The Participation unit is designed to encourage reflection about the meaning of ethical participation and to foster the thinking skills needed to participate responsibly in online communities. Ideally, students will come away from such lessons with a stronger perception of themselves as citizens of various communities in which they participate online and offline—and with a greater sense of the responsibilities their citizenship entails.
We define participation broadly, as the ways in which people conduct themselves online. Participation online can include signing an online petition, commenting on a friend’s status update on Facebook, uploading an original video to YouTube, contributing to an ongoing blog, etc. Online spaces provide young people with positive opportunities to assume new roles, learn new skills, and collaborate with others to address urgent social problems. At the same time, opportunities to
participate in harmful or counterproductive ways abound online, such as through hate speech, griefing, trolling, cyberbullying, and other forms of misconduct that can harm both individuals and whole communities. Ethical participation is more likely when youth perceive themselves as citizens, and are reflective about
the norms that exist in “good” communities, their own roles and responsibilities, and the potential impact of their actions on others.
• In online contexts where communities can rapidly form, and just as rapidly disintegrate, how should norms of behavior be established, maintained, and respected?
• What are your roles and responsibilities in the online communities in which you participate?
• How can a person’s conduct in an online community affect other participants and the community as a whole?
Unit Lesson Overview
Establishing Community in a Blog
This lesson is designed to have students think about their role as participants in an online space (a blog), and begin to establish and understand their digital footprint in the context of contributing to a group blog.
Flamers, Lurkers and Mentors
Online Mysterious Strangers
Ethical Perspectives: Netiquette
Divided Nations – Novice/Veteran Members
Basic Guidelines and Rules for Online Spaces