Participatory not passive

My plan to support the cultivation of my digital presence is inspired by the idea of participatory culture.

Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California wrote that “Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from individual expression to community involvement.” (Jenkins, 2009)
There is a lot of individual expression in my current digital world. Tweets are sent. Facebook updates posted. Blogs published. These digital boats are being pushed into the social media stream but it’s most often a one-way journey. A healthier digital life would be one with more of a collaborative approach.
A digital landscape must be dynamic, with a robust environment of push and pull. It should be one which is designed, almost hacked from existing platforms to meet the needs of a MALAT student.
W. Gardner Campbell writes passionately about taking control of one’s technology. “The real IT revolution in teaching and learning won’t happen until each student builds a personal cyberinfrastructure that is as thoughtfully, rigorously, and expressively composed as an excellent essay or an ingenious experiment.” (Campbell, 2009)
That is a worthy goal. I don’t have a clear sense of how to get there. I think it will be a gradual process of discovery. If I were to create a toolkit, I would include WordPress, Slack, and Twitter to start. I will think about how audio and video fit into the mix.
Campbell provides a signpost in his writing. In the same essay, he outlines how he sees a student’s online journey unfolding: “To get there, students must be effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives.”
I think to try to achieve Campbell’s goal in the next two years will be a major but worthy undertaking.
Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructureEducause Review44(5), 58-59. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “Participatory not passive

  1. Hi Jeff,

    As I read your blog post I was reminded of the good work being done by Dave Cormier, Bonnie Stewart and others to “bring back the pro-social, participatory web” (OER 19, 2019). You can find more about this on Dave’s blog ( and it may help you as you consider how to contribute to this important and ongoing conversation! I look forward to seeing how you take this up over the next two years and beyond.

    1. Elizabeth, Thanks for the recommendation. I really like Dave Cormier. His latest post “Who is going to help build a prosocial web?” is right up my alley.

  2. I’m finding it interesting to examine how I exist and participate in the digital world. It hadn’t occurred to me take control, until doing this course 521. Do you know what the first thing is you will do, in taking control?

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