Advice for Future Students, ED F654 : “Digital Citizenship” & Intellectual Property

This class feels overwhelming pretty much all the way through. I think this is a function of choice, complexity, and pacing. After receiving grades for the first two sections, I settled down a little bit.

Chris replicates the richness and complexity of the internet in both his content and his assignments, and I believe this is an entirely intentional instructional design choice. Beyond simulating the virtual world, it also calls into question our approach to pedagogy, chunking, scaffolding, sequencing, and guiding learners to projects and strategies that are comfortable.  Instead, the things we made and worked on routinely took us out of our comfort zones. I think that is an essential experience for educators. What if the better thing for the learners we are responsible for is to make a mess, or to thrash about in confusion, to fail, and to experiment, to engage with a new content creation and each other. Of course, it is a challenging question, how do we scale that appropriately for a six-year-old or a thirty-six-year-old?

Part of feeling overwhelmed is the relative freedom that Chris offers. We are unaccustomed to that in school.  So, it is refreshing to see it work.  And that again informs a challenge to us as educators. The world might be otherwise.

Engaging with other learners is a potentially messy, unpredictable and difficult to measure an aspect of schooling.  In this course, you are forced to participate in that sloppiness, and it works. However, to understand citizenship we have to engage with each other, and I would encourage you to do this earlier and more even than Chris requires. I just completed two courses with Skip Via, and I think an important pedagogic practice that Skip explicitly says and which Chris more implicitly encourages is using the cohort in the role of “teacher” if you have a question then post it to the class rather than the teacher. Again, this is fairly uncomfortable to many of us.  We see the role of the teacher as central, not peripheral.

Do not fall behind is perhaps the single biggest and most prescriptive bit of advice I can offer. Spend the time, roughly twelve hours per week, to keep up. You cannot work ahead, and that is probably a good thing.  Chris does offer a change of pace, and a shorter unit and many folks took advantage of that to catch up, but better to not fall behind.


Not-So-Final Project

Digital Citizenship OR topic X for a particular audience;

For, my purposes I am interested in making the distinction between residents and visitors do more work rather than parsing the audience out along gender, generation, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, creed, national origin or religion.

Particular Audience

Perhaps it is useful to imagine online residents along a continuum, and at specific nodes, participation ratios vary.

Resident Map

Here we see XY coordinates visitor:resident, and personal:institutional I would add a third dimension, Z and label it virtual:embodied. Perhaps we could insert the fourth dimension a temporal continuum as well, thinking about participation over a person’s lifetime or the lifetime of the internet (I remember dial-up modems and line commands).  My post, Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence was my first attempt at building such a notion. There I developed two case studies, one that was self-referential in that it was extremely virtual, the other, was more porous sliding back and forth on the virtual:embodied continuum. This demographic is who I am interested in engaging in a conversation about digital citizenship. These folks are deeply involved in both embodied and virtual pursuits and have been for awhile as they have built a body of online content.

Learning Thing

I say “conversation” rather than anything teacherly like a unit/in-depth lesson. Perhaps instead I am creating a model or framework. I am fairly confident that digital citizenship is being made in real time by the participants, as I write, and so it is odd to extract myself from that activity and become abstract in the way crafting a lesson plan would require. A conversation suggests to me multiple voices and a flexible and changing sense of self as I reflect upon and change my mind across the conversation.

…It turns out that my neighbor turns out to be a 20-year-old kid, moderately world-famous in the surfing world named Dusty Payne. And what got interesting to us is that Maui has never produced a world-class champion before. They basically come from Oahu, from the North Shore and so on and so forth. But all of a sudden four kids make it big, big time here in Maui. You say “What Happened?”

And it turns out that if you kind meet these kids they have all come together very much like a guild in World of Warcraft, and what they do is they compete with each other and they collaborate with each other incredibly intensely. They think up a new move, they dash down the hill, they try it out, they take their video cameras with them. They’re videoing each other. They dash back up here. They start kind of analyzing what worked, what didn’t work, build new ideas, dash down the hill again, try it out. And then what they start doing is they start looking at, of course, all the other people surfing around the world, which they get from YouTube. They have all this kind of stuff. They start picking up new moves like that. That’s a kind of interesting way that digital media has enhanced the ability of these surfing kids to pick up all kinds of new tricks. And I can actually show you how a particular move now on a surfboard takes about 48 hours to propagate around the world before all the key surfers of the top edge are trying it out themselves, okay? And of course any time something changes they’re the first to try it out and to appropriate it, so these kids live for picking up something new. They live for trying out something new. And some of this stuff, by the way, is moderately dangerous. So these are high-cost mistakes, but the passion that they have to do this is really awesome.

Well, guess what. The passion that I see in the World of Warcraft of the high-end high performers is also awesome, but it doesn’t stop there. If you look at the artists, if you look at the musicians, if you look at the dancers, if you look at athletics in general and to the extreme edge what you have is kids that are turned on. And when they get really turned on in the right context there’s almost no stopping.

Any interest that any kid has, I am sure there’s already existing out there a passionate community of interest group or a community of practice that you can try to join…. (Brown, 2013)

I love this example for me it does double work. I see it as an example of the demographic I have isolated. I see it as well as an example of my meaning of “conversation.” Certainly, we see face-to-face conversations between the surfer buddies; we see “conversation” take on valences as the videos are posted and commented on and video responses posted. Indeed other social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all play into the conversations and in nuanced and different ways.

Perhaps, the place I might insert myself and raise a self-reflective moment with this demographic is the distinct model of learning that is constructed in this example.  As well, that the learning model maps between entirely virtual activities, World of Warcraft gaming and fully embodied activities of professional surfing. I think this is a fundamental realization that the model of learning maps across this continuum. This type of learning is about identity, about curiosity, about real compensation. I think these definitions of online learning and online learning community is substantially different from the online learning in which universities or human resource departments engage. To understand better, the process that Brown describes includes the following elements:

  • Shared passion
  • Face-to-face cohort
  • Practice capture technology
  • Play/practice (elements of gamification)
  • Online cohort
  • Published/peer reviewed (open)
  • Failure has a real cost (injury, financial loss)
  • Practice refinement and improvement (lather, rinse, repeat)
  • Success has potential for compensation/recognition in both real and virtual world

Here learning, and community is learner/passion-centric. Inquiry originates with passionate individuals following their dreams. That is, less frequently, or not at all how we describe school students. More often in schools, our starting assumption is that learners are deficient in the knowledge we also assume that they need development across a broad curriculum. This approach to learning puts identity, curiosity, and real compensation at the far end of education.

Reflecting on how your idea — Thinking About Your Thinking

So this represents my thinking across the last several years, in a nutshell. But it is interesting to pose the question how has this class ED 654 changed or discomforted my thinking. I suspect the biggest change was nudging my thinking along, from web presence to online learning and now to digital citizenship. Each turn is adding layers and nuance.

Belshaw, D. (2014). The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from <>


On the whole, I liked and agreed with Belshaw’s’ argument. I was fascinated that he wrote the book in public, online, as kind of conversation. Alas, in chapter eight he, for me, took an unexpected turn making a distinction between digital literacy and web literacy. It is a distinction I am still struggling to understand. It is simply an argument and difference I would not make. I simply cannot make sense of a claim of digital literacy in isolation for me literacy must occur in a social environment. A counter example, to make a point, I use audacity to make an audio on my local desktop in the privacy of my home.  Without reference to podcasts, to the radio, to a history of recording conventions my literacy claim is a solipsism. I might subsume web literacy within digital literacy if I were taking Belshaw up on his invitation to remix his book.

Having worked for years in an academic library, I had hoped to leave copyright behind me, alas. I enjoyed my time learning about Creative Commons. Interestingly, very relevant to the work of many of the content creators in the audience I am addressing in this framework/model. I learned from the process of selecting a license, the wrong one at first. As well learning about the CC licenses as an important way for content creators to collaborate/mash up/remix on work. I think my documenting my mistake makes the conversation more accessible, but that might be just a conceit.

Perhaps these are less about changing my mind and more about enriching my thought, my model. I am intrigued with the virtual:embodied continuum especially in light of task of defining “citizenship.” It seems people who move widely and deeply on this continuum participating in both realms are likely to demonstrate a vibrant “citizenship” across their lives. Perhaps like the leaders during the revolutionary period of US history, these folks are the role models for a new kind of citizenship and maybe a new form of political order. Or, not. Perhaps, less grandiose in what is built from lives shaped and moving in a similar direction, maybe just an observation of socializing. Perhaps, that represents a significant modification of my thinking that is moving from “web presence” to “digital citizenship” a sense that many of us are participating together and moving social-ability and socializing in new and varied directions.

I am not confident that my style of online participation will change as a result of this course. However, my self-reflection has changed as a consequence of a comment that Chris offered about my online participation.

 My position: your discomfort might reflect just the opposite than what you purport…perhaps, because your discomfort doesn’t stem from shallow reasons of worry about using a different technology or the like, it is an indication that you are not just resident, but perhaps should run for office?

I do think this is a significant reset for me.

I am intrigued by the collaborative work done with relative strangers in the online environment.  Here I have in mind the Collaborate (a little)  assignment.  In the workplace, this is a relatively standard accomplishment and is expected. Perhaps for younger people, this expectation extends to play and social causes outside of work and entirely online. Hence, such collaboration is standard even only with “web presences.”

I was surprised that we did not spend time on security, and perhaps, issues of privacy in the online environment. The extra-credit assignments are set up in such a way to allow that topic to inform the conversation. However, I was surprised, in hind sight, that it is not a facet of one of the units. Perhaps a sub-theme in the literacy section?


Connecting ADA and IDEA to Instructional Design

Owen Guthrie in ED 653 challenged us to work through some of the issues linking ADA, IDEA and or work as Instructional Designers and teachers in the online environment. My post and work are linked here:

Document Accessibility, ED 653 

Owen’s original assignment is linked here: Designing for Accessibility

It was good for me to go back to it and review the learning objects in light of Chris’s assignment here in ED 654. The core readings were taken from this ebook, available through the UAF library.

Coombs, Norman (2010). Making Online Teaching Accessible: Inclusive Course Design for Students with Disabilities. Jossey-Bass. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from Ebook Library. 

From Coombs book, I recalled three concepts that we should build into our thinking about instruction and design (pages 13-14) “Effective Communication, Timeliness of Delivery, and Undue Burden.” The heart of his message is that building these priorities into our planning is cheaper and easier than retrofitting or remodeling.

I like using Audacity and SoundCloud to deliver some instructional content, and that is well, and good except it excludes a deaf or hard-of-hearing-person. Accordingly, if I remember to create a pdf transcription along with my audio (and I work from a script so not a hardship) then I have built effective communication in at the outset, and that addresses the timeliness of delivery, as well. By anticipating this possible use, I have eliminated criticism regarding reasonable accommodation and reduced the burden on myself.

Another important source of information and insight comes from the W3C (International World Wide Web Consortium). Specifically, their policies on Web Accessibility are beneficial for teachers and designers. One interesting pressure on us increasingly as we seek to extend our delivery of online education internationally is our obligation to laws in other countries. Closer to hand, however, is just good practices in search engine optimization and basic web accessibility standards. Coombs offers four principles to help us organize our thinking (page 16):

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

“Perceivable” speaks to text and non-text alternatives, captions, and image alt tags also contribute. As well design principles that remember contrast, font, and size aid in making content perceivable are necessary. Keyboard accessibility, the pacing of video to permit subtitles to be read, and assistive navigation all contribute to improved operability. Understandability along with design elements like font and layout, also, might include paying attention to reading level analysis. Using the screen reading tools and staying current in that area, as well, can contribute to a “robust” or at least more thoughtful approach to design and instruction. I think one of the most important elements of this is not taking my abilities for granted. Certainly, as I age, I understand more about vision and sound as my sight and hearing change. Perhaps a key here is becoming learner-centered rather than self-centered in either the designer or instructor roles. However, it takes both learners and facilitators to create an online learning experience, and so I think there are obligations on the learner’s side, Coombs identifies:

  • Up-to-Date Technology
  • Skill in Using Adaptive Technology
  • Doing Good Work

as responsibilities of the learner (page 29-30). I am glad to see someone addressing responsibilities of the learner. My experience in rural Alaska further complicates the tension between facilitator-learner interactions. Our communities are relatively poor, our educational resources uneven, our internet access is expensive and slow, and our definitions of “good work” vary widely. And yet we know that online learning is incredibly important for our future and the continued existence of these rural communities.


Reasonable and Unreasonable Accomodations

Making accommodations and modifications means changing the way things are usually done to take into account a person’s disability-related needs. Examples of accommodations and modifications include modifying rules, policies or practices; removing architectural or communication barriers; or providing aids, services, or assistive technology.

“(i) modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or

(ii) modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or

(iii) modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity’s employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.”

The Family Connect website is quite rich, the site is first for blind or visually impaired individuals but they also have resources for multiple impairments. They map out precedent for specific accommodations for specific needs. For example, Blind or Visually Impaired accommodations are charted out on this page.

Certainly, this is not legal advice, and I would use something like it to inform my thinking prior to meeting with the UAF compliance officer.  Indeed I would work closely with the university every step of the way through an accommodation request whether student or employee. The teeth that the ADA gives to civil litigation are pretty daunting and as a manager I want the university to have my back.


The ADA does not require modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided by the public accommodation. For example, expecting a specialist to become a generalist, or to switch specializations would count as unreasonable burden. Or, a student requesting a scribe for test taking, failing the test, and subsequently petitioning for both a scribe and additional time, when the real problem was content knowledge, and having more time would simply make it more apparent that the student didn’t know the content.


ADA, Questions

What are best practices for instructors and designers when building online courses sensitive to ADA?

What are public or private college-university’s responsibilities to students with disabilities?

Is money available and specifically relevant to assisting persons with disabilities in online activity and digital participation?


ADA, Single Starting Point

(though I guess you could do three not-so-long blog posts. But wouldn’t that be boring?)

So, Bob is a little overbooked and is playing the boring card. I started a new job 7/24.  I am participating in the iTeach summer intensive and trying to get, my winter fish in this week.

Exploring the ADA and IDEA

Reasonable and Unreasonable Accommodations

Connecting ADA and IDEA to Instructional Design


Search and Research

Search & Research

Protections for intermediaries from liability for users’ content are necessary to a vibrant, innovative Internet.  These legal protections allow Internet access providers, content hosts, social networks, and others to support a robust online environment for free expression without worrying about potential liability for the material stored on or moving across their networks. Without them, services would be much less willing to accept user-generated content for fear of potential civil and criminal liability. Center for Democracy and Technology Definition

The Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Wikimedia Policy pages both speak openly and in support of intermediary non-liability. The aim is an exchange of ideas; materials shared across the internet.  In the US, and Europe specific laws or sections of acts are essential for creating this environment Section 512 of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act (CDA Section 230), and the EU E-Commerce Directive are essential to ensuring to allowing isp, hosts, and social media to waive editorial responsibility. I find it interesting as well that Wikimedia keeps track of and publishes openly any take down notices it executes on. I do respect it as a kind of shareholder accountability, less fiscal and more socially responsible.

One article offers that “generally” Brazil, Russia, China, Thailand, and India have similar approaches to the matter.

Among the reports’ most positive findings, Bakhmetyeva said, is that the five countries generally do not hold internet intermediaries liable for unlawful content posted by users unless they knew about the content and failed to remove it. Most countries usually grant online service providers immunity, referred to as “safe harbor,” provided they comply with certain rules and remove problematic content quickly.Liability of internet ‘intermediaries’ in developing countries

I was struck by the analogy offered in this article by a journalist. Saying that holding internet intermediaries responsible for content is like holding the post office responsible for content. I also think it is fascinating once we get past the democracy, and creativity arguments and explore the potential economic impact of moving away from this model.

Requiring platforms to screen content hurts the entire U.S. economy.
Emerging technology businesses are driving economic growth in the UnitedStates. Placing more onerous requirements on internet services would decrease U.S. GDP by an estimated $44 billion and eliminate more than 425,000 jobs each year. That would be equivalent to giving away the annual GDP of Iceland, Jamaica, and Nicaragua combined and firing all McDonald’s workers in the U.S. Internet Safe Harbors: The Laws That Protect Speech & Creativity

When I read this, I understand a lot better why the US and Europe have the legislative protection it does.  It also helps me figure out why countries like Brazil, Russia, China, India, and Thailand have at least the spirit of the laws. The economic multiplier is huge and no self-respecting government is going to get in the way of that economic engine for the sake of vague ideals.


 Internet Safe Harbors: The Laws That Protect Speech & Creativity

The Center for Internet and Society: Intermediary Liability

Intermediary Liability in the United States

Liability of internet ‘intermediaries’ in developing countries

Wikimedia Policy Intermediary Liability

Liability of Online Intermediaries: New Study by the Global Network of Internet and Society Centers

Exploring the ADA and IDEA

Elevator Speech

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities comparable to other protected classes. Discrimination against persons with disabilities is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II prohibits discrimination by disability by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance). The act guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications. ADA defines reasonable accommodations as modifications or adjustments to the way things are usually done that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in academics or employment. The ADA also protects qualified persons with disabilities from discrimination in many areas of postsecondary education including admission, academics, and research. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures students with disabilities (infancy through high school graduation or age 21) have access to a free and appropriate public education, just like all other children. Under IDEA, parents have a say in the educational decisions the school makes about their child.

This, of course, is not my voice or way of speaking it is harvested and edited from a variety of internet sources.  However, an elevator speech is not better for extreme creativity or overthinking. What I would add to the summary above is a couple of thoughts about online instruction and design. Perhaps emphasizing a learner-centered approach, and anticipating effective communication, timeliness of service and anticipating and preventing burden would be some key elements in my more focused summary.

Section 504: Explained & Summarized

Section 504 prohibits recipients of federal funds from discriminating because of disability. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in state and local government services by state and local governmental entities, whether or not they receive federal funds, this includes public school districts. Virtually all public school systems receive federal funds, and public education is a government service. Both statutes require school districts to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities protected by those laws.

  1. Comparable Benefits and Services
  2. Criteria and Methods of Administration
  3. Reasonable Accommodations
  4. Maximum Feasible Integration

Key Legal Concepts and Standards-Based Education Reform

  • Using Standards as a Strategy for Reform
  • Linking Curriculum, Courses, and Instructional Strategies to the Standards Set for All Students
  • Using Assessment for School Accountability

These elements and statements are summarized from the PEER Project Overview. Title II explained 

Certainly, as a service provider at a public university, I am obligated by this legislation to consider accessibility for our customers. Here in rural Alaska, this is an interesting challenge. Recently, in anticipation of a new (to us) student we changed our office assignments so that our financial aid person is physically located in an office with greater wheelchair accessibility. We as well had a recent visit from representatives from a deaf and hard-of-hearing, non-profit/lobby, and that caused us to stop and think. The resources available in rural communities are constrained. And yet, as the recipients of federal money we are obligated to have thought ahead and had a plan for being responsive. We spend a great deal of energy on applying for, managing and delivering services funded by grants, probably at near capacity. However, we have equal responsibilities for this kind of legislation that represents a serious management concern.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: History and Summary

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been amended several times since Congress first passed it in 1975. Its primary goals are:

  • To protect the rights of children with disabilities.
  • To give parents a voice in their child’s education

Young persons who are not eligible for support under IDEA might still qualify for support under another law called Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. A 504 plan can provide accommodations to help young people in school.

How IDEA protects young people and parents

This legislation does not impact us in higher education directly.  However, as we try to deliver dual credit coursework and our Occupational Endorsements in our local high schools, I wonder if we might have some unanticipated obligations. We have opened up our admissions saying that young people age 13 can take courses and that 16 and older can enroll in our endorsements. One facet of that business model is to deliver endorsements provided by others, that is not locally produced, and so I wonder about where the obligation arises and where the fix will come from? Very probably the burden will be on the local campus just from a practical standpoint.

The (Creative) Commons

So, I hit the Creative Commons website and followed the links to the “Choose a License” page. I read it through and then circled back to Chris’s assignment. He indicated that I needed to select something that I made for this course. I thought about the audio’s I had published on SoundCloud. Interestingly, SoundCloud plays only be standard copyright rules. So no option on their website for alternate licenses.  Previously, I noted that YouTube allows for Creative Commons, but the default is a standard copyright. Probably there is a mechanism to modify the terms of copyright after the fact. However, the two videos I’ve made were not for this course. So, once again, I satisfied with my YAWP post.  I selected a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. I am ok with the creative use of my work. I am not so ok with a big corporation using my stuff (like that is a problem I have) though I wonder on what definition that distinction turns. I imagined that my favorite YouTube content creators could use my stuff… but now I wonder. So, after having double checked, I should have selected ok to commercial use to allow other content creators whose sites are monetized access to my content.  So, based on that learning, I switched to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Proper Use Scenario:

So, my Favorite Blogger loves my post “YAWP” and decides to do a remix on the content and ideas. Favorite reaches out to me and lets me know of her intention. She does her creative work and posts her remix with attribution and link to my original post. Her monetized site results in profits to her, and because she promoted my work, the remix results in traffic to my site. The traffic and comments encourage me to monetize and market my blog.

Improper use Scenario:

Evil Blogger rips off my post directly and posts it on his site, Chris Lott Googling my YAWP post comes across this copyright/Creative Commons violation and drops the dime on Evil Blogger. I email Evil and politely request he either take down the post or engage in the creative act of remixing and attribution. Because I am so persuasive, Evil Blogger experiences a transformation and is touched by rainbows and ponies. Now, Good Blogger attributes, links and even remixes a little, but because his site has little traffic since had a reputation as a Pirate, no traffic to my site results.

Improper use Scenario (version 2):

Evil Blogger rips off my post directly and posts it on his site, Chris Lott Googling my YAWP post comes across this copyright/Creative Commons violation and drops the dime on Evil Blogger. I email Evil and politely request he either take down the post or engage in the creative act of remixing and attribution. Evil Blogger blows me off. I send a takedown order to Evil, his site host and search engines linking to his site. Because Evil is a jerk, his site host shuts him down for a pattern of violations. Evil has hacker friends, and they break into my blog site and vandalize it.

Creative Commons doesn’t wrestle with the fundamental weirdness of Copyright law(particularly the length of protection) however; it allows creators to fine-tune and make public the terms of their sharing and does so in a consistent way. I guess I knew more than I remembered about Creative Commons from my library work, nonetheless, I suspect this could be a useful tool for the cohorts of content creators on line. Here I am thinking about clusters of YouTube creators. Like these:

They could select a CC-BY license and protect themselves and support each other at the same time. Right now they are all young and good friends but we have seen money change people so very possibly simply going with the default YouTube licence might be short sighted for this kind of creative collaborations.