Communication, collaboration, and participation

This aspect of digital literacy is about respectful, positive, and effective participation in digital networks. As a student at Western you'll join your learning community in online spaces such as vUWS (opens in a new window) and OrgSync (opens in a new window), and you may also have opportunities for communication and collaboration via platforms like Facebook (opens in a new window), Twitter (opens in a new window) , Snapchat (opens in a new window) or Instagram (opens in a new window).


The way you present yourself in online platforms is equally as important as your face-to-face interactions. These two things are connected: the things you post and do online are not separate from your real self, so you need to remain aware of how you will be perceived, and maintain a positive digital identity.

You could even say this is your personal brand, and just like a marketing brand it needs to be managed to ensure the right messages are put out to the world. This doesn't mean you need to tell lies or omit information - in fact, just the opposite! Presenting yourself in an authentic, courteous way and demonstrating respect for the feelings and opinions presented by others is a great way to approach online communication and collaboration.


You can harness technology for collaboration as well as communication. Web-based applications like Google Docs (opens in a new window) allow real-time editing by all group members, removing the need to endlessly email different versions to each other. Just search for 'collaboration tools' in your favourite search engine (or ask your personal learning network!) to get the latest technology at your fingertips. You'll also find useful links to some of the tools provided by the University in the ICT Proficiency section of this site.

Other popular web-based technologies for communication and collaboration are blogs and wikis (opens in a new window). It's possible some of your assignments may involve use of these tools, either within vUWS (opens in a new window) or using external sites. One famous wiki is Wikipedia (opens in a new window) but there are many others, usually based around particular topics, which can be a useful source of information and links to material.

Please note, though, that wikis and blogs are not considered to be scholarly sources. Depending on the context of your assignment, they will not usually be suitable sources for you to cite in your reference list. For more detail please visit the Information, data and media literacies section of this site.


Your participation in the digital world is ideally a two-way interaction. To be fully digitally literate, you will not only be a capable, confident consumer of information and technology, but you will also become an active participant as a producer of content.

Understanding the technical, legal, social, and ethical aspects of digital content creation will ensure you can contribute in a positive way to our networked society.

Digital inclusion refers to the idea that people of all backgrounds and abilities deserve equal access to technology and its benefits. As a creator of content, it's worth considering your material's accessibility (opens in a new window) and providing alternative access methods wherever possible.

Drop into a campus library (opens in a new window) and ask Library staff or chat with an Online Librarian (opens in a new window) or ask a study expert.