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Bala Iyer

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Digital Scholarly Identity

  
  
I recently had the opportunity to present in workshop for Babson/Wellesley/Olin faculty. My topic was Digital Scholarly Identity and I used this presentation. The main focus of the presentation was on how scholars can broaden their impact using digital media and also get recognized for doing it. For scholars, impact is a combination of academic and practitioner recognition. Schools may allocate different weights to these factors, but they consider them important and recognize faculty for their impact.
 
In today's environment faculty have additional channels to make an impact. Social media platforms like blogging, Twitter and community platforms have the potential to help faculty influence the world. This, however, requires scholars to build a reputation online. Reputation can be built by putting out thoughtful, original content at a regular frequency. This content should drive people to action.
 
Communities are the new avenues for exhibiting and building one's expertise. Take Stackoverflow, for example. Today it is widely used by programmers to post and answer questions. In the process, they earn points that build their reputation within their community. This reputation could help them get new jobs or to get promoted. Similar communities will crop up for academics.
 
Scholars like Andy McAfee and John Gallaugher have been great at using this new channel to influence their communities. While the newer generation of scholars have adapted well to the digital world, the older generation is still struggling with the basics of these new platforms.
 
What is needed is a recognition of scholars who are good at using these new channels to build a reputation and impact the community. Rating systems like Klout, Indeed and others are useful in measuring the influence of users in general. What we need is tools customized for scholars. These tools should combine traditional and the new social metrics to create a combined score for impact.
 
Wonder if there are schools that currently recognize the use of these new channels for measuring impact.

Posted by Bala Iyer on Sat, Jan 21, 2012 @ 12:16 PM

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