Update: Turns out this site was a hoax, there is no student, but rather a cadre of students who set about creating a fake student, who wrote a fake blog, and did fake research. For more information see this post by Mills Kelly, who engineered the hoax for the benefit of humanity more generally 😉
Thanks to a tweet by Dave Lester and push to read it by Patrick Murray-John I found not only a really cool example of the power of these tools for an individual to track and frame their own educational experience, but some absolutely exciting research about a 19th century Pirate (possibly the last US pirate of his kind) no one’s ever heard of: Edward Owens. This undergraduate took her research to the next level by framing the experience on her blog, full with images and details from her Library of Congress research, video interviews with scholars and her visit to Owens house, her bibliography, along with a link to the Wikipedia page she created for this little known local pirate.
What’s even cooler is the fact that she not only framed a digital space for her research by getting her own domain and setting up a blog there, but she understood that she could also protect her identity at the same time by keeping certain information private. It is such a perfect example of the importance of framing your identity as a student/scholar online, and it really buttresses beautifully with the ideas we’ve been thinking about recently in regards to digital identity at UMW. More than that though, is the fact that this project was hers and she was fired up about what she had accomplished, and she could actually share that fact with others through her blog.
This project has been a journey for me, not only as a student but as a historian. This may sound a little lame, but I am really proud of the work that I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I’ve learned a lot, not only about Edward Owens, but about the Chesapeake Bay during the late 1800’s, the shipping industry, the U.S. Navy, etc. ( I could go on forever, but I’ll spare you). I’ve also developed my researching skills. (Grad School here I come!)