Part I. How Higher Education is Changing in the 21st Century

In the 20th century, scholars communicated within relatively small fields of other experts and did so primarily through monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles. Those works of scholarship were discoverable because they were indexed and sorted into card catalogs and bound reference manuals.

These analog forms of scholarly communication are now joined by new modes of digital expression that augment and occasionally supplant earlier forms. In this topic series, we explore changes in the modes and emphases of scholarly communication, examine the shift from book- and journal-centric academic publishing to open access hybrids and alternatives, including film and video.

We also explore the ways that social media can serve scholars to connect their work with wider audiences, including non-academic readers, activists, journalists and engaged citizens. What responsibilities do scholars have to shape and reflect public understandings? What can academics do to contribute fully to efforts to enhance the public good?

In Part I., you’ll find a recap of the in-person discussions we hosted of Cathy Davidson’s meta-MOOC on the future of (mostly) higher education (#FutureEd), the focus in these discussions was mostly about how the digital is changing teaching and learning.

You’ll also find discussions of what it means to be a ‘public intellectual’ in the digital era. There’s a recap of Nicholas Kristof’s critique of the “self-marginalization” of academics and Arlene Stein’s assessment of the “unhappy divorce” of social sciences and journalism, along with a few other essays about the changing nature of what we do as scholars.