Essays in Education


Internet and digital technologies are integrated into nearly every aspect of contemporary life, and digital citizenship skills are necessary for professional and personal success. Previous research has described the digital citizenship of undergraduate and K-12 students, but there is little literature describing the digital citizenship among doctoral students. Doctoral program cohorts often include students born in 1984 or before and those born in 1985 or after. Students born after 1985 are frequently assumed to be “digital natives” with advanced technology skills, although there is little evidence to validate the digital natives vs. digital immigrant theory. The present study seeks to describe the digital citizenship knowledge and skills of doctoral students and determine the extent to which age impacts digital citizenship level. A two-tailed t-test revealed there was no significant difference in Digital Citizenship Scale scores among generations. Doctoral students in this sample, regardless of age, reported moderate to low levels of digital citizenship, suggesting that doctoral programs might best prepare their students for professional success in a tech-mediated world through more intentional technological guidance and digital citizenship curriculum at the graduate level.

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