The guest speaker for the second week of the PLENK course has been Martin Weller – what a treat! The link to the recording of his Elluminate presentation is here
Basically – his talk was about how depressed he is that research is not ‘keeping up with the times’ in terms of advances in technology and networked learning. I am a new researcher – but I can so completely relate to this.
So what did he say? These are the key points as I interpreted him –
- researchers are not making full use of the new technologies available to them
- they are risk averse and work in ‘traditional’ mode
- they work in small personal contexts, often with the same groups of people and do not make use of network possibilities
- they don’t like the spontaneity of blogs
- they are conservative and cautious
Why are they like this? Because they may not have tenure and therefore have to ‘fit in’ with University requirements. If you want tenure you are encouraged to be traditional and are therefore less likely to be innovative or take risks. Research is about ‘control’ – particularly for scientists seeking predictive models, whereas the very nature of working in Web 2 is the exact opposite. We don’t know what will happen in Web 2.0. It is unpredictable.
Martin then went on to discuss the changing nature of research as evidenced by the number of people who are publishing in blogs , experimenting as they go along, turning to people in the network for peer review. However, there are difficulties with this as I have already posted here following a discussion with Matthias.
What I found particularly interesting in Martin’s presentation is that it was directly relevant to how I have recently been working. I am a new researcher. My first two papers were both published following the traditional pattern.
1. K. Guldberg, J. Mackness (2009) Foundations of communities of practice: enablers and barriers to participation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
2. Rhona Sharpe, Jenny Mackness (2010)Evaluating the development of a community of e-learning researchers: from short-term funding to sustainability International Journal of Web Based Communities 6 (2) p. 148
These two papers are in closed journals. The second has received one expression of interest via email. The first has received about 15 expressions of interest via email.
Following participation in CCK08 John Mak, Roy Williams and I published two papers in the open environment of the Networked Learning Conference. We had also published drafts of the papers in the CCK09 Moodle site before submitting them to the Networked Learning Conference. This felt much more like an ‘open’ process.
Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC John Mak, Sui, Fai, Roy Williams, Jenny Mackness (2010) Networked Learning Conference, Aarlborg p. 275
The Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC Jenny Mackness, John Mak, Sui, Fai, Roy Williams (2010)Networked Learning Conference, Aarlborg p. 266-274