The professional skills that are deemed necessary in the field of Social Communication have shifted due to digital technologies acting as an intermediary for the communicational process. For example, concepts such as Globalization; and Internet Access as a basic standard, were initially thought to automatically bring about progress to developing countries. Today, after more than two decades have passed since the emergence of Digital Commun ication as a medium that permeates many social and cultural practices of the population -undergraduate students in the case of this study - it has come to light, that just securing Internet Access does not automatically bring progress. Just preaching the technical and infrastructural standards required for advancing towards a ‘Knowledge- based society ’ will not immediately grant access to validated scientific knowledge that will facilitate a social appropriation of science. In Latin America, the ‘Digital Divi de’ , linked to technological consumption (or lack of thereof due to insufficient resources), allows us inquire about the level of connectivity (or disconnection) the undergraduate students have, since they are users of technological devices, and part of a global digital culture. In this technologically mediated context, we inquire about what kind of Digital Competences (as defined by the European Commission's Science and Knowledge Service) young Latin American undergraduate students possess. This empirical study, surveys the cultural practices, technological consumption, and traits of Digital Identity, these Social Communication students possess. The case study focuses on two undergraduate careers belonging to two Latin American universities: 1) Communicatio n, from ‘Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola ’ (Peru), and 2) Social Communication and Digital Media, from ‘Universidad de la Costa ’ (Colombia). Using mixed methods research (integrating both qualitative and quantitative data and methodologies), we analyze the perceptions and expectations these students have, regarding their own technological access and digital knowledge; and whether these traits or skills are useful (or not) in their chosen field of study, Social Communication. Based on previously defined categories: Technological consumption, Digital Identity, and Internet Access; we designed several research instruments to approach these students, in three distinct stages of their undergraduate life: Freshmen, juniors , and seniors. The instruments are: 1) a structured survey, 2) focus groups, and 3) in-depth interviews, respectively. This data allows us to analyze the practices, consumptions, and competences that Social Communication students in these Latin American Universities have. Likewise, during data tr iangulation, we expect to find to find a link between the degrees of Technological Consumption of students, and their Digital Competences. We hope this case study can present a challenge to Latin American universities, regarding the design and implementati on of pedagogical strategies that try to close the knowledge gap some students may have, from the moment they enter the university life.
|ISSN (versión digital)||2340-1117|