Thursday, 29 September 2011

Digital Scholarship - the coming of age of open sources and resources #change11

(My notes from Week 3 of the Change11 MOOC)
Martin Weller's talk on Change11 defined the four areas of digital scholarship that he considers in his book:
  • Discovery
  • Integration
  • Application
  • Teaching
(as the Boyer view of scholarship).
He concentrates on one ( Discovery/Research ) in this Change11 presentation, very much geared to university level, of course. Nevertheless there is much that applies to all learning/teaching and to schools as well. In his book (The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Changing Academic Practice) he covers all four areas.
He makes a very strong case for digital scholarship as opposed to the traditional ways (peer reviewed research papers) and goes into the main tensions/obstacles (some of these related to university tenure and status issues).
Weller lists how to recognise and develop digital scholarship:
  • Finding digital equivalents
  • Generating guidelines that include digital scholarship
  • Using metrics (say, hits on Youtube)
  • Peer-assessment
  • Micro-credit
  • Developing alternative methods
Great quote from Heppell (2001): "we continually make the error of subjugating technology to our present practice rather than allowing it to free us from the tyranny of past mistakes".
Metaphor of network weather (from Adam Greenfield) - keep an eye on it because "it may toss you this way and that by the gusts and squalls". So not the digital native non-issue but the immediacy of what is happening in the digital world.
He jumped to learning in giving an example of the lecture that you might be giving, with a student at the back preferring to watch the definitive video instead, perhaps involving the world leader in that area, and the student then choosing to ask you a very difficult question.
Weller describes how technology is changing conferences with backchannels and audience opinion developing and perhaps hardening (have been there). Technology enables a much richer archive of the conference. However, there is a strong resistance to changing the normal conference structure and pricing.
  • A failure of ownership (university presses sold off, but need to own the digital scholarship produced)
  • Technology engagement is the key (do not dismiss it, embrace it, do not let commercial interests take this over)
  • Potential to radically change practice (possibilities for collaboration enormous)
  • These are exciting times! (we should determine what goes, what stays and what comes)
Good presentation by Weller, which I picked up aas a Youtube video from Jeff Lebow

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