A Round-Up of Fall 2012 Projects at DTLT

The Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) at UMW is a high-functioning, self-motivated group. We all know our roles, and we perform them with precision regularly. A well-oiled machine, if you will. We haven’t had a staff meeting in a few months, so today (the Monday before classes) we sat down to take stock of our current projects as the semester gets going. And the annotated picture below is a breakdown of the projects we came up with, all of which, mind you, are actually happening now:

A Whiteboard of DTLT Projects Fall 2012

After the meeting, which was just a little over an hour, Andy Rush snapped a shot of the whiteboard which I figured I’d annotate and breakdown as an exercise in documenting what we’re working on  as of Fall 2012. What’s more, it might be interesting to revisit this post at the end of the semester to see how everything played out, but I guess we’ll see about that.

1) Bluehost Migration

I blogged about how we’ve spent a lot of time this Summer archiving the work we’ve done over the past seven years with open source applications like WordPress, MediaWiki, Drupal, etc.  We moved the various web hosting accounts, applications, and pointed the domains to a server we’re running through Media Temple. Thanks to the Herculean efforts by Tim Owens and Andy Rush this process is all but done. We have a few random Bluehost accounts left, but archiving all the work we’ve done with faculty, students and staff  over the years is a major accomplishment and one I’m thrilled to almost have behind us.  I’m hoping byby end of September would be nothing short of awesome.

2) Domain of One’s Own

Where to begin? The A. B. and C. in that annotation points to the documentation, template email, and general support for the participating faculty, who are are listed to the right. Also, thanks to Martha Burtis, signing-up for Domain of One’s Own will automatically capture a person’s domain information in a spreadsheet and we can start figuring out how to discover feeds and tag filters. Everyone involved will be experimenting with framing the way students might consider web hosting, choosing a domain, and taking control of the space through which they teach and learn. I was thrilled when Jon Udell blogged about it here, and think this might be an amazing moment for a sense of participating and architecting the web as part of your framework for thinking about university and learning. It’s a big one, and it is happening!!!

3) Maker

This is a rare and very rad space that Tim Owens, George Meadows, and Rosemary Arneson put together this Summer, and it promises to be a highlight for faculty and students alike. It currently has 2 makerbots, a printerbot, and their have been grumblings of more (an art student got a grant for one!), Arduino, Dremel, tools, tables, and more. It’s a workshop for creativity.  This room is really compelling, like the 3D Printing, because it engages a sense of STEM education that is applied and engaging. This has only become to emerge as a hub on campus, and what’s more it lives in the library, bringing us closer and closer in our relationship to the library, which has been nice. Our missions are aligning quite well.

4) Online Learning Initiative (OLI)

Steve Greenlaw, Martha Burtis, and I are getting ready for our second cohort of online learning fellows that will be thinking about what it might mean to think through a course for the online environment. We’ll have a series of meetings over the course of the Fall wherein we will be talking about the virtual environment, how values transfer to and from the classroom, and what it might mean to design a course for and on the web.  This may be one of the most engaging spacing right now, and the assessments from the faculty who have experimented in cohort 1 are fascinating—there is a lot to be excited about. More on that shortly though. What’s also exciting is that out new teaching center director,  Mary Kayler (where’s your blog Mary?), will also be part of this initiative.

5) Distance & Blended Learning Committee

Well, this isn’t really a project but a committee. It actually doesn’t really belong on the projects list just yet, but the overlap with some of the ideas in the OLI are a natural osmosis.

6) President

This is kinda of a nice meta-list within the list. A list of what we will share with UMW’s President Hurley as potential digital initiatives that the university might start promoting and closely associating themselves with. The idea of marrying the digital to the liberal arts, campus-based experience seems like a natural and organic academic and intellectual development for our culture. It’s important, and we have a number of initiatives that would begin to frame out a curriculum and philosophy around the work we do at UMW. The list, featuring a number of ideas that I already listed above so omitted below, has a few new ideas/projects that move beyond DTLT, but still are at the center of our mission.

  • Digital Studies Initiative (DSI): This has already gotten some traction, and anywhere from 110-20 faculty have been meeting independently to talk about the possibility of building a minor around Digital Studies, and this has gotten recognized by the administration and is now pretty much in process. Special kudos to Jeff McClurken for putting this all together, and making a real push to see it all materialize. This could be a focus of how UMW starts rethinking the curriculum for the 21st century skills in learning. 
  • Digital Knowledge Center (DKC): Related to the Digital Studies Initiative is the space that start to emerge in the library wherein we start to work directly with students to imagine what this means for archiving, searching, and managing the trace of their scholarship moving forward. A focused, student support network for this stuff that lives in the library would make total sense. What”s interesting is that it was part of a QEP martha Burtis and Jeff McClurken worked on over a year ago. And this could be developed out to bring the freshman, curricular experience as a digital phenomenon still might work coupled with a Domain of One’s Own.
  • Digital Repository: A conversation on hold for almost 3 or 4 years now when the librarian working with Fedora went to VCU (Hi Tom!). This is an excellent opportunity to revisit how the library plays into the experience of a Domain of one;s own, thinking through archiving, controlling once work, and thinking through what others find when they search you, and how. A whole curriculum about the production of knowledge in the internet era.
  • The future of Faculty Academy? Sad, but true, we may have to rethink Faculty Academy as a year-round event. The jury is out on this, but it is worth throwing out there because a little experimentation along those lines might be of value.

All of these above listed ideas will be sent to the President as a recommendation for possible futures for UMW and digital media.

 7) SCHEV Open Conference

UMW will be hosting a Digital Learning Resources conference for state insitutions. A committee run through SCHEV has formed and we will be putting on a conference to showcase the best teaching and learning with technology work happening around the state. The RFP is being reviewed and will be discussed in more detail shortly (it is modelled closely on Open Education call). UMW has gotten permission to host it, and we are working on getting this thing going by Spring Break 2013! I have a lot to do on this very soon, but I am excited about bringing constituents from all the state colleges and universities to have a discussion about how we can share resources.

8) QEP

Martha is running this, a fact I detailed in this post on her awesomeness, and it’s a nice, iterative approach to building a publishing platform, maybe like UBC’s Resource Management Framework, that we can pilot in Spring and have developers work on and customize or integrate with WordPress over the Summer. So much better than spending $10K on learning modules—waste of money. Build a platform that enables people to publish easy, as well as making it easy to reuse, remix, and share information on a domain of knowledge.

9) Canvas

We are heading into year two of Canvas. No issues, we’re sailing along. Don’t ask me what’s going on in there cause I don’t know! 🙂 More seriously, we might be able to integrate kaltura into Canvas if it is as easy as it has been for UMW Blogs (more on that now…)

10) Media Server/Kaltura

We now have a Media Servera, and it is running the open source version of Kaltura. The all-in-one plugin allows you to integrate Kaltura accounts with a WordPress blog, and hence upload and embed videos through the WordPress interface without them ever touching UMW Blogs servers. Beautiful! If this is as easy for Canvas as it was WordPress we should be golden.


After reading Luke Waltzer’s review and rationale for having Blogs @ Baruch moved to Active Directory I can see why we might want to do that on UMW Blogs, especially given Boone has already written the plugins. I might tackle this sometime mid-semester and set it loose over Winter. CUNY for the win, again!

OK, I guess that is all we have in terms of projects, now we have to go and support the faculty because their classes are starting next week. It’s showtime!



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One Response to A Round-Up of Fall 2012 Projects at DTLT

  1. Pingback: Fall 2012 Report Card for DTLT | bavatuesdays

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