Learning lunch topic: social equity and digital footprints

R Buchanan


The LLI were very fortunate to have Dr Rachel Buchanan from the University of Newcastle, Australia hosting its recent Learning Lunch on the topic of social justice, learning technology and digital footprints. Dr Buchanan and colleagues have been conducting research regarding equity issues and digitals footprints as, in Rachel’s words, ‘students from higher SES [socio-economic status] backgrounds come to university with more ICT skills and knowledge than students from low SES backgrounds’.


Some of the key points that emerged for me from this talk were:

  • Students who attend private schools may have more opportunities to start curating a positive digital footprint than students at state schools.
  • The management of your digital footprint is a skill and this skill might need to be taught to some students. For example, research quoted by Rachel indicates that 25% of Australians aged 18-40 admit to posting material of a sexual nature. This poses a risk to the digital footprint that they are creating for themselves.
  • Students are more aware of the dangers concerning negative digital footprints than the possibilities of actively curating a positive digital footprint for university and career success.
  • There is a need for universities to provide students with guidance about the management of their digital footprints.

Below are some of the initial findings from the research project that Rachel and her colleagues conducted:


Low SES students are:

  • more likely to post ill-advised content;
  • less likely to have heard of professional social networks;
  • less likely to use any professional social media networks;
  • less likely to create content for professional purposes.

High SES students are:

  • more likely to have higher numbers of facebook friends;
  • more likely to have heard of the various professional social media networks;
  • more likely to use LinkedIn.


You can hear Rachel’s talk in full by accessing the following link: https://youtu.be/rxdP5ol5jD0


More information about Dr Rachel Buchanan and her work can also be found here: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/rachel-buchanan

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Kerry Dobbins

About Kerry Dobbins

Kerry Dobbins is a Professional Development Advisor at the LLI. She works with colleagues to support the development of their teaching and supporting learning activities.

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One response to “Learning lunch topic: social equity and digital footprints”

  1. Social Equity and Digital Footprints – Dr Rachel Buchanan

    […] The seminar was recorded and can be accessed via this link. […]

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