500 Open Courses on UMW Blogs

500At the beginning of every semester I get a hankering to post something about UMW Blogs. I don’t know why, it has arrived to the point that it’s more like air than technology around campus at this point. We regularly have more than 50 faculty using this platform any given semester as a space to share their teaching out in the open, and after five and a half years of UMW Blogs we now have more than 500 courses on the system (and this doesn’t include courses from the 2007/2008 academic year—we didn’t start tracking them until Fall 08). What’s more, since we started tracking traffic on UMW Blogs in Fall 2009 we have had more than five million unique visitors and almost twelve million page views—two million of those page views came last semester alone.

Five hundred open educational experiences laid bare to the world at large, each one a love letter to the ideal of thinking, sharing, and creating on the open web as part of a public institution. To be clear absolutely clear, a number of those courses have been taught several times, and the courses are uneven to say the least. But that’s part of the experience—it must remain a space for experimentation, and with that comes false starts, mid-stream re-thinking, and, sometimes, abandonment of an experiment gone awry in order to re-group for the next one. Not failure but learning. I want to take a moment to recognize all the awesome faculty, students, and staff at UMW that make this kind of sharing of the work we do possible on a regular basis, you all rock!

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7 Responses to 500 Open Courses on UMW Blogs

  1. Grant says:

    Now there’s a Fortune 500 … way to team

  2. Reverend says:


    Exactly, it’s been a communal effort, and that is all paying forward to Domain of One’s Own—and that is getting exciting.

  3. Tom says:

    You inspired me to look up our stats – 4,059 blogs and 32,624 users. Kind of crazy.

  4. Reverend says:

    32,000 users! Insane, that is a very big number. How are you aggregating any of that, do you have a space, even if you login, where the activity is apparent? The thing I like Tumblr for is that—there is a lot there to be shared, and you have some control when and if you need it.

  5. Tom says:

    That’s super messy for us in part bc default privacy is set to non-index for search engines and a few other “hey don’t find me” settings that make even the site-wide RSS feed fairly anemic. I don’t know any simple way around that. It could be a lot of users that are “digital paper” tigers. I suspect that but for a non-required product I’m still impressed we got those numbers.

    I have encouraged some Jim Groom-esque promotion of interesting posts etc. but haven’t seen that happen. I haven’t made the time to do it as I’m to excited breaking down teacher performance standards.

  6. Reverend says:


    Interestingly enough I am finding myself returning to that promotion because in the haze of ds106 I actually forgot what I was good at. As much as I love animated GIFs, there is no future there for me 🙂 I have a ton of here is the awesome stuff happening around umw blogs, in courses, and with DoOO coming out soon, I hoep that revitalizes me, I am wiped.

  7. Pingback: It Takes a Liberal Arts Village to Raise a Digital Campus | bavatuesdays

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