Friday, February 9, 2018 — is the FIRST of a series of conversations on Twitter I hope to instigate, support, and contribute to this year: Higher Education Digital Identity (a.k.a.#HEdigID) Chat. As I’ve previously blogged, I think it’s about time to properly discuss the impacts and ramifications of being a higher education professional (e.g. staff, faculty, graduate students, etc.) online. Over the last decade, I’ve seen my postsecondary peers “grow up” digitally, e.g. on social networks, linked platforms, and media spaces. There are a number of connected communities and brilliant friends who I’ve met online first that I’ve had the opportunity to chat, collaborate, conspire, and create with over the years. That being said, being digitally engaged does not come without challenges, issues, or considerations for being on social/digital platforms (I’m looking directly at YOU, data, privacy, and surveillance monsters).
I’ll be the moderator (MOD) for today’s (Feb. 9th) #HEdigID Chat to initiate this conversation and identify SPECIFIC TOPICS and ISSUES we might want to dig into further over the next few months. I’ll pose a few prompts and questions using the hashtag #HEdigID (with the images) to stir the chat pot, but I welcome any and all campus colleagues to add their own to the discussion.
If you can’t be on Twitter TODAY (2/9), no need to fear. We will connect on the SECOND FRIDAY of EACH month this year to have an open conversation about being a higher ed professional who is connected, networked and/or digitally engaged. Here’s the #HEdigID schedule, if you would like to #SaveTheDates:
March 9, 2018
August 10, 2018
April 13, 2018
September 14, 2018
May 11, 2018
October 9, 2018
June 8, 2018
November 9, 2018
July 13, 2018
December 14, 2018
Any and all post-secondary faculty, staff, professionals, scholars, practitioners, administrators, graduate students, and leaders (really anyone in higher ed) are encouraged to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE to the Twitter conversation. There will be a TOPIC, THEME, and PROMPTS to guide the Twitter Chat over the course of the day. This “SLOW” Twitter Chat (all day) is designed to encourage and allow our colleagues from across the pond, time zones, and busy work schedules to join in the dialogue.
I will moderate (MOD) the first one or two #HEdigID chats; however, I am also quite open to others who want to MOD and/or contribute an IDEA or TOPIC we should dig into online. I plan to tap a few shoulders of other colleagues who are involved in teaching, research, and service scholarship in the area of networked scholarship/practice and online digital identity and presence to lead a future #HEdigID Chat TOPIC.Are you interested in being a MOD? Let me know — DM me on the Twitters, comment below, or find my email on the “about” page. Chat with y’all soon via #HEdigID!
UPDATED — here is the TRANSCRIPT Archive of the conversation and sharing from the first discussion via the hashtag #HEdigID in an open Google spreadsheet:
This academic semester I am fully immersed in online/digital scholarship of teaching and learning. This should not be a surprise, as I teach online and I’m often trying to figure out how distance/technology impacts learning. This year I am exploring HOW TO research digital teaching/learning practices in the courses I instruct and for the scholarship I’m drafting. According to Storify (soon to R.I.P. in May 2018), we’ve been talking about how to best define/label distributed learning for a while => here’s a Twitter thread captured from 3 years ago: “State of ______ [insert: digital, online, etc.] Learning.” Under the umbrella term, distance education, comes a variety of ways to teach and learn. Additionally, the technological landscape in education has offered a number of ways to discuss, research, and design distributed learning. It’s complicated and challenging as the titles/labels for this type of teaching/learning hold many monikers in the empirical research: educational/learning technologies, networked learning, online education, blended learning environments, hybrid models, flipped learning, e-Learning, virtual environments, and more! Some technologies have the ability to design a flow of distributed learning that is seamless; whereas other digital facets create barriers and challenges.
Our learning spaces have a number of ways to infuse technology into distance education. With this comes even more ways to research and study these pedagogical practices for digital learning. Regardless of the app, platform, or tool, we seem to have some aspect of “digital” infused into how we both teach and learn. As the options and variety of this online teaching/learning scholarship is broad, I am looking forward to supporting doctoral researchers who will identify one aspect of digital learning in our LTEC 6040: Theory and Practice of Distributed Learning (#LTEC6040 ) course. If you read this blog or connect with me on Twitter, you might see a few posts/shares using this hashtag to signal ideas and offer resources for these early career scholars as they work on investigating one piece of this distance/distributed learning pie.
The central focus of the #LTEC6040 course is to encourage doctoral researchers to define their own theory of online learning/teaching in context to:
Outlining empirical literature that supports (or refutes) their personal online learning/teaching theory
Identifying appropriate research methods to collect and analyze data connected to this personal online learning/teaching theory (small scale study)
Describing the ethical considerations and practices for this research study (e.g. IRB, recruitment, sample population, etc.)
Drafting an academic article manuscript for an appropriate publication outlet related to their field of inquiry in online teaching/learning
If you are so inclined, I would encourage you to join in the conversation and offer advice, resources,ideas, and readings for these scholars — as a number of you hold some invaluable expertise in a variety of areas we’ll be exploring for distributed learning this term [To see potential topics, see page 6 of the LTEC 6040 Course Syllabus]:
We are just beginning to define what it means to examine online instruction/learning and unpacking distributed educational environments. In the initial conversations and class blog posts, most are still working on how they DEFINE and OUTLINE what it means to learn/teach online from their own experiences and expectations from the theories they are learning about in our program. Distance education research in higher education is fairly “young” (in comparison to other disciplines) and I am grateful I am surrounded by some fantastic colleagues and their respective departments/units/centers/teams who continue to find value in sharing digital teaching/learning scholarship resources. Here are a just a few (of many) examples:
Innovative Pedagogy 2017 report from the Open University in collaboration with the Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE).
The University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) offers the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) as a public resource for faculty and instructional designers interested in online and blended teaching strategies.
Beyond these databases, reports, and resources, I am curating other digital learning materials and discourse to prompt discussion, debate and inquiry. Please feel free to share articles, blog posts, media, and more that might be suitable for diving into online teaching/learning research. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below, if you have any. If you tweet, share what you think is critical for investigations in the digital age of learning using the course hashtag: #LTEC6040
For the last couple of years, I have been talking, researching and engaging with colleagues to figure out what it means to be a networked practitioner and/or scholar in higher ed. Based on a recent workshop and Twitter conversation (#acdigid chat), it is clear that being online feels different in 2018 than it did back in 2008 when I first started to really connect to other professionals in digital, social networks. In an editorial I wrote for Inside Higher Ed last year, I ask questions about what it means to have a digital persona in academia, specifically these ones (slightly modified):
How does being part of a digital learning network support learning and development for higher ed professionals?
How are faculty and staff shaping their online identity and presence to share professional values, work, etc.?
How can does a networked community expand knowledge to enhance our roles on campus and the work we do?
Why might others higher ed professionals want to network with peers to scaffold their own career goals?
As these digital networks have scaled past the “social-media-is-just-a-fad” stage and they now influence more of our society in our daily lives. That being said, I think educators are considering how to be more thoughtful and consider HOW, WHERE, and IF, they should “be” in these public and open spaces. A number of college/university practitioners, scholars, and administrators have seen benefits to “working out loud” and being public intellectual in postsecondary. That being said, the repurposing of social media and digital platforms, has come with minimal institutional guidance and limited sociotechnical support (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017) and does appear to have ramifications for our personal/professional lives. A number of interviews with higher ed colleagues have just begun to identify the benefits, challenges, and future considerations for higher ed networked practices. And, of course, in talking to researchers, student affairs educators, early career researchers, academic advisors, senior administration, instructional designers, and other colleagues — it seems that we have even more questions and the need to continue these conversations among ourselves.
In a recent Twitter poll I put out this month, I tossed out the idea to host a SLOW (all day) Twitter chat ONE DAY per month for 2018. It seems like a few of you (at least 15) in higher ed, are interested in discussing your digital identity and “being online” or connected as a professional:
We will connect on the SECOND FRIDAY of each month this year to have an open, honest conversation about being a higher ed professional who is connected and digitally engaged. Here’s the schedule, if you would like to #SaveTheDate:
February 9, 2018
August 10, 2018
March 9, 2018
September 14, 2018
April 13, 2018
October 9, 2018
May 11, 2018
November 9, 2018
June 8, 2018
December 14, 2018
July 13, 2018
Any and all post-secondary faculty, staff, professionals, scholars, practitioners, administrators, graduate students, and leaders (really anyone in higher ed) are encouraged to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE to the Twitter conversation. There will be a TOPIC, THEME, and PROMPTS to guide the Twitter Chat over the course of the day. This “SLOW” Twitter Chat (all day) is designed to encourage and allow our colleagues from across the pond, time zones, and busy work schedules to join in the dialogue. I am happy to moderate (MOD) the first few #HEdigID chats; however, I am also quite open to others who want to MOD and/or contribute an IDEA or TOPIC we should dig into online. Let me know!
Consuming information online is no more than a click, scroll, or swipe these days. All searches are not created equal and rarely do we think about fact checking what we find on the Internet. I am not alone in thinking about how “…the Internet is actually changing the way we read the way we reason, and even the way we think, and all for the worse” (The Death of Expertise, Nicols, 2017, p. 111). In higher education, I think it is imperative we teach our learners and colleagues about what it means to participate and interact in digital spaces and places. How can our institutions help students, staff, and faculty “be” online and consider how both information and digital environments impact knowledge sharing and learning?
Definition: Digital Literacy and Information Fluency
Digital literacy is multifaceted. The New Media Consortium provided a Digital Literacy Strategic Brief (Alexander, Adams Becker, & Cummins, 2016) to identify the role policy, practice, and curriculum can have on all facets of our campus. Alexander et al. (2016, p.1) defines digital literacy as “not just understanding how a tool works but also why it is useful in the real world and when to use it.” To improve our practices for improving this literacy we need to think broadly about strategic planning and the creation of standards at our campus. There are new opportunities to encourage learners to become content and media producers, identify technical competencies for the workforce with industry-education partnerships, and develop smart collaborations within the community entities, such as governments, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations. This report offers insights across universal literacy, creative literacy, and literacy across disciplines by offering exemplars in practice at institutions that include digital literacy in program and curriculum design.
Beyond digital competencies, we need to develop media and information fluency in higher education. The Association of College and Research Libraries (2016) has updated their literacy competency standards by developing a Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to offer guidance “to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Scholarly inquiry requires analyzing information for credibility and understanding if an online resource is primary, secondary or irrelevant. Information is constructed in context to digital environments and is often created as a process of knowing, reflection, editing, and production online. Beyond this, the Institute of Museum and Library Services are offering suggestions for data information literacy to help us understand how we manage, curate, and design curriculum around data and information. To encourage both digital prowess and information awareness online, we need to develop skills around: outline critical thinking for research, encourage digital teaming, and identify privacy, security and data issues online.
Critical Thinking and Online Research
Much of what we want our students, and perhaps colleagues, to develop is a technical competency with information management in the digital realm. Digital literacy and information fluency help us improve our understanding and acquisition of knowledge to move beyond the #FakeNews fallacies and make meaning of what we are learning. In seeing how fast information travels with inaccurate content, I often wonder if my learners understand how the Internet works? Part of our responsibility, as educators, is to teach effective search processes online, to investigate databases, and examine scholarly repositories with our students and co-authors.
Part of being a member of a college or university community is the opportunity for discussion and discourse among peers. Scholarly inquiry and debate cannot and should not happen in a vacuum. Learning experiences should offer ways to evaluate information and to participate in civic online reasoning helps our learners beyond course discussions, class activities, and assigned projects. With the advent of the social web and networked communication platforms, there is an increasing opportunity to gather virtual teams or to support distributed group work. How can you enhance distributed collaboration for learners and support your peers online?
The new social learning helps us “join with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across the workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning” (Bingham & Connor, 2015, p.8). These digital environments need to be woven into our pedagogical considerations learning design and considered in context to support virtual teaming among scholars. Much of the creative problem solving, production development, and final products for learners can be self-directed via peers online. Some examples, I have used in practice and for instruction include shared documents for education, planning virtual group meetings, supporting hashtags for learning, and offering on-demand, online office hours. There are many ways to learn and work from a distance – decide what your purpose or goal is first, and then explore what digital platforms to use.
Digital Privacy, Security, and Data
To further this notion, we need to consider how we thrive in the digital age and this should start at our colleges and universities. The US Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity put out a Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy. As human behavior and technology are intertwined, it will be vital to secure our technologies, processes, and products online. As we “live” online and continue to get hacked online, we need to identify how we will operate in digital spaces and also prepare cybersecurity workforce capabilities online as outlined in this report. Higher education IT colleagues are continually thinking about ways to respond to cybersecurity attacks; however, prevention and awareness among campus stakeholders should be priorities at our institutions. I often have my students and peers think deeper about their privacy and security online by introducing them to ideas shared by WNYC’s Note To Self: Privacy Paradox 5-part series and the Privacy Paradox tip sheet, specifically to have all understand how to protect personal information and perhaps to take control back of their shared personal data online. Beyond this short course, I often encourage colleagues and students to read recent news reports, or listen to podcasts, such as CBC Spark and Reply-All, to prompt discussions about current issues and events that apply to their own digital life to ask more about their own Terms of Service.
In @BreakDrink episode no. 5, we chatted about LOADS of things related to our assumptions about access, policies, and practices in have higher education, specifically with regards to technology and learning. Last year for 2016 #OLCInnovate, I invited Chris Gilliard to share his work on Digital Redlining for a short “Ignite-like” talk. Why do we assume everyone has access to the Internet? Or a device? Or access to the same digital learning resources? What do we know or care about privacy and our data? Thanks for joining us to podcast on the topic, Chris. We suspect you’ll be back to chat more with us sometime about similar issues… and anime, of course
Here are a few show notes, ideas, and resources shared in @BreakDrink episode no. 5 with Chris:
What do YOU know about the Internet?Does your institution block certain searches or key search terms in search OR sites? Is your institution “watching” or monitoring what is being accessed AND do you know what you’re not getting?
While facilitating the #AcDigID workshop last month, we bumped into Digital Privacy Day (#PrivacyAware) on January 28th and had a number of conversations related to personal privacy. As we discussed the benefits of being an open scholar (e.g. #OpenEd, #OER, #OA), we did not skirt over the challenges/issues of these networked practices. Connected educators often leave traces of metadata or personal information behind as we share documents and resources. Having an online “presence” increases this data traces (which is something I’ve been pondering since I first read, Blown To Bits), and what we share digitally does have the potential to live on — even if you hit the delete button.
With the advent of social technologies, this data trail increases even further. Although my current geographic location does not give me “right to be forgotten” online (just yet,), it is important to consider what this means for our digital identity and personal information. Jon Ronson discusses the challenges of reputation management in these digital times in his book, So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. Ronson details a few cases where the Internet, or rather people online, seem to embrace the digital shaming (trolling, abuse, etc.) culture to ultimately destroy others. These online actions have real implications outside of our networks and beyond the screen. What we do online does impact our offline selves.
Most importantly, as we live (as our self or as a fabricated self) online, we are at risk for sharing our personal data and information. Most of my higher learning colleagues are moderately versed in privacy/compliance at their local institutions; however, more are increasingly concerned as to how to navigate these digital and social spaces where our personal data is shared and not as regulated. How often do we really think about maintaining our digital self and where our personal information flows?
Perhaps it is time for a digital self-assessment and reflection on the topic of privacy/data sharing. Individual security and user rights are often set aside when we sign up for a platform and/or app. Have you ever stopped to think about who has access to your data? How deep do you read the terms of service before you click “Agree”? What does any given platform/application know about you? What 3rd party has access to your data stored in your app/platform/device? And, how private is your “privacy settings” when the organizations have the rights to share/sell/use your data elsewhere? Last week, I participated in the Note To Self podcast‘s 5-day challenge on this very topic, called the Privacy Paradox: http://privacyparadox.org
I continually think about personal privacy and data; however, last week prompted me to think a bit more about my networked self. Have you thought about what you give up when you log on, share, post, or like on any social platforms? What are your ultimate Terms of Service for sharing data, updating your information, and putting yourself online? Here’s what I proposed for myself, based on the mad libs template via #NoteToSelf:
Listen to this short @NoteToSelf series (11-12 minutes per podcast) and consider challenging yourself to stake a claim for your boundaries of how you will share or give up your rights when it comes to your personal information and digital data. Or check out their Privacy Paradox Tip Sheet. #TheMoreYouKnow
Abelson, H., Ledeen, K., & Lewis, H. (2008). Blown to bits: your life, liberty, and happiness after the digital explosion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Addison-Wesley Professional.
Ronson, J. (2016). So you’ve been publicly shamed. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Twitter is commonly used for learning & development. We know that hashtags are great ways to link conversations, trends, news, and happenings on this social network. In real time, you can follow a story, participate in a conversation, and contribute to a community by including a hashtag in your tweet. A hashtag community might be formed by an instructor for a specific educational course or program. Or maybe there is a hashtag you are following for a professional learning event or for a specific conference backchannel (I’ve been known to inquire about these before). Hashtags have the power to share learning/knowledge from a conference for participants who are on-site or at a distance.
For example, Kimmons and Veletsianos (2016) examined the tweets shared during the 2014 and 2015 American Educational Research Associations (AERA) annual conferences by reviewing the #aera14 and #aera15 hashtag. They found that backchannels are a venue for both scholarly and non-scholarly communications. It’s used for more than just promotion — the conference backchannel offers a way to share work, engage in scholarly conversations, and discussion current events or issues relevant to education. Want to learn more? Watch the Research Shorts video below:
Conference participants gave a nod to other educational communities online, such as #edchat or #edreform, who regularly dialog, share, and interact with one another on Twitter using their group hashtag.
Like a number of educators, I have an affinity to a few Twitter communities online based on the hashtags they share and use. Some of these groups have regular Twitter chats, and a number of Twitter communities offer support, advice, and guidance within a field or discipline. I’ll give a hat-tip to (one of many) a hashtag that supported my own work as a doctoral researcher active on Twitter => #PhDchat. This informal, online network has been known to support many graduate students work through dissertation/thesis development, swap research methods, and learn about effective academic writing practices (to name a few). emergent, online community is an informal network. Learn more about the #phdchat community from Ford, Veletsianos, and Resta’s (2014) as they share their examination of this emerging, online network:
Ford, K., Veletsianos, G., & Resta, P. (2014). The structure and characteristics of #phdchat, an emergent online social network. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 18(1).
Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving Uses of Twitter as a Conference Backchannel and Social Commentary Platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.