Friday, September 30, 2011

The digital scholar - which way to go?

Within the context of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) #change11, week 3 dealt with different aspects of digital scholarship. This week's discussion was based on the new book by Martin Weller called: The Digital Scholar. I participated in a webinar with Martin on Wednesday, and heard him present a strong case for the potential impact of digital technologies on professional scholarship.
Now I have been following Martin's contributions in this discussion for some time now (I have referred to his work in my workshop about social media for PhD students, and will be interviewing him later for an internal workshop at Open Universiteit), so I kinda knew his story.
I find that what I'm missing from his story, is a perspective for individual teachers and institutions on how this digital scholar will look in practice.
  • Is it enough to use social bookmarking or to share your conference presentations, or is that a start that will inevitably lead to more?
  • Are you only a 'real' digital scholar if you refuse to publish in closed journals and only opt for open access journals? How to deal with publishing your publically-funded research results?
  • Do I need to be a rebel within my institution, and how does it effect my own career? Or can I act as an evangelist and try to convince people that the end of the world as we know it is near?
I am convinced that the digital scholar is the scholar of the future, but I guess what I'm looking for is some guidelines on how to achieve a gradual, yet speedy innovation within our institutions that will lead to a point in the near future where we look back upon 2011, and wonder where the change actually happened. Can we formulate a path of inevitability that will sneak up on our decision makers and allow us to gradually become digital scholars, or do we need a shock therapy to achieve this?
And - by the way - I made a first downloadable ebook version of Martin's book. The internal links in the document are not all functioning perfectly, but you can download the book as is (also on non-Kindle readers) and enjoy reading it offline too. I've made pdf, ePub and mobi versions available on Dropbox, made with the help of the calibre tool.


Martin said...

Hi Steven
thanks for the post and the formats of my book.
I deliberately avoided giving guidelines. I think there is too much variation to provide a checklist that works for everyone, but rather there are some issues that are probably applicable to all.

Ana Cristina Pratas said...

Hi Steven,

Thank you for this post and all the others I follow; really appreciate being able to read Martin's book. Am struggling to find time for being more active in the MOOC so reading your blog entries is good.

Stefaan Vande Walle said...

Hi Steven
Thanks for the epub version; That's really helpful.