A week from today Faculty Academy with be doing its 17th tour of duty at UMW. It’s become a mainstay on campus, and it’s become one of the few events where the teaching and learning that happens all year on campus gets featured publicly. It’s an awesome event, and every year as it approaches I once again realize that it’s a means to reflect on the amazing stuff happening on campus while at the same time providing an opportunity to think about what might be next.
This year we are actually bringing the conference back to the Mary Washington College campus (it’s been held at the Stafford Campus for the last five years), and given we’re in the new renovated Monroe Hall we figured we’d experiment a bit with the conference. Rather than starting off with presentations, we’re actually gonna be kicking off the conference with a media carnival that will feature a wide range of new media we’ve been experimenting with this year. So we will be setting up a different featured technology across 4 rooms: 3D printing with the makerbot; internet radio; the live streaming video kit, and real-time graphic visualization. The carnival should be a blast, and I expect it will be an exciting way to get the conference started, get people walking around, discovering things, and socializing all the while. I’ll be part of the internet showcase, and I am going to steal a page from Grant Potter and Brian Lamb’s book at Open Ed last year and wander around the conference and interview people on the radio so the folks in the showcase room can hear the possibilities 🙂
What’s more, our plenary speakers Giulia Forsythe and Grant Potter will be running at least two of those four showcase sessions and addressing the UMW community about Visual Literacy and the Adjacent Possible respectively. I’m fired up to be fortunate enough to have both Giulia and Grant come to UMW and inspire our faculty and staff to be as amazingly creative, open, and engaged as these two are, they walk a mean walk!
In between plenary sessions and the keynote (which I’ll get to in a second), the meat of the conference happens featuring a variety of presentations from UMW’s faculty. I think the sessions this year promise to be far more interactive and conversational given that more than half the submissions have been for panels. What’s more, at lunch time both days we’ll be featuring two major initiatives for the coming year: during Wednesday’s lunch Jeff McClurken will be framing the idea for a Digital Studies program at UMW and on Thursday Tim Owens, Martha Burtis, and Justin Webb will be framing the Domain of One’s Own project . I’m excited to get the conversational opened up more broadly for both of these initiatives, they’re awesome.
And last, but certainly not least, keynoting this year’s conference we have NYU professor of Fine Arts David Darts delivering a talk titled “When I Hear the Word Culture, I Reach for My Source Code: The Struggle for Freedom and Control in the Digital Age” (and if that title isn’t cool enough follow the link and read the description!). [A quick aside, I think this is the first year that every invited speaker is Canadian—what is this world coming to! :] This particular group of speakers at this years conference all have a very real and important edge to the work they are doing in this space: they want it open, they want it free, and they want it now! It is gonna be a sick one, and they all will bring the A-game down on this mother…..anyway, I got the chance to speak with Darts this past fall thanks to Grant Potter, and if you want to have an idea of some of the awesome you are in for, listen to David Darts describe his work with the Pirate Box which is one of his many provocations in the space of technology and teaching to challenge the commodification of the web as product and champion it as a space for freedom and possibility. Click the link below.
Oh yeah, did I mention Faculty Academy is totally free and I’m having a party at my house to cap it all off on Thursday night? How can you not come? Register here and be there, hippies!