Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Melinda Knight

Committee Member

Emily Isaacs

Committee Member

Daniel Bronson


This study examines the challenges faced by educators and students and how socioeconomics, the digital divide, and a lack of access can potentially lead to low digital-literacy rates. The digital divide describes those who have access to broadband (high-speed) Internet connections and those who do not. Since education has become reliant on technology, those who cannot access the academic-digital space are at a disadvantage. The primary focus of this thesis is to define digital literacy in online, hybrid, and face-to-face composition classrooms at the postsecondary level. A review of literature was supplemented by a brief survey to students attending Montclair State University in July 2011. The purpose of which was to determine their abilities to access the online-classroom space and to obtain information about what they do once inside online academia. The digital divide is a real space in the college-composition classroom, which unfairly impacts students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. It is, therefore, paramount that instructors work to narrow the gap by developing their own new literacy skills; thus, enabling the digital literacies of their students.

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