practice will be embedded within business as usual activity. For more information contact Jo Parker, Project Lead at
  • Succeeding in a digital world is a free course on OpenLearn aimed at those new to life online. Consisting of 24 hours of study, spread over 8 weeks, it aims to build learners' confidence and skills, and equip them for future online study. Those who successfully complete the summary quizzes at the end of Weeks 4 and 8 achieve a badge, which can be used as proof of the knowledge and skills gained.
  • Help and Support pages on the Library website provide a selection of user guides.
  • Safari is a portal providing access to a range of materials to guide you through the information world. The original Safari tutorial is no longer live, but PDFs of the content can be downloaded from the portal site.