So, I’m feeling a bit guilty about not keeping up with the blogging guidelines and especially in the face of great musings by other faculty in the Domain of One’s Own groups. [For just a few good examples, see Marie McAllister’s location metaphor for understanding the building blocks of the web and her reflections on the explosion of digital peer-review and cloud review publications; Jess Rigelhaupt’s comparison of digital scholarship and the pharmaceutical industry; and pretty much anything Andi Smith has written so far.]
But back to the post title.
I’m behind in that I’m just now blogging for this project for the first time. I’m ahead because I’ve been blogging at my blog, Techist, since 2005 about many of these issues.
I’m ahead in that I already had my own domain, mcclurken.org, mapped on to a WordPress blog and my own UMWDomain account, marchinghome.org, for my FSEM last fall. I’m behind in that I’ve been slow to decide whether or not I want to move mcclurken.org into the DoOO hosting space, or whether I want to keep it separate and start a new identity and hosting project for DoOO.
I’m behind because I didn’t read Martin Weller’s The Digital Scholar for the first couple weeks, but I’m ahead because now as I read Weller there’s much that is very familiar to me. I’ve been attending digital pedagogy, digital humanities, and technology-in-higher-ed conferences for nearly a decade (HASTAC, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, many THATCamps, ISSOTL, and others) and have been fortunate to write for (but mostly read recently) the ProfHacker blog on technology in higher education. I’ve published multiple peer-reviewed digital articles. And I’m now the contributing editor for the Journal of American History on website reviews, a position that allows me to solicit a kind of hybrid response to the peer review question. Effectively, the JAH‘s scholarly website review represents a post-publication peer review process. So, Weller’s explorations of the notion of the digital scholar, of the transformations that digital publications represent, of the opportunities to connect & collaborate with other scholars in many disciplines near and far, of the chance to share research in beta or even alpha form, this is all familiar to me (though rarely brought together in one place so clearly). This is the world that I have embraced, albeit with some degree of trepidation at times that some of my colleagues don’t recognize what digital scholars do (what I do) as genuine professional activity. [Though I’ll note (as Marie did about the MLA) that my discipline’s main scholarly organization, the AHA has its own guidelines to evaluate digital scholarship, and they’ve also begun to offer an annual prize for the best original born digital article.]
In the end, I’m ahead because I work at a school that has a group of people in DTLT and CTE&I who can put together a learning plan that pushes faculty and staff to think deeply about the implications of digital identity, digital scholarship, and digital learning. I’m ahead because it is a school that has a set of faculty and staff (a critical mass, I’d say, if I didn’t want to mix my metaphors) willing to jump off and swim in the deep end (too late–metaphor mixing has occurred). I’m ahead because it’s a school that starting in the Fall of 2013 will have a minor in digital studies.
Ahead, behind; behind, ahead. Regardless, look for more in this space.