Openings

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This is a short, follow-up post to my Authentic Insights post.

I am keen to pursue the possibilities for openings in how we share narratives about performance.

I read with great interest a Guardian article (written by Decca Aitkenhead) about Peter Higgs. In it Peter is quoted as saying he became “an embarrassment to the department when they did research assessment exercises”. His response to the request for a list of recent publications was “None”. The article adds:

By the time he retired in 1996, he was uncomfortable with the new academic culture. “After I retired it was quite a long time before I went back to my department. I thought I was well out of it. It wasn’t my way of doing things any more. Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.”

My Authentic Insights post was an attempt to explore what productivity might look like if we added other narrative forms to journal papers and conference presentations as indicators of scholarly standing.

I read Decca’s article just after finding a Maptia blog post, The Age of Outrospection. The post starts with this paragraph:

Imagine for a moment that you are reading or listening to a story so intensely that you forget yourself and step into the shoes of the storyteller. You see what they saw, hear what they heard, and feel what they felt. These moments are rare, yet when they happen it is as if we have been transported into their world and we are able to see through their eyes. It is a powerful, almost magical feeling. One that is a privilege.

I am attracted to Mapia’s approach that places are made of a thousand stories. For over two decades I have been fascinated by discussions about the crafting of polysemic texts.

Future

I think we have a great deal to learn from the ways platforms like Mapia, Medium and Cowbird present and share stories. I have written about the New York Times too and the possibilities of interactive stories. I see enormous opportunities being offered by enhanced e-books.

Thanks to an alert from Audrey Watters, I was delighted to find Martin Weller’s recent editorial about openness in higher education. I noted his observation that:

there are fundamental shifts in practices, which can be grouped together as open scholarship (Veletsianos & Kimmons 2012) – academics are creating and releasing their own content using tools such as Slideshare and YouTube, researchers are releasing results earlier and using open, crowdsourcing approaches, every day millions of learners make use of free, open online tools and resources.

I admire Martin’s work immensely and find his insights re-assuring and invitational. In passing, I found it interesting to note the variety of sources Martin used in his references as I did with George and Royce’s paper cited by Martin.

Martin cited a Google Doc reference from Dave Cormier:

Cormier, D. (2013) ED366 Educational Technology and the Adult Learner: Syllabus and Contract. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-Jqr08jT_iehRY0piUYDaZGGW29uuGehdFVF08EpDO4/edit [accessed November 2013]

This raises for me exciting ideas about co-production of texts through open sharing and ongoing refinement.

In my Authentic Insights post I was keen to make clear that the use of alternative forms of sharing research stories did not negate the rigour of scholarly enquiry. My hope is that rigour helps focus on scholarly astigmatism and contributes to debates about paradigmatic certainty.

I conclude this post with a link to another blog post. Earlier this year, Jenny Davis wrote about The legitimacy and usefulness of academic blogging will shape how intellectualism develops. Jenny introduces her post thus:

In this post I attempt to tackle a complex but increasingly important question: Should writers cite blog posts in formal academic writing (i.e. journal articles and books)? To begin with full disclosure: I cite blog posts in my own formal academic writing. But not just any blog posts. I am highly discriminate in what I cite, but my discriminations are not of the cleanly methodical type which can be written, shared, and handed out as even a suggested guide.

I think Jenny provides some very helpful pointers to the citing of blog posts. I was interested to learn that:

Okay, now here comes the real hypocrisy. Although I cite blogs within academic writing, I explicitly forbid my undergraduate students from doing so. Their papers must include only peer-reviewed work unless I specifically approve of a non-peer-reviewed source.

My experience has been that if we encourage students to become produsers, their choice of references becomes a discussion rather than an imposition. Their discoveries help me go beyond my taken-for-grantedness and enable me to explore their sense of value. It is an exercise of outrospection rather than outrage.

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Photo Credits

The Art of Social Media (mkhmarketing, CC BY 2.0)

Screen grab, We Live in the Future (Ev Williams)

Discussing Links (Keith Lyons, CC BY 3.0 AU)

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