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Dr. Petroski
Dr. Petroski
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Resolving to Close the Digital Divide

on Thu May 24, 2018 8:30 pm
In November 1999, the National Communication Association (NCA)—the largest organization of communication academics in the United States—drafted and approved a Resolution on the Digital Divide. As one of only three recognized Resolutions in the organization’s history, this was seen as an important step in the increasing importance of the issue at hand: more and more Americans were finding themselves divided by technology access—those who could afford digital content were enjoying the benefits of the emerging information economy far more than those without digital access. The original resolution called for greater awareness as to issues of technology access—the “economic divide” specified by Nielsen. However, and as Nielsen specified in his own writings, members of the NCA recognized that there was more to closing the digital divide than merely giving people computers and plugging them into the internet. After deliberating, in November 2013 (in Washington, DC) the NCA approved the following amendments to the Resolution on the Digital Divide:

 
   “The National Communication Association (NCA) reaffirms its commitment to urge the development of free and low-cost ways of accessing the means for processing and distributing information in electronic forms. Moreover, NCA continues to urge the development of communication technologies that require minimal training but that still allow wide use of worldwide electronic resources. Additionally, as electronic resources continue to become increasingly demanding in terms of bandwidth, NCA asks that service providers ensure connection speeds necessary to competently utilize said resources. Moreover, while many argue that economic barriers to technology have been greatly reduced, technology and information literacy barriers must be addressed with equal attention so that those with access to technology are able to use it effectively. Given these commitments, NCA resolves to take a leadership role in closing the Digital Divide through scholarship highlighting access, usability, and empowerment issues. NCA officers and staff will support legislation aimed at providing universal access to electronic means of communication. NCA will work with other organizations to ensure that communities in the U.S. and elsewhere have adequate electronic communication resources available to all. NCA members have a responsibility to increase awareness of the Digital Divide as a comprehensive social issue that considers socio-economic as well as literacy and empowerment dimensions. NCA urges its members to take an active role in increasing awareness of the Digital Divide through research, education, incorporating material on this problem into courses, through community consultation and education, and by advocating for appropriate policies at all levels of government, as well as supporting the production and distribution of open source software, as well as continued education on using said software.”

Reviewing the new resolution, what elements of the digital divide to you see covered? Are there aspects of the resolution that do not address the digital divide?


Last edited by Dr. Petroski on Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Dr. Petroski
Department of Communication
Southern Connecticut State University
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