Students learn digital literacy in workshop

Students uncovered misconceptions about social media


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Doctoral candidate Lucy Johnson presents on social media surveillance and privacy Tuesday.

LINH NGUYEN, Evergreen reporter

Students learned how to protect their personal information from data mining by companies such as Facebook and Snapchat during a Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation workshop Tuesday.

Lucy Johnson, a rhetoric and composition professor at WSU who led the conversation, said it’s important to be an active user and be aware of how to protect personal information in the new age of media.

“With the ways that social media has had a role in political discourse,” Johnson said, “it is especially pertinent today.”

She had students take a quiz about misconceptions of Facebook, such as that sex offenders are not allowed to use the social media site.

Facebook can remove any content users upload as they see fit, and will update contact information within 48 hours of a user changing their phone number.

Johnson turned the YouTube terms of service agreement into a scavenger hunt of sorts, asking students to find answers to questions.

Students discovered that YouTube controls ownership rights to all content uploaded, and is able to remove any uploaded content from the site any time, without prior notice.

Johnson also showed how some websites, such as BlueKai Registry and FamilyTreeNow, stockpile large amounts of information, collected through cookies placed on internet databases, which anyone can access online.

Some platforms, such as Instagram, have made progress in terms of service by changing the language and making it more accessible to a younger audience, Johnson said.

Kristin Carlson Becker, clinical assistant professor of English at WSU, organizes the Digital Foundations Workshops to help students understand their digital presence.

“The workshops are a way to expose students to courses they wouldn’t be able to take otherwise,” Becker said.

She said future workshops will bring in instructors of different expertise.

The next workshop will be about digital mindfulness, to help students prepare and organize the multiple electronic resources required in their profession or classrooms.

The workshop will take place from 3 – 4 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.

Correction: This article has been updated from it’s original version. Registered sex offenders are not allowed to use Facebook.