This week, I stumbled on etmoocing colleague Catherine's post on "Enacting Digital Identity" which looked at "digital dualism", the idea that there is a clear separation between the "real" and the "virtual"and the complexity of interaction between student and teacher in those contexts where the enactment of digital identity poses some interesting questions. Catherine writes wearing her educator's hat, and although this post (and other excellent entries in her blog) was written before etmooc, I gather there might be some discussions happening in the mooc where her experience in teaching about this has been harnessed within the learning community. For me, etmooc is so nebulous that I really struggle to find where these conversations occur and I sense them only through the ghostly digital footprints they leave in the twitter and blogospheres. One day I hope to nail one down and join in, but that's another story....
Also this week, fellow student Ary, in her unmistakably intimate style, delved into how others may perceive and judge us through the identities that we project in the digital realm. "To Cyberspace with Love" is a very reflective piece which takes us on a journey from identity in the real world (as seen through the medium of film) to cyberspace where, through the opportunity for self discovery, we might find a comfortable niche in which aspects of self which struggle to thrive in the world of light and air can blossom. (Woah, long sentence)
The other post I really enjoyed was written by Susana. "A general idea" is a philosophical discussion about the way knowledge is constructed and how that relates to the revolution in education of which we are all part. Whilst not about digital identity, Susana is unleashing her inner English speaking self, hoping that her Spanish friend sits quietly in the background. And although a bit of Spanish thinking finds its way onto the page, nothing is lost in translation: the messages in this article come through loud and clear. In fact, I just love reading the thoughts of people for whom English is not their native tongue. They often have the ability to drill straight to the point without the extravagant excesses of verbal profusion. And besides, it is often poetically beautiful in its simplicity and unique expression.
And so to myself, what have I chosen, subconsciously or otherwise, to project through what I write and how I write about it? I have consciously decided to steer clear of my academic persona. It's pretty dry (I have one of those highly focused scientist's brains) and if that was what I chose to present, then nobody would give my blog a second look and I'd be friendless in this community. Besides, it's too boring and requires too much brain grinding for a summer holiday activity.
Much of my life's writing has been as a ghost writer. Now psychotherapists could have a field day with that one, especially since I write for my husband, whose unstructured, humorous and highly unconventional, engaging style I can emulate with such similarity that his editors cannot tell which is his and which is mine. Actually, they have never known it wasn't him, so fortunately I use my own name (not my married title) in my online projections of self. Please keep my secret safe. Actually, that's not entirely true. I use my own name because it is my own name and in cyberspace, I can choose whichever name I want. Period.
Do I write as a teacher? Maybe I identify myself as one, but I write with such lack of discipline here on my blog, that I certainty don't sound like one. Anyhow, I'm not really a teacher, I'm a tutor, a mentor a facilitator. That's the conscious way I choose to tag myself.
So who am I here? I don't actually know, I think it's me. It's a journalling me, thinking aloud in words, thrashing an idea out on a keyboard. I thought there was only one me, but I can see there are many, all those different people in my head! When we hook up on our MOOC journey, which person will it be that others think they are connecting with? And which of their selves will I make friends with?
I'm drawn to Ary's writings because they are personal, vulnerable and inviting.They don't exclude you, they draw you in and inspire you to question. I've talked with her online, and she's actually a lot like her writing self. I'm drawn to Catherine's writings because they are interesting and authoritative. I kind of trust that what she says is well informed and "right". I'm drawn to Susana's blog because I'm intrigued to follow her development through the course, to see how her ideas emerge as she develops fluency of thought and language. I haven't had the opportunity to find out if Catherine and Susana are their moocing writing selves. I guess we are an aggregate of our personas, so that "writing self" will be in there somewhere.
I'm not in this for grades or a job or to use my writings for another course. I'm here for fun, intellectual stimulation and to learn some practical things about eLearning and develop some insight into the humanity of our relationship with technology. So I guess I will be drawn to those who it seems will partner me in that quest, whether just by virtue of their online presence or perhaps by a more connected relationship which may develop in whatever way. It will spring first from what they write and how they write it. If I don't understand what they are talking about, or if I don't identify with the person who emerges from that writing, then we won't connect. I suppose those who will connect with me will do so for reasons I will probably never know, although it will be someone who isn't put off by the rambling self indulgent nature of my blog.
Either way, it will be because what we write will need no translation, whichever one of our mulitple identities is putting it out there!
Future Identities: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/foresight/docs/identity/13-523-future-identities-changing-identities-report.pdf