My Digital Identity

Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, Oct 13, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In this address to the 2008 e-Portfolio Conference I consider the sorts of questions that might be asked about a student's identity in an e-portfolio system and the factors that inform the answers to those questions. Rather than being answered with a simple physical presence, as we might have expected in the past, the question of identity in a digital space requires a complex answer, taking into account a person's past and future states, as well as his or her motivations, desires and expectations. Accordingly, an identity is best thought of as a distributed profile, written by multiple authors and considering multiple questions, rather than a single fixed point on which attributes may be assigned.
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