Professional Pathways

The Professional Pathways (PP) strand provides a platform for junior scholars to create and share resources of benefit to their scholarly community, learn from the life experiences and endeavors of other DML researchers in the field, and discover practical ways to develop and shape their professional pathway. The strand consists of four unit topics, each addressing key aspects and questions that center around practical ins and outs of academic growth and professional development. These include:

  • Building meaningful and collaborative projects
  • Building networks across research, practice, and design
  • Getting published: research writing and academic publishing
  • Zooming out: jobs and career pathways

Each unit consists of two 60-minute synchronous DML Commons Salons, in which junior and senior scholars discuss vital aspects of the unit topics. Invited DML participants will share their insights and experiences working on real cases, and optional hands-on exploratory activities are offered for participants to deepen their understanding. The units were co-created with early career DML scholars to ground the discussions, activities, and questions in their particular needs, expectations, and interests.

Unit 0 (March 23-April): Sign up, move in, and connectDrop in and get your blog or twitter stream connected to the DML Commons feed.

Unit 1 – Getting Started: How to Fund, Launch, and Collaborate on a Research Project

Starting a new research project is a many-sided effort with a variety challenges, such as figuring out your research questions, identifying the best methods to tackle those questions, and securing funding. In this unit, we aim to start a dialogue with the DML Commons community about our shared experiences launching new research projects to illustrate different ways we have tackled early stages of research. As part of this unit, we will also run a hackathon-style workshop for participants to share their research project ideas for peer feedback and improvement.

Unit 2 – Building networks across research/practice/design

Occupying a vital and arguably overlooked niche in the world of research, community-based and participatory design projects focus on actively bringing in the perspective of individuals and organizations as part of the research process. In contrast to methodologies that create distance between researchers and ‘subjects,’ these strategies for knowledge production enable academic research to more closely mirror and respond to the needs, concerns and ideas of participants. In this unit we explore practical and ethical strategies for the conception, development, and implementation of participatory and community-based research, and discuss both the challenges and opportunities afforded by this method. We also discuss some of the opportunities and challenges this work poses for professional development for researchers in the field of Digital Media & Learning. 

Unit 3 – Beyond the Ivory Tower: How to bridge Digital Media and Learning research with action & design projects

While writing for just one academic field is no easy task, publishing in interdisciplinary journals has its own distinct challenges. In this unit, we share our experiences locating different interdisciplinary niches for our work, elaborating on pathways we have taken to find and reach best-fit audiences. Additionally, we will collaboratively assemble resources for bringing our research to non-academic audiences, including multimedia publications and the press.


Although we may be avid students and skilled researchers, it is still sometimes less clear how to identify and navigate post-graduate pathways for not only academia, but also the private and nonprofit sectors. In this unit, we bring together researchers who have worked in a variety of settings to share their experiences. These conversations will facilitate a fishbowl discussion to connect interested participants and share valuable advice for cross-disciplinary work opportunities.