Reflections – Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies

Online participation, what does this refer to? According to Hrastinski [1], online participation is a complex process of taking part and maintaining relations with others, is supported by physical and psychological tools, is not synonymous with talking or writing, and may involve collaboration with peers but essentially it may involve all kinds of relations. Before starting this course, to me online participation was using the Web to get information for myself and emails, Skype, Twitter, Whatsapp and Facetime to communicate.
I have learnt that to participate online, one needs to be digitally literate. Digitally literate ….. what is that? Well, literacy is the ability of a person to read and write. If a person cannot read or write, that is, the person is illiterate, he/she will find it problematic to get along in life. Digital literacy, according to Cornel University [2] is the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. Without being digitally literate one will also struggle to get along in using and mastering the latest technology.
My online activities as an educator involved searching the internet, then copying, cutting, pasting and sharing/posting media in the classroom. I also had to write papers, create multimedia presentations for my classes, and then upload these PowerPoint presentations to a Dropbox for students to download and use. I also used specific YouTube channels to watch informative training videos and shared these links with my students. So where did I fit into this digital world, was I digitally illiterate or could I read and write digitally?
Interestingly, White [3] and Prensky [4] have similar but also slightly different frameworks for defining digital literacy, that is, modes of engagement with the Web. David White introduces the topology of visitor and resident in categorising the digital literacy of people whereas Doug Prensky talks about immigrants and natives in his framework. Either way, I have found myself in some instances to be from another planet in outer space, let alone a visitor. In other instances I consider myself pretty much a resident. There is always an element of the unknown when on the Web, especially when something is new or you find yourself in uncharted waters, and I think that with time my level of digital literacy will definitely rise, especially now that I am participating in this ONL191 course. I have been made acutely aware of my digital illiteracy and with this new Open Networked Learning concept I am pursuing I will be diving in boots and all – I want to become a native resident without a doubt!


  1. Hrastinski S. (2009). A theory of online learning as online participation. Computers & Education, 52(1), 78-82.
Clive’s New Learning Space 2019-03-25 18:21:21