The digital scholar
The digital scholar

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.3  Interdisciplinarity

Described image
Figure 3  Interdisciplinarity

Precisely because it is relatively new, there has been a good deal of interdisciplinarity in the blogosphere. Although many bloggers will tend to read the blogs within their subject area, they will also come across those of overlapping or even distinct disciplines. But also within any given blog there is an element of interdisciplinarity or at least variety. Because blogs operate at the intersection of personal and professional life, unlike a journal, their content is not bounded by discipline. While a blogger may post predominantly on a particular subject (say ‘Open Science’) they may also have an interest in other areas, for example, Haikus and Japanese poetry, which they will bring into their posts, precisely because this personal mix is what renders blogs interesting. Open Science and Haikus would not be a combination one is likely to find in a conventional journal, but when the publishing filter is removed, and the community norms promote an element of personal interest, then this kind of mix arises. For example, one of my favourite blogs is Jim Groom's Bavatuesdays [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which mixes thoughts on educational technology and advice on the blogging platform WordPress with meditations on B-horror films. The mix seems perfectly logical and acceptable within the norms of the blogging community.

This may not constitute interdisciplinarity in an academic sense, but we can see interdisciplinary knowledge arising in at least four ways in blogs:

  1. as the formal communication platform of a department, project or individual with a specific interdisciplinary remit;
  2. through the historical context of the individual, who may have specialised in a different domain previously and can reference this in a personal blog;
  3. informal interests which overlap with the more substantive content of the blog, such as the examples above; and
  4. through comments and links from the blogs’ wider readership.

Each of these routes for interdisciplinarity would be difficult to realise through the more formal mechanisms of journals or conferences.

What is potentially significant for interdisciplinarity then is not so much the technology itself but the practices that are associated with it. This is particularly relevant with regard to openness.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371