Man, when I think about how much blogging I haven’t yet done tonight that I need to, I begin to realize just how awesome a moment it is at UMW right now. Not only are we part of the visioning committee for a statewide conference for thinking how Virginia’s educational resources might be shared more effectively, we are also working on developing an online learning initiative designed from values (which also has been been funded for next year); we’re rocking the makerspace; we’re making kickass videos about how awesome we are; we’ve had a hand in this little thing called ds106; and more generally we are swaggering like Mick Jagger….
But in addition to all that we got news earlier this week that the Domain of One’s Own will be fully funded moving forward! This is huge for our group on a few counts: 1) it includes a half-time position that can help us get fully staffed again, 2) it illustrates the administration at UMW is fully committed to supporting the work we are doing (all the way up to president Hurley), and 3) we don’t have to beg, steal and borrow to make Domain of One’s Own happen. We’ve been so used to doing things on a shoestring budget that it’s bizarre that we actually have the funding to run Domain of One’s Own for the next five years, with some space for custom development, a half-time position, etc. But the more I think about it the more I believe I can get used to the whole idea of institutional support and funding pretty quick 🙂
Additionally, if all the planets align we’ll be running a blitz at the end of this semester and into next semester that will get any interested faculty of all experience levels up and running with their own domain and web host to start building out their online portfolios, imagining what it would mean to host their own course sites, etc. And if they already have a domain/web hosting/site, we’ll help them imagine what they might do to step up their game another level—at least for those that we can even help, a few will need to help us! The idea is to fund as many faculty as we can with stipends to do as much as they can in this regard. And to reinforce the process we’ll run awards during Spring to highlight and promote the best online portfolios, course design, etc., amongst faculty. If this plan comes together it will be thanks to UMW’s Teaching Center director Mary Kayler who has been an awesome addition to Mary Washington and a great friend to DTLT.
I’ll be writing about the Domain of One’s Own project in more detail in terms of money, cost breakdowns, staffing, etc., once we’ve worked all those details out. But what has been really encouraging to me is that Emory University has been in contact with us last week about this pilot because they’re considering exploring this themselves as soon as next semester. Even cooler, Mark Bousquet is working with E. David Morgen at Emory to make this a reality there. Tim Owens and I have had two conversations with them already, and it’s pretty exciting to see other schools express interest in this idea so soon, and for me that’s the real trick. Being first isn;t all that important because this isn’t some some bogus PR-grabbing iPad initiative, but rather the true value is in the possibility to work alongside other institutions and thinkers to start re-imagining teaching, learning, and IT from the individual out. Having Mark Bousquet interested in this makes it that much more gratifying given I ‘ve been followed his scholarship as well as his politic on the Chronicle with keen interest over the last five or six years—not to mention he closes the CUNY circle quite nicely 😉 Anyway, I’m not sure if you could tell, but I am starting to get excited by what the future holds down this particular road.