Digital citizenship encompasses a range of capabilities that go beyond IT skills.
Netsafe defines a digital citizen as someone who (among other things):
- Demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
- Respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world.
- Uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace.
- Uses ICT to relate to others in positive, meaningful ways.
These concepts don’t just apply to students but the University community as a whole. Teaching staff are perfectly positioned to provide opportunities for students to develop digital competencies. For example, communicating appropriate behaviour (and leading by example) can help to avoid a problematic situations. Think about providing guidance to your students in relation to: online discussions, academic integrity, information privacy, and staying safe online.
“Digital citizenship is the continuously developing norms of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use.”
- Be polite, respectful and unbiased – consider diverse perspectives and cultural differences.
- Be authentic – share sentiments that you believe; avoid echoing those that you don’t.
- Avoid causing harm – refrain from language that is curt, combative, derogatory etc., even when you are disagreeing with someone.
- Know your audience – don’t assume how your comments are perceived.
- Write to your audience – understand when it is appropriate to write formally / informally.
- Read our code of conduct – what the University expects of you.
- Respect the work of others – cite your sources and adhere to the values of academic integrity and copyright.
- Recognise the validity of online sources – cross check facts before (re-)posting.
- Challenge inappropriate behaviour – prevent it becoming the new normal.
- Learn about ICT policies – the University sets out expectations around the use of ICT.
- Reduce barriers to access – not all users have the latest high-bandwidth device.
- Design with all users in mind – your audience will have varying levels of IT savviness.
- Design for accessibility – for example, not all users have 20-20 vision.
- Practice your video presence – follow best practice for delivering video presentations.
Digital Citizenship.net refers to three guiding principles to support and reinforce digital citizenship – safe, savvy, social.
- Safeguard passwords – use a password manager and avoid reusing passwords across multiple systems.
- Avoid cyber fraud – learn about the traps that cyber criminals will set for you.
- Secure your data – implement security measures to prevent your device being hacked.
- Protect your identity – understand when it is appropriate to share personal information.
- Protect your reputation – the information you share online will be around for a long time.
- Make good judgements – understand the appropriateness and necessity of your comments.
- Be succinct – write just enough to get your point across.
- Use an appropriate style – uppercase words can be interpreted as SHOUTING.
- Apply a filter – asynchronous discussion lacks intonation. Avoid nuance, jargon and attempts at humour.
- Avoid ambiguity – form clear, concise sentences. Identify your subject, especially when you could be misinterpreted.
- Use appropriate tools – consider the purpose of different communication channels e.g. Canvas discussion vs twitter.
From the University of Auckland
Learning essentials: communicating respectfully and constructively
Our code of conduct
Guidelines on the use of social media
Bullying, harassment and discrimination
Top tips for using Zoom and other online meeting platforms
Page updated 04/07/2022 (added link to Learning Essentials page)