Topic 01: Online Participation and Digital Literacies

This week felt like the actual beginning of the course. We started to talk to each other, and the structure of the conversation began to emerge, and we established rules of collaboration—many questions at the beginning and a bit less as we went along.

By the way, our group is PBL 03. PBL stands for Problem-Based-Learning. For each topic, we are supposed to set up a FISh document. FISh stands for Focus, Investigate, Share. Reflect is also an important part here, but FISh sounds much better without an additional R. On the other hand, FIShR is not that bad either, and it feels a bit like a name of a start-up.


We dive head-first into telling each other what we think digital literacy means for each of us. It also seems that it is nice to have the PBL meeting before the actual webinar of the topic. It allows tapping into the perspectives of others, and it makes it possible to ask questions that one would not necessarily come up with alone.

There are a few things that surface the discussion at first. There is always a person in the team who proposes a new tool that is unknown to others. Most of my group have seen people good with finding information online, but there is still a lack of skills to interrogate or use technology to do research.

Focus and Investigation

It seems that one of the main challenges in this course is finding the focus. The investigation follows focus in the FISh approach, but one has to switch between focus and investigation several times. It was the case here as well.

It was interesting to see how different the proposed approaches towards investigation were. One direction was creating a survey to gather attitudes towards digital literacies from coworkers of each of the PBL group members. Another way was to look into references in the proposed material. Yet another way was to look up alternative materials online or in the library.

Creating a survey and asking real people to fill it gave energy to the process. It would be a good approach, but given the time limit, it seemed not to work out in the best possible way as a good survey needs time. One needs to evaluate the questions critically. The target audience has to be defined. The survey needs enough time to be open. One has to advertise it. The result we got was still enjoyable, even though roughly half of the participants were related to computer science studies. One of the key findings was that everybody who participated in the survey agreed that COVID-19 was when their digital literacies improved, but it was so mainly because they were forced to do it.

A new set of ideas appeared after exploring the material proposed for the topic. The “I feel stupid” phenomenon when starting a course. Many of us have the mindset of “there are no stupid questions,” but it is not so with everybody. How to encourage people to ask questions and how to ask questions in different ways? The importance of learning to learn. One of the most exciting topics for me was the importance of allocating enough time to learn. Scheduling lectures and meetings is easy, but scheduling a decent amount of time for learning or doing homework is a problem for many.

We were running out of time, and we decided to focus on exploring The Guide to Digital Competence published on a website called TechBoomers.


Inspired by the introduction presentation of another PBL group, we created a Google Jabboard to “jam” our presentation together. It seemed a good idea to try a new tool as a part of the course. Later in the process, we realized that it is a bit too limited for presentation context, especially if good graphic design is needed. TLDR; use Google Slides when you need to create a presentation as a team.

Want to boost your digital confidence and efficacy? Follow the six steps! Says the first slide of our presentation. We mashed together CC-0 licensed images with findings from our investigation process and managed to submit our assignment on time.


We ended up having several valuable observations after submitting our presentation on Topic 01. Using the clock method was nice. We should do better on time management and not leave the presentation to the last minute. None of us included references as we went, and it was a problem during the last minutes of completing the presentation. We should decide on the tools that we will use early on and make sure that nobody has problems using them.

Focusing should be emphasized. Figuring out the final form of the presentation early on is key. The more we solve on the go, the less stress there will be in the last minute.

I think most of us started to see the value of the FISh document. It seems to be there for a reason and it can work as a guide to get the most out of the course topics in a timely and structured manner.

Let’s see how that works for Topic 02!



Hi, my name is Krisjanis Rijnieks, I come from Riga, Latvia and am currently a part of Aalto Fablab, Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. I made this blog to document my participation in the Open Networked Learning (ONL) course.

I am interested in ONL because I am teaching another globally distributed course known as the Fab Academy. In ONL I expect to find new methods that I could use in my future practice.