‘Blowing my own digital trumpet’ #DSCHOLAR

I’ve had a bit of gap since my last post due to a number of big projects coming to an end (CMALT, #Mahoodle18 and the compilation of an internal TEL review), but I am now ready to continue my journey into recognising and practicing digital scholarship.

As mentioned previously, research and teaching are not a requirement of my job, but I do support those who do, and will also dip my (extremely pointed) toes into teaching and research whenever I can. Therefore these notes are just for my own personal consumption, as I am sure you will glean from the Digital Scholar course what you need for your own practice.

Recognition:

  • A good online identity should go hand-in-hand with ‘traditional’ means of academic clout, however those assessing your output may not deem it worthy during review periods or for promotions. For me, I feel that it is important to share what I am doing, after all I seem to held in higher regard externally for my work on ePortfolios and online learning than I do by my own institution.
  • Twitter can give academics a voice in an otherwise crowded physical room where the ‘celebrities’ often take centre stage. Cases of ‘oh yeah I know you from twitter’ or ‘I saw your tweet the other week’ can be a great ice-breaker when meeting people in real life.
  • Try to build in openness from the start – you get out of it what you put in.
  • Being more visible online could lead to an increase in citations and invitations to participate in projects and to keynote. This is particularly true in my case as through twitter I have made connections that have led to 3 invitations to keynote in Germany, New Zealand and in Ireland.
  • For PDR purposes, keynoting is great for two reasons: 1) Reputation: demonstrates that I have gained a significant standing in my field of interest, and have influenced the decisions of others based on my own findings, and 2) Impact: everyone at the event would have seen my presentation!

So, should we try and measure open practice by traditional means?  I say no in my case, but it would be nice for those way above me to recognise the impact I’m having outside the walls of my institution.

“We continually make the error of subjugating technology to our present practice rather than allowing it to free us from the tyranny of past mistakes”

Stephen Heppell (2001)

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/colorful-prismatic-chromatic-1312965/ 
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Engaging with the public (#dscholar)

Week 4 was all about the Application stage of Boyer’s Scholarship framework: how you put your newly acquired knowledge into good use. We specifically looked into Public Engagement and how we can use the digital, open and networked world to share our findings.

Traditionally staff are encouraged to go down the journal/book/conference paths when it comes to disseminating their findings. This is great, if you are able to do it, however the same can be achieved using other means such as blogs, podcasts and videos. If you are going to go down the digital and open route you must check your institution’s policies. Can your resources/content/data be shared with:

  • Your department?
  • Your school?
  • Your Univeristy
  • The world wide web?

Thinking about the nature of our courses (and the cost – oh the cost), not many academics would be allowed to openly share their resources or research outputs freely online. However, they can share their methods and processes – just like I can 🙂

Academic staff generate a lot of content too – much of it wouldn’t be of any use to the majority of the public, AND THAT’S OK! As this content is a by-product anyway, it doesn’t cost anything to produce as it’s already been produced, it can be shared without any edits. Those with a niche interest in your subject would still like access to it. Subjects that staff are creating work on often include common lessons: study skills, psychology, maths, scientific principals etc. Could these be place in an OER repository? It could, at least, for internal staff to re-use.

Engaging the public isn’t just something you do at the end; they can help with designing the question, offer themselves as participants and provide feedback on findings so far.

What do we need?

Time and space.
It’s what we always need.
Time to learn new skills, space to trial and experiment with these new skills.

I’m very fortunate that my boss supports us in identifying new skills that we’d like to learn, and our regular one-to-ones are used to update her on what we are learning. One thing I’d like to propose to her is something similar to what I took part in as a team building day in a previous job. We were split into two teams, given a camcorder, and told to produce a video based on a theme… Christmas is Cancelled. Together we worked on a story board, wrote a script, went round interviewing random people on camera, then edited the video clips together into what looked like a news report. Not only was this fun, but we learned so many new skills and experiences along the way.

At the moment I’m interested in creating learning resources in H5P. Perhaps as a department we could pair up and each generate a learning resource in H5P that can then be shared among the group? Hmm needs work – but it could be a great way of learning a new skill 🙂

The end of week 4 marks the midway point in the course, and the quiz that counted towards the completion badge was very difficult. I don’t do well at multiple choice quizzes where they ask for one or more answers as I never trust that one answer will be enough. Oh well, I still passed – YAY!!!

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/new-york-skyline-laptop-monitor-1071162/