Digital Survival Skills

Networks and File Management

Have you set up your college email, organized your class folders, or connected to a friend’s wifi?

Developing this competency involves…

  • Setting up a college user ID and password, and learning how to use it to log-in to college systems (e.g., Moodle, Bionic, e-mail, etc.) and campus computers.
  • Learning how to create, move, download, upload, and organize files and folders on a computer and on network drives.
  • Learning how to print to local and networked printers.
  • Learning how to safely connect to (and perhaps manage) wired and wireless networks.

Metacognition and Life-long Learning

Do you like to play around with technology or teach yourself how to do things? Do you know where you’re strongest, and what areas you might want to improve, when it comes to technology?

Developing this competency involves…

  • Learning how to assess your own digital skills and accurately identify areas of relative strength and weakness.
  • Developing effective strategies for improving digital skills using a range of methods, opportunities, and resources.
  • Becoming knowledgeable about how digital technologies interact with human bodies and minds, and developing strategies for mitigating potential ill effects. 


Troubleshooting is a logical, systematic search to determine the source of a problem and how to fix it.

Developing this competency involves…

  • Learning to recognize and generalize from patterns in technology-related problems.
  • Learning to diagnose problems in complex systems by eliminating potential variables and interactions between variables.
  • Developing a “toolkit” of broadly applicable strategies for diagnosing and solving common problems like checking system requirements, clearing your browser cache, trying a different browser, seeing if classmates have the same problem, etc.

Managing Digital Identity, Privacy, Security

If you use social media, this might be a useful one! How do you work to stay safe online? How much do you know about why certain articles show up in your newsfeed?

Developing this competency involves…

  • Learning to effectively manage one or more digital identities.
  • Critically analyzing how digital tools and media commodify personal data and online interactions, and how this commodification affects the information you receive, produce, and disseminate online.
  • Critically analyzing the policies and business models adopted by digital publishers, in order to make informed choices to prevent identity theft, preserve confidentiality, manage reputation, and mitigate similar risks when browsing the Internet and using web-based tools and social media.

Strategic Web and Database Searching

This competency starts with academic research, but gets a lot deeper. Where do you start when you’re looking for information online?

Developing this competency involves…

  • Learning how to assess your information needs, identify appropriate digital information sources and finding aids, and recognize when digital and digitized sources are inappropriate or insufficient.
  • Developing a critical understanding of how search engines and algorithms work, how to use them effectively, and their limitations and appropriate use contexts.
  • Developing a critical understanding of how common indexing schemes work, how to use them effectively, and their limitations and appropriate use contexts.
  • Learning to find and use database- or site-specific filters and Boolean, wildcard, or other specialized search functions to effectively refine searches.

Content on this page can be credited to Bryn Mawr College, “Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies Framework” (2016). Blended Learning Research and Open Educational Resources. 3.