Ten lessons in digital scholarship


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10 lessons relating to digital scholarship, using 10 videos to illustrate them

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  • Written a book recently, so more detail in that if you’re interested.Book was example – published by BloomsburyAcademic – buy hardcopy of read free online under a CC licence
  • People get hung up on definitions – when I use digital scholarship it’s really a shorthand for these 3 factors:Digital content, distributed via global and social network, and mediated through open technologies and practices
  • As John Naughton notes we are in the middle of a revolution and it’s difficult to know what the outcome will beTherefore you should always be suspicious of people who pretend to know the answers as they’re usually selling somethingSo, I used the term ‘lessons’ just because it made a better title, a more accurate one would have been:
  • But I think we all agree that’s not as snappy.So onto the lessons
  • I spend a lot of time wit geeks and developers. And they’re great, but it sometimes feels like another language and divorced from what you do.
  • When the astronomer royal says this, you know it isn’t a hobbyist thing.
  • It’s dangerous to dismiss it as being about a particular technology or for more techy people. It’s about very fundamental scholarly activity and practice
  • Discovery = ResearchIntegration = Working between disciplinesApplication = taking research and applying it, eg in industry, or public engagementTeachingAll four have equal weighting, and I’ll take an example of each one for my next four lessons
  • So, is there an equivalent happening in research? Could we speed up the innovation cycle?
  • Lots of studies recently have reported a rather conservative approachWhy might this be so?
  • Don’t waste time on all this non-traditional output stuffIs this what happens in other industries?
  • It goes against our training and instincts
  • Successful networks have been developed and researchers return to these, thus not valuing online ones as much
  • The online network forms a new route into interdisciplinary work
  • Consider creating an interdisciplinary print journal with setting up your own blog now
  • Are there consistent cultural norms across these new tools? Same could be said of twitter.Do people who use these tools successfully adopt these cultural norms?
  • How do these new norms then sit with existing disciplinary ones? Are they ‘more sticky’? Have two bloggers in different disciplines got more in common than a blogger and non-blogger in the same discipline?
  • At the OU we used to do TV programmes for our courses, and here’s a parody of them
  • We still make TV but are also developing web native content.But more interesting I think is the material produced by individual academics, which wasn’t possible before
  • As part of their normal function, scholars produce the following:It doesn’t take much effort to turn all of these into shareable digital outputs.
  • These outputs have different characteristics to the type of public engagement we used to do
  • I’m talking about teaching here, but the same applies to disseminating research.Many of you will have seen this clip, but I think it makes a good point
  • We can think of many existing practices as embodying these principles of scarcity
  • If we have abundant content as our assumption, would our approach change?
  • Here are some assumptions which might underlie such a pedagogy.Maybe our existing pedagogies can be adapted, but I think few of them start with these assumptions
  • Competing in an attention economy, you want stuff to be noticed.Development of a slideshare style
  • Talking about business here, but I think the same applies to research. We have become enculturated into a certain approach to research
  • We’ve been trained to think of research as funded, and published, but it needn’t be.
  • Trailer for a course, but could also do trailers or promotions for research projects, publications, etc
  • We’re only at the beginning of this – all of these might be skills the new researcher will need, and which funders will increasingly want evidence for
  • I am suspicious of digital literacy programmes as they tend to end up as tick boxes, and are out of date by the time they’re formalised. It seems to me more about an approach and a mindset
  • This conference is being amplified so others can join inRan the OU conference as all onlineThe backchannel can affect the mood.So even if you’re not involved in any of these media, it will impact upon the conference, which is at the heart of scholarly practice
  • Network weather
  • Books and libraries are a good example of things we hold dear. And what better location.
  • It’s simplistic to think of it as either/or – previously we often only had one approach open to us, eg publish a journal article. Now we have a much richer toolbox to choose from.
  • Simplistically people like to declare that certain things are dead. But they rarely are.This misses the more interesting picture of how those functions or artefacts are changed subtly by the new technology
  • Ten lessons in digital scholarship

    1. Digital scholarship10 lessons in 10 videos http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/
    2. Book Bloomsburyacademic.com
    3. Definition
    4. <Alternative title> 10 things I’ve come to believe afterthinking about the impact of technology for a few years, accompanied by 10 tenuously connected, and sometimes amusing, videos
    5. Lesson 1: It‟s not just for geeks• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/fKXk1VhAuvE
    6. But it‟s also about:• Knowledge sharing• Knowledge creation• Networking• Generating ideas• Communicating• Democratisation of learning
    7. Aren‟t those all scholarly activities?
    8. Sir Martin Rees:“arXiv.org archive transformed the literature ofphysics, establishing a new model forcommunication over the whole of science. Farfewer people today read traditional journals.These have so far survived as guarantors ofquality. But even this role may soon be trumpedby a more informal system of quality control,signaled by the approbation of discerningreaders”
    9. So there‟ssomething going on here, beyond just geeks
    10. The Boyer view of scholarship• Discovery• Integration• Application• Teaching
    11. Lesson 2: Researchers are caught in a dilemma• YouTube clip http://youtu.be/LnQcCgS7aPQ
    12. But researchers aren’t keen“frequent or intensive use is rare, and some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time or even dangerous” Harley et al (2010) “We found no evidence to suggest(Proctor, Williams and Stewart (2010) that “tech-savvy” young graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors are bucking traditional publishing practices” Carpenter et al describe researchers as „risk averse‟ and „behind the curve in using digital technology‟
    13. Is it tenure?“The advice given to pre-tenure scholars was consistent across all fields: focus on publishing in the right venues and avoid spending too much time on public engagement, committee work, writing op- ed pieces, developing websites, blogging, and other non-traditional forms of electronic dissemination”
    14. Is it caution?Waldrop 2008 (on blogging)““Its so antithetical to the way scientists are trained," Duke University geneticist Huntington F. Willard said... The whole point of blogging is spontaneity--getting your ideas out there quickly, even at the risk of being wrong or incomplete. “But to a scientist, thats a tough jump to make,” says Willard. “When we publish things, by and large, weve gone through a very long process of drafting a paper and getting it peer reviewed.”
    15. Is it habit?Kroll & Forsman“Almost all researchers have created a strong network of friends and colleagues and they draw together the same team repeatedly for new projects…Everyone emphasizes the paramount importance of interpersonal contact as the vital basis for agreeing to enter into joint work. Personal introductions, conversations at meetings or hearing someone present a paper were cited as key in choosing collaborators.”
    16. <A tension between potential and context>
    17. Lesson 3: Interdisciplinary is the network• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/LJr8uAqQCBM
    18. New economicsInterdisciplinary used to be Costly DifficultyNow it‟s Cheap Easy
    19. New cultural normsWhat are the cultural norms of blogging?• a willingness to share thoughts and experiences with others at an early stage;• the importance of getting input from others on an idea or opinion;• launching collaborative projects that would be very difficult or impossible to achieve alone;• gathering information from a high number of sources every day;• control over the sources and aggregation of their news;• the existence of a „common code‟: a vocabulary, a way to write posts and behaviour codes such as quoting other sources when you use them, linking into them, commenting on other posts and so on;• a culture of speed and currency, with a preference to post or react instantaneously; and• a need for recognition – bloggers want to express themselves and get credit for it.(Le Muir 2005)
    20. How ‘sticky’ are these cultural norms?
    21. Lesson 4: We’re all broadcasters nowPublic engagement used to look like this:YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/2un9rO2ZF4g
    22. Now looks like this:YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/5zVaFjSxAZs
    23. A long tail content production system Code Lectures/Teaching contentResearch papersDebate Ideas Conferences Data
    24. Digital outputs• Low cost (free?)• Small but unpredictable audience• Open• No compromise• High reuse potential• Different distribution
    25. Lesson 5: Teaching in an attention economy• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/DRBW8eJGTVs
    26. http://www.flickr.com/photos/skyfaller/8394194/ • Pedagogy of scarcity? • Lecture – one to many • Library • Instructivism/didactic
    27. http://www.flickr.com/photos/42903611@N00/387761039/What would a pedagogy of abundance look like?
    28. • Content is free• Content is abundant• Content is varied• Sharing is easy• Social based• Connections are „lite‟• Organisation is „cheap‟• Crowdsourcing• Network is valuable
    29. Do we need different skills to compete in an attention economy?
    30. Lesson 6: Rethink research• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/7KLnXjqKL5g
    31. Start a journal today! http://metaedtech.wordpress.com/
    32. Invent an app today!
    33. Interrogate data today! Ouseful.info
    34. 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”
    35. Lesson 7: New skills will be required• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/7KLnXjqKL5g
    36. • Video• Networks• Data visualisation• Analytics• Writing for online• Managing online identity http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5749192621/
    37. <Do we need to be taught these skills?>
    38. Lesson 8: It’ll impact even if you ignore it• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/rIABo0d9MVE
    39. Conferences• Amplified• Online• Backchannel
    40. The new conference archive
    41. Alternative formats• Barcamp• Pre-presentation• Voting• Produce something
    42. Lesson 9: It’s about alternatives• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/SKVcQnyEIT8
    43. Alternatives• Communication• Publishing models• Research methods• Networking
    44. The following are not dead:• VLEs• Peer review• Universities• Teaching• Books
    45. But they are operating in a different ecosystem http://www.flickr.com/photos/luc/393887467/
    46. Lesson 10: Don’t focus just on risk• YouTube clip - http://youtu.be/w7RIgs3eygo
    47. • Doomed - were all destined to become stupid, dysfunctional & lessened by the technology eg Carr• Marooned - we are placing technology in too powerful a position and dehumanising ourselves in the process eg Lanier• Entombed - the more we communicate, the more alone and isolated we are becoming eg Turkle
    48. Tversky and Kahneman: We give risk/loss more weight http://www.flickr.com/photos/markusram/1361719776/
    49. James Boyle:“We are very good at seeing the downsidesand the dangers of open systems, openproduction systems, networks of openness... Those dangers are real… we are not sogood at seeing the benefits and theconverse holds true for the closed system.”
    50. To recap1. It‟s not just for geeks2. Resolve the researcher‟s dilemma3. Interdisciplinarity is in the network4. We‟re all broadcasters now5. Teaching in an attention economy6. Opportunity to rethink research7. New skills will be required8. It‟ll impact even if you ignore it9. It‟s about alternatives10. Don‟t focus just on risk
    51. <polite applause><and now – disagree>
    52. Links ‘n’ stuff• Videos: www.youtube.com/edtechie• Twitter: @mweller• Blog: Edtechie.net• Book: bit.ly/w80vcq