DTLT Today Episode 111: Jon Pineda’s Open Doors

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This episode of DTLT Today features UMW Creative Writing professor Jon Pineda. It’s Jon’s first year at UMW, but that didn’t stop him from jumping into the Domain of One’s Own fray with both feet. He’s been experimenting with domains in the classes he teaches, and as well as a space to imagine various creative projects as part of his own work. He’s even bringing the literary journal Font: Poetry he created for high school students in Chesapeake, Virginia into the virtual world as a part of his work with the Domain of One’s Own faculty initiative. So, when Jon and I sat down this afternoon to talk I imagined we would spend most of out time talking about these various projects, but in the end we didn’t. We talked about his work. We talked about his memoir Sleep In Me—which sounds devastatingly brilliant. We talked about skateboarding. We talked about Michelangelo as bad teacher. We talked about demystifying the process of writing. We talked about the wonder of memory. We talked about … [Read more...]

DTLT Today Episode 110: Sue Fernsebner’s Digital History

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In this episode of DTLT Today, Ryan Brazell and Jim Groom sit down with History professor Sue Fernsebner to talk about the vast array of awesome projects she’s been working on over the last year. The work discussed includes, but is not limited to: her experimentation with Twitter in the classroom; the immensely popular Tumblr, Gulou, on contemporary China she manages; GIFs as analysis in her Chinese History through Film course; the resource site on the Taiping Civil War designed alongside Ryan as part of her re-imagined History Methods course (read more about the course design here and here). The work Sue Fernsebner is doing in digital history is truly remarkable, and we hope this video starts to give you some sense of her process and approach as she takes us through  how she’s re-imagined her curriculum for the digital age over the last several years. … [Read more...]

The Academic GIF

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GIF from In the Mood for Love I wrote several months ago about the experience of working alongside UMW’s Chinese History scholar Sue Fernsebner to start imagining how she might integrate animated GIFs into a curriculum centered around film analysis. I tongue-and-cheek referred to it as GIFiculum, or GIF as curriculum. Sue has been doing some serious work on this front, and she recently emailed me about how she will be re-structuring her Chinese History through Film course to make the GIF work central to the film analysis in the final paper. Framing it, to use Sue’s words, as “an exercise in visual and thematic analysis.” How cool is this? A few of us from DTLT will be heading to her class around mid-semester to run a workshop for the students on creating GIFs. This is something Andy Rush and I did last semester and it was a blast. There will also be a GIF Awards ceremony the final week of the course to collectively analyze and discuss what makes an effective “visual and … [Read more...]

Faculty Focus: Andreá Livi Smith Teaches, Learns, and Lives By Design

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DTLT Today: Episode 109 – Andreá Livi Smith from Jim Groom on Vimeo. It’s finals week and everyone is slammed for time right now on campus, but Historic Preservation professor Andreá Livi Smith was still generous enough to sit with me for a half hour and talk about the work she’s done as part of the Domain of One’s Own faculty initiative and beyond. Andi is a remarkable faculty member, and she is behind some of the most exciting work happening at UMW right now. She not only blogs like it’s her job at Digital Bridging, but she’s also designed a brilliant homepage for her courses, research, and social media presences, something we explore at length in this video. We also talk about the work she has done with Martha Burtis designing a database on UMW Blogs called Surveying the Burg. This site enables students to survey houses from around Fredericksburg on smart phones from the field. It’s remarkable in that it starts to demonstrate just how much more than a blog  this open source, … [Read more...]

DTLT Today Episode 107: Marie McAllister’s Domain of Her Own

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For the 107th episode of DTLT Today, I sat down with English professor Marie McAllister to talk about her ongoing experimentation with technologies in her teaching over the last decade more generally. In particular, the amazing work she has done with the ever growing poetry anthology site Eighteenth Century Audio---a perennial UMW Blogs site that is one-of-a-kind on the web. Marie was part of the Domain of one's Own faculty initiative this past Spring, and what I love about her approach is that she is not afraid to experiment. Over the course of this discussion we talk about her work with an honor's  Medical Writing course on DocuWiki, the English Coffee House Bulletin Board built within phpBB, her various forays intoWordPress, and her long history with MediaWiki. This is truly a domain of her own, and she epitomizes the vision of faculty becoming sysadmins of their profesional spaces online. What's more, I obviously agree with her when she says every university should be … [Read more...]

Wrigley Ivy: Jack Bales on the Chicago Cubs

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I've been meaning to write a post about Jack Bales's amazing work as part of the Domain of One's Own faculty initiative this past Spring, but somehow a post seemed inadequate. For more than three years now I've been bothering Jack, telling him he should get a domain to feature all the amazing research he does. An effort which resulted in his first domain: jackbales.com. And by no means was I pandering to Jack's ego (if he even has one), he has eight books under his belt, and his magnum opus---a multi-volume tome on the history of the Chicago Cubs---is being written presently. Jack is a titan amongst librarians, and a veritable icon at Mary Washington. He's been at UMW for 33 years now, and in addition to his copious research and stellar publication history, his work ethic with faculty and students on a day-to-day basis is the stuff of legend. Like Jack, I support faculty as part of my job here at UMW, so I have a very good idea how much time and energy goes into supporting more than … [Read more...]

Rosie the Riveter dot umw dot edu

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So, it’s been over a year since UMW has had it’s main .edu website running on WordPress. DTLT has been experimenting with the possibilities of aggregating posts from UMW Blogs into umw.edu (in fact, this post will aggregate into DTLT’s site on umw.edu). But the cooler part is to start experimenting with bringing the work students and faculty are doing in the classroom to the university’s website, and to that end Jess Rigelhaupt’s Oral History class last semester has done some really cool things. Every semester I come and talk to this particular class about the possibilities for creating an open, online space to share the documentary histories they create over the course of the semester. We look at a ton of sites, and imagine what’s possible for them. The final project/product for the entire class is to build a site and populate it with all the documentary media on the assigned topic they create, collect, and curate for the world to … [Read more...]

Civil Rights Leader James Farmer’s UMW Lectures Online

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More than five years ago DTLT started working with UMW’s archivist Carolyn Parsons to try and digitize James Farmer’s video lecture series recorded here at UMW in 1983. The lecture series is an awesome historical resource featuring James Farmer---one of the greatest orators of the 20th century---re-telling his compelling experiences as a civil rights activist in the South during the 1960s. And while the project laid dormant for many years, thankfully Jeff McClurken’s and four of his students in Adventures in Digital History class resurrected it and brought it to life online. Laura Donahue, Michelle Martz and Caitlin Murphy and Kelsey Matthews archived, transcribed, and contextualized 13 of Farmer’s lectures from 1983. What’s more, they’ve created what is arguably the single best resource site yet to see light on UMW Blogs: http://jamesfarmerlectures.umwblogs.org/ The vertical hold on the VHS tapes with the first 4 lectures were in such bad shape that they’ve been shipped out for … [Read more...]

Masters of Our Domain Names: UMW to Pilot Domain of One’s Own

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What’s gotten lost in all the attention around the ds106 Kickstarter is the fact that on Friday DTLT sat down with UMW’s Chief Information Office, the inimitable Justin Webb, to work out the details for an initial pilot launch of a Domain of One’s Own at UMW for 200 to 400 students starting this Summer and continuing throughout the 2012/2013 academic year. What does this mean? It means we’ll be providing personal domain names and web hosting for anywhere from 200-4000 students that will be used in a series of courses over the the coming year. This is born out of the idea that we want to help students consider taking responsibility for their online identity, as well as explorE the implications of what it might mean for them to take control of their work and manage their own portfolios (howe ver we understand that term). The idea that we can do this in partnership with the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) just reinforces how important giving students control over their … [Read more...]

Cellular Storytelling

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UMW Biology professor Steve Gallik has dreamed up a very cool approach for students in his Histology lab to share and comment on what’s under the microscope. Rather than purchasing expensive camera-ready digital microscopes, he worked with the UMW Teaching Center to purchase a few cheap digital cameras that can upload images quickly to the web so students can post them to a course site. The resulting course site designed by the inimitable Tim Owens is a highly attractive, intensely visual course space on UMW Blogs that streamlines posting for students thanks to the Gravity Forms plugin (which is premium—what is happening to us!). What I love about this experiment is how beautiful the images of these mammal cells are, and how the students’ brief description coupled with the gorgeous images tell a story about the life and death of cells. Not only that, but it reinforces the idea that new approaches to storytelling with media cuts across all disciplines—it’s not an exclusive a concern … [Read more...]