Hacking the Academy: A book crowdsourced in one week — from MPublishing/University of Michigan Press

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On May 21, 2010, we posted these intentionally provocative questions online:

Can an algorithm edit a journal? Can a library exist without books? Can students build and manage their own learning management platforms? Can a conference be held without a program? Can Twitter replace a scholarly society?

We asked for contributions to a collectively produced volume that would explore how the academy might be beneficially reformed using digital media and technology. The process of creating the edited volume itself would be a commentary on the way things are normally done in scholarly communication, with submissions coming in through multiple channels, including blogs, Twitter, and email, and in multiple formats—everything from a paragraph to a long essay to multimedia. We also encouraged interactivity—the possibility that contributors could speak directly to each other, rather than creating the inert, isolated chapters that normally populate edited volumes. We then sent out notices via our social networks, which quickly and extensively disseminated the call for submissions. Finally, we gave contributors a mere seven days, the better to focus their attention and energy.

Preface | Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt

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Excerpt from “About the Book

MPublishing, the publishing division of the University of Michigan Library, is pleased to announce the open-access version of Hacking the Academy, The
Edited Volume
. The volume is forthcoming in print under the University of Michigan Press digitalculturebooks imprint.

This volume was assembled and edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt from the best of over 300 submissions received during a spirited week when the two editors actively solicited ideas for how the academy could be beneficially reformed using digital media and technology. For more on the unusual way this book was put together, please start with Cohen and Scheinfeldt’s preface.

 

 

 

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From DSC:
I’m also reminded of what I’d like to see in a digital textbook — a series of “layers” that people — with various roles and perspectives on the content — could use to comment on and annotate an article:

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Who’s reading your research? Academia.edu offers an analytics dashboard for scholars  — from hackeducation.com by Audrey Watters

Excerpt:

Academia.edu, a social network for scholars, is unveiling a new feature today that its founder Richard Price hopes will help address part of the “credit gap” for research. Academia.edu allows users to upload and share their research papers, and the site is launching its Analytics Dashboard for Scientists today that Price says will let scholars see the “real-time impact” of their work.

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How can you know if it’s *really* “research-based?” — from Daniel Willingham

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Excerpt:

My new book, When Can You Trust the Experts: How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education is now available. (There’s a link for a free download of Chapter 1 on this page.)

I wrote the book out of frustration with a particular problem: the word “research” has become meaningless in education. Every product is claimed to be research-based. But we all know that can’t be the case. How are teachers and administrators supposed to know which claims are valid?

The second half of the book describes the short cut, which consists of four steps:

  1. Strip it. Clear away the verbiage and look at the actual claim. What exactly is the claim suggesting a teacher or parent should do, and what outcome is promised?
  2. Trace it. Who created this idea, and what have others said about it? It’s common to believe something because an authority confirms it, and this is often a reasonable thing to do. I think people rely heavily on credentials when evaluating education research, but I argue that it’s a weak indicator of truth.
  3. Analyze it. Why are you being asked to believe the claim is true? What evidence is offered, and how does the claim square with your own experience?
  4. Should I do it? You’re not going to adopt every educational program that is scientifically backed, and it may make sense to adopt one that has not been scientifically evaluated.
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Scholr.ly launching search engine for academic research — from betakit.com by Justin Lee

Excerpt:

Every year, there are countless academic papers published in every discipline, and graduate students and professors are constantly trying to tap into academic research from new authors around the world. Atlanta-based startup Scholrly is trying to make searching for and identifying relevant academic research easier with its new search engine for academics. Scholrly, which is launching in early June and is currently being tested by professors at Georgia Tech, allows users to search for academic papers in disciplines including computer science and IT.

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Scholr.ly -- new search engine for academic research

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The Scholarly Kitchen - What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing

 

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4 great online citation tools for students (for MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual of Style citation styles) — from emergingtech.com by K. Walsh

Excerpt:

KnightCite is maintained by the Hekman Library at Calvin College, Michigan. The service was created in 2004 and is available to members within and outside of the Calvin community. It generates bibliographic citations for MLA, APA and the Chicago Manual of Style, and it cites a variety of materials ranging from sacred texts to cartoons.

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When the dam breaks… — from learning with ‘e’s by Steve Wheeler

Excerpt:

Publication of research is one of the most important facets of academic life. I can’t stress enough how important it is for good research to be as widely and swiftly disseminated as possible. Without it, our practice is less likely to be informed, and more prone to repeated errors. As a researcher myself, I take this challenge very seriously. Along with other educational researchers, I attempt to identify key issues for investigation and then spend considerable time and energy examining as much of the terrain that surrounds my research question as I can. Once I have analysed the data, I am usually able to arrive at some conclusions and write some form of report, which is likely to include a set of recommendations that I hope will benefit my community of practice. Such findings should be published widely to inform the entire community. This is the way it should be. And yet often, sadly, it just doesn’t happen.

From DSC:
Steve, I was unsuccessful in leaving a comment on your posting here…but I celebrate your walking the talk on this and for pushing the envelop on the proliferation of open access journals. And thanks for making some recommendations in your reports — for taking some stances. I was greatly disappointed in my ID Master’s Program to find how few scholarly articles took any sort of stand and asserted much of anything to move their communities of practice forward.

 

 

This Visible College — from Educause (Vol. 34, No. 2, 2011) by Bryan Alexander

Excerpt:

In this column we’ll explore another part of higher education using only one scenario — but it’s a doozy.

“Class begins when the classroom door closes.” This image is enshrined in many practices, much popular memory, and even campus policies. But the concept may well be turned inside out in the near future as several trends coincide, altering the ways we teach and learn. That shut door is about to be wrenched open and our closed classes drawn into a global, visible college (compared to the invisible college described by David Staley and Dennis Trinkle1).

None of these supporting trends is mysterious or surprising:

  • Social media
  • Mobile computing
  • Open content

When these three trends combine, though, the synthesis surpasses each individual trend. What they do is turn the classroom inside out.

Everything I’ve described is happening now. What happens when these trends continue to grow and cross-pollinate?

 

Future of Higher Education — from Educause (Vol. 34, No. 1, 2011) by Bryan Alexander

Excerpt:

What does the future hold for higher education? How is American academia changing under the impact of continuous technological transformation?

The Future of Scholarly Publication
Scholarly publication is one of the most vital parts of higher education.4 Publications are in many ways the acme of faculty assessment: publish or perish. Our articles and books are the visible, enduring record of academic work, outlasting the lifespans of researchers, staff, and students. An entire industry both depends on and supports this output. Research output is deeply interwoven into many aspects of campus life, from hiring policies to library budgets and admissions materials. It is also a field in crisis, hammered by the Great Recession and torqued by ongoing technological revolutions.

PressForward: A new project aims to rethink scholarly communication for the age of new media journalism — from niemanlab.org by Tim Carmody

Excerpt:

How journalists communicate has been radically changed by the Internet. Is it time for the academic world to catch up?

Today, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University launches PressForward, a new discovery portal and publishing platform for scholarship and intellectual discussion on the web.

The big idea of PressForward is to create a digital-first alternative to the cumbersome mechanisms of traditional gatekeepers — academic journals — while keeping main benefits of print publication and peer review: their ability to concentrate a community’s attention around the best emergent writing and research. The project is bankrolled through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Digital Information Technology program.

Addendum on 6/28/11:

The definition of metacognitive skills in education — ehow.com by Gilbert Manda

Excerpt:

Controlling your thinking processes and becoming more aware of your learning is called metacognition. Metacognitive skills make you aware of your own knowledge, the ability to understand, control and manipulate your own cognitive process. In short, you learn to learn. It is important to know the process of learning and understanding your own approach to it.

From DSC:
I wish that scholars would write their articles/research findings up in two formats:

1) One format being targeted to other scholars/researchers
and
2) The second format being targeted to those folks outside academia who might benefit from it

This article is not from a scholarly journal, but it references some scholarly sources such as those from Purdue University and  Midwestern State University; however, it is much more readable and useful to me — and probably to many others. It is written in language that more people can understand and work with. Academia needs to start being more relevant like this — speaking to audiences outside ourselves; especially when we are asking them to pay many of the bills.

How can we help students develop better metacognitive skills? What strategies can we offer while they are studying a particular lesson?


Bootstrapped Publishing – DIY FTW — from thinktiv.com

 

Barcode-to-bibliography app makes college ridiculously easy — from FastCompany.com by David Zax

It’s almost not fair to those who’ve already graduated. A new app from some University of Waterloo undergraduates makes that “works cited” page a cinch.

barcode to bibliography app

Sometimes a technology comes along that is so great it seems almost unjust to former generations. Aviation. The personal computer. The polio vaccine.

One gets the same feeling today when considering a new app out for iPhone and Android. Quick Cite, a 99-cent app, automates the task of putting together a bibliography–that arduous list of books, articles, and other sources consulted that goes at the end of a master’s thesis of PhD dissertation. The first thought you have is, “How much time scholars will henceforth save!” …

Description:

Snap a picture of a book’s barcode and send a citation for the book to your email. Choose from APA, MLA, Chicago, or IEEE styles.

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Bibliobouts -- a game to help students find high-quality sources

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— Originally saw this at Ray Schroeder’s Online Learning Update

Are you serious?!?

Are you serious?

I went to go search the ERIC  database just now for articles related to copyright law as it pertains to instructional materials. You know what? The most recent hit I got was from 2008! That’s unbelievable to me. It’s May 2010, and if I can’t get a scholarly article on this from 2010, we’ve got a serious problem with our academic journals. This situation is unacceptable and won’t be where students go if we can’t provide a much more up-to-date experience.

If I were to go to a lawyer about this situation, I sure hope that they would have more up-to-date materials than I currently have access to as a student.

Now I know that I could pick up many scholarly journals and look at articles from March, April, May 2010 at this point. But when did those ideas first get started? When were the articles written? When were they reviewed? When were they sent back for changes? When were they re-submitted? When did they finally make it into “print”? What’s the BEST we can do with printed journals? With online-based journals?

I’ll also grant you that I’m approaching this from somewhat of a tech-perspective — and technology always seems to outpace many other areas. But still…that all the more backs up my point here as we must move towards providing more up-to-date methods of sharing scholarly information.

Along these lines, I don’t want to read a textbook that is prior to 2009 — and ideally 2010 — at this point. In my area of work, I need up-to-date methods, techniques, information, skills.

We need more avenues that are similar to:

  • JSTOR
  • Artstore
  • Creative Commons

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