Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Sciences and Education

Document Type



This intrinsic single case study explored the ways in which two older adult burgeoning literacy learners in a capital city in the U.S. Gulf South utilized the skills of print literacy and digital literacy both together and apart. This study was an investigation of print and digital literacy, individually and combined, in order to examine the way older adult burgeoning literacy learners used one kind of literacy (print) to develop the other (digital). Using semi-structured interviews, observations, and literacy journals, participants’ perceptions were explored. Findings included that fully literate older adults used their literacy to enact and maintain social connections, both print and digital, and that older adult burgeoning literacy learners used their burgeoning literacy in this manner, which strengthened their ties to the wider community. The medium of the literacy affected the purpose even as the medium was affected in turn. Education, both formal learning and learning for fun, greatly affected participants’ literacy. The conception of literacy, print and digital, as a communication practice, was upheld. Likewise, literacy (the act and the practice) possesses a multimodality of being that allows it to bridge mediums, further enhancing literacy as social practice.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary