What is Digital Citizenship?


Search Google News for “Facebook scandal” and you’ll get 53,600,000 hits. Well, you will, if you have the same location and browsing history as we do.

Once you learn that an algorithm determines these hits, does that impact what you ask students to research? When you require students to use TurnItIn, do you tell them what happens to their intellectual property?  If you require students to use publisher courseware, do you know how publishers use the data they’re gathering? If so, then you’re asking questions that are at the core of the new @ONE course, Digital Citizenship. Admittedly, questions are more plentiful than answers.

Digital Presence

Being part of the digital world is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve now learned … there is this beautiful space of creativity, collaboration, and empowerment – and I’d like to be part of that space!

-Ramela Abbamontian, Los Angeles Pierce College

Acknowledging the unique abilities and dispositions of our 21st century learners, we begin the course by exploring strategies for modeling digital presence and providing opportunities for students to create content and connect with a global audience. Examples of this “participatory learning” include:

  • Using social media to build upon classroom learning and allow students to create content in authentic environments
  • Using Twitter to develop a professional learning network
  • Incorporating “non-disposable” assignments that allow students to share their work with wider audiences

Digital Ethics

Pariser’s talk about Internet filter bubbles and Tufekci’s talk about digital dystopias were alarming wake-up calls to the salient forces that shape our digital life and influence our behavior.

-Gisela Garcia, University of Memphis

Significant ethical issues impact how we engage with digital platforms, and thus how we teach and learn online

In the face of such daunting issues, what can we actually do? In addition to learning about digital platforms and student privacy, we can also emphasize digital information literacy in our curriculum. A great resource is Mike Caulfield’s Web Literacy text, and corresponding short videos on media literacy.

Open Education

The Module discussing the prohibitive costs of textbooks really resonated with me…. The use of OER will give me the opportunity to start closing that equity gap.

-Kristie Camacho, College of the Desert

The most recent Wisconsin Hope Lab report on student hunger and homelessness finds 42% of community colleges students to be food insecure, and 46% housing insecure. In light of this, it’s no surprise that adoptions of Open Educational Resources continue.

The OER section of the course serves as a primer on finding, reviewing, and adopting OERs. Further, we see OERs as a decisive assertion of academic freedom, breaking away from conventional textbook packaging, which inextricably leads to undisclosed data harvesting by publishers.  

I’m excited for my students! They’ll get to “take the wheel” of learning more and more. -Colleen Harmon, Cuesta College

Expecting our students to “take the wheel” empowers them as learners and recognizes their agency as digital citizens. Combining active learning that many of us practice with the permissions of open licensing points us to the idea of Open Pedagogy. Yes, we can use openly licensed resources with while teaching, but also we can ask students to contribute and share their own knowledge and work within the world.

Examples of Open Pedagogy include:

  • Adapt or remix OERs with students
  • Ask students to help write test questions
  • Teach students how to edit Wikipedia
  • Construct with students class policies, assignments, rubrics, and calendars

In other words, we can engage our students transparently and humanely as co-learners–we don’t know everything about the topic, let alone about our students.

Further Learning

If you’d like to learn more about how digital citizenship can affect your teaching and learning, register for the next session of the @ONE class, Digital Citizenship, or join the conversation on Twitter at #CCCDigCiz.

Posted in Articles, digital citizenship, professional development.

Aloha is the Technology Services Librarian at Cabrillo College. She has been designing and teaching online information literacy courses for 10 years at a variety of CCCs, including Cabrillo, West Valley, Mission, Gavilan, and San Jose City College. Aloha is also a Lead Course Reviewer for the CVC-OEI and co-facilitates three fantastic @ONE courses: Online Teaching & Design, Peer Online Course Review, and Digital Citizenship. Aloha also serves as an OER Liaison and Library discipline lead for the ASCCC OER Initiative, and has provided instructional design support for the CCC Zero Textbook Cost degree program. She spends so much time working online that she once accidentally called her youngest son “Canvas”!

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