It is all connected!

I encountered INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium, near the end of my MEd KN & DI journey. It promised the opportunity to consider the impact of knowledge networks, of collaboration and innovation in digital cultures of learning and what this can mean for my professional development and practice.

From the start I was confronted by a repeating truth: in collaborative digital environments we learn with and from one another – whether it be with and from this cohort, our subject coordinator, industry experts, exemplary practitioners or thought leaders – as I wrote in my introductory blog post for this module (Wocke, 2019a). I involuntarily thought back to what some of the thought leaders and exemplary practitioners I came across had to say about a digital culture of learning:

  • Downes (2006) said knowledge consists of the network of connections formed from experience and interaction with a knowing community.
  • Brown (2000) said the Internet is not only an informational and social resource but a learning medium where understandings are socially constructed and shared.
  • Rheingold (2011) said we co-construct our learning in collaborative learning communities online.
  • Siemens (2014) said networked learning happens through external social spaces, where social systems and technology systems are now part of human knowledge.

It is, it seems, all about collaboratively learning in a connected knowing community. It was time to bring my learning into spaces where it can be socially constructed and shared. When I came across the term “outward-facing learning” in Module 1, it resonated immediately.  I was determined to develop as a participatory learner and share my thoughts as a connected learner during this module:

I started off by participating in every single discussion on the INF532 Padlet board and Flipgrid. When the Flipgrid slot was too short to share my view on communities of practice, I created and published my first podcast (inserted below).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This I shared in a blog post (Wocke, 2019b) and via Twitter (Wocke, 2019c). I was quite surprised when two members of the cohort actually listened and commented – I AM part of a community of collaborative learners, it seems!

During my research for the paper on Digital Scholarship, which I wrote about in A revolution by digital scholars (Wocke, 2019d), I realized that open access has developed further than just free and unrestricted access to research, it’s also about open data, transparency in peer review and an open approach to science assessment (“Openness Inspires Innovation”, n.d.). This convinced me to make this part of my practice and bring my personal research for the INF537 research paper into the open. I included in my project proposal links to my working data gathering documents, effectively giving open access to the project as it developed (see below).Project porposal for INF537 Assessment 3

Since scholars like Weller (2012) proclaims that blogging sits at the heart of being a modern academic and that newly constructed knowledge can be shared in so many new formats and media in the digital domain, I decided to further turn my learning “outward-facing” through blogging. I produced the narrative part of the data gathered for the INF537 research project into a series of  blogposts, that I called August Online, thereby further developing my reflective practice (Wocke, 2019e).

I have to be honest that not everything worked according to plan. In a post called Modelling Digital Scholarship (Wocke, 2019f), I proudly announced my intent to be authentic in making my learning “open”, by blogging out loud as I investigate digital scholarship and by posting a “draft” of my paper for my cohort members to comment on – REALLY practicing how I see knowledge creation developing in the digital era. Sadly, two factors kept me from reaching this goal: firstly, time constraints did not allow me to complete a draft in time for comments, and secondly, this (admittedly small) cohort proved on the whole to be disappointingly unresponsive and un-collaborative. None the less, all of this proved to be part of the learning curve, and at the end of this module I am not surprised to look back on my learning and find “It is all connected!


References

Brown, J. S. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/Growing_up_digital.pdf

Downes, S. (2006). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In Collective intelligence and elearning. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4.ch001

Openness inspires innovation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2019, from PLOS website: https://www.plos.org/who-we-are

Rheingold, H. (2011, July 22). Learning reimagined: Participatory, peer, global, online [Blog post]. Retrieved from Connected Learning Alliance Blog: https://clalliance.org/blog/learning-reimagined-participatory-peer-global-online/

USC: Learning and Teaching. (2014, January 21). Overview of connectivism – Dr George Siemens [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx5VHpaW8sQ

Weller, M. (2012, April 29). The virtues of blogging as scholarly activity [Blog post]. Retrieved from The Chronicle of Higher Education website: https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Virtues-of-Blogging-as/131666

Wocke, G. (2019a, July 15). INF537 digital futures colloquium – A new journey [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/07/15/inf537-digital-futures-colloquium-a-new-journey/

Wocke, G. (2019f, July 29). Modelling digital scholarship [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/07/26/modeling-digital-scholarship/

Wocke, G. (2019b, August 3). Communities of practice: An audio reflection [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/08/03/communities-of-practice-an-audio-reflection/

Wocke, G. (2019c, August 3). #INF537: My reflection on Communities of Practice, where I applied Wenger’s definition to a Facebook group for school librarians in my PLN, got too long for flipgrid and I posted a podcast on my blog https://bit.ly/2YHxHbY [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GrethaWocke/status/1157528399893729281

Wocke, G. (2019e, August 4). Why this? [Blog post]. Retrieved from August Online website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/augustonline/page/3/

Wocke, G. (2019d, September 5). A revolution by digital scholars [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/09/05/a-revolution-by-digital-scholars/

Scholarly or academic publishing (now)

John Bond does a good job of introducing the topic…

 

Scholarship and scholarly practice are important functions of higher educational institutions. In Boyer’s (1990) widely acknowledged description of scholarship, he proclaims the first facet, namely scholarship of discovery, or research, as central to the work of higher learning and at the heart of academic life.

Research, then, is understood to be the formal, systematic and intentional process undertaken to increase understanding of a phenomena of interest, with the implicit intent to communicate findings of the investigation (Leedy, Ormrod, & Johnson, 2019). For Boyer’s (1990) further facets of scholarship, namely integration, application and teaching to occur (pp. 17-18), it is imperative that the results of research be produced in a reliable format and disseminated in a way that allows critical interpretation and analyses as well as assimilation into the body of knowledge about the subject.

Over more than three centuries, the dissemination of research findings have consolidated into the formalised structures of journal articles and monographs, where scholarly journal articles are short written pieces that report on research projects, and monographs are longer and more comprehensive in their cover of a topic. Excellent review of the development of academic publishing as we know it in this article by Larivière, Haustein and Mongeon.

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

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The scholarly journal is an important type of formal scholarly communication that not only serves to communicate peer-reviewed research results but enables authors to establish ownership of ideas and establish precedence, build personal reputations and further careers, and potentially obtain future funding. In 2018 the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers published The STM Report (STM), an excellent (if publisher biased) overview of scientific and scholarly publishing (authored by Johnson, Watkinson, & Mabe). Peer review, the process whereby articles are scrutenised by other experts prior to publication, is fundamental to scholarly journals, as this process assesses originality, significance and soundness of the research as well as validity of findings and conclusions (STM pp. 47-49). Reviewers of articles typically receive no remuneration for their services. I thought time = money, no?

Journals are typically published by commercial publishers or learned society publishers (more in STM p. 43), who either sell article content or subscribed access to content. It is standard procedure that an author transfers intellectual property (IP) rights to journal publishers for no fee, allowing the publisher to explore commercial rights. The STM Report argues that this should not be viewed as a “giving away” of rights, but an exchanges for services such as copy editing, tagging and other semantic enrichment and dissemination of their work (STM p. 14).

The development of digital technology has/is changing traditional scholarly publication significantly, but is also disrupting this process through the affordances of new participatory, open, social media.

Modeling digital scholarship

Module 1 of INF537 has set the scene for learning during this session. We are to employ and apply Socratic seminars and colloquia in the collaborative digital environment as we learn with and from one another, our subject coordinator, and a series of “experts”.

Module 2 of INF537 is challenging me to understand how the digital, networked and open environment is transforming scholarship. I have identified the main issue to investigate as being “open”. In an attempt to be authentic I am making my learning “open” by blogging out loud as I investigate digital scholarship and learn.

Follow my thoughts as I complete Module 2 and prepare for Assessment item 2 here….. discontinued … see disclosure below….

 

DISCLOSURE: So, if I am going to be “open” and transparent about my learning during this study sessions, I also need to report when things do not go wrong. I had this grand plan to write a series of blog posts about my learning about digital citizenship, write a draft and post it for my cohort to comment on – really practicing the practice that is developing in digital scholarship. Fact is, I did not have as much time for this as I thought. Being fair to myself: the main reason is that the nature of – and preparation for -the research project I chose for INF537 Assessment 3 took up way more time than I had originally planned. The secondary reason is that this (admittedly small) cohort has been disappointingly unresponsive and collaborative this far and I really do not think that anyone would have taken the time to give me good feedback. I will now incorporate the blog posts intended for Digital Scholarship – Blogging outLoud here.