Research Study: How Is Web 2.0 Viewed by Academics?

The Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery's Pre-Raphaelite digitization project has released a study (Pre-Raphaelite Resource Project: Audience Research Report) about the perceptions of academics of the usefulness of Web 2.0 capabilities.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

Our research indicated that there is some readiness among the education community for Web 2.0 technologies but only in the context of academia as a status-conscious, competitive environment. Whilst there are clear benefits to be achieved from providing teachers and students with the opportunity to share ideas in the context of stimulus artefacts, many hold reservations about 'giving away' their intellectual property. Providing different levels of publishing privileges will help cater for the varying acceptance within the audience base for sharing their ideas publicly.

Social networking features are perceived by both HE students and lecturers as primarily for pleasure rather than for work so must be used sparingly in a resource of this nature. For younger students, however, the boundaries between work and life are increasingly blurred and the ability to contact experts and to personalise or control the space would be welcomed.

Care must be taken with positioning for the resource to be truly useful as a research tool; students and lecturers need to know that it has been created for them and has scholarly merit. Their main concern is to access reliable, relevant content and information, but the ability to form connections between these resources is one way of adding value to the collection.

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