Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Students at the James L. Knight School of Communication teach digital and media literacy to the greater Charlotte community

Sept. 30, 2011, 8:34 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

With the school year underway, students at the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte are busy inside the classroom. But they’re also busy outside of it - looking for ways to bring what they’re learning about digital and media literacy to the larger community.

Students are already working with several local libraries where they volunteer weekly as tech tutors. There, students provide one-on-one computer help sessions and teach other library patrons how to access the Internet as well as how to use online applications like Microsoft Office.

Undergraduates have also partnered with Citizens Schools, which promotes student achievement and education in Charlotte and several cities around the United States. Through Citizens Schools, students are working with low-income elementary schools in the community to help build digital media apprenticeships for kids. They also teach valuable skills like how to do news reporting and what it means to blog. 

Last year Knight Foundation endowed the James L. Knight School of Communication so that it could develop programs to teach digital and media literacy to its students and the community, a priority of Knight’s journalism and media innovation program.

Jennifer Hull, community coordinator at the Knight School, says she hopes these types of activities are just the beginning of others that will be rolled out later this year, such as a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to implement digital literacy programs.

Last year Knight Foundation endowed the James L. Knight School of Communication so that it could develop programs to teach digital and media literacy to its students and the community, a priority of Knight’s journalism and media innovation program.

Jennifer Hull, community coordinator at the Knight School, says she hopes these types of activities are just the beginning of others that will be rolled out later this year, such as a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to implement digital literacy programs.

Hull says that students are excited about these opportunities:

"To serve others is ingrained in Queens University of Charlotte's motto, which is 'Not to be served but to serve.' So it's expected that we engage in community-based activities. Here at the James L. Knight School of Communication, one of our initiatives is digital and media literacy learning, so we want our students to take what they're learning in the classroom and share it with others in the community."

In another effort to engage the larger academic community, this week the school is hosting DM3C/Live, a national meeting of the best minds in digital media literacy and civic engagement.

Van King, Dean of School of Communications at Queens University, says the conference is gathering top thinkers and doers to create connections and that he hopes it will begin an ongoing conversation about digital and media literacy:

“The goal of the conference is to get the group talking about their experiences -- what has worked, what hasn't worked and why. We want new ideas to come from the group, which will turn into statements of intent.”

During the conference, sessions will explore how to impact a community through digital and media literacy as well as engage in discussions as to the specific challenges communities face. The hashtag for the event for those who want to follow along on Twitter is #DM3Cclt

To learn more about the school, its students and its programs, download the Queen’s University of Charlotte Master Plan.