Building a new Community of Scholars
Background; Having been asked to develop a WikiQuals Masters and align it with the University Project I received more positive responses concerning a WikiQuals Ph.D, after an initial enquiry by Rosie Rafferty. Once a second query was added I realised it was possible. Currently we have 7 interested people, and this is a discussion of how a WikiQuals Ph.D might work.
The WikiQuals model is based on the Emergent Learning Model, which aims to design learning systems based on how people learn rather than where they are housed. The Emergent Learning Model (ELM) works on the assumption that people want to learn and is asking the question how do we design for enthusiasm. ELM has three phases
Informal; the social self-organisation of interested parties
Non-formal; the structured learning opportunities created by selected content, or by creating content
Formal; Accreditation of prior learning-activities
WikiQuals; is examining a particular aspect of the formal phase of learning within ELM and that is what I call post-hoc accreditation, namely accrediting previously completed work that has been undertaken at a doctoral level of depth. The immediate issues that emerged have been how do we show, or prove, that the work is of appropriate quality and depth. In response to the question of how do we create a post-hoc accreditation process, which will both be of appropriate quality and depth AND demonstrate it? I began the WikiQuals blog to document the process of what post-hoc accreditation might mean.
Quality & Depth; The process I propose testing is based on two approaches. Firstly Ian Cunningham’s learning contract model, called self-managed learning, where learners discuss and agree to a contract outlining their learning intentions. Ian uses this approach in a number of contexts but it developed from his work in running the B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies at North East London Poly in the 1970s.
Secondly the variant of the medieval Guild model of learning called “Show & Tell”, discussed previously, modified by web2.0 characteristics such as transparency and reputation. In this model the learner (candidate) identifies what they are interested in studying, or learning or creating, and through negotiation finds a supportive “journeyman” (or ‘journeyperson”) who will help shape the self-managed learning process.
WikiQuals Ph.D; With more than one person interested we had the possibility to design a socially-driven WikiQuals process. Serendipitously the common activity that most of those involved wanted to engage in was writing a book. And following discussions with David Jennings, Bridget McKenzie and Philippa Young we have sketched out the first parts of the WikiQuals Ph.D process
a) research proposal
b) Kindle book of research proposals published online
c) JourneyMan/JourneyWoman identification and process negotiation
d) Refined (moderated & quality-assured) proposal with agreed end-state
e) Book chapter structure agreed and published
f) Publishing chapters and crowd-sourcing comments
g) Book published
Research Proposal; Each WikiQuals candidate will produce an introductory chapter to their book which will propose the subject they will examine as part of their WikiQual, indicate possible research areas as well as projects, people and resources of interest that they will review or reference in writing the book.
WikiQuals website; Mark van Harmelan at Manchester University is developing a WikiQuals website which will be where all WikiQuals work will be published to meet the requirements of transparency and to support WikiQuals scholars in building their reputation. This would be part of a Web 2.0 publishing strategy that needs to be further refined and developed collaboratively amongst the group as we develop the model.
a) the definition of a university as a ‘community of scholars’
b) the need for a Ritual of Transition into that community
We need to develop this sense of community for two reasons. It’s how we mark transitions from and to different parts of our lives, and you need to feel that you are a WikiQuals ‘scholar’. Scholar may not be the right word, but we could develop the idea of open scholarship such as that outlined in my proposal on co-creating open scholarship. Maybe we should provide scholars with a certificate of being a WikiQuals scholar to start with?
We will publish the seven current candidate names in the next post. Let me know if you are interested in joining by commenting or tweeting me; @fredgarnett