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.