Date of Award


Degree Name





Maria T. de la Piedra

Second Advisor

Alberto Esquinca


This dissertation aims to contribute knowledge to the literature about ESOL students' digital literacy practices related to educational purposes. I studied the varied digital literacy practices the students used as mediating tools to perform their university activities (e.g., crossing to come to school, communicate with classmates/instructors about assignments, completing assignments). This study takes place on the U.S. side of the borderland area of El Paso, Texas-Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The participants were 43 transfronterizx ESOL college students, who were young adults between 18-25 years of age enrolled in the ESOL program at Sun University. I draw on ethnographic and netnographic methods to explore how the participants used their digital literacy practices for identity-making. Using sociocultural perspectives (Gee, 2000; Gee, 2005; Gee, 2014; Guerra, 2004; Guerra, 2016; Moran, 2020), I paid particular attention to how Transfronterizx ESOL College Students (TECS) used their digital literacy practices for learning English. TECS were constantly experiencing hybridized linguistic elements and diversified social and cultural practices, given their geographical context. Findings from the present dissertation demonstrated that participants heavily relied on their digital literacy practices to remain interconectados with their loved ones on both sides of the border, simultaneously. Through transculturally repositioning (Guerra, 2004; 2016), participants could mobilize themselves virtually from one side to another using their digital literacy practices.TECS mobilized their knowledges, experiences, and linguistic repertoires. I found digital practices including their constant use of social media sites and the Blackboard app. Participants heavily relied on their digital literacy practices to navigate their English learning processes. Furthermore, findings also demonstrated that in their continuous processes of becoming and belonging to multiple communities, participants use their dualistic orientation (Lam & Warriner, 2012) as a way of making sense of their experiences in their communities. Some of these communities were Los de ESOL community, border-crossers, and young people from Juarez. Participants shared several affinities, which also helped them to navigate their different communities.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

239 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Laura E. Mendoza