“Just Digital” course launched to help ecumenical users navigate wisely online
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“Just Digital” course launched to help ecumenical users navigate wisely online

Ecumenical partners today are launching “Big Issues in Small Bytes,” the first module of “Just Digital,” a fun, self-directed online course aiming to help individuals and groups navigate wisely online and advocate effectively.

Colourful graphic with Just Digital logo and a laptop with a rocket swirling around it and a hand clicking a mouseThe e-learning course has been created by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), with support from the Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Big Issues in Small Bytes equips learners with core digital literacy skills.

In three engaging sessions, the Level 1 of Just Digital introduces learners to key concepts related to digitalization and gives perspectives from global experts.

Participants learn quick tips and actions they can apply as Digital Justice Champions to protect their data online, recognise and deal with fake news, and exercise the right to freedom of expression responsibly.

The Big Issues in Small Bytes sessions are “Cookies are never free,” “Don’t take me for a fool,” and “What can I say? My rights, your rights.” Each takes under an hour to complete. Upon completion, learners are recognized as Digital Justice Champions.

Responding justly to digital transformation

Colorful graphic with a cookie (buscuit) and a toggles with a check and an x

Cookies are never free

WACC Deputy General Secretary Sara Speicher said the aim of the new online learning resource is to help individuals and communities around the world to be informed users and advocates for digital justice.

“We wanted to provide something different to other courses out there which might focus on how to use digital tools, or specific concerns about them which might be more relevant to particular users or geographical regions,” said Speicher.

“Just Digital shows that there is a fun way to apply ethics to our use of digital tools, and it highlights the wealth of perspectives and expertise in different regions of the world.”

Colorful graphic with an explosion cloud and !, ? and X written in it

Don’t take me for a fool

Pastor Rainer Kiefer, EMW General Secretary, reflected that in an increasingly interconnected world, it is essential not only to understand digital communication but also to critically scrutinize it.

“A global perspective can help us to recognize the dimensions of justice that are hidden in everyday interactions and information and to advocate for their preservation and find ways in which we can take these dimensions into account in our daily lives and actions.”

He added that Just Digital offers a valuable resource in particular for church councils, ecumenical networks, and theological colleges that EMW works with worldwide, for their work and for theological education.

“The course teaches key skills in digital media literacy that are crucial for responsible and ethical use of digital technologies. Especially in theological contexts, it is important to develop these skills in order to promote and defend justice, dignity and the rights of all people,” he said.

Colorful orange graphic with three circles with people icons connected bylines and a wifi symbol

What can I say? My rights, your rights

Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication, welcomed the “new and very timely” Just Digital online course.

“Digital technologies have already transformed the world for many of us in all the places we live and work,” she said. “We have new ways to communicate, but we also need new ways to navigate the world so that we ensure that multiple voices are heard.”

Ejdersten noted that WCC’s long history of raising issues related to the role of communication in society. “How do we respond ecumenically to the contemporary challenges posed by digital transformation?” she asked. “We draw on the resources and insights like this new course.”

New digital justice resources in an ongoing partnership

Speicher announced that a second module of the Just Digital course, “Take Control, Make a Difference,” will launch later this year with a focus on advocating effectively.

“Digital users and organizations will be able to take a deeper dive into the issues and explore key challenges created by digital technologies and how these relate to existing social and ecological problems, like sexism and climate change.”

She said the Just Digital collaboration between the three organisations follows the international symposium “Communication for Social Justice in a Digital Age” organised by WCC and WACC in September 2021, with co-organizers EMW, Bread for the World-Germany, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Protestant Church in Germany-EKD), and World Student Christian Federation.

“Our joint symposium highlighted the critical justice issues raised by the digital transformation, and what we – particularly as ecumenical organisations and global networks – must promote so that the digital transformation is based on, and fosters, rights, equality, accountability and participation,” says Speicher.

“I am very grateful for this ongoing collaboration with WCC and EMW that has helped develop new learning resources for a global audience.”

Photo: Refugee children use a mobile phone during a break between class in Cairo, Egypt. Paul Jeffrey/Life on Earth

Register for Just Digital

Colourful graphic with Just Digital logo, a person holding a trophy and a laptop with a hand clicking on a mouse, and the words "Visit justdigital.ngo" Just Digital is being offered at the Centre for Communication Rights, WACC’s learning and research platform. Learn more and register: justdigital.ngo.

The modest Just Digital course fee supports the development of further digital justice resources. Members of WACC can request a code for free access.

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