University of Plymouth (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Page: 5074
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
In the modern age people are increasingly sharing thoughts, experiences, images and self-produced videos to a global audience online. The internet provides a platform enabling anyone to be an author, director, entertainer and/ or critic. We can be who or whatever we want to be through our ‘digital identity’.

However, just as you need to be ‘streetwise’ in the physical world, so you also need to be aware of the implications of being part of the ‘virtual global society’. It is widely known that employers scan social networking sites to find (or eliminate) potential employees; there have been reported cases where digital pasts have emerged with negative consequences; there are also new legal issues around copyright and accessibility to name just two, not to mention the dangers of identity theft and paedophilia.

Increasing numbers of students are using (Web 2.0) social networking sites to communicate, share and collaborate, unaware that others are also increasingly looking at students’ presence on sites such as MySpace, Facebook, etc… Students are often naïve regarding the way they operate and present themselves online which can make them potential targets for criminal activity and/ or be detrimental to their reputation and future employment prospects.

In addition to the above, in the UK we have been directed by the Government to facilitate students keeping electronic records of achievement that can be carried throughout their lifetime. The imperative for the development of a progress file (PDP) originated in the Dearing Report 1997. This imperative was followed up by the Burgess Report (2007), amongst many others, which clearly signalled the need for a more comprehensive picture of an undergraduate’s attainments and experiences for presentation to potential employers or other external audiences.

At the University of Plymouth we have recently purchased PebblePad, an easy-to-use tool that supports ePDP. It enables students to create and share their own online portfolios which can include items such as action plans, reflections and proformas and also allows them to upload and/ or link to other online resources that they have created.

My project therefore addresses some of the issues highlighted above around digital identity and how students can effectively market themselves and their work online through:
• a generic online resource available to all students which provides guidance on several aspects of digital identity:- security; copyright and Intellectual Property Rights; accessibility; web design basics; netiquette and, crucially, how to successfully market themselves online.
• promoting the use of PebblePad as a means to organising, collaborating and sharing chosen elements of their work with others, including prospective employers.