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Wednesday, November 19 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
How can open scholarship address academia's lack of impact on the ground?

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Massive Open Online Courses have often been labeled as "experiments" and promoted as approaches to help us understand teaching and learning at scale (Rodriguez, 2012). Early empirical results, however, are unsurprising and largely predictable (Reich 2014). Despite the number of academic disciplines closely associated with designing and studying interventions to improve teaching and learning (instructional design, learning sciences, cognitive psychology, etc.), the empirical lessons arising out of these fields have generally been disregarded. While a number of educational technology companies appear to disregard the knowledge that academia has amassed, part of the failure to communicate between the two communities lies on practices and attitudes inherent to academia. In this presentation, we will identify a range of scholarly failures and explain how open scholarship and associated practices can contribute to the diffusion of research results into the design of emerging learning environments.

In particular, we argue that designers and teachers outside of higher education institutions are unable to access the knowledge created by education researchers and educational technology scholars. Lack of access to that knowledge comes in many forms. In academic publishing, research published in closed journals limits access to knowledge which could have been used by practitioners and designers. Furthermore, educational technology research is often of limited use to practitioners. For example, it fails to make linkages to practice and translate findings into applied knowledge. These problems are reinforced by adherence to impact factors as singular metrics evaluating academic work (West & Rich, 2012) and tenure and promotion policies that value journal impact factors, journal prestige, and publishing with discipline-specific journals. While we (academics) advance our disciplines through significant insights about teaching and learning, we have had limited impact on practice partly as a result of publishing in journals that are predominantly read and understood by colleagues within our own discipline (Selwyn, 2012). These practices are reinforced by institutional policies and practices that discourage scholars from engaging in innovative scholarship that is often construed as "time away from work more highly rewarded during promotion, tenure, and merit review" (Foster et al., 2009, p. 906). Existing reward structures reinforce knowledge hoarding leading to the field of education being hidden from public view. An increasing number of scholars are questioning the value of publishing in traditional peer-review journals, and as noted by Wineburg (2013), academics should "not fool ourselves. Confusing impact factor with real-world impact may enhance our annual reviews, but - in the long term - may lead to our own extinction." This proposal puts forth suggestions to improve communication between all stakeholders (education scholars, MOOC developers, practitioners) grounded on open scholarship and open access practices.

Foster, K. M., Bergin, K. B., Mckenna, A. F., Millard, D. L., Perez, L. C., Prival, J. T., – Hamos, J. E. (2010). Partnerships for STEM Education. Science, 329, 906?907.

Reich J. (2014). Big Data MOOC Research Breakthrough: Learning Activities Lead to Achievement. Blog post. Retrieved on April 24, 2014 from http://bit.ly/1jshwHa

Selwyn, N. (2012). Bursting out of the "ed-tech" bubble. Learning, Media and Technology, 37(4), 331-334.

West, R. E., & Rich, P. J. (2012). Rigor, impact and prestige: A proposed framework for evaluating scholarly publications. Innovative Higher Education,37(5), 359-371.

Wineburg, S. (2013). Choosing Real-World Impact over Impact Factor. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

avatar for George Veletsianos

George Veletsianos

Professor and Canada Research Chair, Royal Roads University
open and networked scholarship, online learning, social media, emerging pedagogies, student and faculty experiences in online settings

Wednesday November 19, 2014 3:00pm - 3:30pm EST
Virginia Ballroom

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