Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Free Press Unlimited and Greenhost created Totem: the online platform where journalists and activists can learn more about digital safety and privacy tools. In this FAQ you find everything you need to know about Totem.

What is Totem?
Totem is an online learning platform that helps journalists and activists use digital security and privacy tools and tactics more effectively in their work.

What does the abbreviation Totem stand for?
Training using Online Tools for Effectiveness and Measurability

Why is your logo a turtle?
A turtle/tortoise was chosen as the logo for Totem because tortoises have a long lifespan to wisdom, and the design represents its gentleness, seriousness and security-orientation (its shield), yet with a playful and approachable nature.

Are courses free to enroll?
Yes, just register (you can remain anonymous) and enroll in any course you like.

When is the starting date of a course?
All courses are self-paced. A user can enroll and take a break at any time, and resume the course where they left off. The ‘starting’ dates mentioned on the website refers to when the course was originally launched.

I am a (digital) security trainer, can I use the Totem courses?
Yes, besides stimulating trainees to enroll in Totem courses and integrating them into your regular curricula, trainers can also request a ‘private deployment’. This allows trainers to adjust the modules, add examples, and invite their own group of trainees to their customised modules and courses. Just send an email to info@totem-project.org, and we will inform you about how this works, and set up private deployment(s) of your choice of Totem courses.

Will you expand the number of courses offered on the Totem platform?
Yes, we intend to expand both in subjects and languages. New upcoming courses are announced on our website and in our newsletters.

I am interested in collaborating with you to develop new courses on the Totem platform. Who can I contact?
Send an email to info@totem-project.org and we will tell you all about the options.

It is mentioned that the courses are intended for journalists and activists. Why?
This is our main target group because these groups are known to face digital threats in their day-to-day work. However, the courses can be accessed by anyone who is interested in the topic. The examples are steered toward the target groups, yet all courses hold valuable lessons for anyone that wants to learn more about digital threats or privacy tools that can be used to protect yourself online.

How do you deal with different levels of threats world-wide?
In general we focus our courses on raising awareness on digital threats and available tools and resources. It is up to the users to assess their own security needs and select the tools that best suit their needs.

The courses in English are generally targeted at a global audience. Courses that are offered in other languages are contextualised to a specific region. Courses in French are tailored to a French-speaking African context; Arabic to the MENA-region (with a focus on the situation in Syria and Iraq); Spanish courses are tailored to Central-America, and Persian courses are customized to the Iranian audience.

By contextualising the contents of the Totem courses, we present visuals and examples that speak to the minds of the learner, and we recommend privacy tools that are relevant to that particular region.

How are these courses different from other tools that inform about digital security?
While several manuals and guides exist online on how to improve your digital security awareness and adopt safer practices, many of these are made in an old-fashioned textbook style with a one-way information flow. However, Totem emphasises on making the e-learning experience as user-friendly as possible by offering attractive e-learning methods supported by quizzes, interactive exercises, and explanatory visuals to improve the learning curve.

I love your pictures/icons and gifs. Can I re-use them?
Yes, our visuals are created under Creative Commons License. You can find most of the visual here on Giphy.

Where can we follow you?
Sign up for our newsletter to learn about the launch of new courses here. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Go to the website and enroll in the course of your choice!

Totem logo