David White’s metaphors on residents and visitors on digital use frames the perspectives on digital engagement very nicely on the video, Visitors and Residents (White, 2014).

In Part 2 (White, 2014), White discusses the tension of evaluating credibility between sources available online and traditional academic sources. Interestingly, many legitimate sources in the forms of journals, archives, books and records are now available digitally. He rightly mentions that convenience outstrips going to a physical library. In fact, even libraries are digital now (e.g. Libby).

An interesting reminder to me is the challenge of training digital research natives/residents to be able to discern source credibility. With massive amount of available legitimate academic resources available, students (and we) spend time searching for the reliable, relevant and most usable thought to add to a body of research. Credibility is still key when we search for voices that complement and challenge a discourse. Credibility can be cascaded into finer facades of consideration. For instance, personal ethics too, guide our reasons for preferring one source over others.

In the second video, White compares popularity measures like algorithms, numbers of followers and retweets (think influencers), with traditional source evaluation. He asks, would blog posts be cited in future alongside or in place of, published collections of a philosopher’s body of work. My thought – is it simply a case of changed platform and medium? Think Socratic dialogue and oral history versus post-Gutenberg publications.

With volume and availability of information brought by digital convenience, the nature of our challenge as information users, researchers and educators, has expanded. To equip with digital literacy, is like having an overarching umbrella or shield, of vigilance.

Dave shared a quote from George Siemens at the end of his webinar on digital literacies (28 Feb 2024). It’s exactly it:

“Now that knowledge and networks are abundant, not
scarce, the emphasis should be on connections”
“We (teachers) are the arbiter of connections”

Students Taking Residence on institutional LMS (e.g. Canvas)

It’s common to create cosy digital community of learning spaces alongside formal seminars. Discussions and quizzes nestle with readings, videos, weekly agenda and the inevitable assignment submission tab.

The question White poses about meaningful learning on these busy spaces is indeed the guiding principle when creating activities and making these dance seamlessly with in-person learning engagement. In the first place, having a clean, easily navigable space will help everyone to focus on the learning.

Some practical ideas:

  • Less is more. Avoid clutter.
  • Update and housekeep.
  • Model good practices with citations. Point students to sources.
  • Signpost with clear headings and known terms. Consider students’ point-of-view.
  • Use the same terms across in-person meetings and platforms.
  • Use brief preambles to clarify, contextualise connections between activities (online & in-person).
  • Use time-release functions to focus students’ access and view.


White, D. (2014, March 10). Part 1: Visitors and Residents. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOG3iThmRI.

White, D. (2014, March 10). Part 2: Visitors and Residents – Credibility. [Video].YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO569eknM6U.

Topic 1: Reflection of an Uneasy Resident on Digital Literacies