Topic 1, Self-reflection: digitalization, language, self-presentation…



For our first topic, we were asked to consider the personal and professional boundaries surrounding our media presence, which was presented to us in a scenario reflecting on the challenges of participating and conducting an online course. We have discussed in our group that we do not really feel the kind of anxiety and uncertainty while dealing with digital tools as instructors which is indicated in the scenario.

In fact, Most of us had the idea that since the pandemic we have grown rather accustomed to using online tools, esp. via Zoom, for teaching and there is not really much anxiety we feel about our presence online as teachers and instructors/lecturers. We have on the other hand reflected more deeply on our presence as individual researchers and as colleagues, talking about how personal, political, ethical and social aspects of ourselves, preferences and beliefs are often entangled with our professional selves on online platforms. It is at times difficult to draw clear boundaries and at times these boundaries are not even desirable. For those of us whose subjects (especially in the humanities) often involve tackling political and social aspects of the topics and texts we deal with are perhaps even more prone to dealing with this aspect (conflict?) of social media presence and online presence as researchers and academics.


The fast changing nature of digital tools, however, which was discussed also in the article “Developing Digital Literacies” (2014) poses challenges still regarding how we adapt as researches and teachers to the new digital environments. Not only technical skills but also the demand for new “soft skills” as outlined in Beetham and Sharpe’s “pyramid model” (2010) for digital literacy are relevant for a discussion of how we deal with the challenges posed by the implementation of new digital environments in our fields. Notions of identity, practices, skills and access and awareness constitute the different stages of the pyramid. Among there, identity and awareness I think are essential for the development of our digital literacy and they correspond to new “soft skills” in this context. New types of identity building and new types of social awareness (whether it is in the form of student-teacher interaction or in the form of research related digital presence) are needed apart from the purely technical skills in new digital environments of interaction.

Another aspect that was raised in our discussions about digital presence had to do with the language and terminology we use when we talk about digitalization in an academic context. The phrase for instance about how we “brand ourselves” was used in one of the questions raised among our conversation starters. What does it mean to transfer words/vocabulary that comes from “marketing” (such as “branding”) to think about self-presence and identity in an academic context and in relation to our academic self-representation on digital platforms? A similar question was raised in relation to the notion of “openness” which is widely used while “promoting” digitalization and online distribution of knowledge

We need to ask also how digitalization of knowledge (as in the case of new technologies of AI in knowledge production) reinforces or at times creates new relations of hierarchy and power and thus contributes to existing forms of systemic injustice in education. What about the ownership of knowledge produced by new digital tools such as ChatGPT? Does Chat GPT for instance “totalize” knowledge, assembling various kinds of information into a single AI tool? Is it unlike other internet based digital tools of knowledge production in this sense like wikipedia for instance where “anyone” can produce content and share? What does this mean for the democratization of knowledge and access?

I suppose, strategies of “critical literacy” are relevant for an informed response to such developments…but more on AI for our topic two!






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  2. Your reflections are relevant to the ONL community, maybe they could have been a bit more related to Topic 1 and the scenario. I found the part about “branding” particularly interesting and how we market ourselves online depending on how we behave or in which space/place we are. I would have loved to read more about that in relation to how you brand yourself online as a visitor or a resident? Your text also need to include some references (the ones included for topic 1 or others you have found relevant to describe your ideas). Looking forward to reading your reflections from Topic 1, which you already opened up for when you talked about AI in your first reflection 😊

    • Thanks Charlotta for taking the time to read and reflect. Our first topic discussion was precisely about our online presence and digital literacies, which emerged out of the given scenerio but took also related directions with the two topics I have reflected on here: 1. How we envision our digital selves and 2. how we present ourselves (what langauge we use when we talk about our online presence as researchers). I have been initially critical against the idea and terminology of “branding” as I see it as an ideological reflection on what the universities have become in the past few decades under the auspices of neoliberal and late capitalist policies: the increasing hegemony of “sales” thinking in relation to education (branding yourself, marketing yourself etc.). So I can’t reflect further on your question since it presumes that I adopt the notion of branding myself 🙂 : “how you brand yourself online as a visitor or a resident?” We were not given any instructions about source use by the way from our course facilitators about referencing.

  3. Hello again Charlotta! Just letting you know that now I added references from our reading for topic 1 and related the discussion to the scenario we were given a bit more in the beginning. All best, / Gül

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