Here is our first blogpost for the blogcilitator blog, compiled by Alexandra Wirth and Kiruthika Ragupathi. Our approach is to scan through the posts made by ONL192 participants to pick out interesting ideas and themes. We hope to provide you with a quick snapshot by weaving in your (ONL participants) thoughts and reflections for each of the topics and linking it to the course content.

In the first topic on online participation and digital literacies, using David White’s typology for online engagement and its Visitor-Resident metaphor (White & Cornu, 2011), many of you explored your own digital identities—both personal and professional—in your blogs. Lena’s post succinctly points how the visitor-resident is quite complex in the way it presents the continuum between being a digital visitor and a digital resident. She also highlights how the metaphor actually helps her understand why she feels closer to being a resident in some situations/contexts while at other times she feels more of a digital visitor. Hanna Liisa Hakala considers whether she would potentially benefit both professionally and personally by gradually shifting from being a visitor to a resident. Marion on the other hand does not want the professional and personal worlds to intertwine, and wonders if that is even possible. Anya Siddiqi points out how we carefully decide to portray a digital identity so as to project an image that will be acceptable. Thus, we deliberately create our own partial identities by imposing a filter bubble skin to filter and personalise. One good example of a filter bubble was evident in Jonas post, he consciously applied a filter to limit his social media presence, limit usage of apps/smart functions and act as a “cold turkey”, even though he was an early adopter (as early as at the age of six). This practice, he confirms has provided a feeling of being “more present at home and at work, and feel less stressed (Hunt et al., 2018)”.

These reflections on one’s own identity also prompted you to ponder over digital literacies, and in particular the skills, attitudes and behaviours required to become digitally literate. Doug Belshaw argues that “digital literacy does not evolve or exist in a vacuum, but is aligned with the educational system, social and political parameters and cultural values”. He therefore proposes eight guiding principles or essential elements to develop digital literacies.

Nina’s post reflected on ideas for improving her own digital literacies and suggests being open to trying new ideas and more importantly to accept the fact that it is not possible to know everything. She points out that elegant lurking works for her as she participates in interesting networks to learn and reflect. Lena laments about how it gets difficult for users to get the acceptance from their institutions to use new and emerging digital tools from outside of the institutions’ digital toolbox. This then leads us to understand the importance of leadership with strong vision to managing digital literacies, and the importance of investing in developing digital literacies as reported by Siv Jönsson.

While exploring this topic, Jan Ray pondered over the effect of ‘trolling and hate speech’ and more generally poor netiquette can inhibit users from publishing content and opinions openly which neatly straddles into the second topic on sharing and openness. She took the words of J.R.R. Tolkien to emphasise this fear, “I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.

As we close this post, in summary, we would like to highlight that while there are limitless opportunities for discovery and new learning, the concerns about sharing personal information and ideas is rather real. But what we need to do is to be aware of these dangers and take steps to protect our privacy, and learn to preserve it.

Alexandra Wirth & Kiruthika Ragupathi

Blogcilitators post on online participation and digital literacies

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