The digital scholarship literacy requires learners to “participate in academic, professional, and research practices that depend on digital systems” (JISC, 2014). Digital scholarship encompasses both traditional forms of digital media such as online scholarly databases, e-mail correspondence, and digitized academic collections, and newer forms such as social media, including Twitter, blog sites, and other hubs of online collaboration.
Online learners, as well as learners in a classroom environment, require a strong understanding of digital scholarship in order to effectively engage with academic research and publications. It is critical for learners to know and understand the intricacies of navigating online databases in order to find and use published research throughout their academic career. Learners should understand the differences between different databases and know how to use boolean operators during a search to narrow down their search results. They should also be familiar with lesser-known digital systems connected to education and research should also be explained and understood, such as blogs and social media platforms like Twitter.
Interestingly, the MOOC itself is a site of digital scholarship, as the instructors are conducting active research using the course as a study. Learners have the opportunity to become participants and complete two surveys during the course, thereby actively participating in digital scholarship. The course’s active presence on Twitter and encouragement of its learners to maintain their online presence also provide learners with a continued opportunity to participate in the academic discussion involving online learning.
Although the MOOC involves learners in participating in digital scholarship, the course neglects to define this digital literacy and its importance in relation to the academic and research community. The MOOC does not offer content on using databases to search for academic research, nor does it explain boolean or its purpose. Online database searching is a key component of almost every post-secondary learning experience, and learners need to have some knowledge of how to successfully retrieve information from credible sources online. Finally, the course could help learners with this literacy by including information on how to contribute to the creation of digital scholarship, perhaps through a more detailed overview of maintaining a professional blog.