As a current MSI/MSW candidate, Lauren Walker has somehow found the time to dScribe not one but two classes for Open.Michigan: one at the School of Social Work and one at the School of Information. She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Policy and African American Studies with an emphasis on urban affairs from Northwestern University. Her hometown is Detroit, Michigan. She was also involved in founding the School of Social Work’s new Michigan Journal of Social Work and Social Welfare, an openly licensed student peer reviewed journal. We recently asked to interview her because of her growing contributions to the open educational resources movement and here’s what she had to say:
Why did you decided to become a dScribe?
I became a dScribe because I heard there was an open content project for Joan Durrance’s course, Information Use in Communities. I enjoyed that course very much because it complemented my social work background. I contacted my former classmate, Kathleen Ludewig (MPP/MSI ’10), to learn more about the details of the assignment and the training process. I became a dScribe in February of 2010.
How did you get involved in the Michigan Journal of Social Work and Social Welfare?
I will start with a brief history: Patrice French (MSW ’10) used her leadership skills with the student union and her networking skills with the administration to draft a proposal and leverage funding for the creation of a student journal. Michigan was the only social work school among its peers without a peer-reviewed student journal. She conducted extensive research on the journal process and recruited social work students for the first editorial board. Patrice was amazing for executing such an awesome task.
I joined the editorial board because I had previous experience in editing and publishing. I also supported the vision of creating a venue where social work students could share and publish scholarly research. I started as an Assistant Editor and became Co-Editor in Chief in September of 2010. This experience has exposed me to several different areas, including editing, marketing and managing an editorial board.
Why did this journal decide to become an Open Journal?
The editorial board made the MJSW an open-access journal for two purposes. First, it tells the world that the journal wants others to share and build upon the authors’ work. Second, the Creative Commons copyright licenses gives authors greater control over their work. This is often the opposite of many large publishing companies where authors are forbidden to revise an article for a future publication.
What is your favorite part about contributing to the creation of open content?
I like making educational resources more accessible to people. I also enjoy learning the different types of Creative Commons copyright licenses. I have participated in another project for Neel Hajra’s course, Policy and Management in the Nonprofit Sector, which he taught at the Ford School of Public Policy. Overall, becoming a dScribe has taught me more about the benefits of open access.
What do you hope to see Open.Michigan doing in five years?
I hope Open.Michigan continues to expand to other schools and colleges within the university. With greater awareness, I believe students, faculty and alumni will recognize the significance of sharing their work on the Internet.