Blog Post

Scholar, Round 2: What I got out of the HASTAC Scholars Program

I am a returning HASTAC Scholar, and I’d like to sing the program's praises through this (non-exhaustive) list of ways that it has been beneficial for me, a self-confessed late-adopter and social media skeptic, in the past year. 

1) Twitter and MOOCs, really??

When I joined HASTAC, I had an existing Twitter account, but I hadn’t really used it much…still haven’t used it a ton.  But I did do a couple experiments with Twitter during the past year, including my first go at live tweeting from a conference.  As part of last year’s Scholars Pedagogy Working Group, I thought through how Twitter might fit into my teaching. 

I took my first MOOC, er, “meta-MOOC,” The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education

And I plan to not just lurk, but to participate, virtually, in the upcoming forum What Is a Dissertation? New Models, Methods, Media through an event being hosted by a local group I belong to, Teaching with Technology at the University of Washington in Seattle.


If you would have told me that I’d be doing this kind of stuff a couple years ago, I might have laughed and come back at you with some flippant social-media-hater comment.  But being part of the Scholars program has gently pulled me out of my shell and invited me to re-think a few things, and keep re-thinking them....

2) Blogging

Being a member of this community gave me the nudge I needed to further process my fear of writing for a public audience, of losing control of what happens to content I put out there, and to learn-through-doing, about blogging as a medium for writing, how it’s different—and often way more liberating and rewarding--than academic writing, and so on.

3)  Collaborations

I collaborated with about 25 brilliant people who I’ve never met in person, one group interested in Geography and another interested in Pedagogy.  Even though I hadn’t met most of them, the collaborations were rich, interesting, and they actually yielded products that we can all be proud of, share, and use in the future.

4) Teaching Resources

I have made use of some of the very practical pedagogical resources on HASTAC:  assignment ideas, classroom activities, but also crucial materials for educators and students in the digital age, like this one on e-mail etiquette which I recently used with my current students with very positive, immediately noticeable results.


If I’m being frank, I would say that none of these things would have happened without being a member of this community, and having that additional inspiration, and friendly social pressure.

I am very much looking forward to keeping these processes going.


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