Academia.edu, eportfolio/PLE PDR and identity

Spent the morning acquainting myself with some of the features of academia.edu. My (limited) profile is here. In the publish or perish tradition there is a facility to upload citations for your papers and conference “talks” and list your research interests but there is no facility to list the courses you teach. Clearly a site designed by and for academics 😉 However my interest is more in how (and if) to use academia.edu as part of my PLE/eportfolio/working practice.

I keep an EndNote database of things I read and cite in my writing. I include my own papers and talks there. EndNote is trying to seduce me into their EndNoteWeb service. I am developing a PebblePad eportfolio and am promoting the use of PebblePad in Oxford Brookes. There is this blog. There is the Emerge site. Diigo is becoming an important place for keeping links. There is a plan shaping up at Brookes to formally address the availability of online identity management through the annual personal development review (PDR) process. Currently this works through a (dreadful!) MSWord document, which can be downloaded from the HR intranet. A mess of over-ridden styles and local formatting. Will a PebblePad proforma work better

Academia dot edu has some problems. Is the Facebook integration necessary? It doesn’t quite work on my MacBook Pro in Firefox (pages never finish loading). But the technical glitches will be solved.

On a wider conceptual scale, representing the world of academic institutions as a global hierarchy is, on one hand just telling things like they are, but on the other, reinforces one particular world view. While it is interesting seeing oneself as a tiny droplet in the great shower, where do other, extra-institutional thinkers fit into all this? In constructing this taxonomy of institutional position we run the risk of seeing it as a totalising epistemology, if you are in it, your knowledge “counts” (in it) and if you are not in it, well, you are not in it – innit?

Never the less, as a mapping exercise of the international academic endeavour, it is fascinating: levelling and humbling as well as ordering and ranking. How will it be used in the upcoming year?

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