Embracing a networked learning context for academic study that thins the walls (Couros, 2009), we propose a new form of research networked seminar. Keeping a traditional small number of direct participants engaged in dialogue driven by individual research interest, our design incorporates networked forms of inquiry and reflection. In this presentation we consider impacts of introducing networks and tools for Masters level scholars, and how a practice of open networked inquiry might lead to a revision of academic research.
We present as a case study of #ResNetSem, a co-located research seminar that bridged a Writing Studies research seminar directed by Alan Levine at Kean University, USA (http://resnetsem.arganee.world/) and a Digital Aesthetics research seminar directed by Mia Zamora at the University of Bergen-Norway (http://networks.miazamoraphd.com/). While very different seminars, a common ground is research and writing about digital culture. Our #ResNetSem design encouraged students to expand their reach of resources and expertise to develop a learning network for their individual inquiry.
#ResNetSem is not a specific platform or a technology. Participants document progress in personal blogs syndicated to course sites. Communication spanned public spaces– #ResNetSem twitter hashtag– and bounded online spaces (Cronin, 2017), Slack and email. Tools used include Hypothesis (web annotation), RSS (information gathering), Zotero (shared bibliographies). #ResNetSem connected students to professional conferences via Virtually Connecting and also brought in experts via activities such as a “Thesis Tank.”
Given that “seminar” derives from the Latin for “seed plot”, #ResNetSem naturally alludes to rhizomatic learning (Cormier, 2008). The geographical reach of #ResNetSem mirrors the “community of practice” approach of iCollab (Cronin et al, 2016). This presentation underscores our challenge with the central tension between how much open learning to seed and how much connection to engineer. In retrospect, we should have planned more of the latter.
To support communal emergence within a research orientation, we must leave behind vague rhetoric “open” in favor of “connected” learning, focussing on interrelationships between tools, objects, people, and processes. We conclude that an infrastructuring framework for a research experience is critical in light of dynamic variables of learner interest. Emerging scholars need both tools and specific forums to make critical connections that support their research. We will share successful infrastructing practices as well missed opportunities in #ResNetSem.
Our presentation is aimed at educators wishing to create opportunities that engage a broader network to support generative aspects of networked research practice, fueling combinatorial creativity (Popova, 2017) at the heart of individual research inquiry.
Couros, Alec (2009). Visualizing Open/Networked Teaching: Open Thinking, accessed from http://educationaltechnology.ca/1335
Cronin, Catherine (2017). Open Education, Open Questions. EDUCAUSE Review, 52, no. 6.
Cronin, C., Cochrane, T., & Gordon, A. (2016). Nurturing global collaboration and networked learning in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 24(1).
Cormier, Dave (2008) Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum. Innovate: Journal of Online Education: Vol. 4: Iss. 5, Article 2.
Popova, Maria. “Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity.” Brainpickings. https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/08/01/networked-knowledge-combinatorial-creativity/. Accessed 15 January 2017.