Author: Thomas Davidson
This week, the cohort of the Business School’s MANG1022 module received a session on Digital Literacy from either Sarah Hewitt, Nic Fair or Tom Rowledge and I. We were asked to create a session appropriate to introduce the concept of Digital Literacy to Level 1 students a few weeks ago, and now we have delivered the session we are very happy with the way everything went.
The session began by breaking down Digital Literacy into 4 areas; Effective Communication, Online Identity, Information Management and Creation of Materials. We then assessed people’s perceptions of how Digitally Literate they were before the session (even if they didn’t know exactly what that meant!) through an online quiz we put together. After completing the quiz, the students were awarded a grade of A-E, and either some congratulations…or some words of advice!
The main body of the session then tackled each of the 4 areas explained earlier individually. We gave a brief intro as to what was covered by each area, and then recommended some online tools that could be used to increase proficiency in each area. The theory behind this was that we didn’t want to simply bore the students with an explanation as to why each area was important, but instead wanted to provide some practical advice that they would be able to use, hopefully, from the session onwards. We received a positive response, and a lot of students admitted they had not heard of a lot of the tools we mentioned, let alone used many of them.
When speaking about Online Identity, we took a slightly different approach. We showed a couple of videos that showed how important it was to think about what you posted on various social networking sites, before guiding everyone through an activity where they were able to download all of the data Facebook held about them. This proved massively popular and eye-opening, which was really great to see. Many were fascinated by the sheer amount of data, and a lot had good fun realising how “cool” they might have been in their childhood! The highlight for me was being asked whether or not the police could access that data…so we’re not sure what that student managed to find at the bottom of her Facebook wall! We made a serious point though, which was to think about how much and what you actually post to social networks, as it will remain online forever. We were also able to show people exactly how much data big companies were holding on them and explain the process of data profiling, something most were unaware of beforehand.
Despite all of this the most important message for us to get across was the need not just to limit the “bad stuff” online, but to be proactive in creating a positive online image. We lead lively discussions on the use of Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress via Southampton’s E-Folio service. The response to this was again good, so it is hoped a lot of the students will begin utilising these services more so now they realise their importance. We also sign-posted them to the Business Management School blog, something we hope many of them will use, and even be guest writers for. Time will tell whether this will be a success, but we are very hopefully given how well the sessions went.
It was a great experience for me teaching on this modules, although something I will admit I was a little apprehensive about doing. It certainly feels very different being on the lecturer side of things, and being awake at 9am suddenly becomes a lot more important! In all seriousness we are really pleased with the feedback we have received from staff and students alike, and would be really keen to do this again. If anyone would like to look at the Digital Literacy session, it is available on SlideShare here, and please get in touch with Tom Rowledge or myself, or Dr Lisa Harris if you have any questions.