Both Bonnie Stewart’s “In Praise of Living in Public” and Laura Pasquini’s “Why Academics Need a Digital Persona?” encourage academics to establish a visible presence online while also acknowledging the problems they may encounter. Stewart shares her difficulties as a personal blogger to present her distant and decontextualized audience her amalgamated “face” that blends the “faces” she has in particular contexts while talking to particular people. While the intimacy of smaller face-to-face communications makes it easier to be our authentic selves, venturing into the vast digital space may feel awkward and intimidating.
Laura Pasquini also warns that particular digital platforms come with their own “cultural, social and political context” that may or may not feel welcoming for particular people. Finally, Tom Mullaney’s video about the “Resting Scholar Face” encourages us not to overthink the particular expressions of our audience’s reactions, and at the same time to be mindful of how our own reactions could influence someone else. These materials together with the v/r map exercise that made me realize my own fears of fully participating in social media made me think about the difficulties some of my students encounter when they have to share their work with the entire class digitally or “show their faces” during online discussions. I am thinking of addressing these problems at the beginning of next semester, I still have to come up with effective ways of doing it.
This week’s synchronous session was extremely helpful and gave me many new ideas on how to use online platforms. Although I am excited to experiment with different platforms, I decided to limit them to one or two per class in order not to overwhelm my students. Learning how to sign up and use them could be especially difficult for students with ADHD. I will think of a better way to streamline the formats of my courses and to give my students clear instructions and demonstrations of how to use the platforms.