Just a simple addendum to the online identities node.
simpler today to everyone to create some kind of content on the
Internet. Computers and wireless connections are everywhere; free web
services of all kinds and it's increasingly tempting, easy and fast to
create accounts. So most often we create content everywhere, without
clear connections between one and another, a problem already mentioned
in the previous contribution (along with some cues regarding tentative
Some educational institutions are pushing the line, directly or
through some educators therein, of students having weblogs directly
related to their learning efforts. The underlying idea is that each
student generates, perhaps mandatorily, course-related content to share
with colleagues and staff. Often, students are asked to criticize the
content of others, in an effort to both, create always-active
course-related web conversations and collectively develop the now much-desired (21st century?) skills of connective writing and reading.
However, it seems to me that that's a little probability that all
students will use the weblogs their institutions have created as their
very own place on the Internet. First, they don't have total control of
their content. Second, the weblog will probably be deleted some day,
with all its content, as the student's phase with the institution is
only finite. Third, generated content will not be actually attached to
a real online identity, as the student's place is somehow clearly connected with the institution.
With this little set of perceptions at hand, it seems clear that you will only have a full, 21st century online identity
if you have a registered personal domain name. Being it your actual
name or something unambiguously related to it is not that relevant, as
long as it is widely recognizable by interested people to be you,
today, tomorrow, and in the far future. It's also important that you
set up some mechanism that concatenate all your web activity into this
place, something along the line of some of the today's lifestreaming
tools. Unfortunately, the transferring of a large number of content
items between different weblog platforms is not yet something you can
do without a headache.
The ideal situation: You approach an educational institution with an already well-grounded
online identity behind you. Then you'll aggregate course-related content
to your common, personal content. Ideally, you'll send RSS feeds for a
specific set of course-related tags you've created to the central
course aggregator tool. Therefore, you have a single place on the
Internet to support not only whatever web activities you like to
perform but also your learning activities in (if necessary) several
concurrent courses, provided a tagging convention is stablished and
used. You will carry with you all your generated content for your next
learning endeavours, avoiding discontinuities in your life-long learning experiences. Note that this is not only about content preservation, it's also about preserving the learning connections.
Actually, | don't have a domain name myself, and my "intense" web activity are still chaotically distributed over the Internet.