Blog Post #11

Honestly, it makes me kinda sad that this course is coming to an end. When we were discussing the topics that we would incorporate in our final projects, one of the things that we all agreed on is that this course definitely gives us a sense of empowerment through helping us engage in our PLN. Although online learning is not new to most students in UVIC, based on my past experiences, most of the online learning that I have experienced were just a digital version of the education that we would normally receive in a classroom. We are told what to do – which chapter to read, which lecture to listen to, which assignment to turn in. It is through this course that I finally realized that online learning could actually empower our learning, by connecting ourselves with other people, by actively engaging in conversations, and by expanding each other’s knowledge.

And this is the word that I would use to describe both my experiences throughout this course and my future plan with my PLN – empowerment. Before this course, although I have long had the habit to learn from the Internet and other social media platforms, my sense of community was thin. Most of my learning was just me searching for people and contents that I found interesting. I have had conversations with people online, but as the conversations ended, we went on our separate ways. After engaging in this course, I learnt that by establishing a network with people who share the same interests with you, I could actually have a sustainable, supporting community of learners which has large potential to evolve and expand. It will be a network that empowers not only my learning, but also other people who are involved in this network. A professional social media network seems even more important. From what I have learnt in this course, professional networking on social media is so much more than asking for an internship opportunity. A professional social media network contains people who have expertise in the area, who understand your line of work, and people who may have connections to unexpected but valuable opportunities. Imagine how empowered we would feel with our professional development when we are a member of such a network.

Empowerment is not only about ourselves, but also about other people. In my opinion, one of the major objectives of education is to open people to different perspectives, not to make them agree with a certain perspective, but to make them realize that opinions are as valuable even if they differ from their own. Engaging in social media platforms could be an important way to empower other people. We could support other people by supporting them to tell their own stories, by being accepting and respectful to different ideas, by constantly checking our own biases and prejudices, to name just a few. We could engage in conversations on social media platforms about crucial causes in our society. Social media platforms have the potential to connect and include people regardless of their backgrounds, and we could act accordingly to support diversity and inclusion in our online communities.

Blog Post #10

  • Consider how you can use the PLN interactions of this course to further your digital identity post-term.

In order to answer this question, I would like to first explain my idea of understanding of the concept digital identity. Digital identity could be seen as the collective of information that a person leaves online. These information include ones that could be openly accesses – for example, a person’s Twitter posts, and ones that are only accessible to that person – for example, password to a person’s email account (Oliveira & Morgado).

Before engaging in this class, I only had a vague idea of what digital identity – it could be as simple as a pseudonym name used in online learning. However, throughout this course, I learned that my digital identity is not only the presentation of the knowledge and skills that I possess, but also my reputation online – whether I am a credible information source, whether I am a competent candidate for a job opportunity, etc (Oliveira & Morgado). The interactions and discussions that I have participated in throughout this course is a valuable element to my digital identity, as it presents my competence as an active learner and a team member. There are mainly two ways that I would like to use the PLN interactions throughout this course to further my digital identity. The first is to integrate these interactions, discussions, blog posts and projects into my digital portfolio as a way to demonstrate my online learning, and the second is to continue these interactions, strengthen the network that I have built throughout this course, as network membership is also an important element of one’s digital identity.

  • What does it mean to have a digital identity in your industry of choice and can your current PLN be used to help professional development post-course?

This question is tricky for me because as for now, I do not have an industry of choice as I am still exploring different career paths. However, one thing I feel certain about is that digital identity will play a more and more important role in employment and professional development. Earlier in this course, I mentioned that people’s online presence could be condensed into a digital portfolio, which shows their personalities, interests, knowledge and skills, and the ability to network, among other factors. Additionally, having a strong digital identity indicates that the person is fluent with digital tools and platforms, which in turn suggests the person’s general competence as a citizen in this digital era. Thus, although I could not point any specific direction, digital identity definitely plays an important role in my industry of choice.

As I major in economics, I network a lot with students who major in the same subjects. Since it is more likely that we face similar job markets and possible career paths, exchange about these information would be a major way in which my current PLN helps with my professional development. Additionally, as I personally know a large proportion of the members within my current PLN, such personal connection would definitely help when I need to seek guidance and support from other people who understands my situation.

  • As you progress through the steps of your career, can your PLN be relied on to open professional opportunities?

I major in economics, which is a major that has large potential for a wide variety of job opportunities, including business, finance, consulting and policy research, among others. Although I have not decided exactly which profession I would like to pursue, it is safe to say that although my current PLN could provide me with some opportunities, in order to effectively progress through my professional career, I would have to expand my PLN and build connections with people from professions mentioned above. Currently, my PLN is primarily composed of UVIC students and faculty members. Although I do have other people who major in completely different subjects or work in completely different professions in my PLN, since these people are also at the beginning phase of their career, it is hard to say that what opportunities could we bring to each other. However, I am confident that as we continue to explore our subject of interest and connect with people who share the same enthusiasm, we could have more and more opportunities along the way.

Reference

Oliveira, N. R., & Morgado, L. (2014). “Digital Identity of Researchers and Their Personal Learning Network.” Learning and Collaboration Technologies. Technology-Rich Environments for Learning and Collaboration, 469–475. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-07485-6_46

Blog Post #9

  • What is media literacy?

In short, media literacy is the study that raises critical questions regarding media contents that people consume on a daily basis (Jesse). Such critical analysis incorporates several aspects of any information source: the producer(s) of the information, the audience that the information targets, pertaining interests associated with the information, what the information does not cover, etc. (Jesse). In a world where media heavily intertwines with how people view and understand the world, media literacy is a crucial part of media consumption.

  • Why is it important?

Media literacy is important for both objective and personal reasons. Media literacy is important firstly because “media has its own language”, which means that there are certain rules that media outlets follow when presenting information (Jesse). Being familiar with these rules help us to better understand information presented to us by media outlets. For example, among the many styles of news reporting, I find biographical reporting particularly interesting, for both its factual value and its artistic value. Understanding basic rules of this kind of reporting helps me to better appreciate them. Second, media literacy is important also because it changes drastically over time, both in quantity and in quality. Compared with 20 years ago, now we have countless numbers of media outlets to choose from, and media outlets take on many diverse forms, such as public accounts on social media, blogs and Podcast, which are not known to people 20 years ago (Jesse). Knowing how to evaluate these information outlets help people to make wiser and more informed choices regarding their media consumption. Last but not least, media literacy is important also because thanks to the power of social media, now almost every one who have access to social media accounts could act as a producer of news by themselves (Jesse). Knowledge about media literacy could help people to check their own biases, to present information in objective and understandable ways, which in turn facilitates communication on social media.

To elaborate on personal reasons, first, media literacy largely facilitates learning. Knowledge about the “rules” helps people to access information more effectively because not only do they know how to evaluate and select credible resources, they also know how to locate the information they need from specific resources (Trilling & Fadel). In addition, knowledge about different information channels helps people to initiate discussion and deliver message more effectively (Trilling & Fadel). For example, if someone intends to initiate a discussion about social media consumption in young people, the most ideal channel would be platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as it will be easy to locate young people who are already experienced social media users. To give another example, there is a social network platform created specifically for medical professionals called Doximity. If someone wants to locate medical professionals either for discussions or for inquiries, they would have much better chance on Doximity than on any other platform.

Media literacy also helps to build a high-quality PLN. In a PLN where people are familiar with media literacy, although it is very likely that people have different standpoints on certain issues, people could still expect a meaningful discussion because as people are able to select objective, unbiased information to support their opinions, everyone brings valuable information to the table. Having a PLN where people are familiar with media literacy also helps to ensure that people have access to diverse sources of information despite language barriers. For example, since I live in China, when engaging in discussions within the PLN that I build in UVIC, I often refer to information that I have learned on Weibo, which is the biggest social media platform in China. Although Weibo is not particularly known for high-quality social media interaction (issues such as heavy advertising, polarized opinions and attitudes, cyberbullying and misleading information prevail on Weibo), for someone who has basic knowledge regarding how to evaluate information sources, I am still able to extract useful information that could be used in discussions, which is something that my Canadian schoolmates do not have access to. Additionally, despite the issues mentioned above, Weibo is still a valuable information source that has its root deep in the Chinese societal and cultural background.

  • Why is it dismissed?

Ironically, media literacy could be dismissed by media itself. The primary goal of media outlets is to make profits, which means that in order to attract and maintain its audience, media often “tailor” its contents and the ways in which it presents its contents to suit its audience (Jesse). Such biased presentation of information from the media, combined with people’s innate tendency to confirm themselves, could result in a self-perpetuating circle where people only listen to voices that already corresponds with them and refuse to engage in critical analysis of those voices (Jesse). In my opinion, in such cases, it is safe to say that media takes advantage of this innate “weakness” of human beings, where people only care about what sounds “good”, instead of what is right.

Media literacy could also be dismissed by other more powerful forms of information presentation. As mentioned in this week’s class video, image could be a powerful medium that determines people’s opinions and attitudes towards certain issues (Jesse). Take Donald Trump for an example, part of the reason that Trump won the election is that Trump was able to make a prominent appearance on media (Jesse). Compared with other candidates, his deviation from conventions and his “outspokenness” result in powerful public images, which somewhat convinces people of his legitimacy. In my opinion, in toady’s world, we should try our best to be cautious about this kind of influence, as it could well be an attempt to distract us from issues that are of real importance to us.

References

EDCI 338 (2020, Nov 1). A01 Smith, Julie [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_T9RghwJlI&feature=youtu.be

Trilling, B., & Fadel, C. (2012). Digital Literacy Skills. In 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Blog Post #8

  • Explore the video provided and reflect on the themes of a PLN in a professional capacity – how does a PLN give power to messaging for an individual or community?

A PLN could give power to messaging for an individual or a community in that a PLN could make these individuals and communities more visible to the public, as well as allow them to control their own narratives. As the example given by Brad Baker about how the Inuit girl approaches social media illustrates, her social media use allows her to share information that may be exclusive to a small group of people (eg: How Inuits live; the way northern lights look like) with the world (Miller). And since she is the producer of these knowledge, she has control over how she wants to present herself and her community. This is particularly important for both the Inuit girl and people outside of her community because as for the girl, the use of social media allows her to raise awareness about her community in ways that she feels comfortable with; as for the rest of the world, it provides people with an opportunity to gain authentic, first-hand knowledge and stories.

To apply this example to education and learning, a PLN gives power to messaging for an individual or community first by connecting and organizing these individuals and communities into a network. Although it is unlikely that people all come from backgrounds as unique as the Inuit girl, each individual and community has its unique stories and knowledge to offer to the table. By touching on these topics, people expand both the volume and the richness of their knowledge base. Also by touching on these topics, people could start conversations regarding various issues that are critical to certain individuals and communities but may be foreign to people outside of those communities, which creates opportunities to raise awareness.

Here, I would like to take my personal experiences for an example. I interned for a company that specifies in online education for K-12 students. My job was to create and maintain an online community where students could share their learning outcomes and communicate with each other. In essence, I was working as a facilitator of their PLN. There was a student who is a national minority living in a rural area that none of my students has ever visited. Her appearance stirred great curiosity within our online community. For the next several months, this specific student shared a lot about her life – the way she and her families live, traditional holidays that they celebrate, the way they commute to nearby cities, to name just a few. It later became a little ritual within our online community that she would share a couple of pictures or a short video clip of herself and her families almost every day and the rest of us would watch them with great interest. It was a valuable experience for all members within our community because not only did me and my students learned a lot from her, she also gained a great sense of pride in herself and her nationality from educating us about it.

A potential threat associated with such information share is that people could be under attack or risk compromising their privacy for being vulnerable and sharing their personal stories. However, just as Brad Baker mentioned in the video, the fact that some people are uneducated and biased towards certain individuals and communities are part of the reasons that sharing information and raising awareness are important (Miller). Although these experiences could be less than ideal, they also provide opportunities for personal growth (Miller).

  • Education occurs in so many environments beyond the classroom, how does social media help expand education and associated needed communications?

According to connectivism, learning depends on connecting different entities (people, groups, ideas, devices etc.) and that the capacity to learn largely depends on how diverse one’s PLN is because diversity is what generates knowledge (Veletsianos). In that sense, thanks to the power that social media has in reaching a large number of people, social media becomes an essential tool that connects people, expands and enriches the diversity of one’s PLN. Also, because of social media, learning expands beyond the classroom and could happen almost anytime anywhere.

Social media also changes how educators work. In the typical teacher network model, the teacher largely acts as a relay station for information coming from all sorts of sources (Veletsianos). In my opinion, in such case, the teacher acts as the sole disseminator of knowledge within the classroom and there’s little communication and connection happening between the students and sources other than the teacher. With the help of social media, especially how social media connects people and shares content, educators are able to create a network of incorporates multiple sources, including social media platforms and tools, colleagues, students and their families, and so on (Veletsianos). Instead of the sole disseminator of knowledge within the classroom, the teacher now acts as a facilitator of a learning network.

References

Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, by George Veletsianos, AU Press, 2010, pp. 114-115, pp. 123-124.

Miller, Jesse. “EDCI 338 – BRAD BAKER.” YouTube, uploaded by MILLER, 04 Mar. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy63SmEpvCw

Blog Post #7

  • How do notable individuals use social media?

The answer to this question depends on the nature of that notable individual’s “business”. For someone like Jody Vance who “is paid for her opinions”, appearing authentic on social media would function as a way to present her credibility, which in turn would help to establish her brand as an authentic commentator (Miller). For people whose occupations require high levels of professional input such as lawyers and government officials, social media use may be constrained, as their comments and behaviors online are under serious scrutiny. In a word, since social media is a channel that represents us for both our profession and our personal qualities, people have to gauge their social media use that best reflects the qualities that are valued by their professions.

Also, for notable individuals, since they could reach a large number of people, it is also possible for them to harness the wisdom of the collective. People could turn to their followers for ideas and information, as well as engaging with their followers, which could be valuable information sources in themselves (Hirst).

  •  What are the benefits of being in the public eye and having a PLN?

One of the major benefits associated with being in the public eye and having a PLN is that people would have more available opportunities presented to them. Just as Jody Vance explained in the video, as soon as she was laid off, a new job opportunity was presented to her by someone she had not even met in person before (Miller). Being in the public eye makes it possible that people could and would form connections with you, and being in the public eye also makes information more available, which in turn makes it possible for other people to identify opportunities that are suitable for you. And just as mentioned in the last answer, being in the public eye and having a PLN means that you have more opportunities to harness information from other people (Hirst). Being in the public eye indicates reputation, which in turn means possibly heavier influence on social media. Heavier social media influence would transfer into a larger base of followers, which means that people could connect with more people, who are potential valuable information sources.

  • Building community with online tools provided by the employer can be limiting, what are the perceived
    restrictions and benefits?

One of the major perceived restrictions is that when building community with online tools provided by the employer, people often have to prioritize the goal of making money, which could limit discussion and communication. Take journalists for an example. Journalists engage in social media largely because they have to harness contents that could make news and generate profits (Hirst). In these cases, there is little real communication and engagement happening between these journalists and the people (Hirst). Another major restriction is that when building community with online tools provided by the employer, people do not only represent themselves, but also represent the employers that they work for. In that sense, anything they say could be associated with their employers, which makes it necessary that people be extra cautious with their presence online. Just as Jody Vance said in the video, she is able to be vocal on social media largely because in addition to her employment, she has a business herself, which makes it possible that she could represent herself authentically as her own brand (Miller).

One of the major benefits associated with using online tools provided by the employer is that it helps to prove one’s credibility. Take journalists again for an example. Journalists would appear more professional and credible on social media if they are verified as journalists working for a major news agency, which in turn would make people more willing to listen to them, and to share information with them.

  •  Delivering information in a connected society requires verifiable resources, how to build a PLN to rely on?

NowThis has provided a model that could be referenced to (Hirst). NowThis relies on social media to harness information regarding news worth covering, and would rely on professionals to produce new coverage (Hirst). Although the model is flawed, it has great implications as to how an effective PLN works. Just like NowThis, an effective PLN should have both enough participants so that it has multiple sources of information and professionals within the network so that information is researched and examined.

  •  How do those, who are veteran storytellers, minimize risk in sharing misinformation?

Just as Jody Vance said in the video, knowing the bottom line is the key on how to minimize the risk in sharing misinformation. Here, the bottom line refers to both the rules of the particular social media platform one is using, and personal standards that one sets for him/herself. Being familiar with the rules of social media platforms helps to prevent misconduct, one of which is sharing misinformation. Having strong personal standards helps one to make clear judgment regarding what to share and what not to share. Such caution would help to minimize the risk in sharing misinformation.

References

Hirst, M. (2018). Navigating Social Journalism: A Handbook for Media Literacy and Citizen Journalism (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/10.4324/9781315401263

 Miller, J. “EDCI 338 – 2021 – 03 – 21 JODY VANCE.” 03 Mar. 2021. doi: https://.youtube.com/watchv=dgZOJgJKdyl&feature=youtu.be

Blog Post #6

Community engagement is public communications – what are the benefits of a diverse and inclusive PLN in social media sharing that understands where you are coming from with messaging that impacts the community?

To begin with this topic, I would like to first explain my idea about what a diverse and inclusive PLN looks like. In my opinion, in terms of membership, a diverse and inclusive PLN is a network where people with different identities are fairly represented. Here, I did not use the word “equally” because just like we have discussed before, sometimes it is not only the right thing to do but also the necessary thing to do to assign more weights to people from disadvantaged groups. It should be a network where people could actively engage in the process of learning and sharing regardless of their identities. In terms of content, a diverse and inclusive PLN should be a network where people could have open discussions about sensitive and critical topics without fixating on preexisting prejudices and biases.

The benefits of such a diverse and inclusive social media sharing are that, first of all, open communication is effective in facilitating learning. Just like Markiel said in the video, “everyone is an expert in their own life experiences” (Miller). Open communication about one’s own experiences serve as valuable source of knowledge, which could in turn be taken in and reflected through other people’s learning.  Second, diverse and inclusive PLN in social media sharing help to expand the scope of the network. For example,  social media accounts and online communities that advocate for diversity and inclusion through both their demographic presentation and their contents are more likely to receive positive recognition, which helps to build its popularity.

  •  How does social media engage in advocacy communications?

In my opinion, social media engage in advocacy communications mainly through two ways: education and raising awareness, and forming allies. The first way is self-explanatory: the innate power of social media to reach people and disseminate information makes it a great platform to educate people and raising awareness about certain issues. Also, as Markiel mentioned in this week’s video, he also used social media to build a network of support, which consist of people who have significant influence in certain areas (Miller). These people are crucial in facilitating information to reach more people, and it may not be possible without the help of social media. The second way is inspired by what Markeil said in the video, disadvantaged people could definitely use hashtags on social media to point out that they’ve had enough with the situation, but rather his approach is to reach people from different sides and go from there (Miller). These words have great implications. Sometimes people don’t realize that in order to effectively advocate for something, not only do we need allies from our own community, we also need people from outside of our community who have resources that could facilitate change. The power of social media to reach people definitely facilitates the process of forming allies with people from all kinds of lives.

  • How does social media use in public discourse potentially challenge advocacy communications?

The effect that social media use has on advocacy communications is double-sided.  As mentioned in the book, the authors stated that unlike public communications, advocacy communications often come with a clear, concise purpose, and often try to shape things towards a certain direction (Clark and Aufderheide). However, since public communications are made up of people from all kinds of backgrounds who would bring their own opinions to the table, it is almost impossible to seek such an agreement in public communications. Thus, in that sense, social media use in public discourse almost has a “debunking” effect on advocacy communications, which means that certain interests behind advocacy communications may not be recognized in public communications. On the other hand, since public communications allows active participation and discussion of all kinds of critical issues, it definitely helps in advocating for certain issues . However, the probability that these discussions would go in the direction that certain advocacy groups have planned for is very low (Clark and Aufderheide).

 

References

Simpson, Markiel. “EDCI 338 – 2021 – 02 – 22 MARKIEL SIMPSON.”  21 Feb. 2021. doi: https://youtu.be/yCSpm1Lx8-A

Clark, J., & Aufderheide, P. (2013). A New Vision for Public Media – Open, Dynamic, and Participatory. In J. Pooley, L. Taub-Pervizpour, & S. C. Jansen (Authors), Media and social justice (pp. 55-67). New York: Palgrave.

Blog Post #5

  • How would you create a PLN prior to engaging a social media campaign on a topic of your choice?

I would like to answer this question from two standpoints: how do I reach people that I would like to include in my PLN, and how would I organize contents in my PLN. To reach people that I would like to include in my PLN, I would start with people that I have personally connections with. Being a university student, I could reach a large number of other students who may have the same interests with me. ‘The people around you have a wealth of information” (Woods). By connecting with these people, I could start building a network for interactive working. And as the network matures, me and other members in the PLN could start including more people into the network. As the network becomes bigger and bigger, me and other members in the PLN could utilize the power of social media platforms – we could create a hasgtag on Twitter for the specific topic that we are interested in. By moving the conversation on a public platform, our PLN would invite even more insights from the Internet. Their are also tools that we could utilize. For example, in order to activate conversations, we could utilize tweet chat, which is a scheduled chat that imitates chats in real life (Woods). And to reach professional in the field such as scholars and working practitioners, we could utilize emails and resources such as personal websites.

To organize contents in my PLN, instead of a strictly professional approach, I would adopt a more personal approach. The #MedTwitter hashtag is a good example. In addition to knowledge and information in the field of medicine, people also post about their experiences working as physicians and their concerns about how people of color are sometimes neglected in the conversation. The freedom to talk about personal experiences gives people a sense of belonging in the PLN, which would help the PLN to sustain for a long time. And the freedom to talk about sensitive topics would not only make the discussions more meaningful, but also would make the PLN more inclusive.

 

References

Woods, Bianca. “Building your own PLN: seeking new insights and ideas? Expand your personal learning network.” T+D, vol. 67, no. 11, Nov. 2013, p. 70+. Gale OneFile: Businesslink.gale.com/apps/doc/A348998538/ITBC?u=uvictoria&sid=ITBC&xid=1010abdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2021.

Blog Post #4

  • How diverse is your existing PLN?

Honestly speaking, my existing PLN is not particularly diverse. Put in other words, I do not put lot of efforts into making my PLN more inclusive. Based what we have learned from previous readings, I would like to divide my PLN into two payers. The inner layer of my PLN is composed of the network where I actively participate and have personal connections to most of its members,  which are networks that I intentionally build in order to communicate with my classmates regarding certain class assignments. These networks are not particularly long-lasting  – typically the connection ends as we finish the course and move into a new semester. Sometimes we form these networks by ourselves, and other times instructors would assign us to a given group. In either case, I do not put a lot of effort into promoting the diversity of these networks. However, when working in these groups, I do try to do my best to accommodate the different needs of different members. For example, during this semester, since we live in different time zones and on different schedules, sometimes I find my team having a hard time scheduling a meeting where every one is available. In these cases, I try my best to make my schedule as flexible and accommodating as possible. What’s more, as Shelly Moore mentioned in he video, instead of simply integrating different people into the same situation, being inclusive is to form meaningful connections between people (Moore). In cases like group projects, my idea is that we need to hear from each other and incorporate each other’s ideas into the project as much as possible, and I find myself doing this part pretty well. I always find myself encouraging others to voice their opinions and ideas under group settings. However, simply doing these is far from enough. As I move further in my professional area, I hope I could do more.

The outer layer of PLN is composed of people I do not personally know, but rely heavily on for knowledge and information. This is the network that I have built along the years through online learning. The outer layer of my PLN also covers a wider range of topics – any topic that I’m interested in. This layer is primarily composed of credible sources and prominent figures within a given filed – google scholar, TED talks, Wall Street Journal, YouTube channels that I check out on a regular basis, etc. When engaging in the outer layer of my PLN, sometimes I do look for diversity depending on the circumstances. For example, When I look for articles about racial equality, I would pay extra attention to the authors to see if they are members of racial minority groups. However, since I do not contribute much to the outer layer of my PLN in the first place, I don’t think that I have put in a lot of effort into promoting its diversity.

  • In your PLN, are you learning from a variety of voices or are you the loudest in the room?

At this point, I would say that I learn from a variety of voices. Like I mentioned earlier, when engaging primarily in the out layer of my PLN, I learn from any topic that I’m interested in (currently I’m interested in psychology, choreography and art history), and would learn from a variety of sources. When I engage primarily in the inner layer of my PLN, I also like to hear from others to reflect on my own learning. Take my experiences in this course for an example. One of the members in my group raised a question about the equal weighting of all participants within a conversation. Her question reminded me of a truly insightful clip of The Daily Show and inspired me to make connections between these two materials. Without her questions in the first place, I wouldn’t be able to do so. Just as Shelly Moore mentioned in the course interview,  not only do we learn from others during interactions, we also learn from others about what we know and what we can contribute to the conversation as we go along (Miller).

  • Do you participate in a silo of information sharing (similar themes or wide-range of interests)?

I try my best not to participate in silos of information. However, I do think that certain social media platforms make it easier to participate in silos compared with others. Twitter is one of the platforms that is more likely to make people participate in silo. In my opinion, the word limit that Twitter has on its users forces people to communicate their ideas in simple languages, which could increase the chances of misunderstanding . The algorithms also help to feed its users with information that pertains to their taste, which could create a downward spiral that filters different opinions. Sometimes I find myself being caught in such spirals, where I’m constantly being presented information that closely resonates with what I just read. And in doing so, the ideas that I already have become reinforced.

Instagram is one of the platforms that is less likely for me to participate in silos of information. One of the functions that I particularly adore on Instagram is IG TV. It acts as an affiliated video channel for IG accounts, where you could watch episodes of videos on certain topics. The length of these video and the combination of images, sounds and words give me more rooms to think and reflect on the content.

All in all, I think what Shelly Moore said in the interview captured the idea adequately. Different social media platforms are for different purposes (Miller). As Twitter acting as a platform for marketing, Instagram acts as a platform where you can really present yourself (Miller). The different nature of these platforms large affect whether people participate in silos when using them.

  • How can you use a diverse PLN to broaden your views of inclusion?

I think the example of my experiences in EDCI 338 that I gave earlier adequately answers this question. People from diverse background raise unique questions and have unique perspectives regarding the same topic. In the process of reflecting on these questions and ideas, people not only learn from others, but also learn about themselves regarding what they know. By contributing these information to the PLN, people provide meaningful content and form meaningful connections between each other, which is the essence of inclusion (Moore).  If people all participate in the process, it becomes a reciprocal learning experience that engages every one within the network.

  •  In your professional setting of choice, do you think inclusion is actively embraced?

My professional setting of choice is likely to be business. I do not believe that inclusion is actively embraced in this line of professional setting. Inclusion in business has much to do with workplace diversity. In recent years I have seen numerous companies come up with their own ways of promoting workplace diversity. Although efforts have been made, I believe that there’s large room for improvement.

  • What is the learning outcome of your PLN and how are you ensuring your exposure to diversity and inclusion?

The most prominent learning outcome of my PLN is that I have learned how to learn. Through years of engaging in my PLN, I learned how to communicate with other learners, how to pose questions, how to voice my opinions, how to look for information – to name just a few. Like mentioned earlier, the methods that I use to ensure my exposure to diversity and inclusion depends on the networks that I engage in. When engaging in networks with people that I personally know and actively interact with, I try my best to accommodate the different needs of different people, as well as encourage engagement from other participants. When engaging in networks with people that I do not personally know, I try to look for diversity in the sources as well as in the people who create these sources. Here, I would like to note that while some sources are objective, there are sources that could introduce biases. For example, when looking for political commentary on media outlets in the U.S., it is particularly important to pay attention to their partisanship.

  • How has your thinking about inclusion and PLN evolved after reviewing the videos and readings?

As Shelly Moore states, being in the same place with other people not mean that one is included (Miller). Similarly, being in the same network with one another does not mean that they are included in the process of learning. It is because of the meaningful interactions built within the network that we constantly learn from each other and about ourselves. Before reviewing the materials for this week, I think of PLN more as a static web made up by dots, with each dot representing a person. After reviewing the materials, I realized that PLN is constantly in action as people interact within it, and has a limitless potential to grow.

 

References

Miller, Jesse. “EDCI 338 A01 Week 5 A Conversation with Shelly Moore.” Youtube, uploaded by Jesse Miller, 8 February 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGx0ejnMLVc&feature=youtu.be.

Thomas, Shelley Moore. One Without The Other Stories Of Unity Through Diversity And Inclusion. Portage & Main Press, 2016, pp. 6-10, 11-12.

Blog Post #3

  • What digital platforms are students currently using to develop their professional network?

Currently, students are using multiple platforms to develop their professional network, and each platform is utilized for different purpose.  Personally, I use Facebook, Zoom, Linkedin and Google Drive the most to develop my professional network. Unlike Twitter, Facebook encourages people to sign up using their real names and personal information, which makes it easier to locate people who either attend the same school with you, or work in the same profession with you. One of the features that Facebook has, which is Facebook Messenger, is also great for group discussions. Zoom is frequently used to hold virtual meetings and to attend online courses. It is also a great way to network with others, since communicating face-to-face makes it easier for people to know each other. However, since communicating face-to-face has greater significance to most people compared with communicating through written language, communication via Zoom is often built on previous communication via other platforms. Linkedin has long been a useful platform for me and other students who wish to identify future career opportunities. Much like Facebook, people use their real names and personal information on Linkedin, which makes it more convenient to locate people from a certain profession. Linkedin also allows students to get in contact with business organizations, which provides large potential for career opportunities. Google Drive is often used for group work, especially under current circumstances where people work and study remotely. It is and effective tool through which we can share academic resources with others.

  •   What can you (as a student) consider to expand your professional learning network?

As a student, I can expand my professional learning network by both putting more efforts into existing platforms and exploring new platforms. By putting more efforts into existing platforms, I could work harder on the materials I present on each platform, and make more frequent appearances on these platforms. For example, a clear and thorough personal bio on Facebook that emphasized on my education and my work experiences  would make it easier for other people to identify me as a student and as a future employee.  A carefully drafted resume would better prepare me for potential internship and job opportunities on Linkedin. More frequent appearances would keep me updated on the information on each platform, as well as showing people that I am an active user of these platforms. By exploring new platforms, I could also explore more opportunities. For example, recently, an application called Clubhouse has attracted a lot of attention online. Clubhouse is a social media platform that allows only verbal communication, and only allows sign-up through invitations. The relatively high requirements on its users (a certain level of articulacy) and the exclusiveness of this application gives it huge potential for being a professional, educational platform. Keeping an eye on these new platforms is critical for expanding my professional learning network.

  •  In your network, how can you create a digital identity/reputation?

Like I mentioned earlier, I believe that the key to create a professional digital identity and establish a digital reputation is to focus on the content that I post on each platform. In order to create a professional digital identity, I would try my best to ensure that the contents I post are correct, have references to the original resources, and are updated to match the newest findings in the professional realm. I would also make sure to focus the materials in a specific professional realm. For example, if I’m trying to establish my digital identity as an economy major student, it probably wouldn’t help if I post what I eat for lunch on my social media accounts.

  • Consider what a local employer would do if you applied for a job with them – can they search the content, is it of benefit to the career path, does it hinder the opportunity of employment?

I believe that it is of benefit to the career path if a local employer could search the content that I post online. In my opinion, the collective of a person’s digital marks could be seen as a portfolio of that person, which would provide great understanding of that person as a potential employee. In fact, some art major students would deliberately include their Instagram accounts and Pinterest accounts in their resumes as a way to present their work.  For example, a friend of mine who majors in graphic design would constantly update her Instagram account by posting her works, and would put her education and field of interest in her bio to attract future employers (in her case, future employers are mostly studios who would look for talents on social media). However, I do believe that me, or any other employee, should have the right to choose which part of my digital marks are the ones that I feel comfortable sharing with my future employer.

Blog Post #2

  • What is a digital identity?

A person’s identity is a the collective of a person’s digital presence (Stoller). It includes the digital platforms that the person uses and the searchable records that the person leaves on these platforms (Stoller). A person’ digital identity often contains contents that pertains to that person’s profession (Stoller). For example, a visual designer is likely to incorporate his/her portfolio as part of his/her digital identity. Digital identity is also unique to each individual in that it helps to identify each person as a lawful individual within the society, which facilitates activities such as registration, education, employment, and so on (Davos). Due to the nature of digital platforms, people’s digital identities constantly change and adapt (Stoller).

Personally speaking, I think digital identities entail way more than our identities written on an ID card. While our ID card contains enough information about us for identification, our digital identities help to depict profiles about ourselves that help others to know us from all different angels, since they are built upon the collective of our online activities and our online interactions with other people. And because our digital information is stored across digital platforms that have seemingly limitless storage, our digital identities last throughout space and time.

  • How do personal versus professional approaches to digital identity affect social media use?

Personal versus professional approaches to digital identity affects people’s social media use in both who they communicate and interact with and how they communicate and interact with these people. Personal use of social media revolves around interactions with people with shared interests and like – mindedness, and people also use social media to connect with friends and families (Spracklen).  In these cases, personal approaches to digital identity puts less emphasis on professionalism and objectivity, as people are more likely to look for information that already confirms their pre-existing opinions and ideas (Spracklen). Personal use of social media is often more exclusive, as people are less tolerant of people whose opinions differ from theirs (Spracklen).

On the other hand, professional use of social media often serves a clear and strong purpose, whether it is to facilitate one’s career, or to support one’s professional learning. Thus, professional approaches social media use revolves around interacting with people in the same profession, and these interactions often revolve around professional subjects (Jawd et al.). When engaging in these professional networks, people are also more likely to appear professional and behave in ways that correspond with the expectations of that profession (Jawd et al.). For example, a medical graduate’s professional use of social media may including networking with other medical graduates on Linkedln, engaging in conversations on medical forums, answering medicine-related questions online, to name just a few.

  • How do digital identities converge in networked publics – what are the impacts and/or benefits?

Digital identities have profound implications for both individuals and organizations in the public place. For individuals with no identification in both developing nations and developed nations, the technology that helps people get digital identities has profound implications for these people’s lives (Davos). Identification helps with virtually every aspect of people’s lives: access to education, opportunities for employment, registration for public services, digital transactions, to name just a few (Davos). Digital identities also facilitates people’s travel. Instead of an ID card that could easily be lost, digital identities could accompany people regardless of space and time (Davos). For organizations and  institutions, the use of digital identities improves work efficiency and facilitates cost reduction in significant ways (Davos).

  • Can a digital wallet provide trust in networked publics?

In my opinion, digital wallets could provide trust, but a lot of efforts must be put into the process. Incidents in the real world have proved time and time again that the current system used to protect our privacy and security is flawed. As mentioned in the Davos Forum discussion, new and more advanced technologies should be used to protect our privacy and security. For example, technologies that allow people to choose what information they want to disclose and technologies that allow people to give certification to companies would be particularly useful in these cases (Davos). What’s more, apart from technologies, there should also be commonly agreed upon standards for ethics and conduct for our digital identity, which should be used to guide operations (Davos).

 

Davos 2019 – Press Conference The Value of Digital Identity for the Global Economy and Society. “Davos 2019 – Press Conference the Value of Digital Identity for the Global Economy and Society.” YouTube, 5 Feb. 2019, youtu.be/1-V7lyxrOmw. Accessed 1 Feb. 2021.

Jawed, Saira, Usman Mahboob, and Rahila Yasmeen. “Digital professional identity: Dear Internet! Who am I?.” Education for Health 32.1 (2019): 33.

Spracklen, Karl. Identity-Making and Social Media. In: leisure, the internet and popular culture: Communities and identities in a digital age. Springer, 2015.

Stoller, Eric. “Eric Stoller – What Is Digital Identity?” YouTube, 25 Nov. 2016, youtu.be/u0RryRbJza0. Accessed 1 Feb. 2021.

« Older posts