The digital scholar
The digital scholar

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The digital scholar

Week 1: Entering the digital world


What is meant by the term ‘digital scholarship’? In the first week of the course you will develop some initial thoughts on how technology is affecting practice. You will also look at a framework for considering scholarship.

Watch Martin Weller as he introduces Week 1:

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Transcript: Week 1 introduction

Martin Weller
Welcome to this free course, The digital scholar, about how network technologies are transforming all aspects of scholarly practice. I’m Martin Weller. I’ve been blogging about educational technology, mostly for higher education, since 2006, in particular on the impact of the internet on aspects of teaching, research, and public engagement. It occurred to me that I’ve been writing about this for years but there wasn't really a book that explored the subject in detail. So I set out to write one. And this course is based around that book, The Digital Scholar.
In many ways, this is a very exciting time to be working in this area. There are new possibilities and opportunities opening up and fundamental changes to practice happening right now. One way of exploring these changes is to use an existing framework. So we’ll be using Ernest Boyer’s four categories of scholarly activity. This is only one way of looking at what scholars do, but it's a really useful tool for considering the changes taking place.
Whilst this is an exciting time, we should also be aware that new issues and problems are arising. One of the reasons I wrote the book was I felt existing text tended to be either utopian or dystopian in perspective. And, of course, it’s more nuanced than that. And that is what I hope you get from this course – an understanding of the changes taking place and what the new possibilities and issues are.
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Week 1 introduction
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Unlike other weeks in the course, Week 1 is not based around a chapter of the book The Digital Scholar, but instead covers the themes addressed in the first four chapters. In this week you will consider what is meant by the term ‘digital scholarship’, look at some initial thoughts on how technology is affecting practice, and finish by looking at the framework the book adopts for considering scholarship.

You should use this week to consider your own practice. You might find that not all aspects of scholarship discussed apply to your work; that is to be expected. You might also find that you are already active in some areas without realising it.

There is less reading, and more reflecting, this week than in others and this is deliberate; considering your current activities will help you to determine how your practice might change as you pursue further digital scholarship.

By the end of this week you will have:

  • gained an understanding of what is meant by the term ‘digital scholarship’
  • gained knowledge of Boyer’s scholarship framework
  • reflected on your own experience and practice
  • set up a blog for use in the course, if required.

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help, and if you haven’t already done so, please fill in this optional survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


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