Best idea for higher ed since about 2002  —  from by Cathy Davidson


I just learned about an amazing project (still in Beta) sponsored by the Australian Eight, the eight largest national universities in the country,  called “The Conversation.”  It may well be the most inspiring collaborative project I’ve heard about since about, oh, 2002-2003 (ie I’m joking of course–2002-2003 happens to be when HASTAC went from an “aha!” moment around a conference table to our first actual meeting as a collective; there are tons of other great ideas in higher ed, inc HASTAC’s founding!).   The Conversation translates the best scholarly research into lively journalism.   It makes a giant step towards public intellectualism, taking HASTAC-ish principles of an online network of education innovators learning together in a public and open forum, to their logical (if highly curated) conclusion. Unlike HASTAC, the Conversation’ has a team of professional editors, quite renowned in their collective experience.  They curate and select the best research from many fields produced by specialized academics and recasts it as journalism for the larger public as well as for academics in other fields.   They turn specialized scholarly research written originally for academic experts and peers into accessible, interesting, urgent, and sometimes even delightful fun and creative information for the public at large.


Also see:

The Conversation   BETA

Academic rigour, journalistic flair

Addendum later on 10/24/11:

  • Here’s an even BIGGER Idea for Higher Ed! —  from by Cathy Davidson
    Well, after blogging and tweeting yesterday about the tremendous public aggregator of university research in Australia, an online publication called The Conversation, I heard today from lots of people that there is an even BIGGER version already here in the U.S.—and it includes top research from the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia too.  It’s called “Futurity,” and it is wonderful, and, yes, I should have known about it since Duke is one of the universities that cofounded  it, along with Rochester and Stanford.  But somehow I missed it so now take this opportunity to say how fabulous it is (check it out, it really is fabulous), and how now we have to make sure that HASTAC gets involved to make sure there is even more arts and humanities aggregated as part of its “Society and Culture” category.  Here’s the url for Futurity: