Digital Citizenship and Ethics

This week, I started working on a workshop that I’m creating for the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference titled, “Your Digital Footprint: Develop your Online Academic Portfolio.” I planned to quickly cover a social media audit and digital citizenship briefly for the students attending the state-wide conference for undergraduate students interested in research, then spend the majority of time on strategies aiding to the students’ online presence so that a potential employer can find beneficial information about them online.

I found the below article describing 9 themes of digital citizenship that I wanted to share. Of the themes,  I can almost bet that most students who will attend my workshop will have never thought about conducting a social media audit and/or think about etiquette, or how they conduct themselves online. Most students, and even professionals do not think of their online presence and ethics of their technology use within their day-to-day lives.

9 Themes of Digital Citizenship

The idea of an online academic, or professional, portfolio is difficult for some students, and professionals to surmise. In 3rd party applications/websites, such as LinkedIn, a long-standing online professional network,  or STARS, a digital depository of academic work, the ethics of digital content sharing is magnified. Some of the learning outcomes developed by Cochrane and Antonczak include “Establish a collaborative mobile social media ePortfolio” and “Establish a professional digital identity and online presence”(Cochrane & Antonczak, 2015). I believe STARS’ digital depository is helping to create a collaborative ePortfolio network for UCF students. LinkedIn and Personal Learning Networks, along with the content you are sharing, helps create a professional digital identity.


My PLN visualization via LinkedIn Account. Created from

As educators, we should model the behaviors of digital rights and responsibilities when sharing and citing professional works. For example, on STARS, I have added a poster presentation that was presented at a state-wide conference. A colleague of mine at Florida Atlantic University, is also a presenter for the poster, and is connected to STARS on her own account at a different institution. Innovations like STARS helps students take credit for the work they have created, along with collaborating with scholarly colleagues and finding open access projects of other UCF authors. Academic portfolio sites, like STARS, allows students to share their work while retaining the copyright.

Developing your online portfolio as a professional is a depiction of digital citizenship and authorship/ethics. While not many students have classes  depicting these procedures and expectations on how to develop their academic/professional digital identities, we have to rely upon quick workshop series and modeling ethical digital citizenship principles for our students to receive the information that will continue to help them in their professional careers beyond their bachelor’s degree.

What would you add to an academic portfolio workshop for your students? How would this help them when looking for a job in the “real world”?




Cochrane, T., & Antonczak, L. (2015). Developing Students’ Professional Digital Identity. International Association for Development of the Information Society.



  1. Neshea Griffin

    Colleen, let me begin with, “Wow”! What an impressive collection of thoughts and analysis on digital citizenship. You have provided a number of thought provoking issues, that I personally have not even begun to explore. As I delve into my first semester of my new graduate program, I find myself being exposed to a world of totally new information and many practices that I was not familiar with in my past position as an Elementary Science Program Specialist. The STARS Digital depository of academic work that you mentioned, is new to me. I plan to conduct some explorations of these academic portfolio sites to become more informed. I have learned an equivalent amount of information from this post, as I have from this week’s readings. Thank you for supplying great information.
    You are correct in your assessment, and as a professional I have not often thought about the ethics of my personal technology use. I have considered social media, but only in regrards to seeking new employment opportunities.
    It is wonderful to be able to learn from each other, as you present yourself as an experienced resource for Personal Learning Networks, online portfolios, and digital citizenship in general. This encourages me to keep pressing forward, as there is so much that I have not considered while trapped in my, “District bubble”.

    • Colleen Smith

      Thanks Neshea! If you want to start looking more into STARS at UCF, here is the Librarian’s page (the person who runs it is helping me out with my workshop):

      I think this is where I started as well.. Making sure that my social media was up to snuff when I was job searching. Unfortunately, what I found is that no matter if you’re searching or not, that one piece of information is going to pop up that you didn’t think it would and when job-searching was the furthest from your mind. I’m so glad you got so much out of the post, Neshea. Please let me know at any time if you have questions, I’m happy to mind-dump. I also look forward to learning from you as well! 🙂

  2. Emma Anderson


    The fact that you’re participating in the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference is incredible! I hope to get to your level of professional participation someday. I truly congratulate you. During my undergraduate courses at UCF, we often discussed the importance of our digital footprint and the caution that is required when posting online-especially for those in education.

    I admit that I myself am guilty of sharing opinions online, though I am generally very good about making my profiles as private as possible. I agree with your statement that many do not think of their online presence, as I have seen peers make posts which cause me to physically cringe. I have never created a LinkedIn profile, nor do I know much about it to be honest. STARS sounds very interesting, as I often find myself creating what I think is great work for a class only to have it never been seen again. A portfolio such as STARS would allow me to display my best work, so thank you for sharing this resource!

    If I were to conduct an academic portfolio workshop, I believe I would want to include information on how to behave on social media-particularly if working with older children. It is so easy to post something on Facebook without realizing that one post can have long-term ramifications for our careers. Teachers are consistently being fired for private posts, and I think it’s important to share with students how deeply their “private” profiles can actually affect them professionally. Thank you for your post, and good look at the conference!


  3. Colleen Smith

    Hi Emma,

    FURC definitely a cool statewide conference for my undergraduates. I am a high-level extrovert and learn a lot from others. So I am a big fan of participating in conferences. Are there state-wide or national conferences teachers are able to go to? Do you all get professional development funds? I mean, I know you all sometimes have to buy your own supplies for your students.. but is a professional development budget a thing you all can tap into? I love being in a class with so many K12 teachers. I’m definitely learning a lot!

    What type of courses did you talk about your digital footprint? That’s great! I still state my opinions online too. I’m not sure if that hurts/helps my job prospects in the future. As there is quite a lot happening in our world today, I cannot imagine a higher education institution not wanting a staff/instructor who has an opinion. I could be wrong though. It all depends on what you want out of your profession and the career norm.

    You should try to get started with LinkedIn! I’m trying to get my student staff to start with their LinkedIn profiles this month. 1st stop: a professional profile picture! 2nd stop: adding things from your resume/CV to LinkedIn. It’s as easy as filling out a form. Here’s a How To Get Started link:

    Thank you for your insight on helping students learn how to behave on social media. I understand it is a constant struggle of, sometimes, second-to-second decisions whether to say/post something. Thank you!

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