Alumni Services

Taking care of your online identity

Internet users can develop the skills to better manage their online identity in a course devised by experts at Edinburgh. We asked course co-ordinator Nicola Osbourne what participants can expect.

Digital Footprint mooc logo

Why is understanding your digital footprint so crucial today? 

As we move around the online world we leave tracks and traces of our activity all the time: social media accounts, tagged images, professional presences, scraps of text, but also many artefacts we don't always realise we are leaving behind, or that others leave about us. Our digital footprint is also about our data and it is increasingly clear that we need to better understand what personal data we share and how it can be used and aggregated.  

Our research strand, led by Dr Louise Connelly, has indicated that how we manage our digital footprint and curate our online presence is important for managing our privacy and online data; creating potential opportunities e.g. with employment and networking; as well as retaining a sense of control as to how we represent ourselves online. 

Who might this course appeal to? 

The course is designed for students at all levels, but we think it has particular interest for those transitioning into University, or moving out into the world of work. In addition to University students we think the course will be of interest to older secondary school or college students, and their parents. The course will also appeal to educators, professionals and the wider public as the challenges of digital tracks and traces become an important concern in most of our lives.

The course is available to everyone, regardless of location, and no previous knowledge, qualifications or skills are necessary.

What can participants expect from the course? 

In this course there are a range of experts from the University and beyond who talk about different aspects of digital footprints and online identity. Participants have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their own online tracks and traces, in order to understand why their digital footprint is important. We also introduce a range of tools and approaches to effectively manage an online presence or digital footprint.  

The course includes video, resources, social media interaction, and assessments. 

What skills will participants learn?  

The course provides key digital skills for managing an effective online presence. Participants should gain valuable insight and information on managing a digital footprint including: 

·         Examining and understanding what an effective online presence or "Digital Footprint" is and why it matters 

·         Reflecting on their own online presence  

·         Examining how a digital footprint is created by yourself and others 

·         Finding relevant information to help manage an online presence  

·         Setting personal goals for managing a digital footprint  

The feedback we are getting from our first participants also indicates that they are really enjoying the opportunity to think more about how they present themselves online and issues raised by our experts, such as what happens to your data after you die.  

What has response to the course been like so far? 

We've had a really positive response so far with participants sharing their enthusiasm on the course's Twitter hashtag, #DFMOOC. Participants say they enjoy the course as a way to engage with their online presence and have been recommending it to friends and colleagues – and we are really excited to see how the community around the course develops over time. 

Are any related courses planned? 

The Digital Footprint MOOC developed from the unique University campaign run by the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), in collaboration with several support services -  namely EDINA, the Careers Service, EUSA, Information Services - in the 2014-15 academic year. Since then, IAD has managed a range of workshops and resources for students and educators, which can be found at

We deliver a wide range of face-to-face and online workshops on Digital Footprint. The MOOC really complements this work.

EDINA also runs a Digital Footprint consultancy service, providing expert advice and bespoke training for all types of organisations around managing your digital footprint and social media best practices.


Enrol on the Digital Footprint MOOC


Related links

Managing your digital footprint