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Have you been an online event feeling both excited and confused with all the new terms and tools? Have you been struggling if I could/should share this message online via social media or not? Have you been hesitating on opening a Twitter account or LinkedIn account or Instagram account or any account for professional use?

The first topic we are addressing in this open networked learning (ONL) journey is on the mindset and skills we shall have in the digital age as a learner, educator, and researcher. This is indeed a tough topic to discuss. As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, many of us have been in those scenarios, especially for more senior generations. We are often concerned about our digital identity and presence, digital privacy, and footprint. On the other hand, when we look at the young generation, who were born in this digital age, most of them are naturally comfortable with their digital activities in terms of learning, communication, collaboration, creation.

Prof David White [1] introduced the two types of digital consumers “visitor” and “resident”. The ones who are more conservative and use the web only as a tool are classified as “visitors”, while those who are interacting with, sharing with, maintaining, and creating for the web are the “residents”. You can be one type of them or even both when conducting different activities on the web. This is an important self-reflection for us to decide or change our mindset when engaging with the web. In my opinion, becoming a resident is the trend, and this trend is absolutely boosted by the outbreak of COVID-19. However, how to construct a society or community for people to feel more comfortable with online participation is a question. To zoom in a smaller scope, we discussed intensively in our group on how to encourage online participation for the students in an online learning/teaching community. We concluded that to ensure the “trust and belongingness” via socialization in a community is the key to success [2].

With this mindset, I encourage everyone, who reads so far and myself to embrace the web and improve digital literacy. I’m sure there are concerns and discomforts concerning online safety and privacy, and we will continue to learn and discover together…

[1] D. S. White and A. Le Cornu, (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).
[2] Y. C. Yeh, (2010). Integrating collaborative PBL with blended learning to explore preservice teachers’ development of online learning communities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(8), 1630-1640.

1. Online participation & digital literacies