#AcDigID, #AcWri, #phdchat, Academia, Higher Education, networkedscholar

#AcDigID: Academic Digital Identity Matters

Over the last few weeks, you might have noticed the #AcDigID hanging off a few of my social posts. In between #OLCInnovate conference wrap-up work and the end-of-semester fun, I was designing a new workshop I’ll be facilitating via the Online Learning Consortium. This 7-day, asynchronous, online workshop is designed to support digital identity development for faculty and staff in higher education.

#AcDigID_hashtag

Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence

Workshop Description: What does your online identity look like today? Have you Googled yourself lately? In academia, it is becoming increasingly vital to publish and share your teaching, service, and research knowledge. Besides developing an online presence and utilizing social media for professional development, faculty and staff are actively utilizing open and digital channels to support, learn, and contribute a thriving network of connected scholars. In this workshop, you will explore meaningful ways to craft an active, online persona, learn about strategies to effectively include social media and digital resources for your professional development, and understand how an online community of practice can enhance the work you do.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for faculty professional development, connected learning, and research impact.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity for open, networked scholarship.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital scholarship while using social

Dates Offered: May 16-22, 2016 and September 26-October 2, 2016; Registration Page (if interested in signing up)

Initially, I was asked to create a workshop around social media; however I thought this could be more. There’s actually a lot more than just social media needed when becoming a networked scholar and in crafting your digital persona. Academic social networks are on the rise and there are a number of reasons why scholars use social media and digital resources (Van Noorden, 2014). This is an important topic we to talk about with our peers in higher ed, as we are all public intellectuals now – at least in some shape or form.

If you have ever attended a webinar and/or concurrent session with me on the topic, there’s way too much to share in just 45-60 minutes – so I was thrilled to think about these issues in an extended format and to figure out how to best support academics interested in building their digital presence. It’s been fun planning this workshop, as it has made me return back to my blog archive, review the articles I have curated, visit texts I’ve read, and also pick up a couple of new ones to learn more (future blog posts to review these books soon!).

Here’s the outline for the #AcDigID workshop this coming week:

  • Why Does Social & Digital Identity Matter in Academia?
    • Getting started, digital identity development, and state of scholars online
  • The Tools of the Digital Academic Trade: Social Media
    • Twitter, hashtags, blogging, podcasting, LinkedIn, and more!
  • Being a Connected and Digital Scholar
    • Digital research impact and influence, ORCID iD, academic social networks designed for scholars, and measuring impact.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Being open in higher education, the tension between challenges and affordances of online, and experiences from networked scholars.
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for scholarship (at least 3 platforms)
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: ways to aggregate and showcase your digital/social profiles

I am looking forward to sharing ideas and strategies for digital scholarship and identity online this week in the #AcDigID workshop. I don’t claim to know all, and I continue to learn – however I will say I am grateful for those networked scholars who have supported my digital developing along the way. That being said, I know some of you might have suggestions, experiences, stories, and more when it comes to academic digital identity development. I welcome this. If you are or have been a higher education faculty/staff who is/was on social media, academic networking sites, or just online – please consider giving some advice to my #AcDigID workshop participants.

#AcDigID ADVICE and RESOURCES WANTED for how you share your teaching, service, and research scholarship online:

  • ADD TO THE LIST: to my “Academics Who Tweet” Twitter list? I would like to get a variety of scholars from all disciplines and areas in higher education. Let me know if YOU or someone else should be added.
  • SUGGEST A HASHTAG: Do you follow a particular academic hashtag that my #AcDigID community should know about?

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  • TELL YOUR #AcDigID STORY: Interested in coming to talk about your #AcDigID development? How did you become a networked scholar? Want to share your issues, challenges or affordances for your academic online self? Let me know – happy to have you during a synchronous, online meeting.
  • JOIN THE #AcDigID TWITTER CHAT: Join us for the live Twitter chat this coming Friday, May 20 from 1-2 pm EST – We will, of course, use the #AcDigID to ask questions and discuss the issues, challenges, and affordances of being a scholar online.

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  • USE the #AcDigID HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice.

Reference:

Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature, 512(7513), 126-129.

networkedscholar, Reflections

Vulnerability Comes With Scholars Who Care #scholar14

I feel fortunate to be in a “caring” online  spaces, when it comes to my research and writing development.

turtle-dont-be-afraid-to-be-vulnerable

Over the course of the last few years I have met a number of doctoral researchers, early career scholars, and seasoned academics who actively participate and encourage open dialogues online (within Twitter hashtags, blogging communities, podcasts, and more). I know this is not always the case. In the world of academic contribution and competition, there are a number of hurdles along the tenure track and moving forward in post-secondary education leadership positions. By sharing what you do, in the network, you expose your own process, development and self. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the experience:

“Sharing a story about yourself makes you vulnerable. Since stories are about transformation, telling a personal story requires you reveal a flaw, error, or a roadblock that was a difficult to overcome. Professionals are nervous to reveal their struggles at their place of work for fear it will open them up to judgment or criticism” (Duarte, 2014).

Last week, the Networked Scholar course (#scholar14) was fortunate to have Bonnie Stewart (a.k.a. @bonstewart) share her thoughts on the delicate nature of being exposed and real in academic spheres.  If you want to get caught up, watch the video recording, her SlideShare presentation, or review the Twitter notes. It was a pleasure to hear this talk, knowing Bonnie professionally and personally (she may have gone to high school with my cousin – PEI is small), but also because Bonnie brings her scholarship to the network and actively engages in this dialogue beyond the academic sphere:

Although I am not alone, it is through these real and authentic examples in higher education (both faculty and staff), that I am inspired to continue to tell my tale, share, and grow in this networked experience. Not everything will be great, but discussing the process, challenges, joys, and then some has help my own journey. That being said, it is important to be cognizant of the issues within the “networked” space of academia:

This talk left me thinking more about my purpose and intentionality with the “tools” and mediums I use. I share real photos, videos, blogs, tweets, and more about  my authentic self, which include my successes and struggles. This has left me thinking about questions I have in my “networked academic future”:

  • What does this mean for my representation of academic self?
  • How do I challenge assumptions of working in these online spaces?
  • What about potential issues that might happening being as open and honest with research?
  • How can I continue to share my story in an honest way that will contribute to my peers, institutional culture, and discipline?
  • How will I support graduate students and early career researchers who will continue to participate in these online spaces, moving forward?

I think about the challenges academics face (e.g. trolls, research thieves, tenure track requirements, discipline silos, and institutional cultures); however I am inspired to still be in these spaces with researchers, like Bonnie, who have modeled, interacted, supported, and engaged in real interactions related to their research threads. I want to support my peers and the next generation of networked scholars – so the best way I know how to do is to be there.

References:

Duarte, N. (2014, October 29). Are you brace enough to be vulnerable? Retrieved from https://medium.com/@nancyduarte/are-you-brave-enough-to-be-vulnerable-5a09bd99c4c4

Stewart, B. (2014, November 3). Networks of care & vulnerability. SlideShare. [Lecture slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bonstewart/networks-of-care-vulnerability

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

EC&I831, Learning Community

At The Root of Connectivism

Connectivism is a pedagogy that I have latched onto for the realm of learning technologies. This is a new learning theory for the digital age, and is further defined by George Siemens as:

  • Knowledge as constellation of connections
  • Sense-making/way-finding
  • Network (social/technological) as assistive cognitive agent
  • Technology as externalization/extension

It’s not the tools that are relevant, but rather the connections made while learning.

Siemens made a guest appearance in the EC&I 831 course last week to discuss The Roots of Connectivism.

A few of the major points that I took away from George’s presentation include:

  • Learning is networked at 3 levels:
    • Conceptual-Cognitive: least developed; when ideas & concepts are combined together
    • Neural: biological; memories being formed as a sequence of connections (encoding in the brain)
    • Social-external: social network analysis, often completed by sociologist; external tools and resources to connect learning
  • Knowledge & learning as networked and emergent through:
    • Synchronicity – to understand how a student will learn is to understand & connect with their current knowledge & awareness
    • Amplification – participatory sense making & interaction with material creates learning at a deeper level
    • Resonance – why do students start to tune into learning a concept or new information? how do they connect with an association?
  • Educators need to understand connections at a very basic level to best learn how to influence connections for learning
    • What connections are?
    • How they form?
    • What attributes/structure they exhibit at formation?
    • What various formations mean?
George left the class with a few questions to ponder:
  • What are the implications for educators?
  • How do we “teach differently” in networks than we do in a classroom?
  • How should our priorities change in skill development?
  • As the field of networked learning grows, where do we turn for guidance direction?

Educators need to assess learning objectives to help students develop in the changing digital world. Instruction is not just about knowledge comprehension, but will shift to focus on acquisition of information and learner networks. “Teaching differently” will be instructional practice that encourages learners to think critically and engage in complex activities for deeper learning experiences. Learners will be challenged to connect meaning and knowledge that is currently known, to that of their shifting paradigm.

As networked learning continues to change educational environments, educators must empower their students to adapt and grow with the technologies . It will be up to the educators of today to remain current and connected to practitioners and  innovators in education who are leading the way. Whether it is following a stream of ideas on Twitter, reading the latest literature/publications, continuing professional development, taking an open-source course, or sharing ideas with online colleagues, educators who stay socially connected will provide engaged learning opportunities.

My quest to be a “Network Sherpa” for learners continues….

What are you doing to help your Networked Student connect to their learning today?

Connectivism video created by Wendy Drexler’s high school students inspired from George Siemens’ CCK08 Class.