Digital, Networked, Open

the-digital-scholarAs part of the faculty initiative around Domain of One’s Own at UMW, there are a whole cadre of faculty blogging about there process as well as reflecting on their reading of Martin Weller‘s The Digital Scholar. We are in the third week (you can see the weekly curriculum here), and we’re starting to dig deeper into both the book as well as a range of weekly technical topics that will ultimately represent a loosely compiled technical curriculum for a Domain of One’s Own freshman seminar that Martha Burtis has been pitching around the office—and something DTLT will propose this Fall for Spring 2014.

There are a ton of things to talk about in regards to the first five chapters of The Digital Scholar, but for me the “convergence of …. digital, networked, open” in relationship to the academy and the web is what we are experimenting with UMW (44). The Domain of One’s Own is very much about professors and student narrating their scholarly process online more than a brochure site, but at the same time it needs to bring one’s personality into the work they do more generally. Elizabeth Wade talks about the various facets of openness in regards to Weller’s work,  particularly in the convergence of professional work, but also your personal life. The blurring of that line is fascinating to me, and what is compelling to me about her take on this conflation is that people become the compelling part of the equation in regards to open. Who is sharing what about themselves—we can dismiss this as somehow less than scholarly, but at the same time I wonder if we will start to see the people behind the machinery as the most fascinating part of the whole enterprise.

I, for one, would have loved to have know more about the people I was to work with in graduate school before ever applying, or even a clearer understanding of the adjunct meat market graduate school was more generally. The whole process of becoming a scholar is premised on the personal as much as the professional, but little of that is transparent for a wide array of problematic reasons. I understand it would be impolitic for Martin to mention this in the book given his audience, but for me that is the real radical line of reasoning for open scholarship—a clear picture of just who the people behind the ideas ideas are, and what “such people” represent more tangibly as human beings. To truly be a digital, networked, and open scholar means that your work and life stand as a representation of who you are and what you believe, I think this is crucial when we start to talk more generally about digital identity, and part of being authentic means being there, inhabiting this space as not only a researcher, thinker and teacher, but perhaps more importantly as a person.

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