Citizen Educators

As online students, we must be especially mindful of our duties as citizen educators.  We must consider credibility, legality, cyber safety, and digital citizenship to contribute positively to the digital world.

We all know that if something is posted online, it is not necessarily true.  Our MET courses have helped us to concentrate on utilizing only credible sources to support our arguments.  The importance of questioning and verifying has been a pinnacle of our studies.  It is not the only text we must be wary of, though.  Image manipulation also runs rampant online.  Several visual communication courses I have developed explore the importance of spotting a manipulated image to protect my students from unscrupulous online citizens.

In addition to credibility, we must consider several legal issues as online citizens.  The coursework in the systematic change course includes an in-depth study of plagiarism.  The syllabi we develop for our lessons must also include a plagiarism statement to prevent confusion.  As a visual communications instructor, I must also emphasize the importance of copyright, fair use, and intellectual property laws.  As we used many images in our sites created for web authoring, it was critical to ensure we used appropriate images.  Privacy is another legal issue we must consider as students and educators.  The constructivism course helped us explore FERPA, security, and privacy issues to ensure we understood how to remain in compliance.

Cyber safety is an issue for every digital citizen.  We must understand how our personally identifiable information can and will be used.  We must also protect the personal data of our students as well.  As we worked on our contributions to building an online course, we needed to consider if any identifying information was included in our images or samples.  As online students, we must also consider our safety as we interact and collaborate with our fellow students.  We can ensure we will not disclose inappropriate information by remaining professional and wary.

Finally, as digital citizens, we must consider our digital footprint.  This footprint is critical to consider as we work on our portfolios.  What kind of impression do we make online?  Is it the impression we want to make?  Are we ethical in our interactions with others?  Are our netiquette manners appropriate?  It only takes one image or misunderstood tweet to ruin your credibility.  In the video production class, we explored the idea of digital citizenship and how we can help our students and ourselves become better digital citizens.