The digital scholar
The digital scholar

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The digital scholar

Week 7: The downside of digital scholarship

Introduction

You have looked at how digital scholarship is impacting upon the four types of scholarly activity, and how it can relate to professional recognition. While you have considered the issues involved, there has largely been a positive stance on digital scholarship. However, it is important to consider some of the negative aspects. These are not necessarily reasons not to adopt digital scholarship approaches, but you should be aware of such issues, both for yourselves, but also for any impacts on students.

Watch Martin Weller discuss this further:

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Transcript: Week 7 introduction

Martin Weller
Just because something comes along and opens new doors doesn’t mean it’s perfect or faultless. But often when a new development comes along, people are reluctant to highlight any negatives, because others are already looking for a reason to dismiss it without giving it a chance. When I wrote The Digital Scholar, I think maybe I underplayed some of these potential issues. Now that digital technologies in education are established, I think there’s a responsibility to highlight some of the issues involved, not just be an advocate.
So, this week, you’ll look at some of the potential downsides. Particularly of interest to me is the idea of identity. As digital scholarship becomes more part of the mainstream, to what extent are we forcing students and scholars to establish online identities? What does this mean in terms of their privacy – being monitored and exposed to some of the darker aspects of online behaviour?
I don’t always have the answers to these questions, and they’re not always comfortable issues to consider, but the benefits are considerable. So providing support and being knowledgeable about their downsides is one way to approach it. Your digital identity is unique and precious. You may want to promote it. You want to protect it. But this week, you’ll look at where you may need to look before you leap.
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Week 7 introduction
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By the end of this week you will have:

  • gained an appreciation of the potential problems with digital scholarship
  • considered the nature of online identity of the digital scholar.
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