Week 3: Martin Weller

Digital Scholarship - Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my week of the Change MOOC. This week is concerned with the theme of digital scholarship. If you’re not sure what that means, then don’t worry, we’ll explore that in the next section, but a rough definition might be ‘changes in academic practice as a result of new technology’.
Here is a short video introduction from me:

As I mention in the video, the week is largely based around a book I’ve just published, called The Digital Scholar. This was published by Bloomsbury, but is available as a free open access book, under a Creative Commons license here: http://www.bloomsburyacademic.com/view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/book-ba-9781849666275.xml

So the book itself is an example of digital scholarship, and one aspect we might like to consider is the change in the nature of publishing and knowledge dissemination.
As you go through the week, I’d like you to bear in mind the four themes I mention in the video, which I feel are the interesting areas for discussion around digital scholarship. These are:

  • Alternatives - often people on both sides of the digital scholarship argument portray it as an either/or scenario, so you may hear detractors saying ‘I don’t want everything to be reduced to a tweet, I think books are still important’, or evangelists proclaiming that ‘publishing is dead, video is king now.’. I would suggest that what digital scholarship provides us with is a richer set of alternatives, where previously we may have had no choice.
  • Impact - this is the real argument in favour of digital scholarship. What academics, universities and research funders really want is for their work to have impact. Arguably many of the new forms of media, and particularly when mediated through an extensive social network, allow for greater impact than traditional scholarly practices. Questions we might ask include: How might we measure these reliably? What skills do they require to foster? Are they as reliable and robust as other methods?
  • Openness - in the next section, I suggest that ‘digital scholarship’ is really a shorthand for digital, networked and open. Arguably it is the last component that is most significant. Openness in practice - whether it is sharing ideas via blogs, open courses, open educational resources, open access publishing or open data - is becoming a default approach for many academics (and this course is an example). This has profound implications on practice, business models, identity and the role of sectors, which we are only beginning to appreciate.
  • Tension - there exists a tension currently between the undoubted potential of many digital scholarship approaches and the context which it resides within. So we simultaneously have pockets of marvellous innovation, and at the same time, a markedly conservative, resistant attitude from many institutions, which is often manifest in the how digital scholarship is recognised or encouraged.

So those represent the main themes of the week. The structure is as follows:

- What is digital scholarship - an initial look at the field and the term
- Research or teaching - You can then choose to look at how digital scholarship is affecting research or teaching (or both if you have the time).
- Synchronous session - this is scheduled for Wednesday 28th at 12:00 pm Toronto (Eastern) time. Conversions to different time zones can be found here. The intention is for this to be an open session to discuss any of the issues, but there will be some prompts also.
- Criticisms of digital scholarship - we will then look at some of the areas of concern around digital scholarship
- Conclusions

Output - at the end of the week I would like you to produce a very brief digital artefact, in the form of a blog post, YouTube video, Slideshare presentation, etc. It should address the following question: “what impact has digital scholarship had on your practice and what difficulties have you encountered?”

Please upload it to your own account (using whichever service you prefer) and tag it with #change11digschol. We will aggregate these together so that we collectively gather a picture of digital scholarship at the current time. It is my hope that this is a useful resource for all of us.

I hope you enjoy the week, and I look forward to some interesting discussions.



Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

I thought I was "digitally literate" up until I started taking this course. I've helped people set up their blogs, facebook, youtube accounts, however, other than facebook and youtube, I stayed away from these social medias. And now I am realizing how much I have to learn still as it is a messy world out there. If only there was an app on my smartphone that would connect it all and summarize it in a sentence for me, lol.

I really enjoyed viewing the presentation Martin, it was an eye opener for me and gave me a better understanding of the "digital scholar" concept. I reside in the camp of openness and knowledge sharing and the social networks are the place to be for connecting and sharing.

I wrote a little blog on this topic as part of this week, that you asked us to create. Here's the link, and it has the proper tags and all..

[Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

So true Brainysmurf, so true. Keep that lightbulb burning brightly! [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

Hard to say, vheerme1, though most industries may have their dinosaurs of some sort. The ones I've met so far seem to keep their heads down low and muddle through until retirement.

Perhaps digital literacy mirrors second language acquisition: quite easy to asborb up to age nine or so and then an uphill battle to acquire later in life. Not that one can't become more digitally literate (or second language fluent) as years go on, just that it takes more effort somehow and some just don't seem willing to make the time and the effort.

I wonder if it all comes down to willingness to change...and there goes the lightbulb in my head about the essence of this course! :) [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

Brainysmurf interesting question, makes you wonder what will happen to the dinosaurs of academia... [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

I was reading a bit about digital natives and digital immigrants in a Bloom's taxonomy piece yesterday. It has me wondering if concers about technology literacy will fade away in the near future as digital natives move into the professional world and, some of them, into teaching. In essence, will most (all?) future teachers be 'technology specialists' by default? [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller : Roland Legrand

I, also, am interested in the business models surrounding digital scholarship but wonder if the divide between 'public' and readers of 'scholarly publications' withstands much scrutiny in a world where governments wish us to engage in lifelong learning, many people with no formal links to universities are engaged in research, even more people with no links to universities search out the best information they can for whatever interests them. The precis (or Amazon-style 'look what's inside') of any publication does need to be free and available to everyone (not just people who can enter a university library on campus). Charging high prices for full articles available in digital format just invites piracy and yet servers need to be maintained, collections need to be curated and all needs to be kept independent of any suspicion of promotional bias. Perhaps an annual library licence is needed with the price set at 'cup of coffee' level so that everyone who has an internet connection can afford it? [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

I teach computing, which means I am kind of "technology literate" and can help myself to get around the digital world. When I come across new technologies my first thought is always how I can apply it to better teach my distance education students. That being said I have a number of colleagues in other faculties who can operate their PC's, but that's where it ends.

The more one looks into the digital world, when it comes to teaching, the higher level of "technology literacy" you require, does this then mean the academics will have to be subject specialists and technology specialists to conquer the world of digital teaching?

The "Darwinistas" and "Fatalistas" in academia, as Prof Ormond Simpson put it so nicely in his recent keynote address at the Unisa Teaching and Learning Festival, will most certainly never become technology specialists. They see themselves as subject specialists with students being the receivers of knowledge and what they do with that knowledge is up to them. Then there are the "Retentioneers", those are the academics who "help students be the best they can be" and in my view that is applying technology accessible to the student, thus helping them to become "digital learners".

How do one go about motivating the "Darwanistas" and "Fatalistas" to become "digital teachers" and "Retentioneers"?

If you'd like to watch the keynote addresses of Prof George Siemens, Prof Gilly Sampson, Prof Ormond Simpson or Catherine Ngugi here's the link with the sincere hope that the digital world allows you to access it.

Dalize [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

It is maybe an unfair comment or maybe it is mentioned in the book (that I must still buy) - but although the above aspects refer to the 'artefacts' of scholarship in a digital era, what about the process of being a scholar in a digital age? Surely the fact that we have access to the richness of data, information and opinions, also impact and shape the way we are scholars? Or have I missed it?

How does 'digital' shape our being as and becoming scholars and our scholarly processes? How does digital scholarship change our epistemologies and ways of seeing the world and being (ontology)?

Paul [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

One of the aspects which interests me a lot is the business model. Do you think the publication of research papers should be completely free, or more like a freemium model with free abstracts for the public and subscription based scholarly publications?

Or in more general terms: does "open" mean "free"? [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

I love that the free global tools I have at my fingertips (mooc.ca + The Daily + Google translator) let me have access to Mariana's comment from another hemisphere, which translated as follows:

"This is a fascinating subject. As an educator I face the challenge, the digital challenge every day. The technology used to reach unthinkable goals, cognitive partner as an ally. Our environment is opened, the "most" is making our world expands global. ALTERNATIVE IMPACT, OPENING AND A LOGIC TO GENERATE STRESS RESISTANCE, an uncertainty that if we look with eyes of opportunity forward. Thanks from Argentina"

Ok not a perfect translation but I now understand the spirit of her points and it helps to feel a connection. Amazing times we live in! [Comment] [Permalink] []

Re: Week 3: Martin Weller

Este es un tema apasionante. Como educadora me enfrento al reto, al desafío digital a diario. La tecnología utilizada para llegar a metas impensadas, como socio cognitivo, como aliado. Nuestro entorno se abre, la "Persona mas" se expande haciendo que nuestro mundo sea global. ALTERNATIVAS, IMPACTO, APERTURA Y UNA LÓGICA RESISTENCIA QUE GENERA TENSIÓN, una incertidumbre que si la miramos con ojos de oportunidad avanzamos. Gracias, desde Argentina [Comment] [Permalink] []

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