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HASTAC 2011: Digital Scholarship and the Institutional Structure

By December 2, 2011January 24th, 2018Presentation: Other, Presentations, Vita
Digital Dialogue
Digital Dialogue
HASTAC 2011: Digital Scholarship and the Institutional Structure

Long at HASTACANN ARBOR, MI – The story I told at the 2011 meeting of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference is rooted in my pedagogical practices of using digital media technology to cultivate communities of learning in the classroom. The story itself is told at a moment of intense transformation in education as we move from a culture of print scholarship to that of digital scholarship.  The main thesis of the presentation is that by drawing on the best virtues of both print and digital scholarship a new educational model capable of transforming the culture of the university itself can be developed.

In the presentation, I attempt to articulate how I have sought to translate those pedagogical practices associated with digital scholarship — openness and collaboration – with those practices associated with print scholarship — careful review and the certification of expertise — into both my scholarly and my administrative practices.

In the presentation I did not have enough time to talk about the details of the work we are doing in the College of the Liberal Arts to cultivate a digital culture of scholarship.  When I started as Associate Dean, we hired John Dolan at Director of Digital Media and Pedagogy in the College. Last summer we held our first Liberal Arts Scholarship and Technology workshop for faculty and graduate students in the Liberal Arts. John has been working with both faculty and staff to find new ways to use digital media to enrich our work in the College of the Liberal Arts.

HASTAC11: Digital Scholarship and the Institutional Culture.mp3





  • Digital Research in the Liberal Arts: This blog is co-authored by faculty in the College of the Liberal Arts doing academic scholarship using digital media.
  • Instructional Space at Penn State Task Force Blog: This blog is part of our attempt to up a university wide discussion about instructional space and scheduling. It is an example of how I have sought to use what I learned in my teaching with technology in my administrative work.


  • dirkusa says:

    I liked the idea of teaching students to be more reflective about going public and would be interested in hearing more about that process and would be interested in hearing more feedback from faculty/TAs about their experiences/concerns especially as relates to larger classes.
    I know that when my wife has taught online blackboard type classes her out of classroom time/work has mushroomed and as we consider faculty research time and family/social commitments (esp. the place of parenting in the life of academics) these factors will be worth attending to.
    On the administrative side I worry some that this could lead to more shaping of the academy into a service industry where the customer/student's demands/desire is the driving factor and will be looking to see how institutional openness/availability becomes (if it can) a truly two-way street where students take on more responsibility for taking account of the other people/interests at work in such settings.

  • As always, Dirk, I appreciate your reflections on these things, and your continued engagement with the work I am doing.
    I want to address the issue of the administrative side, because you raise important points. Part of what I am trying to learn in using digital media and particularly social media is how to be public as an administrator, and public in a way that is not about PR, but about shared responsibility and accountability.
    I agree that a worry is the service industry model. That is why I talk always about cultivating community and not about pushing out a message. Still, cultivating a community requires work on all sides, so those who want to use social media to demonize administrators and institutions can have a impoverishing effect on the kind of dialogue that is possible. On the other hand, however, articulating positions and views in good faith that uncover dysfunctional structures and practices can lead to more just institutional operations. The issue I have been thinking about (and trying to practice) is precisely how best to cultivate such an institutional culture.

  • dirkusa says:

    one of the earliest examples of the term deconstruction that I encountered was a description of an office building with transparent walls revealing the inner-workings, behind the scenes as it were, all the things (not to mention people) that might easily be taken for granted (unless they breakdown of course) in one's daily routine. Along these lines transparency may have a role to play beyond the scandal to helping people to take a more active role in their communities and to gain the confidence/know-how that comes with working something thru/out and gives a more reasonable/knowing relationship to what is possible in a situation and why things may not be so simple/easy. In our throwaway on the move point&click culture some sense of craftsmanship/apprenticeship/collegiality would be a real educational benefit for citizens in the making (as we all are). If academic work could be tied in to res-life and other such college systems around issues of say recycling, employment/unions, health, human-rights, etc, than colleges could become life-learning-labs and model (as in prototype) communities. The big question is how to "sell" it to both students and employees and then how to make the time/commitment needed to learn new skills part of the daily expectations of the institution. thanks for taking a thoughtful/caring leading role in these trial runs.

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