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A scholarly life online


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I want to use our online presence as a way to help us think through one big idea: who we are when we are online as educators. What do professors do online? Is there anything special about faculty members who are online? Does their use of social media differ from the general population? Do they also post pictures of their children food, and cats? In this presentation, I will discuss how/why academics use social media and online networks, and explore aspects of online participation that is unique to scholars. I will discuss the opportunities and tensions that exist in online spaces, and share recent original research that shows how small data, as well as big data, can help us make sense of professors’ (and thereby students’) participation in online spaces.

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A scholarly life online

  1. 1. Keynote at the European Distance and E-Learning Network Research Workshop Oldenburg, October 2016 A Scholarly Life Online George Veletsianos, PhD Canada Research Chair & Associate Professor Royal Roads University Victoria, BC Canada
  2. 2. •  Academic-specific technologies •  Repurposed technologies
  3. 3. Conceptual framework: Networked Scholarship
  4. 4. Networked Scholarship, or Networked Participatory Scholarship: “scholars’ use of participatory technologies and online social networks to share, reflect upon, critique, improve, validate, and further their scholarship” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012) Conceptual framework: Networked Scholarship
  5. 5. Open/Social/Digital Scholarship These focus on a fragment of scholars' online activities and have ignored other aspects of online presence. White & Le Cornu (2011): Digital Residents & Visitors Conceptual framework: Networked Scholarship
  6. 6. Post draft papers Author open textbooks Share Syllabi + Activities Live streaming Live-Blogging Collaborative authoring Debates + commentary Open teaching Public P&T materials The doctoral journey (e.g., #PhDChat) Crowdsourcing Share information Veletsianos (2012, 2013)
  7. 7. What challenges do faculty face on social media? •  Social media activities are rife with tensions, dilemmas, and conundrums. –  Time demands –  Surveillance ( à High-profile cases e.g., Salaita, Kansas Board of regents) –  Maintaining appropriate and meaningful connections –  Gender and socioeconomic issues – Establishing personal-professional boundaries
  8. 8. What challenges do faculty face on social media? •  Social media activities are rife with tensions, dilemmas, and conundrums. “I made it [Facebook] this hybrid space ... and sometimes it's really annoying. … I keep thinking I should be writing or looking at data, [but instead I am managing the different groups of people that are my Facebook friends] … I think that I created the conundrum that I live in now.”
  9. 9. What is the conundrum around expressing academic identity online? Acceptable Identity Fragments = how academics express themselves online (Kimmons & Veletsianos, 2015)
  10. 10. Significant. Because we imagine our audiences to be complex Imagined audiences: “mental conceptualization of the people with whom we are communicating”(Litt, 2012)
  11. 11. Disclosures might have deeper roots •  Disclosures might be tactical – Political – Encourage reflection (Veletsianos & Stewart, 2016)
  12. 12. So, when institutions view social media with a functional perspective… •  They become part of an “audit culture” and “a complex data assemblage that confronts the individual academic” (Burrows, 2012)
  13. 13. What do Twitter metrics mean? Can they be used to evaluate a scholars’ reach or impact? We have to think critically about social media metrics & their meaning
  14. 14. (R2 = .83, F[4,459] = 571.42, p < .001). From Veletsianos & Kimmons (2016)
  15. 15. To close… In creating policies that govern online participation, recognize that scholars participating online are not merely disembodied personas aiming to amass citations and followers and that social media metrics may not mean what you think they mean.
  16. 16. Thank you! Research available at: http://www.veletsianos/ publications This presentation: veletsianos Contact: @veletsianos on Twitter