The 21st century has seen a tremendous growth of technology used in everyday settings. This technology growth, and the growth in society’s digital presence with online profiles and social media platforms have led to an increasing need for students to maintain a professional digital identity, especially as undergraduates. Gill, Zampini, and Mehta (2015) define digital identity as “all-encompassing online presence of an individual that includes social media, professional profiles, and other discoverable content” (p. 1219).
Digital Identity & ePortfolios
Digital identity has become important in this technology driven century, yet it does not appear to be formally addressed in traditional undergraduate courses. Beyond social media and web browsing, many students do not have the necessary skills to build a digital identity (Cochrane & Antonzak, 2015). One form determined to be successful in creating a positive digital identity is electronic portfolios, otherwise known as ePortfolios. It is not only a collection of one’s progress and achievements, but it is a method that allows students to connect their learning from various contexts such as academic, workplace, service learning, and campus organizations, while also supporting professional development (Tosh, Light, Fleming, & Haywood, 2005; Gerbic, Lewis, & Northover, 2009).
College students, and anyone using social media, should consider what their digital identity is, and even, what you would like it to be. A social media monitoring company states that “nine out of ten employers will check the social media profiles of potential employees” (Montalvo, 2014). Social media is a powerful tool that can be used in a positive way to highlight what you have to offer in a profession, job, or industry. It is a method used to communicate and connect people in all different venues, that may even lead to new opportunities (Brand & Shahrzad, 2013).
Who am I?
These ideas surrounding digital identity began out of discussions and plans to integrate ePortfolios into the nursing program curriculum. The intent of ePortfolios was to encourage student reflection and support professional role development. In different settings, similarly to when logged into different social media tools, we can ‘tweak’ how we respond or what we share. There can sometimes be a focus on the negative aspect of one’s digital identity related to fear of what is posted or shared, therefore one goal of creating ePortfolios was to introduce and inform students how to use these tools to create a positive identity. Highlighting and sharing diverse qualities and interests, can lead to successful connections, or a positive image showcasing skills or work examples, stretching beyond the official transcript. CI senior nursing students used CI Keys (WordPress) to develop their web-based presence, by creating their own domains for ePortfolios this spring.
In collaboration with Arts Under the Stars (AUTS), led by performing arts faculty Heather Castillo, and in tandem with nursing student, Yosemite Olivo, digital identity will be just one topic addressed in the amazing performances delivered by performing arts students. The aim of this AUTS project is to inform all university students about the importance of digital identity, and to encourage students to start thinking and talking about how to prepare for the professional world earlier in their college careers.
Arts Under the Stars is planned on Friday, May 5th at 7:30 pm. I encourage you to come enjoy this exceptional event.
Brand, P., & Arasteh, S. (2013). Using linkedin and twitter for job search and career management. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 29(3), 33-44.
Cochrane, T., & Antonczak, L. (2015). Developing Students’ Professional Digital Identity.
Gerbic, P., Lewis, L. & Northover, M. (2009). Student perspectives of eportfolios: A longitudinal study of growth and development. In Same places, different spaces.
Gill, B., Zampini, A., & Mehta, N.(2015). Digital identity: Develop one before you’re given one. Urology, 85(6), 1219-1223.
Montalvo, M. (2014). Social media could affect job search, college search. University Wire.
Tosh, D.,Light, T., Fleming, K., & Haywood, J. (2015). Engagement with electronic portfolios: Challenges from the student perspective. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(3).