Exploring this topic I have come to understand that being comfortable and familiar with certain tools for online interaction does not necessarily translate to other. Reflecting on my own digital presence I realize that I have had to conquer each of them, one at a time, and learn about the technical and cultural specificity of each. For example my familiarity with Facebook was of limited use when I started to use other social media. Something that do to some extent translate is the very idea of presenting and sharing an online identity. From interacting on Facebook I have become familiar with this concept, and I am used to sharing selected aspects of my personal life.  This means that I have a basic understanding and familiarity with how this might also take place with a more professional focus that I have used to develop my presence on Twitter, Linkedin, Researchgate, WordPress etc. The visitor-resident framework  (White & Le Cornu 2011) I found very useful for reflecting on my personal experiences as well as on my professional practices. I believe that I might consider myself a resident in many of these places, as my interactions on various platforms make substantial contributions to my personal and professional identity. How and with who I communicate differs between the platforms, as do levels of privacy and intimacy. On Instagram I only interact with a select few and share family pictures that I would rarely share on Facebook, and definitely not on Twitter. On Twitter I mainly discuss and share on professional topics, which I sometimes also do on Facebook but never on Instagram. The same goes for politics.

In organizing online learning I have found it valuable but challenging to get students to become more personal. Valuable because in my experience it makes them more engaged in learning, more comfortable to share their experiences and opinions, and to seek and provide support. Challenging because it is not something that can be demanded of students, only encouraged and facilitated. When working with the group assignment I took the opportunity to dig a little deeper into the area of relational pedagogy. My interest in this take on teaching and learning originates in how it reflects one of the basic concepts in my own field – nursing. In nursing, the development of mutual, trusting relationships is considered a key aspect in promoting health and alleviating suffering in people experiencing illness and ill-health. Likewise, supportive relationships between teacher and student are considered ”essential to educational progress and success”. Positive relationships can motivate students to engage in learning. Teachers should be aware of the importance of building trust, being emotionally available, humanizing students, accepting diversity, and gaining personal knowledge about students (Adams 2018). Arguably, a view of online learning as non-personal is incorrect and relationships can be developed (Friesen 2011). In my experience, it is possible and important to devote time in the beginning of an online course for relationship building. This can be done for example by dedicating time for individual online meetings with each student, and by creating an online discussion forum where teachers and students introduce themselves in writing as both professionals and persons. Using the metaphors provided by White and Le Cornu (2011), these can be seen as attempts to transform the tools we use for communicating to places for being present with each other, and thus inviting students to become residents rather than visitors. This way of thinking helps me better appreciate some of the difficulties students might experiences when embarking on their online learning journey.


ONL201 – Topic 1: Participation and digital literacy