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By Lisa Diethelm
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is offering a new online degree program for future students – a bachelor of arts in Digital Media Literacy.
The immersive program, offered entirely online, is the only undergraduate digital literacy degree offered in the country. It is focused on how to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation through critical thinking, global awareness and ethical decision-making in the context of digital media.
Students will learn and work alongside Cronkite faculty with expertise in media literacy. They include Kristy Roschke, Ph.D., managing director of the school’s News Co/Lab, and Dan Gillmor, co-founder of the lab, to master skills applicable to corporate communications, public policy, education, nonprofit communications, social media and community engagement. The degree also prepares students for master’s and doctorate research programs and professional programs in journalism, law and education.
Cronkite Associate Dean Jessica Pucci said students who complete the Digital Media Literacy degree will understand how digital media works and will be able to explore its impact on daily life.
"Media literacy is top of mind for the Cronkite School because a healthy society depends on it. Misinformation is one of democracy's greatest threats, and while the Cronkite School is already known for nurturing journalists and storytellers, we also have a responsibility to educate our audiences, who only thrive with truthful, reliable information,” Pucci said. “Our Digital Media Literacy students will be well prepared to help their audiences navigate a digital world overloaded with information and separate the wheat from the chaff.”
The program is the latest addition to Cronkite’s online degree offerings that include a liberal-arts-style bachelor’s in Mass Communications and Media Studies and a digital-marketing-focused bachelor’s in Digital Audiences.
The school is now accepting applications and plans to welcome the first cohort of students for the fall 2021 semester. Graduates will have the opportunity to use cutting-edge tools and tactics in courses such as “Misinformation in Society,” “Media and Society,” and “Freedom of Expression in the 21st Century.”
In a world dominated by information and advancing technology, the bachelor’s degree will open opportunities for positive change through studies on health care, government, education, conflict and sustainability, Pucci said..
There are 1,041 students currently enrolled in Cronkite’s online degree programs. More than 400 are enrolled in the Digital Audiences bachelor’s program and more than 630 are enrolled in the Mass Communication and Media Studies bachelor’s program.