Digital citizenship: Community perceptions and supporting students

Louise Connelly, Vicki Madden

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Digital citizenship is a relatively new term that has become increasingly prominent but its significance within higher education is still understudied. This short talk will share findings from a PTAS-funded research project (2021) gauging community perceptions of digital citizenship in order to better support students and embed digital citizenship in teaching.

The project examines current research and explores the availability of University support alongside conducting ten semi-structured interviews with students and a range of colleagues. This enabled a better understanding of perceptions of digital citizenship, where teaching practice incorporated this concept, and what support is provided by the University. One participant captured what digital citizenship meant for them, stating that university is a transitional stage for learning and that digital citizenship is about your “life lived online.”

Positioning our findings alongside the conference sub-themes of “equality, diversity and inclusion” and “building community,” and the University's Strategy 2030, we present what digital citizenship encapsulates and propose practical approaches for embedding this concept within teaching and supporting a diverse cohort of students and staff, enabling them to become confident and compassionate digital citizens. This research will help our community navigate digital threats and feel empowered in digital spaces, in learning, and in everyday life. The findings inform a number of recommendations for how educators and higher education institutions can better support learners during their university journey and beyond graduation.

This topic has emerged as even more significant in higher education in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting shift to hybrid models of learning and teaching. Empowering students, providing opportunities to develop digital skills, and raising awareness about digital citizenship during their studies ensures that our students feel safe and confident in digital spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2022
EventUniversity of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference: LTC 2022 - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jun 202216 Jun 2022


ConferenceUniversity of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • digital citizenship
  • education
  • Safety
  • community


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  • Digital Citizenship

    Madden, V. & Connelly, L.


    Project: University Awarded Project Funding

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