Just as the majority of books about computer literacy deal more with technological issues than with literacy issues, most computer literacy programs overemphasize technical skills and fail to adequately prepare students for the writing and communications tasks in a technology-driven era. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age serves as a guide for composition teachers to develop effective, full-scale computer literacy programs that are also professionally responsible by emphasizing different kinds of literacies and proposing methods for helping students move among them in strategic ways.
Defining computer literacy as a domain of writing and communication, Stuart A. Selber addresses the questions that few other computer literacy texts consider: What should a computer literate student be able to do? What is required of literacy teachers to educate such a student? How can functional computer literacy fit within the values of teaching writing and communication as a profession? Reimagining functional literacy in ways that speak to teachers of writing and communication, he builds a framework for computer literacy instruction that blends functional, critical, and rhetorical concerns in the interest of social action and change.
Multiliteracies for a Digital Age reviews the extensive literature on computer literacy and critiques it from a humanistic perspective. This approach, which will remain useful as new versions of computer hardware and software inevitably replace old versions, helps to usher students into an understanding of the biases, belief systems, and politics inherent in technological contexts. Selber redefines rhetoric at the nexus of technology and literacy and argues that students should be prepared as authors of twenty-first-century texts that defy the established purview of English departments. The result is a rich portrait of the ideal multiliterate student in a digital age and a social approach to computer literacy envisioned with the requirements for systemic change in mind.