Project To Enhance 'Digital Citizenship' In Qatar

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Joelyn Baluyut |The Peninsula

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

Funded by the Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation Council (QRDI), the project was unveiled in celebration of International Museum Day, which highlights the responsibility of museums in education and research for a more sustainable and inclusive world.

The research comprises six sub-projects, each led by experts in their respective fields: MARSAD Social Media Observatory, led by Dr. Wajdi Zaghouani, HBKU; Digital Critical Literacy & Propaganda Detection, led by Dr. Firoj Alam, HBKU; Digital Wellbeing, led by Dr. Raian Ali, HBKU; Security and Safety as Behavior, led by Dr. Khaled Khan, Qatar University (QU); Gender Equality and Social Inclusion on Social Media, led by Dr. Osama Halabi, QU; and Digital Citizenship Ambassador Program, led by Dr. Eddy Borges-Rey, Northwestern University in Qatar.

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

Msheireb Museums General Manager, Abdulla Al Naama, stressed the museum's commitment to integrating technology with academia.“Msheireb Downtown [Doha] focuses on technology, so here in Msheireb Museums, we have to take a step further with research and discuss the evolution of technology with academia, and how can we benefit as a society from the technology and how it affects our lives.

And Msheireb Museums being a platform for dialogue, it's very important to bridge the gap between academia and society,” he told The Peninsula on the sidelines of the event yesterday.

He highlighted the museum's use of technology in storytelling and the importance of research and dialogue in this area. Al Naama assured that the research findings would be shared with the public through events, exhibitions, and community engagement activities during the duration of the research where Msheireb Museums will hold these events.

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 analyse social media, detect hate speech, discrimination, and propaganda. Other projects will provide techniques and digital modules for social media use, which will be accessible to the public, schools, and other institutions,” he told The Peninsula.

Dr. Halabi also noted the importance 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 really need [to produce] people with high level of awareness digital literacy.”

The project will involve surveys and interviews to assess public attitudes towards social media in Qatar. Preliminary findings indicate interesting variations between Qatar, the Arab world, and Western countries regarding technology and social media acceptance. Dr. Halabi expressed hope that future results will provide deeper insights into these differences and hopefully will be available by next year. He also revealed that the project will be primarily presented in Arabic for the production of web interfaces, modules, and training materials.


The Peninsula

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