Initiative to Boost Digital Citizenship in Qatar

Initiative to Boost Digital Citizenship in Qatar By Sruthi Nair - May 22, 2024
HBKU Sign Agreement on Digital Citizenship Project

HBKU Sign Agreement on Digital Citizenship Project

Msheireb Museums and Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) have launched a four-year research initiative titled “Future of Digital Citizenship in Qatar: A Socio-Technical Approach.” This project aims to foster responsible digital citizenship and enhance positive online community engagement in Qatar.

Funded by the Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation Council (QRDI), the project was announced in celebration of International Museum Day, which underscores museums' role in education and research for a sustainable and inclusive world. The research comprises six sub-projects, each led by experts in their fields: 

1. **MARSAD Social Media Observatory**, led by Dr. Wajdi Zaghouani, HBKU.
2. **Digital Critical Literacy & Propaganda Detection**, led by Dr. Firoj Alam, HBKU.
3. **Digital Wellbeing**, led by Dr. Raian Ali, HBKU.
4. **Security and Safety as Behavior**, led by Dr. Khaled Khan, Qatar University (QU).
5. **Gender Equality and Social Inclusion on Social Media**, led by Dr. Osama Halabi, QU.
6. **Digital Citizenship Ambassador Program**, led by Dr. Eddy Borges-Rey, Northwestern University in Qatar.

Each sub-project involves seven to ten researchers, bringing together more than 60 experts. These projects will analyze social media discourse, develop web-based tools, create educational resources, and explore various aspects of digital literacy, well-being, gender equality, social inclusion, and behavior-based approaches to online security.

Msheireb Museums General Manager, Abdulla Al Naama, emphasized the museum’s dedication to integrating technology with academia. “Msheireb Downtown [Doha] focuses on technology, so here in Msheireb Museums, we need to advance research and discuss the evolution of technology with academia, and how it benefits society and impacts our lives. Msheireb Museums, as a platform for dialogue, plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between academia and society,” he told The Peninsula.

Al Naama highlighted the museum’s use of technology in storytelling and the importance of research and dialogue in this field. He assured that the research findings would be shared with the public through events, exhibitions, and community engagement activities hosted by Msheireb Museums throughout the research period.

QU Associate Professor Dr. Osama Halabi, one of the research leads, outlined the project’s tangible outputs. “Some projects will produce web interfaces for the public to analyze social media, detect hate speech, discrimination, and propaganda. Others will provide techniques and digital modules for social media use, accessible to the public, schools, and other institutions,” he told The Peninsula.

Dr. Halabi also noted the significance of social media literacy, stating that the project’s outcomes will include training materials and ambassadors who will visit schools to educate students on digital literacy, propaganda detection, safety, well-being, and social inclusion. “We need individuals with a high level of digital literacy awareness.”

The project will involve surveys and interviews to assess public attitudes towards social media in Qatar. Preliminary findings indicate notable differences between Qatar, the Arab world, and Western countries regarding technology and social media acceptance. Dr. Halabi hopes that future results will provide deeper insights into these differences, with findings expected to be available by next year. He also mentioned that the project will primarily present its outputs in Arabic, including web interfaces, modules, and training materials.


Source: The Peninsula Qatar

By Sruthi Nair - May 22, 2024
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