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?