Shaping my digital scholarship and professional identity
To this point in my academic and professional life I have been somewhat passive regarding digital (or traditional) scholarship and online professional identity. Even before this course, however, after attending DevLearn at the end of last year, I knew that I needed to create a more effective online presence, including using and engaging with Twitter and LinkedIn more consistently. The need for creating a professional identity, or brand, seems like a more urgent task, maybe because I do not work in an academic setting where publishing articles or doing research is necessarily encouraged or required.
The concept of branding is very familiar, since our organization is committed to maintaining their own brand identity and online presence. We are also starting to educate our own professionals on their online brand and presence as well, so I have had access to experts on branding from a fitness and health related perspective. I had not really thought of it in terms of "branding" myself as an instructional designer until reviewing the MOOC materials and I will be identifying the appropriate steps to take to create and maintain a distinct professional brand that feels true to what I do and what I believe, perhaps even following the 3-step strategy outlined in the How to Use Social Media for Academic Branding slideshare.
In terms of what I want my brand to reflect, the quote below from Tracy, Hutchinson and Grzebyk (2014) really resonated with me. I have always thought of myself as a "problem-solver" in my work and it is one reason I changed my title on my LinkedIn profile to "learning solutions architect", to reflect the fact that I aim to understand the educational challenges I am presented and provide solutions which fit within the context of the organization. I may now call myself a "Dynamic Agent of Change"!
The topic of professional identity and online presence has even come up in my work. At a luncheon recently with our board of directors, I was in a conversation with one of our board members about the future of published textbooks in our industry as the inclination is to move towards more digital learning strategies. During our conversation, she mentioned that she has been a successful consultant for years, with her own business, and has never had a website. She seemed embarrassed to admit this and we joked about it a bit. Later, I thought about it in terms of what we have reviewed in this course and wondered if the website as a professional identity is no longer even needed. Could it be as effective or appropriate to maintain any professional social or online presence, such as a robust presence on LinkedIn, or an active Twitter feed, to allow clients to find and follow her?
On the topic of digital scholarship, Micah Altman's brief response below gives the perspective that digital scholarship is (or should be) essentially the same as traditional scholarship. While I agree with this, I do think that digital scholarship requires some additional thought and attention to preserve scholarly integrity. Whatever methods are used, or evidence presented, digital or otherwise, it will still need to meet a certain standard of review. Again, this will be a new area of practice for me as we move toward our dissertation and I hope that I can maintain a traditional approach to scholarship while implementing an innovative approach to my research topics and professional practice.
Tracey, M. W., Hutchinson, A., & Grzebyk, T. Q. (2014). Instructional designers as reflective practitioners: Developing professional identity through reflection. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(3), 315-334. doi:10.1007/s11423-014-9334-9