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Online learning has moved to the forefront of academia as institutes of higher learning worldwide have been compelled to move their classroom courses to the virtual space with little preparation. But in the wake of the pandemic, many questions remain unanswered: Can an online course deliver the same quality as a live classroom experience? Can an institution retain its unique cultural values in the process? How can an online course foster a meaningful form of community-building? What are the “must-have” requisites for moving classroom courses and programs into an online space? How does a shift to digital learning affect instructional methods, student-faculty engagement, and accreditation concerns?

These and many other questions make this handbook an invaluable resource for educators and administrators. Edited by Drs. Kjell Rudestam, Judith Schoenholtz-Read, and Monique Snowden, this volume captures the experience of leading educators and professionals in online learning—both at traditional campuses and virtual organizations. Drawing upon the research literature, first-hand experiences, and case studies, the authors argue that online learning will become integral to the future of higher education.

The literature review recognizes that academia is entering an unprecedented era, emphasizing the importance of mentorship, clear guidance, and adaptability in the evolving digital literacy and education landscape.



Ancient Greek Mentors: The mentorship between philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laid the foundation for disciplines like ethics, jurisprudence, and rhetoric. This era established the tradition of Western Literacy.

Gutenberg Printing Press: The invention of the printing press in 1450 triggered the mass production of books, allowing privileged individuals to access information and fostering autodidactic information literacy.

Renaissance and Scientific Literacy: Figures like Galileo Galilei introduced scientific literacy during the Renaissance, while the Scientific Method emerged, leading to the Enlightenment era.


Radio and Auditory Learning: The late 18th century saw the rise of auditory learning through innovations like Marconi's wireless telegraph and the subsequent invention of radio broadcasts.


Digital Revolution: The 20th century witnessed technological milestones, from IBM's establishment in 1911 to the declaration of the modern information age in 1947. Innovators like Gates, Jobs, Berners-Lee, Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Page & Brim reshaped the digital landscape.


Digital Literacy in the Academic World: The integration of digital literacy into academia started with the boom and continued into complete online immersion, significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Digital Transformation: Brooks and McCormack's definition of digital transformation (DX) emphasizes culture, workforce, and technology shifts, revolutionizing educational and operational models.


The Role of Mentorship Communication Mindset: Mentorship communication emerges as a crucial glue that binds together the diverse aspects of digital literacy. It has been recognized as pivotal in reshaping education and empowering learners.


Revitalizing Education: The review underscores the need to prioritize educators in the educational reform process, as they play a fundamental role in knowledge transfer. Clear guidance is identified as a top priority for learners.


European Union's Digital Education Action Plan: The European Union has set forth a comprehensive plan focusing on leveraging digital technology, developing competencies, and improving education through data analysis.



1. Digital Literacy and Mentorship: This chapter underscores the critical importance of digital literacy and adopting a mentorship communication mindset in the 21st century. It identifies three pillars for success: digital communication proficiency, mentorship methodology, and purposeful infrastructure.

2. Educational Technology Challenges: Acknowledging the complexity of educational technology, the chapter calls for clarity and compassion in decision-making amidst a sea of buzzwords like "post-pandemic pedagogy" and "transformative learning." The Chapter explores integrating technology into all aspects of life, offering a unique opportunity to redefine how we achieve success, growth, and happiness through learning.


3. Mentorship Communication Mindset: The chapter introduces a mentorship communication mindset, emphasizing the inseparable connection between technology and human interaction in education. It prioritizes motivation, validation, and care in the learning process.


4. Transition to Digital Learning: Highlighting the shift from experimental phases to long-term digital learning planning, the chapter stresses the need for a paradigm shift in both infrastructure and validation methods.

5. Strategic Planning & Policy: It highlights the need for strategic planning and policy development to enhance digital literacy and mentions various frameworks and standards used in the field.


6. Centers for Excellence & Digital Repositories: The concept of Centers for Excellence (CoE) and Digital Repositories (DR) is introduced as a means to archive institutional legacy, provide curriculum resources, and ensure compliance preparedness.


7. 2030 Vision: The text connects the discussion to the United Nations' 2030 vision and its Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing the role of digital literacy in achieving these goals.



President Emeritus, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

Professor and former Provost, SUNY Empire State College

President and C.E.O., the Southern Association of Colleges

Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, American Council on Education

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