Being Digital

With the first meeting of EC&I 832 tonight, I have started to think about what I want to work on as my big project for this course. The course is Digital Citizenship and Media Literacies, which entails a whole lot of topics that are important to me. Being as the Curriculum and Instruction major is focused on teachers, especially in the K-12 system, I often need to take a little step back to rethink things from an instructional designer perspective, especially one of post-secondary education. I’m not teaching in a classroom but working with instructors who are teaching in digital classrooms. Their content is rarely handed down as a set curriculum. Our students could be 17 or they could be 67 or anything in between (or beyond!).

More to the point, I work with online courses. The courses may include videos from YouTube, may encourage students to create a Prezi, use VoiceThread. At the very least they are going online to access their course, providing at least some data to someone.

So what do I want to narrow this down to? There are four proposed project avenues but we are also free to propose our own ideas. I am drawn to a personal journey into media (investigating 2-4 apps, using them, understanding what it means to use them, talking about their usage in an educational context) and to a social media experiment although I have no idea what experiment I would do. Then I think of the things that I want to do more of at work. Privacy and its intersection with data, learning, digital citizenship and edtech is fascinating to me. I have done research on that in the past but I keep coming back to it, questioning what information we collect, what is available to students, what it means when we suggest an app, what happens when we use a publisher site. I am also interested in the process of learning technologies and how we support and guide students, especially in the online environment. A part of me would love to tackle the orientation process for online courses but that makes me a bit nervous since we have 50+ courses this Fall and there are some things that might be great but aren’t feasible (like making a new orientation video for every course, which then has to be updated every time UR Courses changes or a course gets restructured or rearranged – ask me how I know that is just not doable). I know some students struggle though. How best can we guide them into the process gently but keeping in mind the level of support we are able to offer?

I love things about the social and connected aspect of learning (and I see we’ll be questioning that for next week). Do I tackle group projects and the online environment? Connecting to learning communities?

How about the concept of becoming a thoughtful digital citizen who may be transitioning into a professional role? There are lots of sources on that, lots of suggestions on what to do, what not to do, but whose responsibility is that in university? Who talks to students about appropriate contact via email, choosing where to use what identity, what should and should not be shared, learning what Terms of Service actually mean? Some of that filters back into privacy too.

What can I bring back to my work? How can I bring some cracks into the walled garden and yet still respect the privacy and protection of students (and instructors)?

I know I’ll be inspired, I’m just hoping I can find something that really sparks a project for me.

For now, it’s time to head home, grab some food, gear up, and get ready. See you tonight!

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