Sask. professor hosts class of thousands to talk about being a good digital citizen

A U of R professor will deliver an online lecture to thousands of students about being a good digital citizen, or #digcit.

A U of R professor will deliver an online lecture to thousands of students

Students use iPads to learn in class. (CBC News)

Our world is increasingly connected and children are at the forefront of the digital and cultural change.

Each day, in classrooms across the province, kids use screens to learn and work. While the learning spaces have changed, the challenges of adolescence have not.

This is why University of Regina professor Alec Couros is taking time to teach a class of at least 8,800 elementary and high school students on Tuesday. 

The lesson's focus? How to be a good digital citizen, or #digcit.

"Digital citizenship is a new way of looking at the anti-bullying initiatives that have been prevalent," Couros explained. 

Naturally, Couros will deliver the lecture through an online, interactive broadcast.

"Basically, it's a much more positive approach and much more realistic approach at looking at the behaviours of students and how they actually engage in the web, through web technologies," he said.

Couros estimates that the online forum may reach as many as 9,000 Saskatchewan students in 160 schools. 

The idea behind the forum is that good online behaviour is something that needs coaching.

Kids, like adults, may need a guide to help them maneuver the endless webs of knowledge available at the touch of a fingertip. A positive helping hand to steer them away from troves of online risk and clear of social media pitfalls, lurking predators and possible vulnerabilities. 

U of R professor Alec Couros. (University of Regina)

"Ultimately, it is about them being able to leverage the tools they have in their hands, in many cases, to make the world a better place," he said.

Couros' class is part of the 2015 Student First Anti-Bullying Forum, held in during Bullying Awareness Week in Canada. 

"Rather than just simply saying you should not bully someone, it is about creating these behaviours in students. What is out there? What is possible? How can they better the world, rather than just punishing negative behaviours."

What does being a good #digcit mean to you? How are you guiding your children or students through the online world? Let me know!

About the Author

Madeline Kotzer

@MadelineKotzer

Madeline Kotzer is an award-winning Saskatchewan journalist and Social Media News Editor/Presenter for CBC Saskatchewan and CBC Saskatoon.

with files from CBC's Micki Cowan

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