My UOSM2008 Journey

This module has helped me to develop my skills, expand my knowledge and change my overall views of the internet. To discover just how far I have come, I will will be using Smyth’s ‘Reflection on Action’ method of evaluation (1989) to describe, inform, confront and destruct my UOSM2008 journey.

Describe

What have I done throughout this module?

Over the last 12 weeks I have started a blog themed around the idea of ‘Living and Working on the Web.’ I have written three blog posts and reflective pieces based on this topic, exploring the key literature assigned and the research I have done around these readings. The research I did helped me to get a deeper understanding of the topics and provide a more critical and evaluating voice to my posts. It also assisted with the comments I made on others blogs. The process I went through each work is summarised below:

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Created Using PiktoChart (Fairey, 2018)

How have my peers contributed?

M peers contributed to my learning through commenting on the posts I put up each week. This was very helpful for gaining a different perspective on the assigned topic and helping me to reflect on my original work.

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Example Comment from Tom Paterson on Topic 3

Inform

Why did I take UOSM2008?

I selected UOSM2008 to give me the chance to focus on the lab research required for my dissertation project. The nature of UOSM2008 meant I could write my blog posts in between testing participants for my research, making my timetable much more flexible.

What was I feeling at the start of the module?

I had little expectations for how the module would go. I was apprehensive at the start that my web skills would not be up to what they needed to be to do well in this module but the self-test I did in the Intro Topic helped me to see this wasn’t the case. I have redone this self-test now to show the progress I have made since the start.

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Digital Self-Test: After. Created Using PiktoChart (Fairey, 2018)

What went well, and not so well in this module?

Creating my own graphics and videos for my posts turned out to be a strength in my work and something I really enjoyed producing. However, I struggled each week to ensure that my posts were within the word limit whilst still explaining and evaluating the given topic. From this I have learnt to be more concise with my writing. The video below further illustrates my strengths and weaknesses throughout the module.

What am I feeling about this module now?

Having completed all the required topics and the associated MOOC, I am very pleased I took UOSM2008. It has felt like one of the most culturally relevant modules I have taken whilst at university and I have learnt so much about myself and my peers and the relationship we have with the web.

Confront

The video below summarises the personal goals, values, beliefs and assumptions I had about this module at the start:

Destruct

Where did the ideas for my blog posts come from?

The ideas for my blog posts came from the assigned literature each week and what was currently happening in the world that related to this. For example, the week we explored fake news, Donald Trump had once again been tweeting about its impact in his country, so this was something I was able to explore within the post.

What issues did I come across in completing this module?

There were no issues per se, although I did initially struggle to get my blog set up correctly. There were also weeks when my comments on others blogs were not moderated quickly enough for my to write about them in my reflection piece

How were these issues overcome?

To get my blog up and running, I watched some YouTube tutorials on how to get started with WordPress which quickly showed me where I was going wrong. In order to get blog posts moderated, I would usually try to tweet the person using the #UOSM2008 allocated to the blog. This did occasionally work, but not always.

What have I learnt and what actions will I take as a result of this module and my reflection on it?

The graphic below provides a summary of the most important things I think I have learnt from this module and what I intend to do as a result of the this.

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Created Using PiktoChart (Fairey, 2018)

How have my values, beliefs and assumptions been impacted since completing the module?

At the start of the module, I strongly believed I was doing everything I could to protect myself online. I assumed that fake news was obvious to spot and that future employers would only look on my social media to see if I had said or done anything incriminating. As I began to learnt this wasn’t the case, I actively sought to improve my online safety and awareness. I now have my socials set mainly to private and I have started to cross check every news article I read online if it is from an unknown source.

Conclusion

This module has taught me so much about my own web practices and those of others around me. The format of writing, commenting and reflecting meant that my work was going from strength to strength each week. It has also improved the other modules I have taken this semester as I have become used to reflecting and re-evaluating everything I write. I would highly recommend the UOSM2008 module to anyone who is thinking of applying.


Word Count: 899


References:

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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Online Identity

So, it turns out I’m lazy. I’m getting stressed just thinking about having to create and maintain multiple identities online. I definitely couldn’t maintain the multiple identities that Tom suggested to me in his comment (van Dijck, 2013)! But, having discussed with Sam about how future employers might be able to find my social medias, I can see why it may be better to operate anonymous or multiple accounts across my social platforms.

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(Fairey, 2018) Created using Adobe Photoshop

Learning to Compromise

Through reading my course mates blogs this week, I have come up with my ‘Lazy Girl’s Guide to Online Identity’ showing the places you can cut corners with your identity online and where you should play closer attention:

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(Fairey, 2018) Created using PiktoChart

Screening What We Say Online

Following my discussion with Adrian and reflecting on the article I had read about Justine Sacco, I began to question whether we should be entirely responsible for everything we put online. Maybe Twitter shouldn’t have allowed Justine to tweet the racist comments she did – why wasn’t there a screening system in place? Then again, there’s no filter in the real world from stopping you saying what you say. I think the jury’s still out on this.

Conclusion

This week I have worked on my reflective writing, ensuring that I’m always reconsidering what I’ve learnt and finding opposing views to mine to help me see the wider picture. Whilst I feel that it is important that future employers aren’t able to access  social media posts I wouldn’t want my mother to see, I also think there’s something to be said about integrity and authenticity with keeping one identity online.


Word Count: 252


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The Clark Kent’s of the Internet World

“In the olden times, privacy was good. Today people want to share” (Mark Zuckerberg, 2010). But, is sharing our entire thought stream online ever really a good idea?  Justine Sacco would probably argue, no. In 2013 after tweeting a racially insensitive message to her mere 170 followers, she boarded a plane to South Africa. 11 hours later she turned on her phone to find her tweet had gone viral and her life lay in ruins. Due to the increase in cases like Sacco’s, many individuals have started to divide their once unified online identity into different profiles. Below I will explore the two main reasons people have started to do this:

The Professional Reason

With 55% of recruitment teams now checking future employees Facebook account, and 47% checking Twitter, it is no wonder that people are now going above and beyond to protect their privacy online (AdWeek, 2015). To achieve an entirely separate work based identity online, more and more people are turning to professional social networking sites like LinkedIn and VisualCV (Peter Bowes, 2013). But is this method of splitting yourself into two online identities sustainable? I explore the pros and cons below:

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(Fairey, 2018) Created using PiktoChart

The Personal Reason

On a personal level, someone may choose to have multiple accounts on one social media to allow themselves to express different sides of their personality freely.  Now more than ever people are becoming much more opinionated on their social platforms, so some see having multiple online identities as a way to protect themselves in the real world (Costa and Torres 2011). Below I have put together a video of case studies where people have decided to have more than one personal social media:

(Fairey, 2018) Created using Biteable.com

Conclusion 

Having a mixture of both personal and professional identities, some private and some public, is the optimum way of portraying yourself online for both security and professional purposes. If Mark Zukerberg, the unofficial King of all things anti-privacy, thinks that adding a multiple account toggle is a worthwhile feature then may be it’s time you consider splitting your online identity in two.


Word Count: 303


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The Bubble’s Already Burst! – Topic 2 – Reflection

This topic has really opened my eyes to the amount of ‘fake news’ we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis! Thanks to my discussion with Dom following my comment on his blog, we came to the conclusion that Social Media has acted as the main catalyst for this.

So, How Can We Protect The Next Generation?

Stefan’s comment on my blog has made me further consider how we can protect future generations from the confusion of fake news. He pointed me to a news article on the BBC about how education on this topic is being brought into the classroom.

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Screengrab from bbc.co.uk/news

The Evidence Toolkit

Reading further into the article that Stefan had sent me, I discovered a piece of software called ‘The Evidence Toolkit’ which has been developed by researchers at the University of Dundee alongside The Centre for Argument Technology. The programme aims to help young people learn how to distinguish between real and fake news. Here are a few ideas that the programme has about distinguishing between a reliable and fake source:

Consider the main claim of the article
(Fairey 2018) Created using Canva

The Importance of The Source

To further my above learning from Stefan’s article, my comment on Emily’s blog led to a discussion about the reliability of the sources we gain our data from. After concluding with her that we can sometimes be fooled into believing data is reliable, I found a research paper by Friedman, Khan and Howe (2000) that argued a similar view.

Conclusion

This week I have really focused on researching the points that my peers have made to me and learning more about the topic. I think this has led to better content in my blog post and a better reflection of learning. I concluded in my initial post that ‘fake news’ education should be included in the classroom – but it turns out it already is!


Word Count: 305


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Popping the ‘Fake News’ Bubble – Topic 2

Fake news – although not a recent phenomenon – has become somewhat of an epidemic in the past few years due to social media usage. It’s recent impact on events such as the U.S. elections (Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017) and Britain’s Brexit (Kucharski, 2016) has certainly created a heightened awareness around fake news. So, are we still able to use the internet as a learning tool?

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Fake News – A New Phenomena?

Fake news has been happening for centuries – so is it really the fault of the internet? In 1475, a fake news story claimed that the Jewish community had murdered a small child; this story resulted in 15 Jews being burned at the stake. If fake news can be spread through word of mouth, then is it any less safe to learn online than it is from a textbook? Pennycook and Read (2017) found that the opposite. The recent rise in fake news has actually had the opposite effect – when people are using the internet for educational purposes they have a heightened awareness of what could be false information. So we are even more aware of false information when browsing online than when we read textbooks. Below I have created a video with some guaranteed safe ways to learn online:

 (Fairey 2018) Created Using PowToon

Protecting Yourself from Fake News

So, if the internet is now one of the easiest ways for people from all walks of life to gain an education, what can we do to ensure we are not being misled? Below I have created an infographic with my top 5 tips on how to protect yourself from fake news whilst learning online:

How to detect fake news
(Fairey 2018) Created Using Canva

Conclusion

Fake news has been around for centuries and, whilst it used to be easier to detect a credible source offline, we now just need to ensure we educate ourselves about how to detect a fake news article online. This is definitely something that should be incorporated into I.T. lessons from a young age so that future generations can use the internet for educational purposes without the worry of being misled.


Word Count: 326


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Topic 1 – Reflection

Through doing the research for this topic I discovered just how much of a difference internet access can make to both the economic and educational levels of a country.

Crafting ideas into reality
Created by Joanna Fairey using Canva

Aims For This Week

To build on self-assessment and self-improvement I developed two main aims for this week:

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Created by Joanna Fairey using PiktoChart

This week I was successfully able to produce a PowToons video, despite having struggled for a long time with it last week. The addition of some self-created video content meant that my post was more engaging for the reader, and everything I had added to the page was entirely relevant to what I was writing about. I have also used several subheadings to improve the clarity of my discussion and ease of understanding for the reader. This has meant I have successfully achieved both my aims for this week.

Learning from Others

By reading and commenting on Chloe’s post I have learnt about macro and micro factors that contribute to our digital differences. It was interesting to see these factors considered in this way, as I had previously only considered that all factors were at an equal par to each other and none had any greater or different effect than the other. Reading Nathaniel’s post highlighted to me just how privileged we have been to grow up in a country where internet access is almost expected. Our discussion in the comments led me to research how mental health charities are currently using the internet to make people feel less isolated. I found that MIND has an online forum set up especially for this purpose which you can find out more about here:

Conclusion

To conclude, my views on access to the internet becoming a human right has not changed since initially writing the post, but I have come to realise the difficulty of the logistics of making it happen thanks to my discussion with Hong. I still hope to see access to the internet become a human right within the next 50 years.


Word Count: 304


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A New Human Right For The Digital Age – Topic 1

Whilst taking part in the ‘Learning in the Network Age’ MOOC as part of the UOSM2008 module, I discovered the concept of ‘digital differences’. Whilst most may assume that everyone uses the web for similar practices, research into this has revealed instead that factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability and class all impact if and how people use the internet (Zickuhr and Smith, 2012).

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Created by Joanna Fairey using Canva

Digital Differences Nationally

Whilst participating in the MOOC mentioned above, I got into a discussion about how I was very digitally different to my housemate. I was brought up with a reliable internet access from a young age whilst she was not. You can read more about the consequences of our two different digital upbringings below!

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Screenshot of discussion had on the Future Learn MOOC

Comparing the Impact of Digital Differences

To find out just how much these digital differences have affected our everyday lives, I asked her to monitor her internet usage over the past 3 days and below I have compared our results!

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Created by Joanna Fairey using Canva

Digital Differences Internationally

If social factors are having an impact on our online presence, does this mean that those without proper access to the internet are becoming disadvantaged? A recent study conducted in America found that employment status and earned income both predicted internet use intensity. So, this raises the question, should good access to the internet be a human right if those without are living a lesser quality of life? Below I compare the differences between the U.K.’s internet usage and India’s internet usage: a country that earns on average 89.8% less than the U.K.

Video Created by Joanna Fairey using PowToon

Conclusion

To conclude, whilst many people in the U.K. are fortunate enough to have good access to the internet, those in developing countries do not have the same luxury. As a consequence of this, they are getting increasingly behind in technological advances and the gap between developing countries and the west is widening. If a lack of access to the internet is leading to a decrease in overall life quality, perhaps it should be considered as a new ‘digital age’ human right.


Word Count: 327


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