About Topic 1: Online participation and digital literacy
First of all, let me say frankly that this topic 1 was very important for me as it introduced a number of tools that could help teachers of today like me to participate online with less digital literacies. Just as a brief reflection about this topic 1, as I shared with group members weeks ago, in our context, we have several categories of teachers. Some are BBC= “Born Before Computers” while others are “.Com”. The former category includes those teachers who fear to use any type of digital tool due to lack of adequate digital skills. For example, it would be difficult for them if the institution requests them to use tools such as Zoom, Flinga or any other Institutional Learning Management System such as Moodle. Hence their participation in online course delivery is very limited as they resist to use such tools. What, for example, my university has tried to do for those teachers = BBC to avoid fear of going online, was to provide additional training for them before introducing any new digital tool. In addition, these BBC teachers are paired with the .com teachers in one module and within that context, the BBC teachers learn from their module partners on a peer learning process.
Still on the online participation side, I would also say that it is not only a matter of having or not the digital literacy. In some cases, some individuals’ characteristics can affect their degree of online participation in the course regardless of whether they are digitally literate or not. For example, there are some people who feel uncomfortable when viewed on video such as on Zoom or Adobe Connect. Therefore, by filling uncomfortable by not just those High-Tech tools, but instead by their behaviour, this affect their degree of online participation.
From the learners’ side, the findings from one study we conducted in 2016 on first-year students at our University, indicated that the more the students previously accessed, used, owned and had a computer-based training, the more they are equipped with digital skills (literacies) to be able to cope within the digital environment (Byungura et al., 2018). But on the other hand, the same results of this study revealed also that even a small number of first-year students with previous access and ownership of digital tools, did not use these digital tools that learning purposes. This entails that being strongly digitally literate does not necessarily mean that you are able to participate in online learning activities.
Byungura, J. C., Hansson, H., Muparasi, M., & Ruhinda, B. (2018). Familiarity with Technology among First-Year Students in Rwandan Tertiary Education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 16(1), 30-45.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton