What I’m up to….

Think of this as a placeholder post until I can get around blogging each one of the points below in some detail. We’re already midway through week 2 of the semester and I’m desparately trying to keep my head above water. In the meantime, here’s what:

  • Domain of One’s Own: Not only is it up and running, but it’s as awesome as we thought it would be. The initiative is picking up momentum fast at UMW—and without even pushing the curricular side of things we have had remarkable interest. I already blogged out our group presentation the Sunday before classes started, but Martha has the best play-by-play for week 1.
  • Reclaim Hosting: Tim Owens and I started a forked version of Domain of One’s Own for any interested faculty, student, course, department or instituion called Reclaim Hosting. This project blowing up quick. In the last two days alone we’ve had almost 100 sign-ups! Projects by Dave Parry at St Joseph’s, Quinn Warnick at Virginia TechMark Sample at Davidson College, John Maxwell at SFU, and Michael Branson Smith at CUNY’s York College are driving most of the sign-ups as of now. We also have faculty experimenters Howard Rheingold and Nada Dabbagh who are designing their courses in the open! Tim setup a pretty sslick Discourse forum for Howard’s course that has me experiencing some forum envy. What’s remains awesome for me about Reclaim is we’re immediately turning around what we’ve learned from the Domains project for anyone interested in experimenting for next to nothing. Sharing at its best. Also, Tim has figured out how to give a Quinn Warnick control over his students cPanels, and abstracted level of management for faculty to support thier students learning this stuff—I love this whole thing.
  • The Ryan Brazell Experiment: Possibly the greatest thing about my day-to-day life right now is Ryan Brazell. At UMW for just six weeks, he has already been working with more than a dozen professors, doing class visits, imagining Domain of One’s Own, and much more. I would like to take credit, but fact is he is just damn good. Ryan is reminding us all in DTLT how good it is to be at full capacity and have someone on the ground, doing amazing stuff with faculty, and reconnecting us to our core mission: faculty outreach and development. I pretended to mentor him for the first week of classes, but I have officially been depracted to “eye candy,” and the master has stepped in and taken control of the situation. This is all very goood, despite my portestations.
  • The OpenVA and Minding the Future Conferneces: As I mentioned previously, last month UMW’s President, Rick Hurley, asked me if we might be able to build on the momentum of OpenVA to frame some of the national questions of the future of higher education for an audience of university presidents, business folks, etc. This quickly turned into a free, open conference that anyone can attend the day before OpenVA (October 14th) that will feature some pretty awesome folks. And that’s just the prelude to the mian event: OpenVA. I really am blown away by how things aligned with these two events, both of which I think look awesome. That said, I’ve been OpenVA conference boy for almost two years now, I’m ready for this one to happen. I want some of my day back!
  • The Virginia Technology Incubator: This one is also pretty crazy, and is born directly out of the work on OpenVA. I blogged the very long version of all this here, so what follows is the short version. DTLT (with the help of Paul Stacey, Grant Potter,  and Brian Lamb) has helped author a proposal with SCHEV to introduce a state-wide, virtual Technology incubator that will focus on a specific theme for one year and bring faculty, students, and topic experts together to hack at that topic. I’m not sure if this will amount to anything, it still has to get approved by SCHEV and then approvd by the Virginia legislature but if I it falls flat, it’s still been a remarkably eye-opening lesson to learnjsut  how hungry folks are for good ideas when it comes to what we do. If you get a chance, consider working on a state/province-wide committee, I’ve found the experience pretty rewarding thus far.
  • The Mario Bava Film Festival: This ten-week Mario Bava film festival consisting of Paul Bond and me talking about ten of Mario Bava’s films started back in March is still going. We had a few unplanned schedule changes, but it is remarkable to me we are actually still going. We wrap up with Rabid Dogs this week, and I wouldn;t be surprised if we do another ten Bava fims. This is just pure fun, and there is no pressure cause it’s just Paul and I doing this stuff cause a) we love it, and b) we consider it experimenting for our distributed course True Crime (see next bullet 😉 )
  • True Crime Freshman Seminar: Paul Bond and I are co-teaching a Freshman seminar at UMW that chronicles 300 years of True Crime using a variety of texts across numerous media. We are using Domain of One’s Own (which all but one student had up and running in two days) and the students are an excitable bunch. We talked about the colonial execution narratives in yesterday’s class, and the group is getting the hang of the blog. I spent sometime this evening build a Dynamic Course Calendar that I am imagining might capture all the prep notes for each class on a wiki. Reason being, starting next week groups of three students will lead the class discussions each week until week six when we actually create the first of three TV episodes on True Crime. This is one of the most ambitious class projects I’ve been a part of yet, and we’re shooting for three half-hour TV episodes produced collectively by  the end of the class. We’ll see how this goes, and I plan on blogging about this far more extensively very soon.
  • Reclaim Your Domain: A fringe benefit of having folks like David Wiley, Jon Udell, Audrey Watters, Kin Lane, and Alan Levine in Fredericksburg for a weekend is that we can work on the Reclaim Your Domain project that got a started up at MIT last April. The idea is to get these folks in a room for a few hours over two days and see if we can’t build on the beginnings of a loose, open source architecture for syndicating, archiving and managing one’s distributed/fragmented work on the web. Obviously, this aligns with the early work Tim and I are doing with Reclaim Hosting, which is really  the beginning of a larger movement to imagine what a  syndication-orientated framework that’s actually funded (hopefully as a Shuttleworth Fellowship project) might look like. It’s a long time coming,  and also quite exciting to think many of the issues we have been dealing with in the field over the last decade (eduglu anyone?) might actually result in something tangible that makes this stuff a bit more accessible for faculty and studetns alike. Isn’t it hightime we finally had a few awesome thinkers in this realm together imagining some of this?

There’s more, but I am gonna stop here because it is way past my bed time, and I already feel better knowing I got even a little about each of these out—but I have much more to say about all of them. Anon.

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2 Responses to What I’m up to….

  1. Brian says:

    Man, that is some kind of placeholder post. Somehow you all manage to crank it up another notch every year. Inspiring.

    • Reverend says:

      Funny, when I force myself to actually list stuff like this, I still write a long-winded post—but actually cover some ground. My blogging has been suffering lately from having way too much to write and not making the time. I’m trying to balance that because when I don’t blog I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my blog-lack gets such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–that’s when I account it high time to get to the bava as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.

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