Learners who are digitally literate in career and identity management are able to “manage their digital reputation and online identity” (JISC, 2014). This means that the learner understands who can see the content they post online and what impact that content could have, both positive and negative. They understand that the content they share online, be it social media posts, blog posts and comments, videos and more, shapes the impressions other people form of them. Learners with strong digital literacy skills in this area can cultivate relationships online and leverage online platforms for personal and career growth.
For an online learner, the importance of being digitally literate in career and identity management may be different depending on how their learning experience is structured. In more closed courses, this literacy may not be as critical. However, even in those cases, students will often interact with their peers via discussion forums, video-conferencing and group projects. In all of these examples, a learner’s peer will generate a perception about the learner based on how thoughtful and knowledgeable their contributions are, how clear their communication is, how much they contribute, etc. Other courses may be more open, asking learners to use social media or create blogs and learning portfolios, meaning the learner will need to consider how the content they create in the course will be perceived by people outside the course, be it other people in their field or the general public.
The MOOC teaches the digital literacy of career and identity management through the introduction of the PLN. They encourage learners to create a learning network on a popular social media application and even provide a specific discussion forum for learners to be able to share their contact information, so as to facilitate connections. However, the concept of the PLN focuses more on learning and consumption of content than on helping others learn by creating content, and doesn’t inform learners of the vast potential of online spaces for forming a digital reputation and online identity. The MOOC also discusses the development of online learning communities only through a positive lens, failing to discuss with learners any of the potential pitfalls or downfalls of existing in an online space, such as privacy and harassment.
The MOOC also provides opportunity for learners to build on their career and identity management digital literacy through their participation in the course. Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) through which this course was delivered, allows learners to set up a profile, adding a picture, pronouns, a biography, and links, which could include links to social media accounts or a personal website. Setting up a profile helps a learner create a digital identity within a course. The profile photo can help other learners in the course feel as though they are engaging with a real human, the biography can help them understand more about you and your perspectives, and links can provide them with an opportunity to engage with you outside of the course, and continue that engagement after the course has ended. Both the discussion board prompts and the Padlet activities within the course also provide an opportunity for learners to demonstrate and develop their career and identity management literacy, as the learner is asked to share their thoughts and experiences with their peers.
- How to create and build your PLN (video)
- Legal and ethical issues surrounding social media (blog post)
- Managing your digital identity (blog post)