In the autumn of 2018, a sub-group of members of an Alberta based OER Community of Practice (CoP) convened to organize a new interpretation of a journal club. The ABOER (http://albertaoer.com/) members had previously discussed approaches to sustain momentum generated from one-time OER funding from the Alberta government. Using the hashtag #aboerjc, the informal group decided to marry the concepts of a twitter chat with a journal club. Using the micro-blogging format, a twitter chat has a facilitator synchronously send out questions that twitter participants, following the dedicated and associated hashtags, then answer and expand upon. Twitter chats are frequently used by K-12 educators (Tour, 2017) and generally have one person organizing and sending out the questions (e.g. #k12artchat) and may occur on a dedicated day, either weekly or monthly. Questions frequently centre on current issues and professional practices.
Although sharing the same desire for discussion, a journal club holds a longer and more scholarly history (Banderob, 2018). Well-established within medicine, a journal club allowed for doctors to convene and discuss recently published research (Deenadayalan, Grimmer‐Somers, Prior & Kumar, 2008). In the print era, one person would prepare a summary of the article and then share out this understanding through a face to face scholarly discussion. Exploration of the research and its implications, both theoretical and professional, encouraged colleagues to deliberate current topics and issues.
Members of the ABOER community of practice live throughout Alberta and represent the range of higher education institutions within the province. Without funding for this CoP, distributed methods to maintain the awareness, use, and advocacy of OER and open practices are necessary. In this vein, #aboerjc launched in November, 2018 and has since occurred monthly, on the first Tuesday at 7 pm MST. Each chat has highlighted an article from an open access journal or associated blog post which are advertised in advance so #aboerjc participants can engage thoughtfully and critically with the tweeted questions.
Moving to a distributed model of facilitation, the organizers tried various methods to attract participants, both synchronously and in the long tail of retweets and likes post-twitter chat. In this presentation, members behind #aboerjc will provide not only our processes, but also bring forward how this twitter chat journal club models and encourages in an open space critical digital literacies. Such literacies are a set of practices that emphasize “the social construction of reading, writing and text production within political contexts of inequitable economic, cultural, political, and institutional structures” (Bishop, 2014, p. 53) with the tweets floating between superficial explorations to deeper dives. To encourage a variety of discussions, the selection of the journal article rests with the main facilitator and is a relatively informal process, partly due to pragmatics but also as part of open practices, and the fluid nature of digital knowledge sharing. The organizers maintain a list of articles discussed but with the burgeoning of OER activity within higher education and as the twitter journal chat unfolds, topic patterns or absences may be identified and thereby addressed. Similar to the nature of twitter, the orchestration of #aboerjc remains uncongealed. To assist understanding during the presentation, a mini #aboerjc will provide experiential opportunities for audience involvement with the practice of critical digital literacies and a OER based twitter chat journal club.
Banderob, 2018. Journal club…with biscuits. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://education-forum.ca/2018/06/20/journal-clubswith-biscuits/.
Bishop, E. (2014). Critical literacy: Bringing theory to praxis. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 30(1). 51-63.
Deenadayalan, Y., Grimmer‐Somers, K., Prior, M., & Kumar, S. (2008). How to run an effective journal club: a systematic review. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 14(5), 898-911. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2008.01050.x
Tour, E. (2017). Teachers’ personal learning networks (PLNs): exploring the nature of self-initiated professional learning online. Literacy, 51(1), 11–18. https://0-doi-org.aupac.lib.athabascau.ca/10.1111/lit.12101