I’ll be posting the video and some more commentary of the “Magic Trick Talk” I did last week at Duke when it’s available, although I’m a bit nervous about it because I am under the illusion the talk went well and I fear the video will burst my bubble. As I remember it, the talk was fun—at least for me—because I was particularly nervous about it before hand, yet when the time came I found the whole thing just flowed in some odd way. It was disjointed, at times anecdotal, at times technical, at times silly, at times a serious plea for “doing good,” nonetheless it somehow seemed to connect in my mind, although I may be very, very wrong about that. And while I was planning on doing a write-up of the talk, Lauren Pressley of Wake Forest University did a far better job than I ever could with both the CIT Conference as a whole as well as the talk I gave—thank you Lauren! You can see the presentation site/magic trick blog I created here.
I have to say that Duke is quite a place to visit, the campus is phenomenal and the services there are top notch. The new learning space in the basement of the Duke Library, The Link, was one of the coolest things I have seen in a long while. People buzzing around, talking, sharing, writing on walls, eating, drinking, and generally learning in a bizarre-style fashion that challenges the cult of silence and production line studying in cubicles that has for far too long dominated our understanding of “learning.” I could live in The Link—I love chaotic spaces, and finally could see first hand the allure of the whole learning spaces push.
The faculty presentations I caught illustrated that a solid cadre of folks are experimenting with a wide range of web-based tools and resources in the classroom. In fact, Victoria Szabo’s students spent the semester designing a toolkit of web-based applications to support a fascinating mapping project in Muhuru Bay, Kenya—although mapping and Africa always makes me think of Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness and the great unchartered darkness that only we can not see from here.
In particular, I would like to thank Shawn Miller who I think was responsible for getting me the gig, and hanging out with him was a treat—he’s an instructional technologist who sees all this stuff so clearly and is a tremendous asset for the Duke academic community at large. It was also a real pleasure to catch up with Tim Bounds (did the ‘Canes win?), a fellow twitterer, who I finally got to meet and hang out with. I’m particularly interested in how a Duke WPMu space might bring the work of folks like Shawn (on the academic side) and Tim (on the student affairs side) together in some interesting ways, for nothing has been more apparent on UMW Blogs than just how much the distinctions between academics and student life blurs. I imagine seeing this might be that much easier with an open and accessible publishing platform for the Duke community.
Finally, special thanks to the assistant director of the Center of Instructional Technology Amy Campbell for making my stay and presentation go so smoothly, and Lynne O’Brien for bringing together an event that enables a necessary discourse around imagining and opening up new ways for sharing and accessing the life of the mind at Duke.
Image credit: Lauren Pressley’s James Groom, Magician