I am working towards Digital Professional in Higher Education badge and at the moment I am finishing my work on the Online Identity badge. The last activity for the Online Identity badge is to:
Create a blog post (200-300 words) on the experience of developing your online presence and comment on two other colleagues blog posts.
To fully participate in the contemporary society, one needs to be digitally literate as many civic activities are now taking place in the online space. According to JISC (2014), there are seven elements of digital literacies: media literacy, information literacy, digital scholarship, learning skills, ICT literacy, communication and collaboration, and career and identity management. Beetham and Sharpe’s (2010) framework show digital literacy as a development process where it is developed from access and functional skills to higher level capabilities and identity. So, as a Digital Professionals in Higher Education, we should be able to demonstrate that we have moved from “I have .., to I can … to I do … to I am ..” – that is we have developed a digital identity.
The question asks to write about my experience of developing my online presence. However, my online presence was created over a long period of time. For example, even my personal blog dates to April 2013. I had finished my PhD where I looked at the use of ICTs for distance education and was then a Postdoctoral Research Assistant working with my supervisor Prof. Shirley Williams. In my thesis I had a chapter on “digital inequality” where I discussed why the then buzz word “digital divide” was deceptive and in this I used van Dijk’s (2005) work on a model of successive kinds of access, which is similar to the developmental process of digital literacy but looking at levels of access. Being aware of these works, I suppose, have helped me in shaping my digital identity online.
However, I did not have a personal website until I started working towards this badge. So, I am going to reflect on my experience of developing my online presence through my personal website https://sites.google.com/view/tharindu
I wanted my personal website to bring together my scattered presence on the web to one place where it would be easier to find my work and contact information. I initially designed the website to have publications, blog and contact details only. But my colleague, Sandra, was working on CMALT and she had created her portfolio in a Google Site, which looked good. With this inspiration I decided to not only put my CMALT portfolio but also FHEA portfolio online. I had to remove some of the evidence in the portfolio due to data protection/privacy issues but the section Portfolio in my website now provides a selection of my instructional design work, CMALT portfolio and its feedback and my FHEA portfolio. To my surprise, using Google Sites was very easy. It did not take much time at all. I used images from the stock of CC0 images in Pixabay to add some colour and visual appeal. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the automatic contrast checking and adjusting tool provided by Google Sites to make the site more accessible. After creating my website, I thought to myself why did I not do this earlier?
However, my new website was not getting picked up by search engines. So I searched on the internet and created Google Crawler request and also registered with Google Analytics so that I could see the usage of my site. So this exercise have not only resulted in me creating my website but also getting to know how new sites are listed in search engines as well as getting my toes dipped in Google Analytics!
I think making a portfolio available online not only help to build your personal profile but also helps others working towards qualifications like CMALT or FHEA to see sample portfolios they can take inspiration from. For example, I found four part series of blog posts from Matt Jenner about his submission for SFHEA when I was thinking of working towards SFHEA and it inspired me to start writing up my portfolio for the same.
While working towards the Online Identity badge I kept on thinking about projecting a persona via our digital presence. Many people who are digitally literate consciously manage their digital identity. So, effectively we see what they want us to see. On the flipside we also project what we want others to see. I think it is really important that when we look at someone’s online identity to be aware of the filters that are already there.
Edited 29 August 2018:
Digital Perceptions tool shows you the window (based on Johari Window) that is created. The tool is described by the creators as a tool for “reflecting on your digital identity, or how you are perceived by others online”.
This is what my window looks like:
as the next step I will be sharing the link with my colleagues so that they can share what they think of me, which will then populate the other areas.
JISC (6 March 2014). Developing digital literacies. https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/developing-digital-literacies [accessed 22 August 2018].
Sharpe, R., & Beetham, H. (2010). Understanding students’ uses of technology for learning: towards creative appropriation, Rethinking learning for the digital age: how learners shape their experiences Routledge. 85-99.
van Dijk, J. (2005). The Deepening Divide: Inequalities in the Information Society. Thousand Oaks: Sage
Note: this post was originally published in my personal blog with the title Blog for Online Identity Badge Evidence
I am a Learning Technology Researcher and the Chair of the Online Learning Research Centre at the University College of Estate Management. My principle research interests lie in the area of social implications of information and communication technologies, especially eLearning.