Digital Citizenship as a term is often applied to students, most often those in the primary and secondary systems, but what about the rest of us? If digital citizenship is about the “norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use,” it would make sense that anyone who uses technology could benefit from a better understanding of digital citizenship. Moreover, there is now a push to understand ourselves as having only one identity that encompasses both digital and non-digital aspects, according to Jason Ohler. If that is the case, then it is as important for instructors as it is for students to view identity as integrated and singular and to act accordingly.
For those who teach in a university setting, there are certain aspects of digital life that are becoming more and more important to consider. Some of these aspects impact professional identity (e.g., who you are as an academic in a digital sense, where people can find you, what they can find, how they can connect, to whom you connect) and some are more obviously about teaching (e.g., how you interact digitally – or not – with students, what technology you use with students, information you provide to students about technology). These two aspects are not separate, however, or at least they probably shouldn’t be considered separately. For example, a department or faculty considering hiring might research a candidate online. A colleague met at a conference might look for other things someone has published or ways to connect with them once they return to home institutions. Equally, students could do a search for an instructor and find information about papers they have written, conferences they attended, photos of the instructor, what they research, who they connect with online. Equally, students may find an absence of these things. Instructors may benefit from a wider circle of interaction, learning different ways to teach, being inspired for research, engaging with someone dealing with the same issue half a world away or just at a different institution.
It could also be more directly about teaching. Are laptops or cell phones acceptable in the classroom? Are assignments submitted electronically? Is there a certain time frame for electronic replies? What technology might be recommended or required for students? Are classes online? How should students (and instructors) present themselves when face-to-face isn’t an option?
All of these things factor into the concept of digital citizenship.
This resource will offer suggestions, information, cautions, and questions about how instructors use technology to allow for the development of an informed but individual approach to being a digital citizen (and how it impacts the digital citizenship of students as well). It will include links to existing resources as well as some customized for University of Regina.