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The Digital Student

Digital Identity


This part of the guide is all about how to protect your digital identity. It covers 

  1. Staying safe online. Simple ways to make sure you can protect yourself from online criminals.
  2. Digital footprint. Make sure that your presence online is positive and how to avoid situations that might damage your reputation. 
  3. Digital citizenship. We all have a responsibility to respect others online in the same way you would in the rest of your life. 

Use this quiz to self-assess your knowledge of issues related to digital identity. Create your own user feedback survey

Digital Safety


We all spend an increasing portion of our time online, whether this is part our employment, studies or personal life.

We all need to take responsibility for our own "Digital safety". It is important to recognise that our behaviour may leave us open to threats to our reputation, privacy, finances or general wellbeing.

There are a number of simple things we can all do to protect ourselves while online.

The following are our top six tips to ensure your digital safety.

Ways to ensure your Digital Safety

1. Create strong passwords

Passwords are one of the most important lines of defense you have in protecting yourself online from hackers and fraudsters. Unfortunately many of us do not use strong passwords, we sacrifice our safety for the ease and convenience of something that is easy for us to remember, often using the same passwords for multiple applications and websites. 

2. Keep software (especially antivirus) up to date

Ensure that you have up to date antivirus software on your devices. For students with an iPad, regularly check that your are using the latest IOS.


3. Regularly back up data

It is impossible to anticipate when a device might break or be lost or stolen so it is important for you to always keep a backup of any important documents. There are two main types of documents you need to backup, 

  • Important/cherished documents such as photographs, certificates, product warrantees, important correspondents etc. These documents aren't going to change so they only need to to be backed up once. 
  • Current working documents such as assignments and essays. These documents will be changing regularly and   so we also need to be backed up on a regular basis. 


4. Protect your mobile devices

Protecting your mobile or tablet device is essential as they do as much traveling around as you do and tend to house lots of your important personal data. Here are some important areas to be be aware of.

  • Ensure the wireless network/wifi you are using is secure. Never log onto to a network you do not recognise as it may not be encrypted and could leave you open to hackers. While on campus use the Eduroam network. Set up information can be found here Connecting to eduroam
  • Turn off bluetooth when you aren't using it to stop anyone nearby accessing your phone. Never pair devices with your phone/tablet in a public space.
  • Never leave your device lying around with the screen visible.
  • Each of your devices should be locked have a different passcode (or if your device is capable use fingerprint or facial recognition).
  • Treat your device as it it were your wallet as it probably contains your debit/credit card details. 

5. Be vigilant for phishing emails

Phising is a term to describe a bogus email sent to you from a criminal that pretends to be from another organisation (usually banks, shops, government department etc.) in order to trick you into give them your personal details. These can be very sophisticated and convincing, often the use the same company logos and simliar email addresses. Here is our advice for spotting a phising email.

Can you spot when you're being phished? Identifying phishing can be harder than you think. This quiz takes you through things to be aware of regarding phishing scams.

Digital Footprint and Citizenship

Digital Footprint

It is important to consider your "digital footprint". 
Your digital footprint is about the traces you leave online. It includes everything on the internet that is about you, for example:

  • profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn
  • photographs that you or others have posted online
  • anything that has been written about you, e.g. on discussion boards or blogs. (OU, 2020).

Future employers can now fully research you and your past by simply reviewing your online presence. 

Social media and your digital footprint

The following short video gives our guide to using social media safely to protect your digital footprint. 

OU Digital footprint

Here is a short activity from the Open university that covers how to identify and develop your digital footprint.

Digital and information literacy framework, Copyright © 2012 The Open University, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Digital Citizenshipundefined

We are all required to engage in the online world in some way, whether that is in our studies or in our personal lives. It is important to think about how we act and portray ourselves in these public environments, this is where the idea of digital citizenship comes in. 

A ‘digital citizen’ is a person who has developed the skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet and digital technologies, who uses digital technologies and the internet in a responsible and appropriate way in order to engage and participate in society and politics. (Jisc, 2020). 


Netiquette (net etiquette) is the rules of good online behaviour. Although online communication is similar to face-to-face conversation, there are important differences too. Ensure your online communication is clear, respectful and courteous. 

The central message is: Be nice to each other, stay on topic and do the best you can.

This helpful video from Swinburne University of Technology introduces the main ideas associated with netiquette

Click on the video icon   This video will introduce you to the concept of netiquette and how it applies in collaborative online spaces.

How can a make sure I am being a responsible digital citizen?

The Microsoft Digital Civility Challenge gives four simple rules for you to keep in mind.







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