Examining The Digital Footprint Awareness Of University Students: An Emerging Equity Issue For Higher Education

Year: 2015

Author: Buchanan, Rachel, Dennis, Jessica, Noble, Brittany, Scevak, Jill, Smith, Shamus, Southgate, Erica

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Digital footprint management is increasingly important for ensuring that all university students succeed in career development. This is an emerging equity issue in Higher Education as students from non-marginalised backgrounds come to university with more ICT skills and knowledge than students from marginalised groups (Sweeney & Geer, 2010) and universities are not adequately addressing the development of the digital skills needed for students in their career development (Hooley, 2012). In order address this disadvantage, universities need to go beyond ensuring equitable access to post-secondary education, and to direct efforts to ensure that students are given the necessary digital skills to achieve success beyond university, to ensure that access translates into participation and career attainment. This paper reports on research done in Australia on the relationship between equity and digital footprint management in Higher education.
This research identifies: (i) the difference in digital footprint knowledge and behaviour of university students from low SES backgrounds from other university students (ii) the approaches of Australian higher education institutions in educating undergraduate students about managing and curating digital footprints for successful personal and professional outcomes; (iii) and examples of evidence informed practice for the education of undergraduate students regarding digital footprint. This research is relevant for resource, policy and practice development in Higher Education, particularly in regards to ensuring that equity access to universities is accompanied by participation and success in career attainment.

Hooley, T. (2012). How the internet changed career: framing the relationship between career development and online technologies. Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (NICEC) 29.
Sweeney, T. & Geer, R. (2010). Student capabilities and attitudes towards ICT in the early years, Australian Educational Computing, 25, 18-24.