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Beyond Alt-Metrics: Identities & Influence Online


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Open, participatory online learning and scholarship don't necessarily require credentials as the price of admission, but do demand the construction, performance, and curation of intelligible, public, networked identities. Both academia and social networks are, in effect, ‘reputational economies,' but while scholars and educators are increasingly exhorted to go online, those who do often find that their work and efforts may not be visible or understood within institutional contexts. Likewise, as the academic tradition grapples with sea changes in infrastructure and communications, the terms by which scholarship and learning have been defined and legitimized are being unsettled from within. What signals count as credibility among networked educators and learners? What risks and power relations need to be addressed as part of that process?

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Beyond Alt-Metrics: Identities & Influence Online

  1. 1. Beyond AltMetrics: Identities & Influence Online BONNIE STEWART, University of Prince Edward Island #et4online @bonstewart
  2. 2. UPEI, April 20th, 2015
  3. 3. networked scholarship higher education what people had for lunch my work
  4. 4. conceptual tools h"ps://  
  5. 5. our inheritance = scarcity
  6. 6. knowledge abundance h"ps://  
  7. 7. "For the first time in human history, two related propositions are true. One, it no longer is possible to store within the human brain all of the information that a human needs. Second, it no longer is necessary to store within the human brain all of the information that humans need. Education needs to be geared toward the handling of data rather than the accumulation of data.” - Berlo, 1975
  8. 8. caution #1: no.
  9. 9. caution #2: abundance can become overload h"p://  
  10. 10. “handling of data”
  11. 11. WAIT
  12. 12. structure of abundance = networks h"ps://  
  13. 13. h"ps://   networks are not just for consuming, but connecting
  14. 14. price of admission = public identity
  15. 15. many-to-many communications h"p://­‐Do_Not_Adjust_Your_Set.jpg  
  16. 16. knowledge abundance enables us to create ourselves as network nodes, forming webs of visible (& invisible) connections   h"ps://  
  17. 17. but.
  18. 18. some nodes are more equal than others.
  19. 19. h"ps://   status & standing
  20. 20. networks & institutions are both reputational economies
  21. 21. Those within the academy become very skilled at judging the stuff of reputations. Where has the person’s work been published, what claims of priority in discovery have they established, how often have they been cited, how and where reviewed, what prizes won, what institutional ties earned, what organizations led? Willinsky, 2010
  22. 22. h"ps://   networks have their own logics.  
  23. 23. institutions do not always approve.  
  24. 24. in abundance…the gates are open h"ps://  
  25. 25. Priem, Taraborelli, Groth, Neylon, 2010
  26. 26. more. h"p://­‐is-­‐why-­‐ill-­‐never-­‐be-­‐adult.html  
  27. 27. what are the logics & literacies of networks? what is a scholarship of abundance? what is learning in abundance?
  28. 28. identities & influence: a study
  29. 29. h"ps://   network signals
  30. 30. institutional affiliation doesn’t matter (except Oxford)
  31. 31. metrics matter, but not that much
  32. 32. individuals cultivate reputation, visibility, & audience(s)
  33. 33. capacity to contribute to “The Conversation” scale of visibility common interests & disciplines shared ties influence = perception of capacity to contribute
  34. 34. + capacity to stand out
  35. 35. matter-ing matters Sometimes…I’ll choose someone with twenty followers, because I come across something they’ve managed to say in 140 characters, and I think “oh, look at you, crafting on a grain of rice.” - @KateMfD h"ps://  
  36. 36. some voices get to matter more than others
  37. 37. rife with logics of business & media
  38. 38. but also logics of care.
  39. 39. a scholarship of abundance
  40. 40. education = multiple axes of change knowledge scarcity knowledge abundance anytime, anywhere public funding markets set time & place
  41. 41. opens the gates of many-to-many communications #rhizo15
  42. 42. two projects Palo Alto, CA October 16th & 17th, 2015 Madison, WI
  43. 43. what signals will you send? h"ps://  
  44. 44. thank you @bonstewart J