Welcome to our project blog on digital curation, and to our first post introducing the project. The project is the culmination of many discussions and piloting of ideas over the last year, and we are pleased that the Higher Education Academy, through their Changing the Learning Landscape project, have announced funding to support our work.
So what is digital curation? Also known as content curation, digital curation in this context is a process of selecting, commenting on, and sharing online resources for a specific audience. We are preparing an introductory guide at present, which we will post when it is complete, but in essence curation is about the critical sifting of the huge amount of information available on the internet and presenting it in a specific context to a specific audience and explaining its significance. Although we will be curating for specific audiences, we encourage sharing work widely and publicly, so that anyone with an interest can engage with the collection or story you have created, and open up a dialogue if they wish.
Why use it in education? The power of this approach for educators is that it provides more than just a reading list for students – it allows a critical commentary to be included, new items to be added easily, and allows another route for students to engage with tutors. With the proliferation of excellent and freely available resources it also means that educators do not have to build all the resources they require for a course from scratch. Somebody else may well have done it and is prepared to share. You can then focus on developing resources in areas nobody else has, and (hopefully) share these as well.
For students, the process of curating resources for a particular topic and applying the learning from them to a particular problem can develop critical thinking skills and digital literacies. The online tools are very easy to use and with the excellent IT access available across Cardiff University there should be no technological barriers to engaging with this.
For both staff and students, new technologies offer the opportunities for building an online professional profile and learning networks. Digital curation is a powerful way of contributing to this and sits well alongside content creation (eg in blogs or producing videos) and online conversations in social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
So what is the big idea? We have been piloting a content curation platform called Scoop.it over the past year in medical education, and now feel it is time to expand the project and try it on larger scale. We are therefore planning to implement the use of the Scoop.it platform into the first year of the new C21 undergraduate medicine curriculum in Cardiff University, and evaluate the whole process.