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. 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.

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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