My aim is to cultivate a professional, authentic digital identity. My purpose is to develop my competence in the field of learning and technology, as well as increase my professional network awareness and contribution.
Approach for goal achievement
I will actively contribute content to two sites: WordPress and LinkedIn; the former to develop my knowledge in the learning and technology space, and the latter to contribute to my digital network of HR and learning professionals.
Competency gap identification
On social media sites, I almost exclusively observe and privately reflect on my discoveries; to use White and Cornu’s terminology, I am a pure ‘visitor’ (2011). As a result, I have no experience writing my opinions in a public forum and I have given little thought to my digital identity.
Gap remediation strategies
My plan for remediation is twofold: to carefully construct an authentic digital identity; and to begin to actively participate, knowing the comfort and confidence will come with practice.
Measure of success
I will post to both LinkedIn and my MALAT blog at least once per month for the next six months – August 2017 to January 2018. I will also actively monitor relevant Twitter feeds on a daily basis.
White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/doi:10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171.
I tend to be a visitor in my personal life, favouring observation and private interaction over participation in public dialogue. By contrast, I am a relatively active institutional participant, as my professional life requires me to use several social web tools to engage with virtual teammates and ready content for publication. That said, my resident status does not hold beyond the institutional firewall – I am primarily a visitor in the public domain. My aim over the course of the MALAT program is to become a more active digital learning community member through this blog and an increased use of LinkedIn.
The MALAT symposium offered insight into the complex and burgeoning field of digital learning. One of the elements that took me by surprise was the abundance of terms that exist in the field, as well as the sometimes-subtle lines of distinction between them. For instance, in his talk on the Intentional Messiness of Online Communities, Dave Cormier explained the distinction between “open to” and “open by”, where the former is focused on including people in the learning process and the latter is simply an author or content owner giving access to another person (Cormier, 2017). This distinction between open as in content (OER) and open as in participation (OEP) was novel to me; particularly the role of pedagogy as central to OEP, while unspecified in OER (Cormier, 2017). Cormier’s use of the rhizome as a simile for open was a revelation for me as it was such an apt comparison; it easily and successfully painted a picture of the natural proliferation of learning; learning as “bounded only by the limits of its habitat” (Cormier, 2017). With this expansive image in mind, it’s easy to see the passion for open participation among educators and learning consumers, just as it’s easy to imagine how unstructured and unruly a learning environment can become with few or no boundaries.
Another surprising element came in Catherine Cronin’s talk on Open Culture, Open Education, Open Questions, wherein she revealed the findings of her PhD study on Exploring the use of open educational practices (OEP) in higher education. Through her research, Cronin was able to uncover four dimensions shared by open educators: balancing privacy and openness; valuing social learning, developing digital literacies, and challenging traditional teaching role expectations (Cronin, 2016). The discovery and articulation of these commonalities among open educators is exciting because it offers a framework by which we can reflect on, and discuss, openness; helping us to examine how each element limits or eliminates participation.
The most enlightening part of the Symposium for me related to one of Cronin’s dimensions: balancing privacy and openness. Cronin offered four separate levels upon which privacy can be considered: Macro (“Will I share openly?”), Meso (“Who will I share with?”), Micro (“Who will I share as?”), and Nano (“Will I share this?”) and suggested that many would-be contributors opt out of participation due to difficulty navigating the Micro level; they struggle to construct a digital identity (Cronin, 2016). The notion of digital identity is of particular interest to me as it is so personal, complex, and nuanced. I may pursue this topic in future research as I am interested in the effects of inauthentic or incomplete digital identities on their creators and other members of their digital communities.