Creating my Digital Identity and Presence

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”  

Alice in Wonderland

I have found comfort in knowing that I am not an anomaly in my MALAT cohort when it comes to having a near non-existent digital identity. Prior to last week, I never felt the need to have a digital identity nor did I recognize its value.  My digital map clearly illustrated that I was a “Visitor” and I viewed the Web as defined by White & LeCornu (2011), “[the Web] is not a ‘place’ to think or to develop ideas…,Visitors do their thinking off-line.  So Visitors are users, not members, of the Web and place little value in belonging online.” 

After taking some time to reflect upon the assigned readings, my opinions have been challenged that I need to take a new stance.  I recognize that there is value in becoming a “Resident” and that I have knowledge, experience and questions that are valuable to contribute to online networks.  So now, I have to devise a plan of how I am going to create my digital identity.  

My plan needs some goals.  They are:  

      1. To create a LinkedIn account to raise my dental professional profile.
      2. To create a Twitter account so that I am able to follow others who I have shared interests with.
      3. To develop and craft my blog into a professional portfolio of my learning and work.  

I will need to investigate the process around creating a Twitter account and LinkedIn account by seeking advice and guidance from trusted and experienced colleagues. This is personally a big step for me and I want to ensure I have control over the space I am creating and I plan to have the accounts set up by mid-May.  With my blog, I agree with the points made by Watters (2015), “[t]o own one’s own domain gives [me] an understanding of how Web technologies work.  It puts [me] in a much better position to control [my] work, [my] data, [my] identity online.” 

Currently, I feel comfortable with using digital technology and have a basic level of digital literacy.  However, there are gaps and I will need to ensure that I use my new “MALAT network” who are “Residents” to help me address these gaps.  I plan to solicit feedback, hints and tips from my peers, instructors and dental colleagues as I begin to create my digital identity.  I will also continue to read literature and ask questions to classmates and colleagues.

Measures of success will be establishing connections with my dental community and other professionals on my LinkedIn account.  Contributions to my comments section on my blog from peers and colleagues.  In addition, I will make a conscious effort to comment and engage in discussions on my classmates blogs.  My Twitter account will be established and I will be following my peers who have Twitter accounts as well as 5 professionals in the field of Learning and technology.  


Carroll, L. (2012). Alice’s adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass. Penguin Classics.

Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web we need to give students. Bright

White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).





Updated: My Digital Tech Use Map — Activity 2

After watching the video, Just the Mapping by Dave White, I quickly sketched out a draft of my digital map on a scrap piece of paper.  I decided to create the final version on paper and colour code my tool use.  Red for everyday use, blue for weekly-monthly use and green for rarely-almost never.  

During the preliminary sketch, I was consciously aware that I would lean more to the Visitors side of the map due to my lack of a digital presence on the Internet.  However, my work and school have created situations where I have had to create a digital “footprint” in order to stay connected or because it is required.

After taking some time to reflect on my map, two things stood out to me.  First, I was surprised at how my use of Zoom has trickled into all four areas of my map.  Some of my work Zoom calls are recorded and shared with stakeholders to disseminate information and may include a YouTube video for educational purposes which explains the overlap of the YouTube and Zoom bubbles.

The 2nd thing was the small green “Games” bubble all alone in the upper right quadrant.  It is included on my map because my sons created an Clash of Clans account for me so that I could share the experience of online gaming.  I am sad to report that I am not very good at maintaining a “clan” because I need check in daily.

My conceptual map highlighted the lack of activity in the Personal/Resident quadrant.  This is not surprising as I am aware that I have a little to no digital online presence but it brought forth the following questions:  does this mean that something is “wrong” because of lack of activity in this area?  Should we aim to have a good balance in all areas?  I felt that this is a very “black and white” classification approach for the most part.  However, with increased tool use, the lines are being blurred between Visitor and Resident even though I have tried to keep things separate.

Cormier’s alternate tension pair offers more insight and an additional layer to my conceptual map. Cormier (2018) says, “…V&R tends to look at things from a tool perspective rather than from the perspective of what someone is trying to get done”.  I find that there is more of a balance in this tension pair and can easily think of different situations where I will use digital vs analogue based on a collaborative or individual need.  For example, I initially drafted my map on a piece of paper for myself. If I need to do collaborative work with a group I find myself gravitating towards a digital collaborative tool to get the work done.  I find that this tension pair is more informative regarding my digital technology use.


Cormier, D. (2018, March 31).  Digital Practices Mapping – Intro activity for digital literacies course. WordPress.

White, D. (2013, September 13).  Just the Mapping.  YouTube.

Reflections from the 2021 Virtual Symposium

After attending the Virtual Symposium this week, I reflected on the ideas and themes that resonated with me from a dental professional perspective.  I questioned the ideas of open learning, collaboration  and potential opportunities within dental.  According to Cormier (2017, 49:10), “Most people don’t care where you got your degree from…there are very few jobs where people actually care what you know”. This broad general statement may apply to many work sectors however, this is not the case with dental hygiene education in British Columbia.   

Although you do not need a degree to be licensed in BC, there is status associated with some programs and there is stigma with others.  There are 6 accredited dental hygiene programs in BC and 1 degree program.  Many graduates complete a 2 year diploma program with the option of completing a degree through online studies.  1 of the dental hygiene programs is private; 18 months in length with a considerably higher tuition cost.  The main difference between the diploma and degree is the ability to own a private independent dental hygiene practice.  

I have worked in the dental field for over 15 years and know discrimination exists based on where you received your education.  I have had many conversations with employers, colleagues, students and educators who confirmed that some programs have higher status.  Employers/dentists do care where you were trained because dental hygiene programs are not seen as equal, even though all dental hygiene students need to pass the same National Board exam.

With the idea that dental hygiene education programs are not seen as equal, is there an opportunity to create an Open Educational Practice or Open Educational Resources?  Are some of these institutions territorial of their work due to a long standing history and not willing to share?  Coolidge (2021, 50:20), stressed “…the ability to share materials in a variety of formats is incredibly vital”.  This has  resonated with me and made me continue to ask the question: does open sharing of work exist in dental?  

Most recently, the 4 regulatory Oral Health Colleges in BC worked quickly and collaboratively in the early stages of the COVID pandemic to create the Oral Health Care during Phases 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 Response document.  The British Columbia Dental Association and the British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association hosted a joint webinar for their members about returning to practice. Prior to COVID, the Oral Health Colleges and Associations worked in their silos with little to no collaboration among the groups.  

These groups working together highlight some of the points raised in Harris’ session.  Harris (2021, 25:01) said, “No one person can do it all.  It’s the strength of the team that allows you to succeed”. These groups identified the need to work together to ensure safety of the public and their members; egos were put aside.

Moving forward, I would like to take Harris’ (2021, 23:24) question forward, “Where do I fit in here?” I see lots of potential opportunities to advocate for changes needed in dental hygiene education which involve technology.  With the sudden pivot last year to online learning, are institutions willing to share resources for others to use or create a community of practice that is inclusive to all?  I plan to initiate some conversations with the leads of some of these dental hygiene programs to identify gaps and search for possible solutions.  


British Columbia Dental Association & British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association. (2020, June 6).  BCDA/BCDHA: Return to work forum.  [PowerPoint slides].  Vimeo.

College of Dental Hygienists of BC, College of Dental Surgeons of BC,  College of Dental Technicians of BC & College of Denturists of BC.  (2020, August 18).  Oral Health Care during Phase 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 Response.  CDHBC.

Coolidge, A. (2021, April 12). Open Education:  what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! [Blackboard Collaboration presentation].

Cormier, D. (2017, April 18).  Intentional messiness of online communities.  [Blackboard Collaboration presentation].

Harris, C. (2021, April 14).  The person in the middle of the road: one educators journey supporting training and education.  [Blackboard Collaboration presentation].

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