Scenario:I have just signed up to do an online course and I am excited to be there. But I have little experience of online courses and it feels really challenging to get started to connect and find my way with all these new sites and tools. I guess that other participants will be more experienced than me and I feel stupid asking about things. We are asked to create a Learning blog on the web; it feels a bit scary to do this. I do share things on Facebook with friends, but here, in the open? I want to keep my private life separate from my professional life. But on the other hand, my students seem to share and discuss all sorts of things in social media and use all kinds of tools and resources.”

The given scenario stated above brings up the problem of participation in digital literacy. Based on our research in group PBL4, we ended up with three important questions and found some solutions/conclusions regarding them.

The first question deals with how to create a safe online space for everyone if using digital education. As seen in the scenario, the person is quite unsure about navigating the online space. They have not yet established a professional internet identity for themselves. We have found some take-aways for teachers to deal with the problem in terms of providing safe online spaces. Here are some of them:

  • Make sure that people are aware of data protection and safeguarding their personal data.
  • Encourage camera use during meetings.
  • Start with a social event and let people introduce themselves.
  • Encourage questions and discussions.
  • Encourage participation of students by using quizzes and feedback rounds.
  • Empathize with students.
  • Don´t just assume that young people are digital natives.
  • Use inclusive tools and explain each tool at the beginning.

For further solutions and discussion, please refer to [1].

The second question is on how to measure digital literacy. If we want to improve some skill or attitude, we need a metric that assesses it. We can have this with self-perceived skill measurements that can come as skills, examples, or predefined assessments. Digital literacy involves different aspects and can be represented by seven elements [2]:

  • information literacy
  • media literacy
  • digital scholarship
  • learning skills
  • career and identity management
  • communications and collaboration
  • ICT literacy

Furthermore, the European Commission developed a digital competence framework for citizens called DIGCOMP [3] which targets to provide a common understanding of what digital competence is and help citizens engage critically and safely with digital technologies including artificial intelligence.

The third and the last question is on how to decide the best tool for your purpose. In order to decide which tool will be best for our purpose, there should be some other considerations as well such as learning goals, students’ perspectives, and technical features. Those technical features can be listed as active users community, ease of use of graphical user interface, maintenance and updates, up-to-date documentation. There is also a debate on switching between different tools during teaching. Some students find it pretty stressful to adapt to them while some claim that it keeps them active and fresh. If the teacher decides to choose a single platform, then the following 4 features are typically taken into consideration [4]:

  1. Does the system facilitate pre/post lecture quizzing?
  2. Can you easily customize the content?
  3. Can you assess using varying levels of difficulty?
  4. Virtual interactions to support students.

We also end up with 2 stages strategy to choose the best digital tools to use as:

  1. Define your pedagogical approach
  2. Define what is the effective outcome.

In order to get deeper knowledge about possible questions to consider, one can read [5].

All in all, the scenario was a pretty interesting and hot topic to work on. In PBL4, we utilized a Miro board for discussions and brainstorming, which can be found <here>.


[1] – Creating A Safe Space Online for Teaching and Learning

[2] – Developing Digital Literacies

[3] – DigComp by European Commission

[4] – 4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Online Platform That’s Right for You

[5] – Tech tools to help enhance online and blended learning

6 Responses to “Reflection on Online participation and digital literacies”

  1. Marja Elonheimo

    Thank you Gökhan for the view for what you have learned and come up with the first topic! And also the Miro board is great: you have had a lot of (hopefully) interesting discussions with your group.

  2. Oksana Chernysh

    My sincere gratitude for a well-structured and thoroughly written post!

  3. Viveca

    Interesting and well structured information. Thank you for this text.

  4. Eduard Enoiu

    Very nice summary! I am wondering if one can define what is an effective outcome regardless of the pedagogical approach one is choosing? Some tools are good and useful regardless of the type of task given to students.

  5. Kevin

    Nice reflection on the scenario and thinking about how to provide a safe online space for participants. I like that part about not assuming young people to be digital natives. Thank you!

  6. Ares

    I love the organisation of your blog. I personally have the same questions as yours, but you bring light to the chaos. Moreover, your conclusions are a good starting point for any teaching in the future.


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