The first topic of ONL linked online participation with digital identity. David White’s webinar on visitors and residents was very interesting and interactive! 

I had already given up using Prensky’s terminology of digital ‘natives’ and ‘immigrants’ because I had seen both young people not being ‘fluent’ with technology and older people managing it very well. Thus, I don’t tend to imagine online participation (or lack of participation) as a matter of age. Rather, it might be a matter of access to devices, apps and to what is being called digital literacies, ‘The capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society’ (JISC: 

The concepts of ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ as presented by White and Le Cornu (2011) take into account how people behave when they use technology. According to them, ‘Visitors are unlikely to have any form of persistent profile online which projects their identity into the digital space’. Whilst Visitors use the web as a tool, Residents see the web as a place to express opinions. ‘Residents are happy to go online simply to spend time with others and they are likely to consider that they ‘belong’ to a community which is located in the virtual’.

Besides this continuum of ‘Visitors’ and ‘Residents’ with different behaviours and uses of technology, David White (2014) added a vertical axis to the model, separating the personal from the institutional uses of technology. Using this model can help us view how we behave (or want to behave) on the web, as Visitors or Residents, using the many diverse tools due to personal interest or to the needs of our institutions. (Print screen from YouTube video)

David White: Visitors and residents (part 1)

I had always preferred to keep a ‘low profile’ and to protect my privacy online. During the PBL group discussions I mentioned I sometimes feel neither as Visitor nor Resident, but as an ‘Intruder’… Perhaps this feeling had come due to an inner sense of engagement I usually take ‘offline’ in ‘real’ face-to-face interactions but that so far I haven’t managed to enact online. So, perhaps that’s why I feel an ‘Intruder’.

As an attempt to change this and challenge my online behaviour, for topic 1, I chose to investigate digital activism. Not so long ago I had read an article named “What if Freire Had Facebook? A Critical Interrogation of Social Media Woke Culture Among Privileged Voices in Music Education Discourse”, by William Coppola (2021).  Based on some concepts of the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, Coppola discusses types of social media behaviours such as cancelling, virtue signalling and invites us to critically recall Freire’s dialogical interactions as a means to give voice to ‘oppressed’ and minority groups, having humanization in the core of his work.

Revisiting the text made me think that perhaps, in institutional level, I should be more engaged online, trying to act sometimes in a ‘Resident’ mode. But I’m not so certain of this. In topic 2 we discussed the issue of language and it is also one of the reasons I tend not to switch to the ‘Resident’ mode. Many times I feel my ideas have more support from audience from abroad. Thus, I feel I could try to leave traces of my identity when I communicate in English (just like in this blog). However, it seems a bit nonsensical to me (at least now) to be active online in English and not use my first language (Portuguese). English is not widely spoken in Brazil and thus, being active online using English may sound ‘posh’ or ‘arrogant’.

So, at the end of topic 1, I realised I couldn’t just ‘switch’ to a ‘Resident’ mode at once. This would/will take many other attitudes I’m still pondering. This was actually one of the main gains of this topic 1 for me: it made me reflect on my online behaviours and I’m thinking of ways I will or will not engage online. Just like our PBL11 mind map, there are many possibilities and expectations, from others, from our students, from our institutions, from ourselves. I will try to understand my own expectations and negotiate them with other expectations I have to deal with.

This topic was facilitated by our colleagues Marwa and Johanna, with the support of our group leaders Erik and David. Many thanks to them, who guided us smoothly during the discussions and stimulated a collaborative work. It was also important to have Selen being always positive about our work, giving us motivation to find some time to work in our coggle mind map! Ann-Marie and Fares also gave me interesting insights during our PBL11meetings. That was another important thing in this course: PBL group support! Many thanks to all of you! 


Coppola, William (2021). What if Freire had Facebook? A critical interrogation of social media woke culture among privileged voices in music education discourse. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 20 (1): 16–52.

White, David (2014). Visitors and Residents.

White, David & Le Cornu, Alison (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, Volume 16, Number 9 – 5 September 2011

Topic 1: Online participation and digital literacies (14th – 27th Mar)