Digital Scholarship and You (or me!) in #change11

This week in the free online course #change MOOC, the focus was around Digital Scholarship. Based around the work of Martin Weller (who facilitated the session) and his book The Digital Scholar (which is currently available open-source on the publisher’s website), the focus was around some of the changes technology is bringing to higher education and scholarship. As my research has been in the area of networked learning and online identity development in higher education and doctoral studies, this is a fitting place for me to delve into this online course content.

In this context, Chap 5 of the text makes an interesting claim that is somewhat applicable for my own doctoral research:

There is a general suspicion around using social networks to share findings, although many researchers use them for personal and professional networking (James 2009; Carpenter 2010). Carpenter et al. describe researchers as ‘risk averse’ and ‘behind the curve in using digital technology’. Similarly Harley et al. (2010) state that ‘we found no evidence to suggest that “tech-savvy” young graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors are bucking traditional publishing practices’.

I use social networks for both personal and professional networking (though I still do not like the term networking, as I often consider it rather one-sided–people network to get, and not to give or share or collaborate), and I also find such networks fundamental to identifying and accessing research participants themselves. On top of that, I even use these technologies (especially through my Twitter account) to help myself think through and initiate research projects. The most valuable of these online communities I have found for my doctoral research is the Twitter-based #phdchat, what has become the hub of my online presence for personal and digital scholarship, support, and friendship. 

As an early career researcher myself, I find the related JISC-funded The Lives and Technologies of Early Career Researchers. As the study (pg. 1) found:

Despite many ECRs being interested in trying out new technologies, 72% of early career researchers reported that they did not even use Web 2.0 or social media to share their research. This may reflect the many and varied constraints which limit ICT take-up amongst early career researchers, perhaps including norms of secrecy in research practice; this study found social, confidence, skills, institutional and participatory constraints on technology use by ECRs.

This gets me thinking–I use these technologies to think through and clarify my research direction, along with access partipants and then get feedback on the process and my research design. I do not ordinarily share results online. I wonder if this is due to the great gap in time between those first steps and the findings, or perhaps because, here in my doctoral work, I do not yet have findings to share? Only time (and more discussion, perhaps) will tell.

 

Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2011-09-30

  • Uploaded more pics from my trip to the UK; this time pics of Glastonbury http://t.co/tdGvwEoH with Stonehenge before http://t.co/S20aokR6 #
  • Feel I am dragging today; I think I am getting sick. #
  • @suifaijohnmak I will submit one (perhaps 2) papers for consideration. However, I can only attend #nlc2012 if one gets accepted. Costly. #
  • @suifaijohnmak Yes, I know; little time and more cost. Alas. #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2011-09-29

  • @Lemness @gawbul Interested as well #phdchat #
  • @suifaijohnmak Are you considering submitting for #nlc2012 or perhaps attending it? #
  • I really enjoyed the #change11 session today where @mweller spoke about digital scholarship; it gave me some insights into my own research. #
  • @shahcenter How do you find #change11 so far? #
  • @savasavasava Did you actually double your Tweet count in the last month?! #
  • @ai1sa @saadat_m @antoesp @savasavasava @trentmkays Thanks for the RT! #
  • @savasavasava @sarahthesheepu I live for #meetups of my wonderful #phdchat network. Goodness, did I use the N word? I meant community! #
  • @sarahthesheepu @savasavasava So, seems like we have the making of another #NYC #phdchat #meetup What are the night span again? #
  • @LeesersGallo Alas . . . no :-( #
  • @lizith Got it; seems like you have a good working relationship with healthy self-knowledge #phdchat #
  • @ai1sa Good response! BTW, where do you not see ANT? #phdchat #
  • @NSRiazat It was great to stop by #phdchat even for a few moments! @peoplegogy @ltrprmvrn @martin_eve @SarahStewart #
  • @savasavasava You are most generous, and I agree with you about @Lemness ! #phdchat #
  • @peyron Perhaps. What is your direction with it? #
  • Have to run; catch up later #phdchat #
  • Think I have been neglecting the #phdchat tag in my rush to reply in the little time I can squeeze in. Alas. #
  • @lizith That posits that you know what to ask for, when to ask for it, how to do it, and what to do with the result. #phdchat #
  • @rjhogue Not sure a need to talk through ideas is an extrovert or introvert characteristic, as opposed to a learning preference #phdchat #
  • #phdchat I have come to believe there is no "normal" way to research / supervise a PhD, as so much depends on content and context. #
  • @lizith How much feedback do you customarily get? #phdchat #
  • @davecormier Excellent job with just-in-time maintaining interest during the #change11 webinar when managing tech issues. #
  • @davecormier Thanks for the reference in the #change11 webinar about my blog post re: my personal learning objectives http://t.co/cWgODvKZ #
  • Attending the #change11 webinar; glad able to get in without incident. The session is happening live http://t.co/xpMQxUqy if want to join #
  • The FUZE meeting for #change11 http://t.co/xpMQxUqy just opened. #
  • The air conditioning is not working in our building. As our office tower windows do not open, it is stiflingly hot here. Not happy. #
  • The deadline for papers for the Networked Learning Conference http://t.co/IwVDySCf is extended to October 10 #nlc2012 #phdchat #change11 #
  • Will try to make a little bit of the synchronous #phdchat today; work has precluded this for the past few weeks. #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2011-09-28

  • Excellent production of Nabucco at the #MetOpera in #NYC #
  • We are going to the #MetOpera tonight for our first opera of the season – Verdi's Nabucco #NYC #
  • @christiepooh Yes, it is an excellent way to share. Chalk one up for #Mendeley #
  • @rooksbay Thanks! I try to reply to all the @ replies I get, especially if people (usually) are kind enough to share ideas or suggestions. #
  • @rooksbay Are you referring to the book by Hillocks? #
  • @christiepooh Thanks again for the references on #Mendeley and I am not just saying that because I was an author on one of them! #phdchat #
  • @christiepooh Goodness, I have to organize a bit more or not agree to everything so readily; spotty time nurturing my colleague discussions! #
  • I found articulating my goals for #change11 http://t.co/dZn7s989 was both challenging and empowering. Has anybody else tried it? #

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Goals and Expectations (Finally!) for #change11

OK, so here we are into Week 3 of the of the #Change11 MOOC, and I am finally ready to articulate my own personal goals and expectations for the course. Unlike most courses, there are no stated objectives or expectations for a MOOC. As I quoted from the MOOC Model document in my post Clarification on the question,“What is a MOOC?”, “MOOCs build on the engagement of learners who self-organize their participation according to learning goals,prior knowledge and skills,and common interests.” In other words, I need to set my own objectives and expectations for this year-long course.

While I work professionally as an Instructional Design Project Manager, clarifying learning needs and then building objectives to meet them is something I frequently engage with. However, this is flipped on its head when we establish our own goals for our learning.

Perhaps, however, this is really not that unusual. Consider this–even when we attend traditional courses that have clearly defined learning objectives, we have to remember that those are the goals of the teacher, facilitator, or program–they are not necessarily the goals of the learners themselves. Course goals are not always agreed with or understood in the same way by learners as they are by those facilitating the course. Without dialogue and agreement about this at the very beginning, it is challenging indeed for all participants to move toward the same goals (as nobody has the same goals). Let me state this even more strongly–without discussion and individual agreement–all learners in a course work toward different, and often unstated, goals for the course. 

This is one of the refreshing things that this MOOC has done–it has empowered attendees (learners) to articulate and state their own goals for the course. With this stated, these are my #change11 goals and expectations. By the end of the #change11 MOOC, I will be able to:

  1. Assess the impact and influence of this global, unstructured learning on my PhD Research
  2. Practice an openness to diverse perspectives on learning
  3. Revise my network to be wider and more inclusive

Now that I have stated these three objectives, I feel I am actually starting to expand my learning and practice. What better way to do so than by formulating, and then publicly sharing, these goals for the course?