Friday, September 21, 2018

"Don't Hide your Light Under a Bushel" - On Trying to be a Scholar for the Public

1. "Don't hide your light under a bushel"

See below the fold for more:

2. "Do you do anything interesting or important (in terms of scholarship, research, academic activities .. or anything else)?"
Interesting or important to who?  . . .
  • If 'no,' then why not? (There are legitimate reasons and challenges, and others that aren't so good). 
  • If 'yes,' then what can you do to share what you do, so others can benefit more from your insights and understanding? (And maybe you'll benefit too!?)
3. What to do? Get online!
  • Get a web-page or blog. It's free (or $10 a year for a custom URL)! Blogger, Wordpress, Wix, many, many more. 
    • Your school may do a good job posting your interests and accomplishments for you. But it might not. 
    • Get an account at or or or Google Scholar and/or whatever platforms your field(s) uses to share research. 
  • Write about your interests and accomplishments. Upload your presentations; share your drafts; upload your articles. (Don't just post PDFs: post in more accessible file formats)
    • Why? To help other people: you have understanding and insights that they would appreciate and benefit from! Help them find it!
    • Also, it is likely good for your academic discipline(s), and good for your school, for you to post your work, so that it might be noticed. (Who else is it good for?)
    • So, this isn't about "self-promotion" or "careerism" or whatever. Or it needn't be. 
  • "Open access" concerns:
    • Doesn't someone else have copyright to my work? Maybe, but you are usually totally free to post "pre-prints" of anything: e.g,. the pre-formatted Word file of your article. 
    • Also: "An unjust law is no law at all." Perhaps it's unjust that academics write and produce research, on the basis of certain types of (public) funding and employment, but not everyone has access to that research. So ... 
4. Finally, create materials for "the public" (including students). Engage in public scholarship. If you do something that the people in the "general public" (and other scholars) would find interesting and useful (and you should?), then help them be able to find it. 

Write, speak, interview, etc. for public forums. Develop excellent teaching materials: share those.


An earlier library presentation on Open Educational Resources, such as Animals & Ethics 101.

Some notes from Teva Hutchinson:

“Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.” (Unesco)

OERs are free educational resources available for    retention, reuse, revision, remixing and redistribution.

Why OER?

  • Textbook prices have become extremely expensive averaging nearly $5,000 for four years of study.
  • Changes to textbooks are sometimes minor – 1 chapter - yet students have to purchase new copies
  • Present society requires faster updates which are easier updated online than reprinting new editions
  • Students are now accustomed to interactive works.

Use  an open textbook in one of your classes ​ ​​
Adapt an open access course from one of these sites​
        Affordable Learning Georgia ​
        Georgia Knowledge repository ​
        California State University Affordable Learning Solutions​
        Open Course Library​
        Canvas and Moodle learning management system ​
        Merlot II​​
Join the peer-review process at an OER platform such as​
       MERLOT Peer Review ​
       OpenSUNY Textbook Review ​
       Open textbook Catalog Review​
       College Open Textbooks Community

CONSIDER - Textbook Transformation Grants,​
CONSIDER - MERLOT, College Open Textbooks, California Open Textbook Project. ​
AVOID - publishers that do not mention a review board/editors.​
AVOID - publishers that despite being new have similar names or website layouts to well known established publishers.​
AVOID - publishers that charge excessive fees or refuse to be clear about fees until after they receive your work.​
REVIEW - some of the OERs on the platform to weigh the quality of the work before making your decision.​

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