LRNT 521 Unit 2 – Activity 3 | Begin Assignment 1:  – My Digital Presence – Goals for the Future

Reflecting on my online digital presence before and after the pandemic, I noticed that it has altered how I choose to interact on and offline with friends, family, colleagues and students. Before the pandemic most of my organizational relationships were completely face-to-face or through email. At the start of the pandemic within the span of a week everything went completely online. Our organization didn’t have the technology, infrastructure or training so it was crisis learning at its best and worst. Our board made most of the choices as to how our members interacted professionally online. In my personal sphere I had always had a very large digital footprint. The pandemic changed everything and this was compounded by the news in America. It was disheartening. Invasive surveillance, algorithms that had discrimination built in and fake news that had me disillusioned and questioning my participation in many of the online spaces that I had once cherished. Was this because of my age? Was I fatigued? Or just very very overwhelmed. The answer to these questions is becoming clearer. 

 

In my organization we were pushed to create online presences to facilitate connections with our students. I was compelled to try new ways to engage students and staff digitally. I realized that this might be a marathon and got curious. I think this was the turning point. My current digital presence is almost solely for reaching out to students or learning how to be a better teacher during these difficult times. I want to cultivate a more open and authentic digital presence (Schryver, 2013) in the spaces I currently reside in as outlined by Dave Cormier who stated that we need to bring our values through our participation and that the internet is too powerful to ignore and leave to other people (Stewart, 2019). I am feeling a little more ready to jump back in and bring some change. “Open!” (Coolidge, 2021).  Ruminating on what my skills are, I think my skills are communication and empathy.

 

My students had apprehension about these digital spaces and at first I did too. Many of them confessed that they never knew they could learn so much online and build community with people they had never met in person. I think this was one moment when I felt success – Open!  My skill and knowledge gaps are wide, but there was some excellent advice I was given by a senior colleague. She called it the “halo effect” (Perera, 2021). If you do your best and make a good first impression, students are more willing to forgive shortcomings and feelings of trust will ensue, making for a better online community. My goals are to take more risks with my online presence and reside in them with more finesse, flexibility and openness. The reading and lectures I have experienced have put new tools in my toolbox with regard to having the shared vocabulary to communicate what I am experiencing. The three biggest things I hope to develop are my blog and academic writing skills which include being aware of tone; being more adept at trying new platforms and with less fear; and understanding what it means to be a member of the open learning community. Let it be open!

References

Coolidge, A., (2021). Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! [Video]. Blackboard Collaborate. https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback

Perera, A., (2021). Why the Halo Effect Affects How We Perceive Others. Halo Effect: Definition and Examples | Simply Psychology

Schryver, K., (2013, February 5). Who are you online? Considering issues of web identity. The New York Times blogs. Alternate link to the The NYT blogs site.

Stewart, B., Phipps, L., & Cormier, D. (2019, April 10). The Participatory open: Can we build a Pro-Social, Pro-Societal web? [Video]. You Tube. https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/the-participatory-open-can-we-build-a-pro-social-pro-societal-web-o-127/

 

No longer open. Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown during the Vancouver race riots in 1907. Philip Timms photo, Vancouver Public Library, VPL 939

 

7 thoughts on “LRNT 521 Unit 2 – Activity 3 | Begin Assignment 1:  – My Digital Presence – Goals for the Future

  1. HI Sam, I enjoyed reading your story and seeing the shift that you made to embrace the digital world, facing a fear and one I look forward to stepping beyond. What are some of the digital tools you have embraced and encouraged your students to use that has opened up possibilities for them, where you live? Thank you,

    Myrna

    1. Hello Myrna,
      Thank you for reading my story. That is a great question and I have felt that some of our newer teachers have navigated the pandemic shift better than others. Some of the ways I negotiated this shift was to observe some instructors that had more tools up their sleeve coming into this and there I started to use some of the sites or platforms they embraced. They were not big MOOC that our organization implemented but sites like Padlet and using Teams better.
      But to counter what I just said, our teachers still had to make sure that they kept in close contact with students, guiding them through this change so they could feel safe and heard. I really had to change my communication style online. This would mean an email welcoming new members, wrap up emails giving praise etc.
      I hope I answered your question. This morning coffee is taking extra long to kick in.
      Sam

  2. Hi Sam,

    Thank you for sharing. You brought up some points that I have personally felt over the last year as well.

    How different do you think our conversations around virtual spaces would be if COVID hadn’t happened?

    In my experience over the last year, there have definitely been challenges. It forced so many into virtual spaces for connecting and learning, (ready or not) but I think we gained a lot of ground in a short period of time. I know that without the need for ‘Crisis Learning’ I would not have added 3000 users to our online learning platform in two weeks, way too risky! Online learning in my company will be forever changed because of it. I plan to take advantage of the momentum we have created and go with it.

    I agree with you, openness and flexibility are key.

    You said you want to be more aware of your tone, what tone are you wanting to achieve?

    1. Hello Melissa,
      Thank you for reaching out! Yes, it has been a whirlwind, hasn’t it? I know for sure a lot of these changes would not have happened at all or would have happened years down the road if it had not been for Covid. Also, I am sure I would not be here talking with you if it hadn’t either. Three thousand users in a two week period! I can’t even begin to imagine that? I agree with you. I plan to take advantage of that momentum. I think you summed it up best with that word. If we don’t look at this as a positive thing, I can’t see us succeeding.
      With regard to my tone, I have always really loved how some writers can write creatively but at the also have a very objective tone. When I write I tend to be too expressive. I really like the way Alisha writes her blog posts to name one.
      Do you feel that your organization will continue this momentum or will some things return to in-person?

      1. Hi Sam,

        Yes, we are seizing the opportunity to keep the momentum going, where it makes sense. We are a transportation company so there are several training courses (driver training) that have to be completed in person. We had a really positive response from our school bus drivers completing quarterly safety meetings online instead of face to face. This will be one instance we will keep for sure.

        Interesting, I asked about tone because that is something I struggle with. Opposite of you though, rather than too expressive I lean towards stodgy. Something I am working on!

        1. Really! I didn’t think so. I really enjoyed your posts. I hope that we get to work together soon. Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to the debates and worried about the last paper. Sam

          1. Too funny Sam, I am worried about the debates and looking forward to bringing everything together in the last paper!

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