Final Reflection

UOSM2008 as a module changed my approach to academic research and writing. The framework for the module had me re-evaluate both my original positions when it came to the topic of study and to reflect on the way in which I learn. To evaluate how this process took place I will be using Smyth’s framework, (1989).

Describe

What have I and other students done during the UOSM2008 module?

During the module I was tasked with researching into three set topics, and creating a blog post for each. A MOOC and some starter resources where provided for every topic to give some initial instruction on how it could be tackled.

The learning experience focused on reflexivity as students commented on my blog posts in order to offer new perspectives or to expand upon what I had written. I did the same in turn. Once we had all made blog posts and traded comments between ourselves, we then wrote a reflection to show what we had learned and how our original perspective may have been changed.

Inform

Why did I decide to take this module?

In the second year of my studies I took a module called UOSM2012 “Online social networks”. In that module there was a discussion around the different ways in which people could learn, I took this module so that I could explore how a better reflexive learner and look for other ways to improve my digital skills.

What was my feeling at the start of the module?

Although reflexive learning was something I was interested in, I had been used to tackling problems from a traditional academic perspective where I would research a topic and write up an essay or report. Therefore I was feeling out of my comfort zone in some respects.

What went well and not so well in this module?

I had not been used to formatting my writing into a blog post or for expanding on an initial arguments through interaction with other students by commenting and later reflecting. However I feel I was able to adapt to this new approach relatively quickly and became more critical of how I would approach a subject as a result.

What I found difficult with was knowing how to incorporate a multi-media approach, to split my arguments between text, video, images, and audio in a way that felt seamless was a big challenge. Over time I was able to get better with incorporating multimedia and even ended up editing videos with full audio voice-over alongside images I had made.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 15.17.08
Example of a comment on my blog: (from Adam Rann) 

 

What was I feeling after the module?

I was able to overcome some big challenges in the way I approached learning and how to present my arguments in a more visually engaging multi-modal fashioned. So I now feel more accomplished.

uosm digital literacies self test comparision created in canva
UOSM2008 Self-test comparing my digital literacy skills at the start and end of the module. (Dodd, R,2018) – Created in Canva

Confront

What was I trying to accomplish in this module?

As I mentioned above I wanted to expand my learning reflexivity and pick up some new digital literacy skills such as incorporate a multi-modal approach into my work.

What values, beliefs and assumptions, impacted my behaviour?

I typically under-valued the use of multi-media in comparison to text for conveying my thoughts. I saw multi-media as less legitimate than the usual academic writing style.

Reconstruct

Where did these ideas come from?

The ideas came from the online MOOC, the set questions for the module, and the initial resources like academic journals, videos, etc.

What problems did I face during this module?

Time management was a pretty big constraint, with the reflexive learning style, there were lots of small pieces of work that had to be completed sequentially as opposed to a single deadline for a larger project. There were a few technical issues such as wordpress.org not having the ability to embed slideshows, something I didn’t realize until after I had spent time making one. Comments also didn’t show up on my blog initially.

How did I overcome these problems?

I researched into the wordpress.org platform through various tech blogs and YouTube videos to see what the technical limitations where and what practical solutions were that I could implement quickly, such as changing the blog settings for comment moderation and embedding videos instead of slideshows.

What did module teach me and what actions can I take in the future because of the experiences I have gained?

This module taught me to think more critically about how I approach a problem, the cycle of blogging, commenting and reflecting allowed me to see how to construct and de-construct my own arguments and those of other students. When it came to the issue of managing online identity, security and privacy I was able to reflect upon how I currently handle my online presence and how I can better separate the personal from the professional. I have expanded on what I learnt from each topic in the video below.

 

How have my values, beliefs and assumptions been impacted?

When it came to the issue of managing online identity, security and privacy I thought that I a decent understanding at the start of the module. However upon the reflective learning process I was able to adapt my original position through interacting with others and reshaping my opinions.

Conclusion

When it comes to improving learning skill Fried discussed the importance of the, “mutual sharing of ideas”,(1980, p.30). Through the interactive and reflexive approach this module has taken to learning I have found new ways to improve my digital literacy skills by re-assessing how to tackle a problem based on the feedback others have given me and exploring new approaches to conveying my ideas that are out of my comfort zone.

Word Count: 935 words

 

Bibliography

Fried, R. (1980b). Learning in community: An empowerment approach. Concord, NH: Office of Community Education, New Hampshire State Department of Education. [online] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002248718904000202

Smyth, J. (1989). Developing and sustaining critical reflection in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education40(2), 2-9. [online] : http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002248718904000202

Waring M., & Evans, C. (2015).  Understanding pedagogy: Developing a critical approach to teaching and learning. New York: Routledge. [online]: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317597483

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Reflecting on Online identity

My initial argument when it came to online identities, skewed towards the benefits of having multiple identities or being anonymous online. Adam’s comment on my blog and the link he included to a wired article bought to my attention the potential motivations some people might have for creating false persona’s online. It also bought to my attention how a false persona can be abused in order to make someone’s argument appear more legitimate by making sock puppet accounts to agree or disagree with a post. This got me into thinking about just how flawed using social media accounts is in order to seem more authentic online.

Adam’s blog discussed the potential new way Web 3.0 technologies could bring for managing online identity. This got me thinking that Web 3.0 could change the existing paradigm of being forced to surrender personal information to social networks in order to be perceived as an authentic person. Following this I researched into web 3.0 further. I found that theoretically, the new model for managing an identity online, would allow users to choose when personal information is pulled from a platform and when they retain complete anonymity. As discussed in this medium article. This new insight caused me to reflect on the potential future methods for managing online identity, as per my responding comment. The video below expands on the potential differences I have reflected on for Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 for managing identities.

Source: (Dodd,R,2018) created with biteable

Reading Stefan’s blog and responding to it got me to consider the pitfall of social media when it comes to prospective employers and how information gleamed from employee’s online profiles can be used as a basis for deciding not to hire someone, or for disciplinary action as I found in this article.

Conclusion

Upon reflecting on the different ways identity can be managed online, and the potential changes that Web 3.0 could being, I have created a chart below to show how I now intend to alter managing my own identity.

scandinavianstyle interiors-

Source: (Doddr,R, 2018) created with Canva

 

Word Count: 330

 

Comments

Comment on Adam’s Blog

Adam’s response to my comment

Adam’s comment on my blog

My response to Adam’s comment on my blog

Comment on Stefan’s Blog

 

Bibliography

BBC News. (2017). I lost my job over a Facebook post. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-41851771 [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].

Seife, C. (2014). The Weird Reasons Why People Make Up False Identities on the Internet. [online] WIRED. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2014/07/virtual-unreality-the-online-sockpuppets-that-trick-us-all/[Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].

Zago, M. (2018). Why the Web 3.0 Matters and you should know about it. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/@matteozago/why-the-web-3-0-matters-and-you-should-know-about-it-a5851d63c949 [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].

Single online Identity, versus multiple online identities, versus total anonymity

Authenticity is a key argument made for the benefit of having just one identity. It stands to reason that if everything you post online can be easily attributed to you, this makes everything you post appear more trustworthy because it’s tied to your reputation and credibility, it’s also easier and less time consuming to manage just one identity, (Futurelearn, 2018).

However there are risks tied to having a single online identity, conflating the personal with the professional can damage your credibility and have real world repercussions. Ed Pilkington pointed out that when Justine Sacco posted a racist tweet on a twitter account that was tied to her as both a professional and a public figure, this damaged her career and reputation, (2013). Having multiple identities allows for different behaviours, as van Dijck discussed. Facebook as a platform encouraged users to express themselves whereas LinkedIn encouraged maintaining a purely professional tone, (van Dijck, 2013).

With the previous example we can see how online identity is multi-faceted. People will adjust their behaviour depending upon social settings, i.e. professional workspace versus public space like a coffee shop. This is true of online spaces as well, only the social rules are dictated by the digital platform rather than the physical social setting. I believe at the heart of the online identity is the dichotomy between anonymity versus authenticity, (Krotoski, 2012). As previously mentioned digital platforms determine which behaviour is permissible, but there is also the role of state governments to explore. In Countries where criticism of the state, or access to particular information online is restricted, it becomes important to hide one’s online identity in order to circumvent this (BBC, 2018). The debate around identities is expanded on in the video I created below.

Video source: (Dodd.R, 2018)

To conclude whilst it’s easier to maintain just one online identity, multiple identities are essential for expressing different facets of our self. Additionally anonymity remains an important option but one that is worryingly, “becoming quite the luxury”, (Costa, and Torres, 2011).

Word Count: 324

References:

BBC Guides. (2018). What is the dark web and is it a threat?. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9j6nbk [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. i2Cat Foundation, pp.47-53. [online] Available at: https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/files/21051777/digitalIdentity.pdf [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018]

FutureLearn. (2018). What is your network identity? – Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303357 [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

Krotoski, A. (2012). Online identity: is authenticity or anonymity more important?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity[Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

Pilkington, E. (2013). Justine Sacco, PR executive fired over racist tweet, ‘ashamed’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/pr-exec-fired-racist-tweet-aids-africa-apology[Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), pp.199-215. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0163443712468605

Reflection Topic 2 – ‘Fake News’: Who is responsible?

My initial stance regarding the problem of fake news was slanted towards placing all responsibility on the individual for assessing whether information online is false or not. However reading Luke’s comment allowed me to reflect on just how impractical it is for the average reader to critically assess each article or story they read to judge its validity, due to the amount of time it would take. Luke also linked a recent study from the BBC which pointed out how fake news spreads faster and to a much wider network then genuine news, (Kleinman 2018).  Additionally reading Luke’s blog also made me aware of just how important data literacy skills are in addition to traditional media and digital literacy skills. Reading Luke’s blog prompted me to do some more research into data literacy. In my comment replying to Luke I referenced a study which showed just how easy It is to manipulate data, particularly for private companies who want to make their profit margins appear to be more reliable and consistent over time (Kwapien,2015).

Reading Jermey’s blog also prompted me to re-assess my position of placing all the responsibility on the individual. In his blog post Jeremy linked to a Washington post article about Twitter executives refusing to take action to stem the flow of fake news being spread on their platform (Borchers, 2018). This led me to doing some further research into how social media platforms address the issue of fake news. In my comment replying to Jeremey I referenced how Zuckerberg, changed his stance on fake news, from ignoring the problem to later focusing on developing a solution.

Conclusion

Reflecting on false information online has allowed me to see just how widespread the problem is, and how impractical it is to expect individual readers to take all the responsibility for assessing it. Below I created a diagram to expand upon how different actors are responsible for fake news online.

Leading a healthy lifestyle infographic (2)

Word Count: 325

References:

Borchers, C. (2018). Analysis | Twitter executive on fake news: ‘We are not the arbiters of truth’. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/08/twitter-executive-on-fake-news-we-are-not-the-arbiters-of-truth/?utm_term=.0c22b7d61446[Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Kleinman, Z. (2018). Fake news ‘travels faster’, study finds. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43344256?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cjxv13v27dyt/fake-news&link_location=live-reporting-story[Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Kwapien, A. (2015). Misleading Data Visualization Examples. [online] BI Blog | Data Visualization & Analytics Blog | datapine. Available at: https://www.datapine.com/blog/misleading-data-visualization-examples/ [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018].

Brave New World – Developing the skills for evaluating “Fake News”

False information published online can be designed to further a political agenda, or simply to generate revenue through misleading titles, article descriptions and media in the form of “clickbait”. “Information gap theory” offers some insight into why clickbait is successful, when a reader sees a snippet of a fake news article they will draw upon their background knowledge of that subject (Golman and Loewenstein 2015).This leads to a desire for the reader to seek out the gaps in information from the snippet itself thereby motivating the reader to click the full article (Golman and Loewenstein 2015).

With regards to political agendas, social media posts crafted by fake accounts can be used in order to push a certain narrative that is factually untrue, (BBC News, 2017). Likewise bots can be used to share factually inaccurate tweets in order to make the tweets themselves appear more credible by propagating them into a wide network where they are seen by many people (Wooley, 2016).

bbc fake news post
Example of fake news article on Facebook. Source: BBC News. (2017). Russia posts ‘reached 126m Facebook users’. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41812369 [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].
To assess the validity of this false information online, technological interventions can be used. For instance by using online tools such as “news tracer” users can determine the factual accuracy of a tweet by analysing who shared it, and if the claims in the tweet have been verified by others within the network (Keohane et al., 2017).

(Van Dijk, & Van Deursen, 2010) argued that the critical thinking skills required for traditional media literacy are not enough when it comes assessing information online. This is in part due to the sheer wealth of options for sources of information available on the web, so new digital skills are needed to evaluate them. An example of one of these digital skills is “strategic skills” which is needed in order to develop a goal for what information you are hoping to find and for the method you will use to find this information (Van Dijk, & Van Deursen, 2010). More details on digital skills are in the diagram below.

Evaluating information online

 

Word Count: 300

Bibliography

BBC News. (2017). Russia posts ‘reached 126m Facebook users’. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41812369 [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].

Golman, R. and Loewenstein, G. (2015). Curiosity, Information Gaps, and the Utility of Knowledge. SSRN Electronic Journal. [online] Available at: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=450091020087104093088074077105097112059038009000020002096086019066103093094005113027119013052038049022008092064119113000126021024091008040092093014121112021102066072086019086120013095115097084085082093086002104025024023079111105013103081089001101092126&EXT=pdf

Keohane, J., Vogelstein, F., Geltzer, J., Eden, S., Simonite, T., Gendreau, H. and Finley, K. (2017). WHAT NEWS-WRITING BOTS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM. [online] WIRED. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/ [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].

Woolley, S. (2016). Automating power: Social bot interference in global politics. [online] Firstmonday.org. Available at: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/6161/5300 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Van Dijk, Jan A.G.M. & Deursen, Alexander J.A.M.. (2010). TRADITIONAL MEDIA SKILLS AND DIGITAL MEDIA SKILLS: MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE?. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4442/225fdb6ce0886d9bf1bfaae9117d3c238eec.pdf

Reflecting on Digital Divides

Dom left a comment on my blog posing a question as to whether the digital divide will grow or decrease. This caused me to reflect on my blog post and extend it by posing another question which is to the extent that digital inequalities are either simply mirrored or reproduced through the web? I briefly answered this question with an example from my personal experience, by thinking about this comment I was effectively able to extend my original answer and this also helped when it came to replying to Luke’s blog. With this newly formulated question in mind I looked up Sharma and Brooker’s paper regarding racism denial on twitter and set about answering the question that I had come up with to see if the web was widening the digital divide (2016). I then was able to relate this new knowledge to what Luke had written.

Sharing my knowledge on Phoebe’s blog led to a reply with a link to an ONS report on internet use as it relates to factors such as age. This was a theme that had I discussed in my original blog post. However this study suggested that inequalities may be shrinking as the number of people aged 65-74, and 75+ increased significantly between 2011 and 2017 (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2_ Recent internet use in 2011 and 2017 by age group, UK

As for the development of my digital skills, I found that creating a diagrammatic representation of what I identified to be the dominant groups in online spaces based on the two papers I cited in my original blog post allowed me to visualise and therefore to think about the research in a more direct and engaging way then I am used too. Additionally by making the diagram it made me think about the similarities between the two papers more so then simply writing would have.

Word Count: 300

Refererences

Dom’s comment on my Blog: https://uosm2008rd.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/digital-divides-who-controls-the-web/#comment-4

Comment made on Luke’s Blog: https://lukeslivingontheweb.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/digital-differences-and-inequality/#comment-12

Comment made on Phoebe’s Blog: https://phoebetaylor55.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/i-am-digitally-lucky/#comment-10

My original Blog post: https://uosm2008rd.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/digital-divides-who-controls-the-web/

Ons.gov.uk. (2018). Internet users in the UK – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Sharma, S. and Brooker, P. (2016) ‘#notracist: Exploring racism denial talk on Twitter’ in Daniels, J. et al (Eds) Digital Sociologies
http://opus.bath.ac.uk/53206/1/Sharma_Brooker_notracist_digital_sociology_preprint.pdf

 

Digital Divides: Who Controls the Web?

Digital differences refer to the diverse experiences people have on the web depending on factors such as their age, gender and ethnicity. In order to explore this I will look at existing research (summarized in fig 1 below), before concluding with some thoughts on how digital differences impact the way I learn online.

dominiant groups in online spaces

Lutz, & Hoffmann, (2017) in their analysis of user’s online participation found several potential areas for a digital divide, including a split based on user participation based on political beliefs and age. Research indicated that there existed a divide between those of more extremist political beliefs espousing them online, and those of more liberal beliefs who self-censored in an effort to avoid confrontation and online bullying (Lutz, & Hoffmann 2017). Also whilst elderly people were found to want to access online spaces they lacked the technical abilities to do so (Lutz, & Hoffmann 2017).

Other studies have also looked at the web from an intersectionality perspective to see the differing experiences caused by gender, race and class (Nakamura, 2007). Studies on online spaces such as LambaM00 pointed to denial of forms of racial discourse in order to secure and reflect the values of the predominately white and middle class user base (Nakamura, 2007).

The ways in which I learn online are impacted in part by educational level and digital literacy. The University provides access to various academic resources which allow me to draw from a range of research materials to gain deeper understandings to certain topics that would be usually be hidden by academic journal paywalls. As for my economic status and country of origin, middle class, & British citizen this gives me the socio-economic ability to access the web which is largely catered towards English speaking people. Conversely people in poorer parts of India and certain other places in the World will have no ability to access the web.

Word Count: 300

 

References:

FutureLearn. (2018). Page from Learning in the Network Age – University of Southampton. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303344 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].

Lutz, C., & Hoffmann, C. P. (2017). The dark side of online participation: exploring non-, passive and negative participation. Information, Communication & Society, 1-22. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1293129?src=recsys&

Nakamura, L. (2007) ‘Race in/for cyberspace: identity tourism and racial passing on the internet’ in Bell and Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader (Second Edition only) London, Routledge. http://mysite.du.edu/~lavita/edpx_3770_13s/_docs/nakamura_race_in_cyberspace.pdf