#AcDigID, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, Social Media, SocioTech

Re-Evaluating My Digital Self

Over the past year (or longer), I continue to think more about my digital self. This should be no surprise, as I am currently researching higher ed’s networked practice and I facilitate a workshop a couple times year about what it means to be an academic and professional online in postsecondary education [Note: The NEXT #AcDigID Workshop Offering for grad students, early career scholars, academics, faculty & researchers is January 8-14, 2018 if your 2018 New Year’s resolution is to sort this out for yourself, please join in!]. Typically, at the end of the calendar year, some people like to look back at 2017, “in review.” You might read/write end of year blog posts with a top ____ list of highlights/happenings. Or perhaps you’ve joined in on the Instagram “best9” of 2017 photo montage posting. This year, I am doing something different. Thanks to conversations I’ve had with JeffPaul, Katie, Chris, and others both offline and recorded [on the @BreakDrink podcast check out episodes 5, 7, 10 & 13] in 2017 — I will be setting aside some of my winter break to examine what it means to be present and connected online for ME. My personal review might be less merry or bright as I examine what I’ve shared or exposed to data/information in digital life. Festive? I know. 🙂

It has to be done. I need to really take a hard look at my digital self. This personal online audit will help to clean up and prevent potential hacks; however, this time I am including bigger questions beyond use/activity — as I plan review platforms terms of service, digital rights, data access, digital security, data extraction, and, ultimately, outlining if there is a purpose/need for “being” in any of these virtual locations. As net neutrality rules are killed and social (+ other) media continue to scale, I have a lot more questions I need to think about for my own work, learning, and life. The last few years there has been a reckoning for social media — more than anyone once thought over a decade ago. “Facebook is just a college thing” and “Twitter is just a fad,” were some of the things once said. Who thought these social networks would impact how we learn, work, vote, share, and more?

My digital self “under review” is not only a result of my distrust in sharing over media, the Russian hack of social media during the US election or even my aversion to having any “smart speaker” in our home that records and gathers data each day. Nor is it the fact that I live with a cybersecurity professional or that Black Mirror‘s sociotechnical sci-fi drama offers an eerie foreshadow to what lies ahead of us in the not-so-distant future. I embraced online and a connect being for over a decade now, so there’s no wonder why my digital footprint has me grappling with issues of digital security, personal wellness, individual safety, and the privacy paradox of living/working in a connected world.Image c/o The WIRED Guide to Digital Security

That being said, the free and open collection of knowledge on social media cannot offer regular fact-checking or verified expertise. This is critical for those who are a part of this shared, collective community online. The future of knowledge can be misleading if we are letting these platforms guide us by the information we share and the interactions within the network. As Tim Berners-Lee stated in his open letter written about the internet, he is concerned we have lost control of our personal data, misinformation is easily spread on the Web, and online transparency and understanding are needed in political advertising [as well as other spheres online].

Lately, I have been struggling with how our society is entrenched and relies on technological platforms. My true concern for self-auditing my digital life is to understand more about the impact and influence I have let technology and platforms invade my everyday way of living. As a reminder, platforms are:

“digital infrastructures that enable two or more groups to interact… [and] bring together different users… with a series of tools that enable their users to build their own products, services, and marketplaces” (Srnicek, 2017, p. 43).

The reliance on online networks and digital platforms might be more problematic than we think. There seems to be much power owned by these digital platforms. For example, the digital curation website, Storify, plans to shut down and delete data by May 2018. Like a few of my peers, I too am questioning the use of services and accounts we don’t own or control. I understand why a growing number of higher ed and ed tech colleagues are thinking the same was as they trim their digital contribution on Twitter, close down their accounts on major social media platforms, like Facebook, and take by control of the web by creating a domain of one’s own.

For me, this virtual audit exercise will include and go beyond social networks and connected sites to also examine WHERE, WHY, and HOW I live/work digitally. I think it’s a critical time to reevaluate the platforms and technologies we are using, in general. Where the data is stored? Who has access to what? Who owns the rights to my created or uploaded content? Am I utilizing appropriate _____ platform/technology for my personal/professional life? Are there other means that are not “free” I should be considering? It’s not like I have not done this activity before — but this time it might mean that I took “break up” with a platform or connected sites. For 2018, I want to be more diligent with my personal data, private information and online “being,” to limit surveillance/tracking online and to align my own values and ethics with networks and platforms I use.

Reference

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

EdTech, Higher Education

Digital Literacy and Information Fluency in Higher Ed

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?

CC BY-NC via Intersection Consulting

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.

Additionally, as we encourage learners and peers to share presentations or develop projects it is critical to encourage citing and attribution of resources. Beyond using APA 6th edition format for referencing scholarly work, we also need to scaffold content curation and sharing, specifically with regards to copyright, fair use, and creative commons licensing. Work can be contributed to course materials (e.g. LTEC 4000 Course Wiki), textbook development (e.g. PM4ID), or perhaps even contributing to general knowledge on the Internet (e.g. Wiki Edu). Applying search skills in a course will help to hone and develop expertise beyond their degree and put into practice in their work and personal life. Here are a few examples of Information Literacy Activities or Resources you might include or apply in your course or program on campus.

Virtual Teaming: Collaboration & Problem-Solving

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.

References

Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., & Cummins, M. (2016). Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.3, October 2016. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016, January 11). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2015). The new social learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work., 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Hardin, G. (2016). White Paper: University of North Texas, Information Fluency Initiative. UNT Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944367/

Nichols, T. (2017). The death of expertise: The campaign against established knowledge and why it matters. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

An edited version of this blog post was cross-posted on the Ed Tech Magazine: Focus on Higher Ed website. 

#AcDigID

Social Scholarship: Being a Digital Academic #AcDigID

In thinking about scholarship today, I can certainly see how the web has influenced and impacted an academic’s professional life. Greenhow and Gleason (2014) outline the impacts of social scholarship using Boyer’s (1990) four dimensions of scholarship: discovery, integration, teaching, and application. In the social media age of academics, there are a couple of key questions that still need to be examined (Greenhow & Gleason, 2014, p. 1):

  • What is scholarship reconsidered in the age of social media?

  • How ought we to conceptualize social scholarship —a new set of practices being discussed in various disciplines?

Whether faculty are reluctant or embrace social media in their work life, it is apparent our institutions are not directing these online initiatives. Both policies and programs to support graduate students, researchers, and scholars have not met the needs of this growing social scholarship integration (Greenhow & Gleason, 2014). Social and digital spaces are thriving in academia. Academic social networks are on the rise and there are a number of reasons why scholars use social media and digital resources (Van Noorden, 2014). In thinking about how scholars interact and participate on social media, there are increasing considerations and questions faculty have about engaging/being online. Although I wish there was an “app for that” as an easy solution for an academic (see below), I think it takes some thought and intentionality for identifying and developing social/digital scholarship.

phd113016s

Image: Handy Academic Apps by PhD Comics

In the upcoming, Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence for Faculty, Researchers, and Scholars (#AcDigID) online workshop, I hope to dig into digital identity development, discuss open and shared practices on social media, and share challenges and affordance being a networked academic. Whether you are a faculty who teaches online, face-to-face, or in blended learning environments, an early career scholar, or seasoned researcher — this workshop might be for you if you are interested in crafting your digital identity and interested in being part of a networked community of academics online. [Note: Future iterations of this OLC online workshop in 2017 will be targeted towards practitioners and administrators in higher education.]

OVERVIEW OF THE WORKSHOP: What does your online identity look like today? Have you Googled yourself lately? In academia, it is becoming increasingly vital to publish and share your teaching, service, and research scholarship. Besides developing an online presence and utilizing social media for professional development, faculty, researchers, and early career scholars are actively utilizing open and digital channels to enhance their instruction, share research findings, and find support in a community of connected scholars. Scholars are using online networks to share syllabi, ask questions for research needs, solicit support for peer review, and be part of the sharing economy for research impacts. In this workshop, we will explore meaningful ways to craft an active, online persona that includes using social media and other digital resources for teaching, service, and research in academia.

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for faculty development, connected scholarship, and to enhance research impact.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity within the open, networked community online.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital scholarship, specifically with regards to social media and other networked platforms.

This is an asynchronous, week-long online workshop which will begin on a Monday (1/23) and end on the following Sunday (1/29).  If you want a look at the #AcDigID workshop agenda, here is the outline for short-course:

  • Why Does Social & Digital Identity Matter in Academia?
    • Getting started, digital identity development, and state of scholars online
  • The Tools of the Digital Academic Trade: Social Media
    • Twitter, hashtags, blogging, podcasting, LinkedIn, and more!
  • Being a Connected and Digital Scholar
    • Digital research impact and influence: ORCID iD, Academia.edu, ResearchGate, etc.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Working “in the open”  and the tension between benefits & challenges of online
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for scholarship
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: Ways to aggregate and showcase your digital academic self

Dates Offered: January 23-29, 2017; Registration Page (to sign up)

To prepare for the workshop ahead, I am adding articles, resources, and suggestions. If you are an academic who is/was on social media, academic networking sites, or just online – please consider sharing your #AcDigID ADVICE and KNOWLEGE below:

  • ADD TO THE TWITTER LIST: Are you on the“Academics Who Tweet” Twitter list? I would like to get a variety of scholars from all disciplines and areas in higher education. Let me know if YOU or someone else should be added.
  • USE the #AcDigID Workshop HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice. I am encouraging learners to follow, read, and use this same hashtag during the week of January 23-29, 2017.
  • TELL YOUR #AcDigID STORY: Interested in coming to talk about your #AcDigID development? How did you become a networked academic? Why do you participate in networked, online communities higher ed? Let me know – happy to have you join during our #AcDigID Online, Synchronous Meeting on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 12-1 pm CST. [Drop me a DM on Twitter: @laurapasquini]
  • PARTICIPATE & TWEET during the #AcDigID Twitter Chat: Join us for the LIVE Twitter chat on Saturday, January 28, 2017  from 10-11 am CST.  Using the workshop hashtag, #AcDigID, I will moderate a Q&A 60-minute chat digging into the questions, challenges, and ideas/suggestions for being a networked scholar.

I look forward to seeing some of you in the OLC workshop, and others joining the #AcDigID online meeting (1/25), Twitter Chat (1/28) and contributing to the conversation using the #AcDigID workshop hashtag soon!

References:

Greenhow, C., & Gleason, B. (2014). Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 392-402.

Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature, 512(7513), 126-129.