UMW Blogs ain’t no open PR ploy, we’re the real deal Holyfield!

I was talking with professor Marjorie Och recently about her Venice Exhibit, and when we went to the site I noticed the Firestats meter said there were well over 5,000 unique visitors and more than 11,000 pages served. Why this is so remarkable to me is that the site has only been live for a little over a month! I went back again today, just a week later and the traffic seems to be exploding:


It’s pretty wild to see these kind of numbers, especially since so much of the work on there is solidly researched examinations of Venetian art, architecture and culture—it ain’t no hoax. What’s even cooler is that we can get a sense of what people who find the site are searching for, and what the most popular pages are. Take a look:

Image of Venice Exhibit's search terms and popular pages

How’s that for little Mary Washington making its public resources freely open and available online? How’s that for letting our students know that what they do in our classrooms reverberates throughout the internet? How’s that for practicing a relationship to openness that is far more than a canned lecture soon to be iTunesU detritus? We are not selling the names of scholars, we are doing what we do best, teaching and learning as a small liberal arts college should. All of which reminds me of Cole Campelese’s brilliantly wrought post about accidental openness, this post absolutely nails the idea that one of the amazing results of a publishing platform like PSU Blogs or UMW Blogs is an unintentional openness that seems far more natural and real than an elite university’s PR maneuver that makes good fodder for a Chronicle article. Cole’s post is a required read for anyone interested in openness in education.

All this made me re-visit the real research professor Jeff McClurken’s students did last Spring. Particularly, I checked in on the stats for the Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania Historical Markers site, nine months later the site is as active an ever, and folks are finding it all on the wide open web.

Image of Fredmarkers stats

So this one goes out to the professors who teach too much, and the students how constantly step up to the challenge. We may not have the cash flow of Harvard, but damn it, we’re cheap, we’re public, and the work these folks are doing is echoing in search engine eternity, and by extension they’re educating the world! And what gets me is that they are are still chomping at the bit for more. Avanti, UMW, avanti! We will transcend the mold and break the model wide open.

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8 Responses to UMW Blogs ain’t no open PR ploy, we’re the real deal Holyfield!

  1. Ed Webb says:

    Preach it, Reverend! Amen.

  2. You continually make me proud to have gone to UMW. God speed good sir, change the world for the best.

  3. Cole says:

    Amazing stuff, Rev! Openness comes in many forms and this is stunning. You ought to be chief openness officer for UMW!

  4. Esther says:

    Which stats plugin are you using? It looks good!

  5. Lisa says:

    It’s funny how I am so much more proud of Mary Washington now than when I was a student. Ask Marjorie Och if she remembers Lisa Brundage and Karey David–class of 98. Tell her we said Hi and that the Women in Western Art seminar would have made for one raucous blog.

    • Reverend says:

      I didnt know you went to UMW. How cool. I’m having some fun here, and the faculty are great. I work right down the hall from professor Och, and I would be glad to pass on the message. Ironically, she is currently out at a conference presenting on all her new web 2.0 exhibit digs 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    The faculty ARE great, as well as class size and the general student-centered environment. My first real experience with educational technology was in a film class with Gardner Campbell, 96 or 97, I think, when he ran a listserv for our class. Simple and effective and a harbinger of things to come. I think it’s difficult for the average college student to understand the quality of teaching at UMW (MWC when I was there!). I didn’t really get it til I staring down academia, myself. Now that all this ed tech stuff is happening, and you have gone from CUNY to UMW, it feels like lots of worlds are colliding for me.

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