Topic 1-Reflection

Upon starting the module I knew that I would be presented with a variety of new and interesting challenges.Firstly, the online format of the module is something entirely new to me and coupled with the inexperience I had at blogging it all seemed rather overwhelming initially.however, once I set up my blog and began to to explore the concepts of online systems I was opened up to a digital world that was both insightful and complex.

Considering the topic covered this week of digital residents and visitors, I was given an opportunity to reflect on my own personal position on the digital scale based on my level of engagement with online systems.while I would consider myself a digital resident based on my social online interactions, I feel that I could strengthen my online identity by engaging with a greater number of digital programmes. The improvement to my online identity has already begun however, through using WordPress, I’ve been granted the opportunity to to express values of my personality, while also providing an informative understanding of digital worlds in an academic manner. As I reflect personally in regard to my digital engagements, I am also able to recognise how others members of the module fall on the digital scale, as well as their personal take on the issues presented from topic 1.

After reading and commenting on Rebecca and Jordan’s blog’s respectively, I was given a deeper understanding of some key debates in relation to external influences that promote online interactions, and the issue of possibly being “left behind” if online systems are not adopted. Rebecca mentioned that often people feel pressured in to using digital systems in order to upkeep social ties.In a similar vein, Jordan spoke of the stigma surrounding digital incompetence that many only worsen as technology advances.



Digital “Visitors” and “Residents”

The concept of digital “visitors” and “residents” followed from presnky’s now outdated notions of digital “Natives” and “Immigrants”. Prensky (2001) Indicated a generational divide between the digital competence of online users, regarding young online operators as “digital natives”, experiencing privileged access to digital systems throughout their life-course, causing them to become accomplished expert’s within digital settings. “Digital Immigrants”, However, are indicated as older online users, unexposed to the technological norms that exist until the later stages of their life and therefore are required to adapt to new digital environments (Prensky, 2001).

Prensky’s categorisation of digital users naturally faced critique for its broad method of classification based on age, while fundamentally ignoring the cultural and socio-economic factors that impact digital proficiency (White and Cornu, 2011). Consequently, Prensky’s ideas have evolved into the more contemporary notions of digital “residents” and “visitors”, which doesn’t implicitly group digital users into a specified category, but instead places them on a moving scale based on their varying degrees of online engagement (White and Cornu, 2011). This is explained in the following video by White (2014).

Digital Residents

Digital “residents”, According to White and Cornu (2008) place emphasis on the preservation of an online identity, utilising the possibilities presented by online networks, both as a tool for improved social capital and in their professional lives appropriately. In this respect, the online persona of digital resident can be seen to undergo developmental growth as digital users online social networks expand and their online characteristics continue to reflect offline activities (White and Cornu 2008).

Digital Visitors

Digital “visitors”, unlike digital residents, place less dependence on the use of online systems as an extension of their life. Instead, digital visitors will utilise web based activities only when necessary (White and Cornu 2008). Digital visitor’s online engagements are usually activities that are less representative of an identity, but instead are functional activities such as checking e-mails or searching the web  (White and Cornu 2008).

Considering my own online identity, I view myself very much as a digital resident. The interactivity permitted to me by online networks has become a crucial factor in upholding social ties with friends and family, but also as a platform for self-expression and individuality. My parents on the other hand, I would regard as digital visitors. Using online services as a convenient tool for web searches and watching YouTube videos.


Harris, L., Warren, L., Leah, J. and Ashleigh, M. (2010) Small steps across the chasm: ideas for embedding a culture of open education in the university sector

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon,9(5), 1-6.

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement.First Monday16(9).

White. D and Cornu, A.L (2008) TALL blog post. Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’

White.D.S (2014) TALL blog post,  What exactly are your students up to online?

White.D.S, (2014) Visitors and residents