Digital Citizenship, or the rights and responsibilities of who we are when we are online, is a topic in which I am deeply concerned. Often focused on keeping young children safe online (which is important and necessary work), I am more interested in digital citizenship from a higher education perspective.
Teaching Digital Citizenship
I have taught first year undergraduate students about digital citizenship in a liberal arts environment, as well as conducted professional and community based workshops around digital citizenship. My approach often starts with ideas around digital identity as I firmly believe that students need to first start to understand who they are online before they can start to understand how others may perceive them online and different modes of interaction in digital environments.
Digital Citizenship as a First Year Seminar
Many children (especially in the U.S.) get exposed to the idea of digital citizenship in early schooling. Continuing the exploration into the first year of college allows us to have deeper conversations about identity and responsibilities in digital environments. I use a domain of one’s own project in my class to facilitate this practice and give students a genuine and authentic experience of being on the web. Student’s build digital literacies as they construct a digital identity on a domain name that they own by installing WordPress, choosing themes, and creating content. Although the course has defined sections for issues of privacy; copyright; identity; and security, inevitability these issues organically arise with a domains project. Because students own their domain name we move the idea of digital citizenship out of the realm of theory into practice. The course blog with several prompts and links to the student blogs for the Fall 2016 version of the course can be found here.
Digital Citizenship in the Community
I have initiated two online learning events focused on generating conversation around digital citizenship in higher education in conjunction with Sundi Richard. Details about the first more informal iteration can be found here. The second iteration can be found at digciz.org. Through these learning events we created and led several weeks of conversations and activities about different topics in digital citizenship. These would include blogging prompts, twitter chats, and synchronous video conversations like the one below on security.
In addition, I have created and delivered a 90min workshop presentation focusing on critical consumption online with a focus on fake news. The workshop was delivered twice during the Martin Luther King Day of Learning at Capital University in Columbus Ohio.
I’m also excited to have co-created a half-day workshop on digital citizenship in the liberal arts with other scholars from liberal arts institutions around the United States. The workshop will be delivered at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI) conference in Houston TX in February. Details can be found here.