Building your professional digital profile: living, learning and working on the web

Author: Lisa Harris 
Lisa Harris talking digital literacy with digichamp, Sara Hewitt
Lisa Harris talking digital literacy with Digichamp, Sara Hewitt

Digichamps “old” and “new” are going to be busy helping me out with a number of introductory workshops for new students over the next few weeks. We are going to be working with the new Business Management level 1 students in getting started with blogging to support their studies, discussing the professional use of social media to help find a job with students at Winchester School of Art and Web Science, and encouraging Marketing MSc students to interact, network and study in a digital community with thousands of Digital Marketing MOOC learners. Phew…

So in terms of our preparation I thought it would be useful to write this brief introductory post to explain what “building your professional digital profile” actually means, and why it is important for all of us. Links are provided to more detailed sources of information if you would like to find out more, or you can watch our short video:

The expression “living, learning and working on the web” sums up what might more formally be described as “digital literacies” or “digital capabilities” (JISC 2015).

Why is this important? Basically it is about how we can best live, learn and work in an increasingly digital society. It is much more than learning how to use a specific piece of software – confidence and basic proficiency in using computers is simply the starting point.

We hear lots of negative stories about the web, for example with regard to cyberbullying or identity theft, but we hear much less about how we can proactively manage our digital experiences for:

  • effective learning in a world where we are increasingly swamped with data.
  • showcasing our knowledge and building our networks to “stand out from the crowd” – enhancing employment prospects or a setting up a new business
  • promoting “digital citizenship” – for example by behaving responsibly online or raising awareness of and supporting good causes.

Being proficient in these areas allows you to manage your learning at university efficiently and effectively, and also to build your profile externally for career development purposes. Increasingly, people are finding work placements or even full jobs through their network of twitter contacts or the expertise that they display and evidence in their blogs.

So, some of the questions we will be considering in the workshops are:

  • Finding, managing, evaluating and curating information – how do we manage the sheer volume of search results we might get? How do we recognise a trusted source? How do we curate relevant materials from different sources and formats to meet a specific need, for example addressing an assignment question.
  • How do we create new materials in written, visual and audio formats? For example, what role can a reflective blog play in our learning journeys, and how can its impact be enhanced with images or video?
  • How can we use tools such as twitter to communicate, collaborate and participate in online communities – building our own networks and contributing to the work of others, potentially on a global basis.

If you are an enthusiast for all things digital we welcome applications to join the Digital Champion (Digichamp) Programme – as you can see from this post it provides paid opportunities to support staff and students in developing specific digital literacy skills. Digichamps also support the real time promotion of live events at the University through social media – we have covered lectures and conferences on topics as diverse as Stargazing and Ancient Rome 🙂



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