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Establishing Your Digital Identity

The New Digital Revolution and Identity

The Domain of One’s Own initiative at University of Mary Washington is a unique way for universities to encourage the ability of students to take control of their digital footprint. Audrey Watters investigated UWM’s movement of students’ information to be held in a central web domain. Unlike most undergraduate work which generally ends up in recycle bins at the end of a semester, UWM is promoting a way for students to keep a digital “hard copy” of academic work for the student to have unlimited visibility for potential higher education or employment. This offers a much better view of student scholarship, along with orienting students to keep their digital identity professional and secure. Indeed, the CORVID-19 pandemic has now forced higher education into the digital arena at an unprecedented rate. With most educational institutions being up and running online within the time-span of a week due to CORVID-19, the future of education is being built by this pandemic. Society will be forever changed by CORVID-19, but not by death rate like Spanish Influenza. The cultural response instead is a revolutionary moment in history with all levels of employment and education being forced into a brave new world of digital identity. It is a prudent investment for educational institutions to follow a model similar to UWM to prepare students for this new era of online information integration.

2 replies on “The New Digital Revolution and Identity”

It is certainly a scary time but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to some sort of curiosity about how everything will play out moving forward. My educational journey was unique overall and was a balance of periodic working, then school, and repeat. A few times I took a year or two to work in a row to afford school to afford it. I then hit the magical age of 24 where my parents tax information was no longer required on my FAFSA and I received a magical thing called a Pell Grant, something I had never qualified for in the past. I then was able to afford full-time, on campus education and streamlined my last year. During those times of working, however, I typically took online classes to keep myself current in the skills necessary to be a student. I didn’t want to get too rusty or slack. I believe that people will become surprised at the efficiency and effectiveness of online education and I wonder what this will do to demand when this is all over. If anything, I feel that much of traditional on-campus learning is maintaining an old orthodoxy from upper-class societies from years past. Not everyone can afford to move to a different city for school if you are not fortunate enough to live in a city with a university. I imagine the acceptance of distance learning will rise but by no means will it destroy the traditional business model.

Your blog post, along with Shannon’s, made me really pause to think about the implications of this pandemic on academics. It actually seems amazing to me, knowing the reluctance of many professors and others to engage with students online and allow for online intellectualism, that universities across the nation were able to switch to online instruction so quickly. That tells me that one, using online tools for learning, teaching, and fulfilling scholarly goals is not as impossible or as unacceptable as many academic scholars seem to think, and two, these scholars, even the oldest or most digitally inept, are more capable than they believe they are in a digital environment. I hope, as you said, that this time in history teaches us that we should try to adapt. This does not just apply to historians and digital history, but it seems particularly fitting. Historical scholarship can and should take many forms, and holding to a rigid definition of those forms trumps the personal identity ad creativity of historians, and makes those holding to the old way of doing things as the ONLY way believe that they are incapable of anything else. If history and its practice are to remain relevant, adaptation is key, and what academics in all fields are doing right now to adapt to a pandemic shows me that this kind of growth is possible.

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