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Course Description

Scholarly Communications in the Digital Age (EAD 991B) is a course for graduate students interested in the impact of technology on research, writing, publication, and academic career development. The course is offered as part of Michigan State University’s PhD program in higher education and invites enrollment from graduate students across the university and from other institutions via the Big Ten Academic Alliance and its Traveling Scholar Program.

The course has two primary goals and texts. With the help of a book-length online hypermedia text written by the instructor students will learn how to navigate the rapidly changing digital publishing system. Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard University Press, 2012) will guide students in improving their prose. After opening attention to the interaction of old and new habits of academic reading and communications, including questions of search and information overload, the course will turn to scholarly writing. Subjects will include (following Sword): disciplinary conventions, making arguments, sentence and paragraph building, personal voice, citation, and more. We will also consider writing for the public.

The course features conditions today in scholarly publishing and their meanings for career development. Subjects will include: the scholarly “workflow,” new formats for peer review, “open access” publishing, finding audiences with institutional and disciplinary repositories, and the uses by scholars of social media and “altmetrics,” or new ways of discovering the impact of scholarly communications and what they mean for career development and the academic reward system.

The course is in a self-paced online format, with regular synchronous online class sessions (via ZOOM) at a time to be determined by students. Enrollment is limited to 15. Assignments are designed to probe academic research, writing, and publication practices, featuring an interview-based project on how scholars go about their work in the digital age.

For more information and questions about the course (EAD 991B) contact the instructor, Professor Steven Weiland (; 517-355-2395)