Publications Day: Pushing the Boundaries of Scholarship

Maureen Matarese, Developmental Skills

 

How does video game programming or board-card game manufacture fit into the scholarly world? How might a video mash-up of nearly 200 Hamlet quotes from television and movies featured on YouTube be recognized by academia? These questions were discussed at BMCC Publications Day on April 19, 2013.   

 

Publications Day, sponsored by CETLS, has annually provided a space for faculty to feature their published academic work from that year. This year, I decided, with Prof. Phyllis Niles (Library), to push the envelope by culling from our BMCC faculty a diverse group from across the college, many of whom have devoted time to work that is not traditionally categorized as scholarly.

 

Less Traditional Scholarship

 

I briefly discussed academic publishing in social science and education journals before turning the floor over to less traditional forms of academic scholarship. Prof. Jim Tolan (English) described the scholarship behind writing and publishing poetry, and discussed the shifting criteria for acceptable publication at BMCC over time.

 

Prof. Sarah Haviland (Music and Art) presented her sculpture work, and pointed out that the college accepted the corporate patronage of her artwork as a peer-reviewed acceptance of her work. Sculptures purchased and featured at New York University or Saks 5th Avenue, for example, were counted as publications.

 

Prof. Geoff Klock (English) previewed his Hamlet video mash-up, a super-cut of nearly 200 film and movie renditions. Prof. Haviland and other attendees suggested that the Hamlet mash-up was an artistic work, and publication for it may come from where it is exhibited online.

 

Prof. Joe Bisz (English) presented his work as well as his collaborative work with Prof. Frank Crocco (English). The former was a card game that Prof. Bisz developed, published, and presented that teaches educators how to create games for their classrooms. Attendees of Publication Day played the games together and discussed publications and presentations that supported the scholarship of the game itself. The latter project is a virtual classroom that combines elements of Facebook, Blackboard, and gaming, such as rewards and badges, and points systems.

 

Grants and Scholarship

 

Prof. Bisz and Prof. Crocco are providing a variety of useful ways for integrating play with coursework. Their collaborative virtual classroom project received a substantial grant.

 

Attendees discussed whether grants carried any weight when faculty are assessed for their scholarship, an issue we decided still needs ironing out.

 

The Impact of Publications Day

 

Did Publications Day have any impact? After Publications Day, Prof. Klock premiered his mash-up at Kevin Geeks Out, a variety show hosted at the 92nd Street Y. Since the mash-up was posted to YouTube in early May it has been viewed over 25,000 times (exceeding the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden). It has been touted as a viral video on websites Metafilter and Cheezburger, prominently featured on Random House and Slate magazine, and posted on comedian Paul F. Tompkins’ tumblr.

 

Publications day (and Prof. Haviland’s comments in particular) allowed Prof. Klock to reconceptualize a scholarly hobby as published and exhibited academic art. I’d say that’s a publications day well done.