Digital Scholarship – A Conversation

What are your thoughts on Digital Scholarship?
I am exploring ideas of #digped as part of a Master of Education programme (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) and the relevance of Digital Scholarship to the secondary sector.
In describing Digital Scholarship Martin Weller says people always get bogged down by definitions and so describes digital scholarship as shorthand for the following three things intersecting:
Digital content, distributed by networks, with open and associated practices and technologies.










The intersection of these three approaches provides fertile ground for the transformation of practice ( Weller, 2011) -which I am thinking also applies to teaching practice in the secondary sector.

Via a comment below, you are invited to leave your thoughts on the following questions.

What do YOU think digital scholarship is?

Is digital scholarship a useful and practical term?

Is it relevant to your sector? How?

Will this model of Digital Scholarship lead to traditional pedagogies being challenged?

Or else, post a question if you are not sure of the meaning of the above ideas.

If you came here via twitter please retweet my tweet.

Weller’s blog is here, if you are curious:


Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.

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  1. I am particularly taken by the way that Steve Wheeler presents the topic of open scholarship (

    “True openness is where content is shared freely, all work is attributed fairly, and where educators also open themselves up for dialogue, collaboration and constructive criticism. True open scholars are those who have aspirations to be global educators, promoting free learning for all, reaching out and connecting with other educators and learners everywhere, with the aim of participating fully in their worldwide community of practice”

    I think that the term captures something similar to the idea of the ‘lead learner’, but instead branches across organisations. I think that it has more to offer than concepts such as thought leader (

  2. I think digital scholarship, as a term, helps to identify emerging trends. What first comes to mind is the way that many academics use platforms like Twitter to share their peer-review articles and their blogs. There is a new emergence of the public intellectual underway.

    I have a feeling that the term will become less useful as the conversation shifts. For example, I think we need to start digging into what Weller calls the ‘battle for open’.

    As a K12 teacher, digital scholarship gives me access to and voice in a conversation that I otherwise might not be a part of if it only took place in journals behind paywalls.

    – Benjamin

    • The ‘battle for open’. Good point as this idea undoubtedly causes tensions for some. To enrich the battle I suspect the intersection of digital, open and networked could be woven into K12 pedagogy. In fact, I think digital practice and pedagogies at a secondary level should demand it. As you have said, it allows teachers to participate and we want participatory cultures/pedagogies to flourish.

  3. Digital scholarship is valued for openness or open access within the boundaries of open data, open publishing, open education and open boundaries , and for utilising participatory or collective ways of thinking. Our work as educators has to centre on helping to meet the scholarship and future learning needs in courses/programs by fostering a culture of enquiry within a sustainable digital learning environment that is shaped by the ubiquity of information, globally responsive pedagogical practices, and driven by collaboration and informal learning in multiple access points and through multiple mediums. The question for me is how do we support the development of mastery, knowledge and understanding through various digital pathways and build scholarship accordingy?

  4. Re challenging traditional pedagogies, I believe the ‘openness’ aspect of Weller’s model is the enabler of transformative practice. Teachers using social media as a platform to share, create and remix resources (public domain or open educational resources with creative commons license), participate in conversations, build upon eachother’s ideas, support eachother etc. Digital, yes, networked, yes, but it’s the practice and culture of openness that may transform how teachers learn from eachother. Professional learning through open scholarship may help bridge the theory/practice divide. e.g. the edu debates on Twitter re learning styles, trad vs prog pedagogies etc. I could bang on forever, love this chat & thank you for starting the conversation.

  5. I think there is digital scholarship where people use digital spaces to engage in dialogic. There is also a form of digital scholarship where people enact old school scholarship in a market. Part of digital literacy is the ability to distinguish the scholars from the capitalists. We are engaging in this scholarship in a highly capitalist environment and we need to be conscious of that and the barriers it builds

    • Hi Naomi. Can you give us an example of how someone might enact old school scholarship in a market? In all sectors of education, I suspect some practitioners are cautious of enacting market forces (some are perhaps oblivious) so further comments are welcome.

      It’s a nice blog you have, btw. 🙂

  6. People will hawk their wares. Use Twitter to network. But still stamp their authority on the conversation and expect people to believe them because of their expertise. In my view, this is traditional scholarship in a digital space. For digital scholarship to be different, it needs to reject the hierarchical structures of traditional scholarship. If it doesn’t, it isn’t open. Access is about more than being able to read it. It’s about understanding it and feeling valued in your contribution

    • These are ideas Weller advocates. He says that it’s more than the digital but a way of doing and thinking. #openness.
      Worth fighting for no doubt and an ethic to pass onto students.

  7. What do YOU think digital scholarship is?

    Put simply, it is the dividing line between and opinion and argument. In an era where brands have saturated the message, and salience bias is dangerously present in much of the online technological determinism. It is important for the meta ‘scholarship of learning and teaching’ to find evidence based insights to inform practice – and not to fall into the popularised rhetoric of people often seeking personal gains and attention. We cannot afford to deny children their own digital rights, and will not be able to advocate for it without continuing to invest our time in scholarly practice.

    Is digital scholarship a useful and practical term?

    Yes, for the reasons above. It sends a clear signal neither media or moral panics will be subscribed to, just as unproven tools and methods will be viewed as both potentially harmful and beneficial until such time we can determine otherwise.

    Is it relevant to your sector? How?

    Yes, in education, we are on the cusp of reform. But we have been here for a decade, as this is the ideal environment for the above to thrive, just as casinos light their gaming rooms in the perpetual dusk to give an illusion of time.

    Will this model of Digital Scholarship lead to traditional pedagogies being challenged?

    Culture is resilient. The traditions of teaching are a product of environment, culture, technology and media literacy. We know almost nothing about how teachers represent digital scholarship, so must look to what they do with technology. For example, are teachers helping students reach their own goals with their own tools? The answer might be yes, but the context is all too often, the modernist demands of school systems. If I asked, are you helping a child build a streaming audience for a video game – I doubt many teachers would have the media literacy to answer.

    • All provocative points rich for probing.

      I suspect a barrier to Digital Scholarship is also teacher views of self (including digital self) that is undoubtedly shaped by very strong modernist approaches to education…not to mention subtle disempowerment by technological deterministic viewpoints, popular rhetoric and the era of brands.

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