Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Oxford Dept of Education – Learning and New Technologies Research Group December 5th 2012

This talk considers the processes and outcomes of an ESRC-funded seminar series, held between October 2009 and April 2011.

The series brought together researchers and practitioners involved in four research projects that were focused, in different ways, on literacy, tertiary education, and digital communication (LIDU 2010).

The seminars set out to develop an agenda for new research, drawing on the range of conceptual, methodological, pedagogical, and political approaches brought to the discussions by participants from the different projects. But bringing these disparate people and approaches together was one thing -- ensuring coherent outcomes was quite another! In this talk I will review some of the problems we ran into, and the lessons we learned, trying to find common ground amongst linguists, social theorists, and learning technologists, talking about texts, practices and technologies.

I will describe how we eventually overcame most of these problems, and identified three major themes around which to propose future literacy-oriented research: ‘digital scholarship’, ‘post-human pedagogies’, and ‘the borderless university’. These themes are further explicated in an edited book called ‘Literacy in the Digital University’ to be published by Routledge in 2013, which I will plug shamelessly during the talk.


Barton, D., Hamilton, M. & Ivanic, R. (Eds) (2000) Situated literacies: reading and writing in context. London: Routledge.

Goodfellow, R. [2011] Literacy, literacies and the digital in higher education, Teaching in Higher Education, Volume 16 Issue 1, 131

Goodfellow, R. (2009-11)

Blog posts  in Literacy in the Digital University

'Literacies and Technologies' or 'Why I think we need to keep talking' Friday, 6 November 2009

Goodfellow, R. & Lea, M.R. (2007) Challenging E-learning in the University. Open University Press McGraw Hill.

Goodfellow, R. & Lea, M. (eds) (2013) Literacy in the Digital University: critical perspectives on learning, scholarship and technology. Routledge

Gourlay, L. (2012) Media systems, multimodality and posthumanism: implications for the dissertation? In Andrews, R., Borg, E., Boyd-Davis, S. & England, J. SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses. London: SAGE, 85-100.

Hemmi, A, Bayne, S and Land R (2009) The appropriation and repurposing of social technologies in higher education. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25(1). pp. 19-30.

Ivanič, R., Satchwell, C., Edwards, R., and Smith, J. (2007) ‘Possibilities for pedagogy in Further Education: Harnessing the abundance of literacy.’ British Educational Research Journal,. 33, 5, pp.703-721.

Lea, M R. and Jones, S (2011) 'Digital literacies in higher education: exploring textual and technological practice', Studies in Higher Education 36 (4) 377-395

Lea, M., & Street, B. (1998). Student writing in higher education, an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23(2), 157–172.

Literacy in the Digital University (2009-2011) Series Home Page.

Littlejohn, A., Beetham, H., McGill, L. (2012) Learning at the digital frontier: a review of digital literacies in theory and practice. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Volume 28, Issue 6: 547–556

Friday, 30 November 2012

Links to the SCORE Microsites collections of OER resources

These two portal sites to open educational resources were created here in IET in 2012 with funding from the OU's SCORE project and the Higher Education Academy,

They are aimed at post-graduate research students internationally, but after 6 months of being 'out there' it looks like R2R has found a niche, but DS hasn't. One of the problems with 'digital scholarship' as a title is that some international readers assume it means 'funded scholarship' and are disappointed to find that it's just another collection of resources.

Are we heading for OER inflation I wonder?

Ready to Research
Ready to Research

Digital Scholarship
Ready to Research

(Robin Goodfellow)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

References for Edinburgh SRHE

References for a talk at Society for Research in Higher Education Digtal University Network seminar, Edinburgh University, November 1st 2012

Andresen, L. W.(2000) A Useable, Trans-Disciplinary Conception of Scholarship. Higher Education Research & Development, 19: 2, 137 — 153

Barker, D. (2004). The Scholarship of Engagement: A Taxonomy of Five Emerging Practices, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 9, 2, p. 123.

Beetham, H. (2009) Academic Values and Web cultures: points of rupture. Literacy in the Digital University, ESRC Seminar, Edinburgh University, October 16. Online at: (Accessed 09 March 2011)

Borgman, C. (2003). From Gutenburg to the Global Information Infrastructure. MIT Press.

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered : priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J., Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Online at: (Accessed February 14th 2012).

Calhoun, C. (2006). The University and the Public Good, Thesis Eleven, 84, 7: 7-43.

Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2009) Signs of epistemic disruption: Trnasformations in the knowledge system of the academic journal. First Monday, 14, 4-6: Online at: (accessed June 2012)

Courant, P. (2008) Scholarship: The Wave of the Future in the Digital Age. In The Tower and the Cloud: Higher Education in the Age of Cloud Computing, R.Katz (Ed), Educause:

Engestrom, J. (2005) Why some social network services work and others don’t — Or: the case for object-centered sociality, Blog posting (April 13, 2005)

Fransman, J. (2013) Researching academic literacy practices around Twitter: Performative methods and their onto-ethical implications. In Robin Goodfellow and Mary Lea (eds) Literacy in the Digital University: Critical Perspectives on Learning, Scholarship and Technology. London: Routledge
Goodfellow, R (2006) From ‘Equal Access’ to ‘Widening Participation’: the Discourse of Equity in the Age of e-learning. In Joe Lockard and Mark Pegrum (eds) Brave New Classrooms, Educational Democracy and the Internet.  Peter Lang, New Formations Series

Holliman, R. (2011) The struggle for scientific consensus: communicating climate science around COP-15 in Wagoner, B., Jensen, E. and J. Oldmeadow (eds.) Culture and social change: Transforming society through the power of ideas. Information Age Publishers, Charlotte, N.C

Jenkins, H., Puroshotma, R., Clinton, K., Weigel, M., & Robison, A. (2005). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century:  Online at: (Accessed February 14th 2012)

Jensen, M. (2007). Authority 3.0: Friend or Foe to Scholars? Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 39,1: 33-43.

Knorr- Cetina, K. (1997) Sociality with Objects: Social Relations in Postsocial Knowledge Societies. Theory, Culture and Society, 14,4: 1-30

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2012) ‘New’ literacies: technologies and values.  Revista Teknokultura, (2012), Vol. 9 Núm. 1: 45-69.

Lievrouw, L. A.(2010) 'Social Media and the Production of Knowledge: A Return to Little Science?', Social Epistemology, 24: 3, 219 — 237.

Palmer, Carole L., & Cragin, Melissa H. (2008). Scholarship and disciplinary practices. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 42

Pearce, N., Weller, M., Scanlon, E., Are Kinsley, S. (2010) Digital Scholarship Considered: How New Technologies Could Transform Academic Work. In Education 16,1: Online at:

Savage, M., Ruppert, E., Law, J. (2010) Digital Devices: nine theses. CRESC Working Paper Series, No.86.

Schön, D. (1995/2000) The New Scholarship Requires a New Epistemology. In Learning from Change: landmarks in teaching and learning in higher education,

Weller, M. (2012) The Ed Techie.

Weller, M. (2012) Digital Scholarship, tenure & barometers. (Blog post) online at: (accessed October 4th 2012)

Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar: how technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury Academic Press. Online at:  (Accessed March 23rd 2012)

Friday, 6 January 2012

That Zengestrom post - scholarship or just 'sociality'?

Some colleagues and I at IET spent an hour yesterday discussing Jyri Engeström's six-year-old posting about 'object-centred sociality' (nb: my earlier posting on this). (I include some of the notes I made about the post itself below).

I introduced this as a topic for our (face-to-face) reading group partly because I'm interested in the theory of object-centred sociality but also because I wanted to see whether talking about a blog post would be different from discussing a journal article, which is what we usually do in the reading group. This seemed to me to be relevant to our ongoing consideration of what is involved in digital scholarship.

In the event, I thought it was a different kind of discussion, although I'm not sure my colleagues agreed with me.

For a start, the presence of the text itself was ambiguous. Usually everyone prints out the article & sits around in a circle holding it in front of them. In this case, one or two people had printed it out, a couple had it on their laptops  (although not necessarily open in front of them), another had it on his phone, another didn't have it at all (although they said they had read it.)  It all felt a bit ephemeral to me, with some of the more extended features of the text (its links out,  its later follow-up postings etc.)  not present at all even when they were being discussed.

And then, I felt that the discussion was more reflexive than usual – with people talking more about their own experiences with social media rather than about what Engestrom might be saying about Knor Cetina's theory, or what the commenters might be saying about Engestrom's views.

Lots of interesting points were raised however: the relation between links in a blog post and references in an academic article; the effects on the persistent text of its links becoming broken over time; knowing where the boundaries of a blog text actually finish...    

On the issue of digital scholarship, it seemed to down to whether we see Engestrom's post as a kind of  mini-example of 'good ' conventional scholarship (well-researched, concisely structured and expressed, appropriately referenced etc.)  or whether we are prepared to take the whole set of connected texts (comments, linked sites follow-up texts) as representing a different kind of, more collaborative, scholarship.

Whilst I'm broadly in favour of the latter view, my problem with it in this case is what has happened to Knorr-Cetina's principled notion of 'objects of sociality' in the translation from Engestrom's invoking of it to account for the failure of some social networking practices in 2005 (45 citations in Google scholar), to, for example, Hugh McLeod's distinctly non-scholarly appropriation of it to publicise his artwork 2 years later (2950 hits on Google).

Reading through the 100 comments on Engestrom's post I only managed to find two  that referred back to Knorr-Cetina.  Most of the other constructive ones ran with the issue of  what makes social networking successful or otherwise, without really bothering whether it might be evidence of a 'post-social' turn  in contemporary social life or not!  Understandable it may be, but rather more digital than scholarly I thought.


Some notes  on Engestrom's post:

This was prompted by a blog post from Russell Beattie explaining that he had decided to close his LinkedIn account because he had too many contacts and nothing to say to any of them, and the system would have required him to delete them individually.
E. claims there is a 'profound confusion about the nature of sociality' due to the use of the term social network to refer to a 'map of the relationships between individuals’.
He proposes an alternative approach to social networks – based on Knorr Cetina - and sets out to explain how this approach accounts for why some social networking services succeed while others don't.
Summary of comments:
<><><>  <><><> 

Content topic

No. of comments

Google Maps, Flickr and Camera Phones as an infrastructure for new location-centred social software


Open question/development of original topic


General approval/re-blog


Own site/blog/talks/promotions










Responses from JE

Google search: Jyri Engeström "the case for object-centered sociality"
Approx 2760 results (in all languages), 1930 in English
 Approx 45 citations found by Google Scholar including articles in: - British Journal of Educational Technology, Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, Interactive Learning Environments, Open Learning, Annual Conference of the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group, Computers and Composition…
 Subsequent posts on on the theme of sociality:
 June 10, 2005 –announcing his talk on object centred sociality at Reboot conference in Copenhagen (links to summaries on David Weinberger's blog, Bohellz blog, PowerPoint and PDF no longer work).
December 3, 2006 – announcing his talk at the MSN-sponsored Innovate event in Stockholm, on social objects (link broken).
3 comments on this post:
September 17, 2007 – comment on cartoonist Hugh MacLeod on wine as a social object with reference to a label created for Microsoft and its employees. Link to MacLeod's website (May 18, 2008)  'Free cartoons as social objects
 August 15, 2008 –  comment relating object centred sociality to Google Readers updated Shared Items functionality. Chat conversation as a social object.
February 13, 2010 – another message about Hugh MacLeod on social objects for beginners (from 2007) (