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Not All Undergraduates are Literate You Know...

What might scholarship look like for undergraduates in the next ten, maybe even fifteen years? In an article entitled ‘Digital literacy and the Undergraduate Curriculum’ in Hackingthe Academy, six professors are blazing the trail for what might be the future of undergraduate scholarship. The first of these professors, Jeff McClurken, takes a look at how digital identity should be an important way in which undergraduate should approach their scholarly work. Because of this new technology there are many new and different tools for scholarship, and with this comes new avenues of publishing, which includes collaborative work. I really do think that in the not so distant future, undergraduates like myself will be doing most of their work through different online publishing avenues that challenge us to do something completely new. McClurken explains that these new technological developments will allow “real learning to happen,” and this only happens when “you’re trying to figure out the controls, not when you’re on autopilot” (81).

The next section by Jeremy Boggs is probably my favorite in this article. Boggs looks at how he as a professor works with undergraduates. He is very open with  his students with his online presence, and encourages his students to follow him on social media. I am not so sure if this is the best of ideas, but I imagine that there will be more professors, following Boggs lead in the coming years. Boggs classes use different modes of technological publishing, including editing and creating Wikipedia articles. This puts him in the role of tech support. This can become a burdensome task for the professor, who has to explain to students – Who are often not as tech savvy as we may think – how to use these different technological tools. Probably the most important piece of advice (advice that I think should be utilized more than just technologically speaking) for professors to have when working with technology in their classroom is to be supportive of their students. Biggs explains that “there’s a lak of cheerleading or positive reinforcement in higher education in general, particularly when trying to teach student to use new kinds of technology” (83). I believe that the real problem rests in the assumption by many professors that, since their students were born in the digital age, they would be somehow instantly proficient in digital tools. This is simply not the case.

The last section in this article was written by Adrianne Waderwitz, Anne Ellen Geller, and Jon Beasley-Murray. They look at the merits of Wikipedia  in undergraduate scholarship. I think what is most important in this section is that they do not throw Wikipedia under the bus, or just celebrate it for its brilliant ways of collecting vast arrays of knowledge. What is key in their analysis is that any scholar should approach Wikipedia as any other resource in their research process. This means that they must be critical of it like anything else. They come across. Now, these professors do not advocate citing Wikipedia in a research paper, but using it as a jumping point for more information. I am curious how professors in the next couple of decades will take on the role of Wikipedia in their classrooms. 

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