What is Digital Identity?


Digital identity is the idea that everything interacting in the digital realm has or acquires a set of data or attributes, both inherent and changeable, that uniquely identify them as a person or entity online. Relevant to issues of privacy and authentication, digital identity encompasses a wide array of contextual and technical identifiers that exist in a ontological taxonomy. Traits can be understood and accepted in mutually agreed upon contexts such as when providing data like name and address for a PayPal transaction, and in the far more technical view that describes the relationships of these entities and objects to each other in cyberspace.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Progress is being made on cheating due to plagiarism or in online examinations over distance. However, there are still challenges facing us in relation to reliable identification of candidates, paricularly in developing countries. A robust identity verification system is required internationally. Some work being done in Estonia on international digital identities looks interesting: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21605923-national-identity-scheme-goes-global-estonia-takes-plunge - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • Introduction of the idea of 'digital identity' to students so they realise that they leave a digital footprint behind them - which can cause problems as well as advantages in terms of their own mobility, transferability of skills and their online 'presence'.- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015 I fully agree with Alison. This is a very important issue and students need to be given opportunities to reflect on the way they construct their digital identities. This should be part of a Digital Literacies course that should be offered to all students not only in Higher Education but also at secondary level. - francoise.blin francoise.blin Feb 14, 2015 Fully agree but the idea of digital identity should be introduced as early as possible in the education system - primary school - so that students' understanding of their digital identity can mature and develop over time. This will not happen by osmosis and definite programmes / steps have to be put in place to ensure this happens. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015 +1 on importance of digital identity, awareness of digital footprint, etc from a young age. Remarkable to think that a growing number of infants now have a social network profile 'of their own' before they even start school (for instance: here and here ) - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 15, 2015
  • Technology(ies) that allow students (and staff), especially 'off-campus' students (and the academics that work with them) to have a more authentic sense of themselves and others in online environments will facilitate easier socialisation, interaction in learning activities etc. - james.brunton james.brunton Feb 12, 2015
  • Digital identity can be closely associated with students' construction of a lifelong learning digital footprint (or portfolio) which facilitates the aggregation of digital artefacts, processes and outputs alongside opportunities to reflect on student's personal, academic and professional journey. This portfolio can be exposed and targeted at a ranges of stakeholder audiences.- paul.gormley paul.gormley Feb 22, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Cross referencing needed with Learning Analytics. - jimdevine jimdevine Feb 10, 2015
  • How you can protect your digital identity online - cybersquatter concerns or theft of your online 'identity'- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 14, 2015
  • The impact of using nicknames in virtual spaces as opposed to their real names: in my own experience, online interactions between students and between students and teachers have drastically increased since I moved away from VLE forums to a collective Wordpress blog where students are asked to use a nickname and have to decide how much they want to reveal about their real identity (e.g. use of first name or not). Over the years, many students have told me that they don't like exposing themselves to their peers.- francoise.blin francoise.blin Feb 14, 2015
  • Further awareness around issues of privacy, ownership and custodianship of user data, "right to be forgotten" - enda.donlon enda.donlon Feb 15, 2015
  • Digital identity in higher education is very much related to digital literacy of both students and teachers (I've suggested that Digital Literacy is considered as a new topic in RQ2 per FB's comment above). For example, Barnett and Coate (2005) suggest being digital in the C21 higher education context is influenced by knowledge, skills/actions and being (i.e. a sense of 'self' which manifests itself in one's digital identity). In other words the definition of digital identity above does not explicitly capture captures the ability of the person to apply digital knowledge, skills, tools and attributes (although this may be covered by the 'ontological taxonomy' wording). - paul.gormley paul.gormley Feb 22, 2015
  • Digital Literacies - paul.gormley paul.gormley Feb 22, 2015 This suggestion is closely related to the topic 'Digital Identity'
    Digital identity in higher education is very much related to digital literacy of both students and teachers. For example, Barnett and Coate (2005) suggest being digital in the C21 higher education context is influenced by knowledge, skills/actions and being (i.e. a sense of 'self' which manifests itself in one's digital identity). In other words the definition of digital identity above does not explicitly capture captures the ability of the person to apply digital knowledge, skills, tools and attributes (although this may be covered by the 'ontological taxonomy' wording) Learning design approaches need to embed contextualised digital literacies into the curriculum. At present, there is a lot of noise about digital literacies with few practical examples of how these can be operationalised. However, with the emergence of digital literacy frameworks (e.g. Open University, JISC/Beetham, DigEULit) we are now seeing useful case studies emerging. As many of these frameworks are based on constructive alignment models, the inclusion of authentic learning opportunities can be easily incorporated into the curriculum (especially into the professional curriculum that has a work place element to the learning programme). Much of the research in this area recommend this approach (and stresses a move away from generic ICT models like the ECDL). Incorporating these tools and practices into the curriculum acknowledge the importance of digital lteracies as generic transferable comptencies (graduate attributes) to institutions, academics and students. It has to be engineered - it won't happen by osmosis.
    Digital literacies and identify can be closely associated with students' construction of a lifelong learning digital footprint (or portfolio) which facilitates the aggregation of digital artefacts, processes and outputs alongside opportunities to reflect on student's personal, academic and professional journey. This portfolio can be exposed and targeted at a ranges of stakeholder audiences (including prospective employers). [Editor's Note: Fantastic points! Added here from RQ2]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on third-level education in Ireland?

  • It will make it easier for us to deliver accredited education to a huge worldwide audience and to exploit our relatively good reputation in Higher Education and the fact that this is an English speaking country. - brian.mulligan brian.mulligan Feb 11, 2015
  • Mobility, interoperability between colleges & transferability- Alison.Egan Alison.Egan Feb 12, 2015
  • There is a potential positive impact on the ability of students, and staff, to have a more authentic sense of themselves and others in online environments. - james.brunton james.brunton Feb 12, 2015
  • It is important for HEIs to raise awareness of digital identify issues (e.g. privacy); and make space in the curriculum to practice the use of digital tools and processes in specialist subject disciplines and as generic transferable competencies for graduates in the C21.- paul.gormley paul.gormley Feb 22, 2015
  • With an ever increasing acceptance of digital literacy as a transferable graduate competency/attribute, moves towards incorporating digital knowledge, skills and practices across the HEI curriculum will gain traction. This can be in the form of augmenting learning outcomes to reflect associated digital practices; the development of digital artefacts for individual or group assessment submissions; or the construction of a student digital passport/porfolio for the duration of their higher education study and beyond (i.e. into the professional space). - paul.gormley paul.gormley Feb 22, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?


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