Category Archives: INF537 Assessment

INF537 The final note

INF537 is the finale to my Master of Education Opus.

Music - like anything requires time. INF537 also has required time to gain the most from it.
Music – like anything requires time. INF537 also has required time to gain the most from it.

It’s enabled me to bring together the numerous melodies that each unit taught and finally see how they interweave and echo each other in a beautiful theme and variation form.

I was enthused by the cavatina of the various guest colloquiums, each entwining and complimenting the INF537 basic melody line. Not all of the colloquiums supported my work, though all were incredibly interesting and provided valuable information. I focused on Simon Welsh and Pip Cleaves to blog about as these colloquiums gave me interesting points to research and reflect on.

Learner analyitics can help a course thrive and survive or crash and burn, tit all depends on how well us use the metrics.
Learner analyitics can help a course thrive and survive or crash and burn, tit all depends on how well us use the metrics.

Simon Welsh provided an excellent counterpoint with his Learner Analytic presentation that resonated to my current work role. I reflected upon thoughts I had been building from INF530 and INF443 and contemplated in Learning analytics – who is watching the watchers (Drager, 2016 July 27).

Pip Cleaves discussed the ‘Diffusion of Innovation cycle’ (Rogers, 2003), which made me rethink the Gartner Hype Cycle (Gartner, 2016) and how the adoption rates directly link to Rogers (2003) work. Those cycles prompted me to jump to the Horizon Report (NMC, 2016) and think about how both cycles impact on what is reported annually by the New Media Consortium (NMC, 2016).

I now have the empathy and understanding to walk a mile in others shoes thanks to Pip Cleaves.
I now have the empathy and understanding to walk a mile in others shoes thanks to Pip Cleaves.

As an educator it’s supremely important to recognise the levels of engagement with technology my students fit into and where within the ‘Diffusion of Innovation cycle’ (Rogers, 2003) they belong and contextualize my training delivery accordingly, as well as adjust my expectations of them to ensure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

What I benefited most from during these colloquiums was the experience for the class to moderate and work together in small groups. This enabled us to create firm contacts with in the course. My group worked in harmony via Twitter and a live Google document. We fast came to the realization the nightmare we put out students through when asking them all to edit live at once, a truly memorable and wonderful experience.

I am sitting back happy to watch others perform due to my support and reaching out to them.
I am sitting back happy to watch others perform due to my support and reaching out to them.

INF537 has enabled me to re-examine Communities of Practice and given me the impetus to encourage my peers to setup up a new Community of Practice and newsletter for the WA VET Sectors Adult Literacy and Numeracy area, which has been launched, which I intimated to in Participatory culture – Do we dare to partake? (Drager, 2016 August 9), and am happy to sit back and watch their performance.

I gained a new respect for the output of scholars with the assessment task on Digital Scholarship and posted my assessment onto my  blog INF537 Digital Scholarship Interpretive discussion paper (Drager, 2016 September 16) for future INF537 students to benefit from, paying it forwarded to the next cohort. I do this in the hope that they will also review my various blog posts which contain information on accessibility, participation as well as vital other topics and benefit from my solo learning journey.

I am ready to solo
The individual case study gave a soloist focus to my ongoing learning at the end of this unit.

My coda came in the form of the Case Study final assessment. This was challenging, fun, exciting and liberating assignment that gave an opportunity to showcase what I could do on a topic of my choosing, it really was my cadenza. The dissonance that I have increasingly discovered, thanks to my research for my case study, is the little is no understanding that individuals have when it comes to preserving data. I have discovered that we have lost valuable data from the end of 2015, simply because DTWD were using a different system for webinar streaming. This one event made such a cacophony that it prompted my post You live you learn you upgrade (Drager, 2016 October 3).

Started on a small public stage.
Started on a small public stage.

In my final refrain INF537 has been a wonderful learning experience that has developed my skills in research, and renewed my energy for participation in my networks. It has added a rich timbre to my Opus and has me finally ready to perform on a grander public stage, rather than busking in the high street.

Now I am ready for something grander.
Now I am ready for something grander.


Drager, Y. (2016, October 3). You live, you learn, you upgrade [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, September 16). INF537 Digital Scholarship Interpretive discussion paper [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, August 9). Participatory culture, do we dare to partake? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 27). Learning analytics – Who is watching the watchers? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Gartner. (2016). 2016 Hype Cycles Highlight Digital Business Ecosystems. Retrieved from

NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition Wiki. (2016, October 11). Retrieved from

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press

INF537 Digital scholarship interpretive discussion paper





It is interesting in a time when we are championing networked education, the ethos of networked educators and the need to grow from traditional teaching methodologies to blended teaching approaches, that we are still in a relative dark age when it comes to academia accepting the scholarship of a digital scholar as authentic work (Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010). Technology makes connecting and collaborating easier than never before (Nussbaum-Beach, & Hall, 2012). It makes sense to reach out and seek peer review and input from a wider audience as there is a finite amount we can learn by ourselves, especially if academic endeavours are hidden under a bushel open to only the select few (Fullan, & Hargreaves, 1991; Nussbaum-Beach, & Hall, 2012) in the case of ‘possessive individualism’ or the lone scholar (Rosenzweig, 2007; Pearce, 2010).

Before investigating digital scholarship and the role it plays in the modern scholar’s life it is first important to understand the term scholar and for this paper it is best defined by Weller (2011) as a learned or specialist in a given division of knowledge. A scholar may gain tenure through a strict set of parameters that include (but not limited to) past and continued teaching practice and more importantly research undertaken within their field of study that is published in peer reviewed publications (Costa, 2015; Cross, 2008; Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Weller, 2011; Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012). Unlike the images of dusty academics working by candle light it highlights that society needs to reimagine its collective image of academics, as reality is far from this outdated vision. In the realm of academia there has been an ongoing division as to what is deemed to be a scholarly pursuit. This is not new debate and has been discussed for decades (Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Weller, 2011; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010). Scholars working in academic institutions such as universities, even now are using social media and new technologies not prescribed by the institution on an ad hoc basis to encourage discourse around their work with peers and the general public (Pearce, 2010; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010).

Boyer (1990) in his work “Scholarship reconsidered” suggested that society needs a more inclusive view of scholars that includes an understanding of how their knowledge is acquired through discovery, integration, application and teaching. Boyer’s work (1990), though a solid place to start (Weller, 2011) is now over two decades old (Heap, & Minocha, 2012) and primarily focuses on the individual, there are other conceptual quality frameworks that could also be used in the argument to support the growing need for digital scholarship to be recognised. Borgman (2007) considered three categories to reflect on the process of digital scholarly communication: legitimization, dissemination and access, preservation and curation, which focuses on the scholarship outputs of teams (Hank, 2013) and when applied to Kjellberg’s analytical framework for scholarly blogging (Kjellber, 2009) it is possible to see that there are synergies to be drawn across all these frameworks that can support the recognition of digital scholarly research outputs of both individual and teams.

The research for authentic online learning model outlined by Herrington and Parker (2013) Herrington, Reeves and Oliver (2007) and Cua (2014) is aimed at authentic online learning experiences for students, however, this could be used to form a basis of a capability quality framework, in conjunction with the frameworks of Boyer (1990), Borgman (2007), Kjellberg (2009) and Heap and Minocha (2012), for how institutions can authenticate digital scholarly outputs by scholars, especially regarding research. This can be easily explored through the concept of participatory Web 2.0 tools such as blogging by scholars. A new language must be developed about how scholars’ multi-modal and participatory outputs are considered in terms of publication and tenure (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015).

Salmon (2005) in her work regarding strategic frameworks for e-learning encapsulated the role of digital scholarship being one of flapping and not flying and suggests more needs to be done to support scholars in the development of skills to ensure that digital scholarship can be recognised by institutions as valid. Digital scholarship can leverage the affordances offered by mobile technology (Cochrane, & Bateman, 2010; Laurillard, 2009) while not creating a digital divide for scholars (Costa, 2015) by revisiting the terms of what is scholarship and relate it to digital born outputs. Weller (2011) put forward that outputs for digital scholarship need to be (1) digital, (2) networked and (3) open. The term digital scholar, and indeed for a scholar to become one, implies the need for a cultural change as the engagement with new technologies means that scholars who are using participatory Web 2.0 tools are causing a wicked problem for recognition of scholarly activity in a digital format (Costa, 2015).

The term digital scholarship is more and more being used to refer to the use of social media and participatory Web 2.0 software in academia and research (Heap, & Minocha, 2012), blogging is a useful output to frame the discussion about scholarship in the digital format. In the past formally published items such as peer reviewed journals and manuscripts formed the backbone for what was considered academic writing (Hank, 2013). This view is being challenged by the participatory Web 2.0 tools and the affordances they provide scholars (Luckin et al, 2011; Bower, 2008; Laurillard, 2009; Martindale, & Wiley, 2007; Sappey, & Relf, 2010; Sheffield, 2015; Cochrane, & Bateman, 2010). The affordances that blogging offers academic scholars are varied, but can encompass collaboration, interactivity, connectivity and social rapport, content creation and curation (Kirkup, 2010).

Blogging can be argued to be the conversational scholarship and have made scholarly work accessible to those outside the hallowed halls of academia (Gregg, 2006; Kirkup, 2010). Walker (2006) identifies three types of academic blogs (1) public intellectuals (2) research blogs and (3) pseudonymous blogs about academic life, but it’s only the first two types of blogs that hold a place in the discussion of digital scholarship (Gregg, 2009). It is critical that the distinction be drawn between scholars writing an academic blog and a blog written by a scholar (Mewburn, & Thomson, 2013).

The key problem with traditional academic writing and scholarship, though it develops the reputation of the scholar and likewise associated institutions, is that it is writing that never leaves the institution (Brett, 1991; Gregg, 2006). However, academic blogging on the other hand makes the scholarly work accessible and accountable to a wide readership and opens the content up for deep scrutiny from others outside of the learning area and supports the emergent practice of networked participatory scholarship (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012). Blogging enables scholars to share early research results and gives them the ability to debate and discuss results with peers prior to formal publication and they are also able to seek input with experimental issues (Powell, Jacob, & Chapman, 2012). By leveraging the affordances of blogs researchers can disclose details of method design, data collection and initial results and the affordances also offer the researcher the ability to provide links and embed media to support their research (Bower, 2008; Costa, 2014; Heap, & Minocha, 2012). Blogs can be tools that support scholars in facilitating their research, collaboration with a wider audience and sharing their knowledge which supports the openness of being a digital scholar (Park, Heo, & Lee, 2011).

If scholars are using Web 2.0 tools to support their pedagogy and to model lifelong learning principles then it is imperative that exemplars are created of high quality scholarly work to support the context of concepts and to provide points of reference for students (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015; Goodfellow, 2013; Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Kirkup, 2010), currently this is not the case for many teaching areas. The ability to demonstrate effective use of the multi-modal design of a blog is important for scholars to come to terms with, but also forms an integral part of providing authentic learning experiences for students (Herrington, & Parker, 2013; Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver, 2007; Cua, 2014). For outputs to be considered as exemplars the scholar needs to blog under their real name rather than a pseudonymous, as this will lend authenticity to their work, and enable them to use this digital scholarship as part of their discussions around tenure where academic outputs are to be demonstrated (Walker, 2006; Weller, 2011; Kirkup, 2010; Heap, & Minocha, 2012).

The need to develop the necessary skills around digital technologies could conceivably be started in the K-12 education space, the VET environment, as well as post-secondary. Skills for writing for an online audience can be developed through blogging and academic blogging (Walker, 2006; Gregg, 2009; Kirkup, 2010) with the thought the more you blog the better you become at it being paramount. Reflective writing in a blog can form an important part of authentic online learning and to ensure its authenticity students must have a specific purpose for their writing (Herrington, & Parker 2013; Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver, 2007), equally reflective blog writing could form another dimension to research projects that have been funded as it adds a level of openness and dynamisms to the project as it has a key purpose of reflecting about the research process (Heap, & Minocha, 2012).

The practice of peer review in academia is well-known to form a critical part of scholarship, but many feel that this is absent from academic blogging (Cross, 2008; Gregg, 2006; Powell, Jacob, & Chapman, 2011). Though there is the ability to add comments to blogs, the key point is that this is not true peer review (Sheffield, 2015; Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011). Hank (2013) challenged this point by observing that the peer review process does form a gatekeeping function and that the use of comments on blogs could free an academic from this locked-step approach of formal peer review and thus open a scholars work up to scrutiny from a wide audience, though admittedly less expert. This could then reasonably be used as part of the discourse around scholarship of academics.

The discussion around how to quantify the scholarly output of a scholar in light of digital scholarship is always problematic. Metrics are used regarding publications and citations that are then linked directly to performance and funding, however, currently there is little acknowledgement of the digital scholarship that many scholars create. In a world of big data and user analytics it should become standard that digital scholarship is accounted for. Frameworks that can incorporate both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate digital scholarship could be created to capture information about digital scholarship using, for instance, in blogs monitor link analysis, usage statistics such as page views or comment analysis and blog posts citing articles (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012; Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Kjellberg, 2010). This could help scholars and institutions to understand the impact that digital scholarship and subsequently the outreach it is having (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012).

Though the affordances of blogs are varied there is a concern about the longevity of them in terms of accessibility, duration and digital preservation (Walker, 2006; Pearce, 2010). Unlike traditional journal articles that can be housed in curated collections within a library or publishing house there is simply not the same robust set of preservation strategies around digital outputs, especially if they are created ad hoc and not within an institutions supported ICT (Pearce, 2010). Gregg (2009) identifies blogs as short term, which lends support to the need for institutions to capture important academic information from scholar’s academic blogs (Cross, 2008). With-out prudent, timely intervention of preservation strategies traditional forms of scholarly output will continued to be favoured (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015; Walker, 2006).

Scholars work in the genres of their time (Walker, 2006) and with the advancements in technology and the fast pace of adoption institutions are moving at a glacial pace to recognise and accept the scholarship outputs in a digital space such as an academic blog. It is unmistakable that technology is creating new situations for learning with digital scholarship opening up scholars to new and different ways of working that needs to be valued by academia. There are those who will embrace new technologies and new ways of working and understand its benefits to both society and academia (Weller, 2011) and will lead at the forefront. Whilst these scholars have embraced the new, they have become hamstrung by the lack of acknowledgement for scholarship contained in these tools, such as blogs (Sheffield, 2015; Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011). With usage analytics it is possible for universities and institutions to track the activity of the academic blog and can be tied to the carefully constructed metrics that are currently employed against publications rates that result in funding. Powell, Jacob and Chapman (2012) eludes to blogs not replacing traditional forms of scholarship, but blogs and Web 2.0 participatory scholarship should become part of the body of evidence to demonstrate scholarly activity and discussion as blogs can and do complement as well as contribute to traditional forms of scholarly publication.


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