NC Panel: Modeling a New Collective: HASTAC Scholars as Case Study


New collectives like the HASTAC Scholars function in the powerful tension that exists between traditional learning institutions and a collaborative, dispersed, virtual learning space. Two hundred HASTAC Scholars from 75 universities currently participate in this new collective, and represent a transformative model for the future of learning institutions. There is a mythology of technology that can obscure this tension, creating the illusion that new collectives are free, and that they run themselves without institutional support. In this panel, we address the “invisible” work and unusual real-world infrastructures that make a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, decentralized virtual collective a credible and impactful learning space. We seek to address the following tensions: 1) what choices must be made about hierarchy and decentralization; 2) what unique elements must be in place, and what crucial technologies must exist, in order for the new collective to perform; 3) how do HASTAC Scholars use the new collective as part of their learning, and how does their institution support or constrain this learning; 4) what can this type of new collective achieve, and how could this model transfer to other kinds of learning.

Sheryl Grant

Director, Social Networking

HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media & Learning Competition