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3. Module description

“As a person, I have to claim my persona as my own. If I don’t, my clone will do it for me.
”
― Jarod Kintz, Seriously delirious, but not at all serious*

During the course of this module we will attempt to answer the question posed in its title. The world of online digital communication afforded by the web, social media and virtual worlds is becoming an integral part of the professional experience. No longer restricted by physical geography professional collaboration crosses cultural boundaries and time zones. The ability to work effectively in this environment is essential for those joining the 21st Century workforce.

Familiarity with the legal frameworks, social conventions and etiquette that frame this online environment is a prerequisite to success. You will gain practical experience of collaborating online, negotiating shared outcomes, and delivering results as part of a team. The importance of developing and managing your online identity, or personal brand, will be explored in the context of online communities. You will be introduced to networks and encouraged to explore their interests while developing and refining your own virtual identity and you will have the opportunity to experience community building through participation in a team project.

The class maintains a strong focus on the impact of the regulations and conventions governing the creation and exploitation of content in various contexts to enable students to apply the theory of content creation in online spaces. Collaboration is an integral part of the module which includes a major Team Project. Participation will lead to a practical grasp of the use of online applications that support collaborative work in digital environments, exploring the creation and management of content in both the immediate classroom environment and the myriad digital platforms available, such as:

  • blogs and micro-blog sites
  • social networks
  • cross-posting management tools
  • virtual realities
  • video and audio sites
  • picture hosting sites.

Underpinning this experience will be an exploration of the nature of being – so that in venturing into the space inhabited by virtual avatars we can maintain a thread of contact with the ‘reality’ of our physical existence. Philosophers, cultural theorists, prophets and academics struggle with the concept of ‘self’ and we will jump into this maelstrom with guides such as Marshall McLuhan who foresaw the Global Village, Bernard Stiegler who proposes a radically different perspective on the impact of digital media, Daniel Dennett who suggests the ‘self’ is an elaborate construct, and Alan Wallace who argues for collaboration between theoretical physics and buddhism. These thinkers will support also our exploration into the nature of digital tools and their impact on our own lives and on society in general.

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1. Access online communities and virtual environments.
  2. Employ your own online virtual identity.
  3. Manage the reputation of your personal brand.
  4. Engage collaboratively in a cross-cultural online environment.
  5. Identify appropriate online tools to facilitate and enhance online communication.
  6. Explain how convention and regulation underpin successful virtual communities.
  7. Create original online content.
  8. Differentiate between personal gain and professional responsibility.

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*Kintz, J. (2012). Seriously delirious, but not at all serious. Amazon. ASIN: B008KWMPVW.

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