Preparing this tenure application has led me to another question about academia in the age of social media. I have mulled over the process vs. the content in a previous post, the medium as the message based on Wesch’s article and also posted on how-to integrate technology in my teaching without disrupting the flow of the teaching and learning process.
The question I have been pondering lately is this:
What role does a read-write web platform play in the dossier of an academic?
This may seem like an absurd question given the level of expertise a scholar is to establish in her research. This level is validated by publications in prominent journals and books, by invitations to speak at international conferences and to participate at different events as an expert, and it is hoped that these invitations come both within academia and beyond.
I’ve been truly fortunate to have had a paper accepted by the official journal of the American Council for Foreign Language Educators, which has a circulation of approximately 10,000 subscriptions in membership and also has found in approximately 1000 libraries. Now, past issues are available on the net for members only, but anyone affiliated with a university can access the journal online through institutional library services. Impressive numbers, are they not? Well, I’ve been trying to do the math and realize that I cannot do more than determine the probability of people actually reading it. In reality, there is no way I can ascertain how many people actually read my article. If I’m lucky, maybe a 100 at best.
Now, let’s turn to the world of the read-write web. Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to determine with certainty how many people read it, but I could see how many views my article gets, as Intellagirl tweeted yesterday. Let’s look at this exchange:
Would any member of the administration of an American college or university consider the number of hits, favorites, downloads, etc. as valuable for a decision on hiring, tenure, promotion, recognition, etc.? I believe in the age of web 2.0, where social networking fosters an environment for sharing and transmitting knowledge (no longer limited to the ivory-tower library), we can’t ignore the importance of web views.
My next question is who determines how these significant numbers play into the decision-making process?