OER1056 Oral Presentation

Exploring the links between digital scholarship and open educational communities

Eileen Scanlon, Martin Weller, Institute of Educational Technology Open University, Katerina Avramides London Knowledge Lab University of London

Conference Theme: Open Educational Communities

Abstract: Changes in communication and publication practices of academic researchers in higher education are occurring due to the impact of the information age and the rise of open educational resources. The impact of the information age consists of a changed landscape which offers researchers new ways of working and new kinds of academic output for educators to use in their teaching. Access to open educational resources is a significant feature of this changed landscape. We are engaged in a research project examining academic practices in teaching and research in the light of this changed landscape. One of the influential commentators on these new phenomena of communication Borgman (2007) examines the role that information technology plays at every stage in the life cycle of a research project and contrasts these new capabilities with the relatively stable system of scholarly communication, which remains based to some degree on publishing in journals, books, and conference proceedings. Two academic areas in which the potential impact of these developments are particularly striking is the area of research in education, in particular in the interdisciplinary area of educational technology where both research and teaching practice is being influenced by developments in open educational resources (McAndrew et al. 2009) and in scientific research where the investment in e-infrastructure and changes in scholarly communication patterns. This paper will use some interviews from our data set, those with educational technologists in two institutions, to examine the concept ‘open educational communities’. One area which we are seeking to explore is how communities of practice develop (Wenger, 1998) and how such communities function. Ghosh et al. 2002 have reported on open source communities, which function as self-organising, knowledge sharing communities. We are particularly interested to see whether the practices developed in relation to the use of open educational resources for teaching have any impact on the extent to which researchers value the open source movement in publishing or vice versa. We conclude with a discussion of other communities which are hybrid-educational technologists forming informal learning communities around open educational resources (see e.g. Burbules et al., 2006).

Keywords: Open educational communities, digital scholarship

Borgman, C. (2007). Scholarship in the digital age: Information, infrastructure, and the internet. The MIT Press, Mass.
Burbules, N. C. (2006) 'Self-Educating Communities: Collaboration and Learning throughout the Internet' in Learning in Places: The Informal Education Reader (eds, Bekerman, Z., Burbules, N. C. and Silberman-Keller, D.) Peter Lang, New York, pp. 273-284.
Ghosh, R. A.; Glott, R.; Krieger, B.; Robles, G. (2002): Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Survey and Study. Part IV: Survey of Developers.  Maastricht: International Institute of Infonomics / Merit
McAndrew, P., Santos, A., Lane, A., Godwin, S., Okada, A., Wilson, T., Connolly, T., Ferreira, G., Buckingham Shum, S., Bretts, J. and Webb, R. (2009). OpenLearn Research Report 2006-2008.The Open University, Milton Keynes, England. http://oro.open.ac.uk/17513/
Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge