It is always difficult to reflect on a whole course of work at the end, especially one as diverse as Digital Citizenship. So much of what we covered in ETL523, I personally feel, has been embedded across the whole qualification. Without a solid understanding of Digital Citizenship it is almost impossible to work effectively and ethically within an elearning space.
For my work in the VET sector there are some aspects of this course that drive my work, such as the need for greater understanding of copyright and intellectual property. For instance the department where I work is organises the Training Providers Forum in Perth. Last week I was reviewing presentations when I came across a very visually stunning presentation. I was impressed with the quality of images used, and knowing the presenter is a graphic design lecturer others had let the material go through without any checking. I however felt the need to query the use of the images that had no acknowledgements within the presentation. It was a simple email to clear up the issue and the situation was solved, but it was a situation that could have left out department open for legal ramifications.
To me, we as teachers hide behind the CAL license (for education use) and this is fine. However, as educators I need to set the bar high not only for my students but also for myself and not be tempted to limbo under it.
I feel that Hollandsworth, Dowdy, & Donovan (2011) encapsulated my thoughts best on the need for more understanding and solid application of good digital behaviour. Their discussions on us all forming ‘the village’ for our online youth and implementing a curriculum that upholds the need for good digital citizenship and find the middle ground between the reactionary and proactive environments rang a bell in my conscious. Now I know that in the VET sector with the many upheavals that we have been experiencing that our curriculum is strong, we just need to educate the educators.
I strongly believed coming into this course and only have had my beliefs confirmed that digital citizenship is not just something that we teach in schools and forget once a student leave a K-12 environment but must stay with the individual for the rest of their lives. It is about the lifelong skills from the ‘Enlightened digital citizenship’ model (Lindsay & Davis, 2012) such as privacy, respect, etiquette that need to be reinforced in all walks of life.
Our students, to be able to learn effectively ultimately need to feel secure and safe in any environment that we construct for them. It also needs to support the curriculum outcomes as well as the needs of an individual (P21, 2016).
Recently I have been training a group of students from around Australia in how to facilitate online classes, both synchronous and asynchronous; I wanted to instil the importance of digital citizenship concepts to them. In my first online class I introduced the concept of a ‘Course Code of Conduct’. Instead of my dictating how I expected the class to behave we brainstormed the idea using the whiteboard, microphone/audio and chat box tools. I drafted a version based on what the class decided. I have referred the students back to the document to remind them of their own ‘class rule set’.
The implementation of a digital learning space needs to be safe and owned by the not only faculty but by the students for their use as well as for learning. That is how strong bonds are built and strong support networks through a personal learning network are forged, just like the ETL523 twitter feed or discussion forums, where we (as students) interact and own the space (Lindsay, 2016) alongside Julie – our amazing lecturer.
In closing I would like to leave you with my version of the Digital Australian Citizenship pledge:
From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Digital Australia and its digital citizens, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey as a good digital citizen.
So I pledge and so shall it be.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection (2016). Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code. Retrieved from https://www.border.gov.au/Citizenship/Documents/australian-citizenship-ceremonies-code.pdf
Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends. 55(4) 37-47
Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 12-15.
Lindsay, J. (2016). Professional learning networks [ETL523 Module 3.4]. https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-767091-dt-content-rid-1699121_1/courses/S-ETL523_201630_W_D/module3/3_4_Professional_learning_networks.html
P21. (2016). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved 13 April 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework