UOSM2008: Intro topic reflection

This post is part of a series published as part of the University of Southampton’s Living and Working on the Web module. To find out more, including links to all of this year’s student blogs, check out the UOSM2008 website.

Although it has involved completely different styles of university teaching and writing to what I’ve been accustomed, I feel I’ve been adjusting well to UOSM2008 throughout the intro topic. It certainly helps that WordPress, Twitter, and Google Docs are all services I’ve used on a daily basis for a number of years, although, as studying the work of David White in particular has made me realise, my typically consumptive tendencies on these platforms probably put me more towards the visitor end of the spectrum. Going forward, where time permits, I’m certainly keen to up the visual pizazz on this blog as I’m rather envious of some of the graphics that have popped up!

The tasks of mapping out my digital usage and undertaking the self-test in the main blog post challenged me to think in new ways about how and why I use technology, and the discussion generated by these maps across the class means that – even just a week later – my map would likely look very different if I were to construct it today. Tom Davidson’s comment, for example, encouraged broader thought about how I contribute to Spotify and use it for social engagement rather than just passive music consumption, Luke Gibbins prompted me to think about a wider spectrum of online services in all four quadrants and how the timeframe considered can be so critical, and Tom Paterson’s blog had me thinking more constructively about professional residential activities and learning and developing skills.

Going forward, I will definitely be considering my usage of the Web through the spectrum of White’s mapping, particularly following the discussion about the scope of the zeitgeist this captures, and, as discussed on Tom’s post, looking to combine aspects of Marc Prensky’s work into this process. Onwards to Topic 1!


Word count: 295


UOSM2008: Digital literacy and self-evaluation

This is the first in a series of posts to be published over the coming months as part of the University of Southampton’s Living and Working on the Web module. To find out more, including links to all of this year’s student blogs, check out the UOSM2008 website.

I have long regarded my digital literacy as strong, having used computers regularly from a young age and gone on to study for a Web Science degree. With sites like WordPress and Twitter, I have maintained online profiles and networks for many years both for personal use and institutionally, including this site, which is mainly used as a writing portfolio. This is reflected in the scores for my initial self-test, where the key elements I hope to improve upon are participation and collaboration.

Criterion Level (1-5)
Accessing, managing and evaluating online information 4
Participating in online communities 3
Building online networks around an area of interest 3
Collaborating with others on shared projects 3
Creating online materials (text, audio, images, video) 4
Managing your online identity 4
Managing your online privacy and security 3

My personal experiences of digital literacy and skill divides would previously have aligned my thinking with Marc Prensky’s concepts of digital immigrants and natives, whereby younger generations are immersed into digital concepts from birth, rather than adapting experiences to them. However, as I discovered in researching this topic, David White’s conceptualisation of a spectrum between using digital platforms for active creation (residency) as opposed to passive consumption or utility (visiting) offers a more nuanced approach to assorted use cases.

Applying White’s mapping approach to my own Web usage made me closely analyse how and why I use what I use. For instance, for work I administer a number of Facebook groups and monitor incoming email closely, however my outgoing email is comparably infrequent and my personal use of Facebook is based around consumption rather than creation. Spotify and YouTube are services I use almost strictly in personal capacities, unlike SoundCloud, where I upload podcasts for work purposes.

Digital Identity Graph
10 of my most frequently-used online services, mapped on White’s grid structure

Historically, however, this picture would look very different. Today, most of my public posts on Twitter relate to work, however my account was far more active in previous years when used more for personal reasons. Nevertheless, I visit the service multiple times every day, keeping up with my curated feed of friends, journalists, artists, and so forth.


Word count: 299