Digital Knowledge Management in Higher Education

Elisabeth Mayweg has held the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) Professorship of Digital Knowledge Management in Higher Education at the Institute of Educational Science of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 1 October 2018. Mayweg conducts research into the effects of various forms of digitalization in teaching-learning contexts. Now 36, she studied psychology at the University of Münster, where she completed her doctorate and habilitation. She spent a research stay during her postdoc period as a DFG research fellow at the Columbia University Teachers College, New York.  

“In my junior professorship, I would like to focus on two main research areas,” says Mayweg, who is originally from Münster and is now looking forward to life in the German capital. “First of all, I will continue with my research into discourse-based teaching and learning in digital environments. What interests me most here are the specific characteristics of synchronous and asynchronous forms of media communication – such as chat, instant messaging, video messaging, forums and blogs – and how these affect the shape and substance of learning processes among students.” In this work, she aims to identify influencing factors – such as specific forms of instructional support or knowledge differences between students, for example due to tutoring – and systematically explore their role in teaching and learning in digital learning environments. “Within the context of this research, I also want to develop new learning materials that are suited to collaborative work in digital learning environments,” Mayweg says.

The second focus relates to what is known as implementation research. “Here, I plan to investigate the conditions under which the digital learning and teaching formats developed in the research approach that I just outlined can be implemented in teaching with an optimal and lasting effect. I base the analysis for this purpose on data such as learning participation and learning success. Two further areas to be looked at are skills building for academic research and how to deal with academic information from the web. My special interest in this regard concerns the extent to which is it possible to acquire skills such as critical thinking and questioning, evidence-based argumentation and source evaluation. In terms of methodology, Elisabeth Mayweg’s approach is primarily empirical and to a large degree experimental or quasi-experimental, using quantitative and qualitative methods. 

Alongside her new research approaches, Professor Mayweg also brings an existing project with her to the Humboldt-Universität. Together with Professor Regina Jucks at the University of Münster, she heads a subproject (€470,000 funding volume) as part of the Horizon 2020 DIALLS project (Dialogue and Argumentation for Cultural Literacy Learning in Schools). The project looks at the extent to which intercultural digital exchange between school students in various school years contributes to the development of cultural literacy.

“Above all, I hope that the professorship’s association with the ECDF will make for inspiring exchange with colleagues about new and interesting possibilities of digital technology and its use in teaching-learning contexts. As my research area is university education and this affects all fellow academics, I am sure there will be numerous opportunities for collaboration,” Professor Mayweg says. (kj)