Under the supervision of His Excellency Prof. Abdullah bin Omar Bafail, President of Umm Al-Qura University (UQU), the Digital Citizenship Forum organized by the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education was held at King Abdul-Aziz Historical Hall, Al-Abdiyyah, and Al-Jawhara Hall in Al-Zahir, on Thursday 18 Jumada Al-Awwal 1440 A.H., corresponding to 24 January 2019 A.C.
The forum started with a recitation of the Qur'an. Then His Excellency Dr. Khalid bin Hatim Al-Mutairi, the Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, gave a speech in which he welcomed the UQU President; the Vice President for Educational Affairs, his Excellency Prof. Abdulaziz bin Rashad Suruji; their Excellencies the Vice Presidents of the University; specialists; deans; faculty members; and students. He stressed the care of His Royal Highness the King to the digital culture, given that digital transformation has become one of the crucial elements in achieving the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. He pointed out that digital citizenship is a culture of keenness to fulfill one's duty, an awareness of correct use of technology, and enjoying one's rights in the information age. He also emphasized the attention paid by His Excellency the Minister of Education and His Excellency the UQU President and their keenness to support all relevant initiatives, projects, and forums.
In his speech, the University Vice President for Educational Affairs, Prof. Abdul-Aziz bin Rashad Al-Suruji, said that technology has become inevitable in everyday life. It lives in us, accompanying us in all walks of life. He then praised the support given by His Excellency the President of Umm Al-Qura University in the organization of this forum under the slogan "Towards a Secure Electronic Community," saying, "The forum contributes to the transfer of knowledge and the development of skills in dealing with electronic applications." He pointed out that the achievements of the University Vice Presidency for Educational Affairs, represented by the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education, are considered important achievements of Umm Al-Qura University. He also expressed appreciation for the fruitful efforts exerted by the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education in serving colleges and educational institutes. He also extended congratulations to the university leadership for the achievements made by the deanship, which won two awards in the competitions of the National Center of E-Learning within the framework of the Saudi Open Education Resource Network (SHMS).
In her speech, the UQU Vice President of Female Student Affairs, Dr. Sarah bint Omar Al-Khuli, expressed appreciation for the support given by His Excellency the President of Umm Al-Qura University to all the events, activities, and initiatives. She referred to the importance of the forum's theme for its scientific and awareness aspects, which will contribute to achieving the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. She also pointed out that the forum promoted the awareness and understanding of the concept of digital citizenship, stressing the importance of recognizing the concept of digital citizenship, and understanding its significance as a means of ensuring the wellbeing of society by protecting its citizens from being diverted from the basic objectives of digitalization.
The Vice Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, Dr. Hanaa Yaman, presented the first training course entitled "Secure Digital Educational Objects and Repositories: Towards a Conscious Digital Generation," in which she indicated that 21st century learners are heavily exposed to powerful online platforms such as social networking tools. These platforms can provide effective knowledge, information, and visions on the related rights, responsibilities, citizenship, and duties of the 21st century. In light of this, education can be the most effective way to protect students from the risks associated with online participation. The increasing level of Internet use by students, both inside and outside the school, raises the important issue of who will take up the challenge of guiding students towards a productive and secure technological community. The development of digital citizenship requires effective collaboration between teachers, students, and the entire educational system in order to formulate effective rules of conduct and facilitate culturally appropriate behavior throughout the Internet. She said that one of the important duties facing teachers in the 21st century is to teach students about cybersecurity to address and prevent the misuse of technology. It is so important to educate young people about the risks of inappropriate or immoral use of technology. To achieve this, it is possible to use the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which disseminate these courses across large areas. They are not limited to geographical, political, or cultural boundaries, but are available to anyone, anywhere, at any time, through free sites. She also pointed out that the role of parents is vital in teaching children appropriate use of technology and we can make use of gamification techniques with children in this regard (teaching young people using gaming techniques). To avoid e-bullying, she stressed the importance of maintaining our privacy on the Internet.
The first session started under the title "Cyber Security and Electronic Protection for Citizen and Community Safety," with the participation of Dr. Adnan bin Abdul-Aziz Qutb, a professor of cybersecurity in the College of Computer and Information Systems; the Head of the Department of Psychology at the College of Education, Dr. Salim bin Muhammad Abdullah Al-Mufrigi; and the assistant professor at the department of accounting in the College of Business Administration, Dr. Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Matrafi. Participating from the female section was Dr. Noura bint Zaid Al-Rashoud, Professor of Fiqh at the College of Judicial Studies and Systems; the Deputy Head of the Department of Regulations, Dr. Areej bint Sulaiman Al-Farih; the assistant professor of database security in the College of Computer and Information Systems; and Dr. Ahad bint Muhammad Al-Jurf, the assistant professor of information security in the College of Computer and Information Systems. The session was moderated by the Vice Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, Dr. Sultan bin Hamid Al-Mutairi and the Vice Dean of the Consulting Research and Studies Institute, Dr. Nurah bint Salih Al-Faruqi.
After Zhuhr prayer, the forum continued its activities with a second training session by the Vice Dean of E-learning and Distance Education, Dr. Sultan bin Hamid Al-Mutairi, entitled "Safe Use of Electronic Applications and Protection against Risks." At the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Al-Mutairi referred to the increasing amount of technology use by children, youth, and adults through computers, tablets, and mobile phones. As the use of technology increases, the risks threatening users also increases, which brought about the need to hold the Digital Citizenship Forum and provide a training course on the safe use of electronic applications and protection against risks. The training course is based on clarifying the whole range of safe and dangerous applications on the individual, especially children and adolescents, and how to protect them, as well as making parents aware of what their children do without interfering with their privacy. The course includes some statistics on the number of users of these programs and social communication networks in Saudi Arabia. It provides training for citizens on the correct and safe use of smart phones, tablets, and computer systems, as well as the regulations used in Saudi Arabia for electronic crimes to increase the awareness, knowledge, and safety of citizens.
A second discussion panel was held, entitled "The Digital Revolution and the Prospects for Digital Citizenship: Between Freedom and Moderation," which included the participation of His Excellency Dr. Farid bin Ali Yahya Al-Ghamdi, the Dean of Faculty Member and Employee Affairs; the Dean of Library Affairs, Dr. Muhammad Mubarak bin Dakhil Al-Lihiby; and His Excellency the Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, Dr. Khalid bin Hatim Al-Mutairi. Participants from the female section included the Vice Dean of Scientific Research for Development, Quality, and Academic Accreditation, Dr. Hanadi Bihiri; the Vice Dean of the College of Community Service and Continuing Education, Dr. Zainab bint Muhammad Al-Khidr Al-Qadi; and the Advisor to the Vice President of Umm Al-Qura University for Female Student Affairs and the Deputy Manger of the Arabic Language Research Center, Dr. Haifa' bint Uthman Fida. The session was moderated by the Vice Dean of University Development and Quality, Dr. Muhammad bin Ali Al-Ghamdi and the Vice Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, Dr. Hana' Yamani.
An opinion poll on cyberbullying was posted on the main screen via a barcode for the participation of visitors and attendees. The first question was about cybersecurity and security awareness, and the second question was about e-Bullying. There was also a draw with prizes for the male and female sections. At the end of the event, participants were honored, as well as the Vice President of Educational Affairs, Dr. Abdul-Aziz Suruji and Prof. Abdul-Majid Al-Ghamdi, the UQU Vice President of Branches.
At the conclusion of the event, His Excellency the Dean of E-Learning and Distance Education, Dr. Khalid Al-Mutairi, said the importance of digital citizenship lies in it being the best way to prepare individuals for full involvement in society through the optimal use of modern technology. He indicated that this event was held with the support of the President of Umm Al-Qura University, Prof. Abdullah bin Omar Bafail, and Dr. Abdul-Aziz bin Rashad Suruji, the Vice President for Educational Affairs.