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Peer review as a #DigitalScholar: week 3

This week our task on the #DigitalScholar course was all about per review. From creators of our own course outlines we turned into reviewers for our peers and provide feedback on a number of theirs.

In contrast to reviewing short abstracts for conference proposals or fully thought out research papers, reviewing course outlines is a different experience for me. For example, after only a week or two of developing, quite a big proportion of what I have reviewed (and produced myself) is work in progress and thus often a lot more interesting. My peers are taking a more risks trying to put together an innovative course. I like reviewing work in progress as it exposes more of the thought processes – my own and my peers’.

Also, it’s been fascinating to see the range of different proposals and topics. The discourse on online courses I am most familiar with is based in Higher Education, primarily in the UK and the US, and the course outlines I have seen are targeted at participants all around the world, including in a number of developing countries. The audiences that have been identified are quite different from the ‘typical’ MOOC participant I so often read about. In contrast the course outlines are all about helping communities not connected to formal education provision.

I read an opinion piece in the future of universities today, from Times Higher Education, and one of the views presented was that technology has found a home in universities, but that nothing has really changed. This kind of perspective is common because it reflects our consistent need to learn, to assess, to prepare new generations for a broad range of professional futures. Learning Technology may change the way we do things or enhance them, but the fundamental processes remain unchanged, the article argues. On the other hand, the DigitalScholar course highlights the scale at which for example the availability of online courses, such as the ones we are designing, are changing things. Identifying a need that an online course can meet is a first step to making use of Learning Technology that really acts as a “game changer” – providing training, CPD or supporting crisis management.

So, thanks to Reda and the course team for another inspiring and engaging week of the course. I am already looking forward to next week.