In order for me to outline a plan for my future digital presence I first had to reflect upon my digital presence in the past. Looking back at my experience in the early days of Facebook, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, and then Instagram. It’s clear to me that my involvement stemmed primarily from a sense of curiosity about the people who inhabited these virtual spaces with me. Specifically: Why did they choose a particular platform? What is it they do when they’re there? What did they ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on? Who did they follow? Which are all very interesting behaviours that I enjoyed observing and participating in, in varying degrees. (Hargittai & Walejko, 2008, para. 3). Ultimately, my interest and involvement typically began with a spike of activity, followed by a period of consistent engagement, ending in a slow decline over time as my curiosity was satisfied.
Now that I’m enrolled in the MALAT program, however, that curiosity has been awakened. As a result, I’m keen to experience social media platforms from the perspective of an educator who is interested in creating online learning solutions that engage learners while also, simultaneously immersing myself in the experience as a student in a blended learning program.
To that end, I intend to maintain my daily involvement with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while increasing my activity on LinkedIn and also, researching other platforms to experiment with. One of the ways I intend to measure my effectiveness is by evaluating Twitter analytics more fully than I have in the past, such as: tweet impressions, top tweets, profile visits, and mentions.
Additionally, I plan to address gaps in my knowledge in the technical aspects of social media, as I continue building my WordPress site, while exploring other virtual spaces throughout the MALAT program, and beyond.
Boyd, D. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self (p. 39–58). New York, NY: Rutledge.
Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. Educause Review (p. 58-59).
Hargittai, E & Walejko, G (2008) THE PARTICIPATION DIVIDE: Content creation and sharing in the digital age, Information, Communication & Society (p. 239-256).
There were a number of interesting viewpoints expressed by the speakers in the Virtual Symposium recordings (2017-2019) posted by Royal Roads University (RRU). In particular, Dave Cormier, who originally coined the term MOOC (massive open online course), posed the question of what the term ‘open’ means in education (2017). He explained that the word open can be viewed as a “…value system as much as it is a technical process” (2017). Another speaker at the symposium, Catherine Cronin, shared that one of her biggest concerns is, “…balancing privacy and openness” (2017). The intriguing question that emerged from my perspective was: How do educators support an open platform of learning, while protecting the privacy and rights of participants?
During the symposium Cormier asked the participants to think about this question: “What do you mean…open?” (2017). The participants’ responses included words such as, “…access by all, sharing, resources, free, partnerships between teachers and students, not a parent/child relationship and public” (2017). Cormier encouraged dialogue utilizing Blackboard Collaborate live slides that invited participants to engage in real-time, which created an opportunity for me as the listener to the recorded version, to imagine participating, to think about how I would have responded, while also observing the actual responses. As a result, the experience of observing someone else’s thoughts further demonstrated to me the importance of privacy issues as they relate to open educational platforms, of which the symposium recordings are part of. “It can’t be your job to make the Internet safe for everybody, ‘cause it’s not gonna be, but it’s still something we have to consider” (2017).
One of the better known open educational platforms, Udemy, which, according to Techradar, “…is [a] well-recognised name in the world of online learning and now boasts over 15 million students, poring over more than 65,000 available courses” (Dalton, Turner, July 2019) addresses the issue of privacy with serious consideration. Udemy’s policies cover an extensive range, including the area of intellectual property, stating:
Our marketplace model means we do not review or edit the courses for legal issues, and we are not in a position to determine the legality of course content. However, it is important to us that instructors posting courses on Udemy respect the intellectual property of others. When instructors post courses on our marketplace, they make the promise that they have the necessary authorization or rights to use all the content contained in their courses. (Udemy, 2019).
Cronin makes a correlation between her work as an open educator with that of Cormier’s, illustrated by this quote from Martin Weller’s blog post “It has never been more risky to operate in the open, it has never been more vital to operate in the open” (Weller, 2016).
Ultimately, as educators, there is a responsibility to be aware, to create awareness, to be mindful of the risks of open educational platforms while enabling learners to benefit from the rewards. As Cronin states, “to try and negotiate that tension, not just for ourselves, but for our students…” (2017).
Cormier, D. (2017). Intentional messiness of online communities. [Video]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2Y5SINl
Cronin, C. (2017). Open culture, open education, open questions [Video]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2Su9Ivj
Dalton, W, Turner, B. (July 2019). Best online learning platforms of 2019. Retrieved from
Good research questions should be:
- focussed and concise, yet also complex enough to allow a full exploration of the subject
- the suggestion from RRU’s Writing Center to begin them with a “How” or “Why” is a good guideline to keep in mind.