Prompt One – What is Digital Citizenship


Its Alive!

And by “alive” I mean public

And by “it” I mean my UC100H Digital Citizenship course. I mean the course itself in terms of the birth of this blog and in terms of all of the student blogs – yes for this class but also the personal websites that the students have made for themselves.

We are live and in the public – here we go.

1st prompt

So, what is DigCiz? This is the question that I’m posing to the students as a prompt for their first blog post.

It is not an easy question. There are many definitions out there and I know many professional academics that are still debating that question. If you google the term from here in the middle of Mid-West America you will get a bunch of definitions centered around K-12 U.S. education. That can be a helpful starting place but I can’t help but wonder what kind of example is being set for children by the digital citizens currently on the web.

In a nutshell when defining digital citizenship, I think about identity, then environments, and then interactions between identities and environments and between identities themselves. Just like “on the ground” or “in the flesh” citizenship I first consider that you have to be a person (and recognized as such); being a person online is what we call digital identity. I then consider how digital identity exists in an environment, that is, how environments dictate agency in terms of affordances. Finally, all the complexities around how our digital identity exists with other digital identities in various environments. On top of it all there is a tension, even in that broad definition, between the citizenry that we want, or even would idealize, and the citizenry that we live every day.

It is still early in the term and we have touched on digital identity and digital environments a bit but we are still getting started. I front loaded a tiny bit of all those things in the first few weeks of class. We read about Gardner Campbell’s vision of a personal cyberinfrastructure, we talked about ownership and if you could really own your own domain with Maha Bali, we spoke with Rebecca Hogue and considered the responsibility that we take on when we start talking about others in public, we explored privacy and security concerns on the web, and looked at how we can share our work with Creative Commons.

So what does it all mean? What is digital citizenship? Is it important to think about the way that we collectively share space on the web? How does one reflect themselves in a digital identity and why is that important? How will my students use their domains to create a digital identity for themselves and is that important to them? What rights and responsibilities do we all have to keep/make digital environments that contribute to the digital commons in a productive way? How do we interact with one another in positive meaningful ways online?

Till next time – Autumm

Image Credit: By Hopfare368 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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