Academia, networkedscholar, Open Education, OpenAccess

Being #Open Comes with a Number of Assumptions, Challenges and Tensions #scholar14

Being an open educator is critical. From my personal experience, I have engaged and interacted with research, teaching, and service scholarship based on the examples I have seen around me.  A large number of collaborative research and learning opportunities could not have been possible without using open and social platforms. To be a truly effective educator and researcher, I believe it is critical to share our research-to-practice work. It is through transparency and openness, scholars are able to contribute to their discipline, connect to other related fields, and, most importantly, contribute to public knowledge.

open
Photo c/o Flickr member OpenSource.com 

As I think about digital scholarship and “openness” as an early career researcher, there are a number of questions unanswered and need to be discussed further as academia is challenged by the digital (Pasquini, Wakefield, & Roman, 2014, p. 13) :

  • What type of research exchange will scholars participate in during the 21st century?
  • Is scholarship just about publication and citation index?
  • Should research require a social aspect to connect and exchange discourse and/or debate?
  • What social media and altmetrics are best suited for interaction and engagement within each discipline?
  • How do individual research impact factors influence academia career development?
  • What suggestions do seasoned researchers have for the digital scholar generation?

Challenges and tensions should be considered when openly giving back to the resource pool of learning and research. A number of researchers have expressed their concern for being open and sharing methods, research findings, and other aspects of the “process” of learning and research. To balance these concerns, also comes the tensions of network influence, identity, and impact that continue to pour over from #scholar14 Week 1 conversations:

“Uncovering differences in network structure according to discipline and position points to a relationship with academic career trajectory and identity. This finding contradicts the perception that the online environment acts as a democratising space, suggesting instead a preservation of ‘off-line’ hierarchy” (Jordan, 2014).

Within this past week, I was fortunate to hear how a few members of my personal learning network grapple and manage these dueling tensions in academia – here are a few notes, tweets, and ideas gathered from these talks:

  1. Martin Weller‘s #UTAlink talk  Battle for the Open
  2. Royce Kimmons (@roycekimmonsAssumptions, Challenges & Tensions #scholar14 Chat
  3. Dave Cormier‘s #aln14 Keynote on Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is the Curriculum

“Tearing down the traditional walls” is becoming more common in online, social academic communities. This breaking down of the traditional norms in academia, is designed to remove barriers placed between the faculty member and their learners. To be part of this sharing community, you need to really embody core values of openness, equity, access, and sharing. The challenge often emerges when your own philosophy of being “open” is not inline with your post-secondary education institution. I strongly believe that open needs to be a key  attribute for PSE institutions to take the lead on, specifically in terms of policy or manifesto that includes (e.g. Open Access @ UNT), OER resources, open scholarship, open data resources (e.g. UNT Data Spot),  and more.

How does the culture of your academic community, discipline, or institution influence you? Are there considerations and tensions challenging you “to be or not be” in these open spaces? Please share. My ears and eyes are open. Always.

References:

Jordan, K. (2014). Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites. First Monday, 19 (11 – 3). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4937/4159 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i11.

Pasquini, L. A., Wakefield, J. S. , & Roman, T. (2014). Impact factor: Early career research & digital scholarship. TechTrends, 58(6), 12-13. DOI 10.1007/s11528-014-0797-7

Learning Technologies

Happy Digital Learning Day! #DLDay – Top 10 Learning Web Tools of 2012

Happy Digital Learning Day (#DLDay)!

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To celebrate digital learning day today, I thought it would be a good idea to share my belated Top 10 Learning Web Tools list from 2012. As I have read other lists (here and here), I have been meaning to share useful tools that have helped me learn this last year. You may have heard me say “it’s not the tool” but rather how you use the tool – so I thought I would share my top tools that I have put to use for my own productivity and learning.

  1. Twitter – This is my active stream of information that allows me to track on conversations either via search, hashtags or through my Twitter lists. I value Twitter to find information, learn about news/trends, collect articles, read blog posts, and, most importantly, engage with peers on a daily basis. My evolving personal learning network (PLN) is definitely at the top of my learning list.
  2. Google Docs/Drive I have found Google Drive EXTREMELY useful in 2012, as I am often seen with my Chromebook in tow. Daily I can be found using Google Drive, as I typically take notes during a lecture/meeting, brainstorm storm agenda items, crowdsource ideas, collect information (via a Google forms), or store resources i.e. PDFs, presentations, and database files.
  3. Dropbox – Not all of my collaborators of research, work and writing use Google Docs, so I tend use Dropbox as my “go to” cloud storage and sharing with MS Word. I often move in between spaces and devices (mobile, PC, Chromebook, & Mac) both on campus and at home, so Dropbox is easy enough to save and return to any working projects or assignments. As a frequent flyer for with an edu account, I have accrued 23.22 GB of space through referrals, use, and a Dropbox quest. My Dropbox allows for easy work flow, specifically for storing conference presentations, collecting articles for a literature review, archiving tweets through IFTTT, downloading my mobile photos, holding my lesson plans, and editing manuscripts with co-authors.
  4. Google Search – When in doubt…Let Me Google That For You. I would say that Google is typically used as my initial search for information, news, and quick finds probably because I am often working in Google Drive (see #2) and using Google Chrome (see #7). I have learned benefits of refining my power searching skills, and also not having this as my only outlet for knowledge acquisition.
  5. Google Scholar Although I increasingly use the UNT Libraries – Find Online Articles Search more often these days, I can say that Google Scholar has been a helpful tool for finding data, collecting statistics, locating peer-reviewed journal articles, collecting my literature review materials, and retrieving other scholarly resources.
  6. Google + Hangouts The reason I value Google Plus is for the Hangouts. Both for a meeting space or “On Air” live recording, this forum has proven well for meetings, conference calls, presentations, demonstrations, peer-review process, and general catch up with colleagues. I do still use Skype; I have a greater preference for using a video conference space that has live notes, free group (up to 10) calls, connection to my Google Drive, and, of course, the ability to infuse ridiculous Google Effects when meetings run on too long. Side note: I  am curious to see what happens with the Google Plus Communities. I have recently been invited to a few, and I can see some potential with this feature in Google Plus.
  7. Google Chrome As a mobile learner and avid Chromebook-er, I would say that Google Chrome is a user-friendly web browser for productivity and workflow. I appreciate the streamline interface, search ability, extensions  and applications from the Chrome Web Store {which compliments my Android phone apps as well}. Also, it is quite compatible with Google Drive, Google + Hangouts, and easily transferable from my office to home computing life.
  8. WordPress I may have been exhausted from reflecting during my Masters’ program; however I think that having my own space and place for reflection has helped me in 2012. For a fellow researcher, I candidly explained why I blog and more about my blogging history; however I used my blog more this year to document my doctoral progress and process my own educational experiences. Thanks for being an easy space to draft, publish, and share these thoughts, WordPress.
  9. Delicious Although I use Scoopit, Storify, and Paper.li a great deal, I can say that Delicious is still my top curation tool. Since 2007, I have been collecting and organizing resource into my delicious account. When I share a URL on Twitter it automatically archive the link to my delicious account via packrati.us. This is great to return back to my tags and stacks to find notes, information, statistics, or articles that I can use for presentations and publications. Also I appreciate others in my Delicious network who stayed loyal to this tool (even after a few changes) and socially bookmark useful resources.
  10. Flickr This social photo sharing site has provided me with a lot of inspiration and ideas. Whether I have used creative common-licensed images for presentations and blog posts, or just as a tool to document my own PhD adventures, I appreciate being a member of the Flickr community. I often capture a photo of a presentation slide, make a note from class, or document an image on the go to house them on Flickr for future reference and referral.

For 2013, I plan on taking Jane Hart’s (@C4LPT10 Tools Challenge to find out how to use new tools to help for my own professional learning, research, and development as an educator/trainer. For those of you who want to join in the fun, check out the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 for inspiration to explore. Happy learning!

Collaboration, Photo Sharing, Virtual Communities

Photo Sharing… Say Cheese!

NACADA Tech was a great seminar for sharing & swapping ideas for photo sharing. I have learned:

  • Geo-Everything (tagging) is on it’s way in
  • Cool ideas for event photo sharing
  • Clouds – data collection
  • Experiential learning with online tools
  • Web communication plans with students
  • What others are thinking about for their campus
  • Challenges to online university/college advisin
  • What’s on the horizon in technology & how we’ll plan for it

Be sure to check out more photos on the NACADA Technology Seminar Flickr Group. Smile!