Web Presence

Web Presence

I first noticed my web presence one day when out of curiosity I decided to Google my name. I was pleasantly surprised when papers that I had written while working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and my presentations for my thesis project in Florida came up in the search.  Around the same time my niece in Florida contacted me to tell me she did a search for me and found an article written about me and an art class I was teaching for the Bristol Bay Campus in the Bristol Bay Times. I also went to search to see if I could find that one and found it. At the time I did my first search I defined my web presence as the information that would be found if someone decided to do a web search with your name. I think now I would be more inclined to define my web presence as a virtual profile.

A web presence is extremely important to our students. Pan 2012, states that it is now important for students to begin thinking about their web presence as a personal branding that potential employers and educational intuitions will be looking for. Employers are not only looking for good resumes they are looking to see how professional you are online. It is important to think about what you put online and even what you don’t. A good virtual profile will show your level of professionalism and initiative. Not only is your web presence important, but so is your digital footprint, those traces you leave where ever you go when online. This can include social sites along with web searches and any website you visit. Your web presence and digital footprint can determine whether you get a job or into the college of your choice. In a video presentation by the Cheshire School Business Partnership they presented findings that in businesses and schools there was content that encouraged them to hire or accept people with a good online personality and professional profiles. Colleges and business are looking at Facebook pages to decide on whether or not to hire or accept a student. What students don’t realize is that whatever they post stays on there forever even if you delete something it can still be found. What you post can come back to haunt you so be careful with what you post and where you go online. The video states, “make your digital footprint reflect your best skills.” Something all students need to think about. I think it is important to start discussing these subjects with k-12 students at an early age.

Today kids start going online by the time they can talk. Students need to know that what they do online will follow them through their entire lives. I know my grandchildren’s lives are being documented online now. When my daughters were young their pictures were saved in an album on the shelf that only close family and friends could see. Now anyone can see the pictures of children because they have photo albums online, dvd’s, and in the cloud. This presents issues of privacy for parents and students. If you have pictures of young children online you definitely want to protect their privacy and not just allow anyone to be able to find and view the pictures. I also have heard from community members and friends that my students have posted party pictures that will now be following them. I don’t think they learned early enough how this can affect their lives and that it will be in the virtual world forever.

I believe that college students and high school students both should be asked to begin establishing their web presence and personal learning networks in classes like this and all classes for that matter. I am planning on having students blog for anatomy and physiology. Now I will discuss it as part of their web presence and encourage them to start on their personal learning networks as well. It will be important for these students because many of them have plans on going into the medical field in the future. We will have to talk about copyright issues and intellectual property because their blog will be online. They will need to learn how to cite any sources they use. I have already begun having them search for images that are in the commons and free to use or even edit. Even those images will need to be referenced whenever possible especially when being placed in an online format.

As we move more into Cloud technology we will find our privacy more and more at risk. Freedman (2012) in an article on the Chronicle  defines the cloud as follows:

            The term cloud describes the virtual, server-based world that is controlled by the  Web or by mobile networks. Because cloud technology is driven by common data standards, cloud-based systems learn about their users very quickly. Such systems can mine data about users because each log-in and keystroke is analyzed in order to synthesize that data, feed it back, and share it with researchers and other users and systems.

He then goes on to point out that schools are still in the fog about the cloud and need to utilize the cloud to help students:

            Although some colleges have started using analytics to track students’ progress, many remain driven by “dumb” technologies that know very little about their users. My son’s college data is not retained, reorganized, safeguarded, or fed back to him—whether to make him a better student or to improve his college experience. By comparison, the “smart” information systems prevalent on Amazon, Google, and Facebook know their users very well—maybe too well. The right information systems in higher education would be able to parallel smart and secure systems found elsewhere.

If cloud technology could be used by schools and universities to mine data on students learning it could be used for RTI (response to intervention) and other information that instructors could use to help their students learn and retain information. It would be great if the cloud could help us keep parents informed at least at the k-12 level as to what their students are doing and/or not doing. Instead of a teacher taking time out of their day to call a parent about missing homework cloud technologies could alert them much quicker and possibly even send suggestions on how to help their child get the work done (I might be dreaming here, but boy would that be nice).

I think it is possible to manage your web presence the young girl in the video mentioned above put it nicely: never put anything online that you would not want your parents  to see. Now it is necessary to think not only of your parents but potential employers and school admissions. I think if you do always remember that it really wouldn’t be necessary to have a private and public web presence. You may want to keep your family photos private and have a separate public or business presence. I know I don’t want everyone to see photos of my grandchildren or even my daughters so my settings are different from those photos then say photos of my artwork that I want public and hope that anyone can see. However, whether it is public or private always be mindful of what is being put out there it is in a virtual world after all and who knows if it is always going to be private.

So finally it is extremely important to protect and revise your web presence according to White (2011) 48% of employers check personal websites, social media, and blogs when deciding if they want to hire you, so make it good. Employers will look to see how you spend your spare time so don’t think showing off your party side will get you a job. Employers and schools are looking for people who are organized and reputable. I recently even heard that some interviewers for jobs were asking people for their Facebook passwords. I think that is an invasion of privacy, but they can still ask to view your Facebook page or look at it.

Pan (2012), suggests that students need to create their own personal online brand. Who you know and what you do online can help you get a position quicker than the best resume out there in today’s technological world. Seventy-eight percent of recruiters do a Google search on job seekers along with checking references, 63% of recruiters check social media sites of job seekers. Current employers will check and make sure you are being professional online and not abusing social media at work or out of work (White 2011). Your online reputation can help or hurt you. Even no online presence can hurt you in today’s job market. No web presence can make you look like you have no drive or even a level of professionalism. So work on your web presence, write professional blogs, brand yourself, and above all make sure you put out a good reputation and your future should be hopeful.

Freedman, G. (2012, April 29). Cloud technology can lift the fog over higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from http://chronicle.com/article/Cloud-Technology-Can-Lift-the/131673

Pan, J. (2012, August 12). Students, Here’s How to Kick-Start Your Personal Brand Online.  Mashable. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2012/08/29/personal-branding-for-students/

Protecting Your Digital Footprint. (2011, January 6). Protecting Your Digital Footprint. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from /Protecting-Your-Digital-http://www.schooltube.com/video/d4e1ce965f05c53f961aFootprint

White, C. (2011, November 2). Protecting your online reputation: 4 things you need to know [INFOGRAPHIC]. Mashable. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://mashable.com/2011/11/02/protecting-your-online-reputation/


About jdoster17

I am a teacher in bush Alaska. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Limnology and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida (UCF). My Master’s Thesis was Analysis of Reproductive and Spatial Nesting Patterns of a Wading Bird Colony at Gatorland, Orange County, Florida. This research was an integrated approach including reproductive ecology, ornithology, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, and statistics. I also attended the University of Memphis and earned 12 credits towards a Ph.D. in Biology. I will graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May, 2012 with a Masters in Education. I received my three year teaching certificate for the state of Alaska in October 2005 and my five year Professional certificate for the school year 2008/2009. I am highly qualified in accordance with NCLB to teach biology, chemistry and art through college credits and degrees. I have completed and passed PRAXIS II for Earth Science and Physical Science. At present I am highly qualified to teach art, biology, chemistry, earth science, life science, and physical science.
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7 Responses to Web Presence

  1. Skip Via says:

    You have grandchildren?

    This is very nicely conceived and written. I wonder how many of us had the same initial thoughts about web presence by Googling ourselves? I know it was an eye-opening experience for me. I wonder how that experience will change for your daughters’ children and for the millions of other children whose parents document every aspect of their lives online, typically starting in utero. My children are older and I never publish anything about them online, as I think it’s their business to do that and not mine, but I wonder how they will deal with the issue if/when they have families. It’s going to create an interesting shift in the notion of privacy, I think.

    I appreciated your comments about the need to work with K-12 students to understand and begin to proactively deal with their own web presences. I’m not aware of any AK curriculum that deals with this in any way other than to restrict what students can access. If you (or anyone else) knows of any, I’d love to see it. (I think I’ll post that to my PLN later, now that I’m thinking about it.)

    I love the idea of having your students blog about anatomy and physiology. Let me know if/when those become public. I’d love to see them and perhaps add a comment or two.

    One minor edit: When my daughters were young their pictures were saved in an album on the shelve that only close family and friends could see. < Shelf? Also–you might want to create an occasional paragraph or two to make things a bit more readable. 😉

    • jdoster17 says:

      Yes I have grandchildren six of them as a matter of fact 3 girls daughters of my oldest daughter who all live in Florida. Three boys my youngest daughter’s sons who live in my childhood home in New York. I enjoy them all very much.

      Since doing this assignment I have spoken with my anatomy and physiology class about their web presence. They actually brought it up and I chimed in. I told them that anything inapporiate could come back to haunt them at any time. Then we talked about having a good digital footprint including a web presence that could be enhanced by the blog that I am planning on having them start. I even mentioned that they needed to start thinking about beginning their own personal learning networks. I do know that students taking AP History this year setup a facebook page for homework questions and discussions so some of them already are. I will go back and try and seperate my paragraphs I guess I just started writing answer all the questions and it all ran together. I will also fix shelve. Thanks for the comments. Jodi

  2. Heidi (CDE) says:

    I also went to searched (doesn’t need “ed”) to see if I could find that one and found it.

    but so is your digital footprint (insert comma?) those traces you leave where ever (one word) you go when online.

    The video states (insert comma) “make you (should this be youR?) digital footprint reflect your best skills.”

    So finally it is extemely (extremely)

    I had to google RTI – I didn’t know what that stood for.

    Run on sentence: I think it is possible to manage your web presence the young girl in the video put it nicely never put anything online that you would not want your parents  to see.

    Seventy-eight percent of recruiters check search of job seekers along with references, (I didn’t quite get this)

    I agree with your statement ,”A good virtual profile will show your level of professionalism and initiative.” and I’m very glad that you, as an educator, are preparing your students for this. As you references, recruiters are doing searches on potential students and employees and there are measure that one can take to provide good and professional information.

    I also thought it interesting that you mentioned your photo albums and the different method that your children are taking with their children. Sometimes I am shocked at what people put online about their kids. I would advocate your position (which is echoed by Skip) about being very careful with their children’s presence.

    I liked your comments about having an academic cloud that would actually help you out as an educator. I agree, wouldn’t that be nice! Thanks for sharing.

    • jdoster17 says:

      Thanks for the edits Heidi hopefully it is easier to read now.

      Yes it would be so nice if parents could get cloud updates on their students progress. Who knows maybe someday it will be happening. Kids think they can’t get away with anything now just wait and it could get much worse for them or better depending on how you look at it. If students knew their parents would get an instant message when they were off task and not getting work done they might just do it.

  3. Ilana says:

    I think this was well written. I liked your statement that it’s “important to think about what you put online and even what you don’t.” In my experience, some undergraduate students are happy that they do not have a web presence—they don’t want to be found—and you’re 100% correct noting that what you don’t put online may affect you. Later on in your article, you explain why—that employers and educational institutions are looking for information about you on the web! I wonder what employers think when they look for someone and can’t find them.

    Regarding “I am planning on having students blog for anatomy and physiology,” and getting students to actually have a web presence, I always feel cautious about this. What if the student really doesn’t want to have a web presence? I don’t think educators should force students to have web presences on third party application sites. I think it should be up to the student. Perhaps the student has had past experiences with a bad web presence and they’ve cleaned it up and don’t want to start a new one. Or what if they just don’t want to be found. There’s also the privacy issue of signing up with a third-party vendor and having them data mine information about the account user.

    I think your idea about using cloud technology to track student progress is really neat and innovative! Again, I’m always concerned with privacy issues and would be concerned about having student data stored in the cloud with a third party vendor—but I guess that’s the wave of the future.

    • jdoster17 says:

      Ilana, Thank-you for the thoughtful comments. You may be right about a student not wanting to blog because of a bad web experience. In this case though their privacy will not be an issue because blog is housed on our school network and they can set the blog to be private and only I and their classmates will be able to view it and/or comment. It will be their decision if they want to make it public. I also never allow them to put their last name on anything that goes on the web including VoiceThread for which I have a education subscription. Since the blog is purely educational and they will only be writing about labs, projects, and science or medical news. I don’t think it will have a negative impact. If a student has a legitimate reason for not wanting to be on a website I would give them an alternative probably a written journal. I am pretty sure all my students have Facebook Pages though so I don’t think any of them mind being online. Privacy will always be an issue in this new virtual realm we are moving into so students need to be aware of it. As educators we probably want to help make sure our students understand these issues and now more then ever they need to think about creating a good and professional web presence. Jodi

  4. Hi Jodi,

    I’m late for chiming in but I’d like to add that I too think you bring up some interesting ideas about the pros and cons of cloud presence. I too am a little mystified with all the mommy blogs and proud Facebook parents. Even aside from basic safety, children are growing up seeing their images published online with discussion revolving around them.

    As a parent, I subscribe to Powerschool’s daily digest email grades/attendance for my freshman son and have subscribed him as well. Coming out of a small charter school, it has been a life saver for helping him navigate his new high school level responsibilities. It is sort of an imperfect system though because it requires that the teachers actually use it (and I’m happy to report that they all are actively so far, a huge change since my daughter went through 7 years ago) and also that parents do too. If I were worried about my kid’s performance, I would love to immediately get a text if something was awry. Perhaps one day true digital personalization for parents will be a reality.

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