Choosing Real-World Impact Over Impact Factor (Chronicle)

August 26, 2013, 1:25 pm

By Sam Wineburg

For the past 12 months I’ve moved from writing articles for refereed journals to creating digital products for high-school history teachers. These include lesson plans, sets of original documents, instructional videos, and short assessments of historical thinking. With my team of graduate students, we’ve eliminated the middleman. Rather than seeking a publisher, we upload our materials directly to the Internet and leave them by the proverbial digital curb. For free. To date, we are closing in on a million downloads.”

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“I no longer believe that the scholarly enterprise of education has much to do with educational betterment. I no longer believe that when I publish articles in journals with minuscule circulations I am contributing to the field—if by ‘field’ we mean the thousands of well-meaning individuals who go to work each day in places called schools.”

This post feels tangentially, but perhaps importantly, related to digital humanities and online education— certainly regarding the world of “academic credit” and the (tenure) review process.

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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