Working on a project but not sure what software would work best to realize your vision? Creating an assignment and want to direct your students to appropriate apps they can use to complete it?The DLC makes a wide range … Read the rest
I’ve written previously about Nathan Gerth and the work he is doing at the Carl Albert Center, which houses a congressional archive. Nathan continues to really push me on thinking about how institutions can utilize web infrastructure. His OU Create projects like CAC Rockets and PIPC Votes are some of the best non-traditional (read: non-Wordpress) ways I’ve seen the platform used. PIPC Votes is a site that scrapes House of Representatives voting record sites and makes the data freely available:
This newest version now scrapes information from the Clerk of the House nightly and codes the “vote type” (e.g. amendment, final passage, moving the previous question) variable using a python script rather than relying on the judgment of individual coders
And his passion for digital curation is infectious. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about domains as an opportunity to not just be an artifact of learning in the way a digital badge tells you learning “happened.” I see so much benefit of thinking beyond their use as a portfolio of final work. Rather, I’ve been thinking about them as a continuously evolving artifact of the learning process. And it’s through this process of media making that students build toward a digital identity. Domains are not static, literally (mostly) or figuratively, thus they can manifest themselves very differently across a student’s tenure. I witness students change navigation, look and feel, writing style, etc. based off of how and where it’s being applied. A student might use it for a class in a very specific way, dip out of that voice for personal use, and then maybe dip into an entirely new voice for another class. It might evolve into separate spaces or applications that serve different needs. Some of my favorite work of my personal students leave the web as they leave the institution. Sometimes to be replaced by a more stripped down landing page or just permanently removed. However it may happen, these moments and the spaces in between can be like little snapshots taken at a moment in time.
So this has me thinking about how we can begin to capture these evolutions that take place. My first thought is Wayback Machine, the world’s gift to web nostaglia, which allows you to time travel through a domain and many people are already familiar with:
I wrote in September about meeting with Middlebury’s Special Collections folks and hearing about how they are using archive.org’s service Archive-It to archive student work. This led to me having a discussion with our David Corbly, Director of Repository Services, of OU Libraries who runs OU’s own Archive-It solution. It seems to me that this is a good start but potentially unable to fulfill the large need of archiving as many sites as we have on OU Create (Archive-It is rather expensive for what it offers).
So I came back to Nathan to think through exploring other options and he came up with an idea that is very, very captivating. He is teaching a Digital Curation course in the Spring in our School of Library and Information Studies and is planning on having the students in the course prototype multiple techniques for doing this work both on the front-end side (scraping like Archive-It) as well as some back-end work with non-OU Create data.
Another great idea Nathan had was to have the students also propose strategies that OU could take in better preserving university web. It reminded me of a story when I was doing marketing work on the OU Research Campus and part of it was exploring the history of the campus. It was a naval base for a few years during WWII and was trasnferred back to the university afterwards.
What was fascinating to me was that I could read through boxes of meeting notes and historical records of the campus. The story of the campus had been preserved quite well. Nathan mentioned how much of that type of information such as university processes and forms are getting transferred to the digital space. Universities sometimes have university archivists, but we unfortunately don’t have a dedicated office (though the bulk of it is done quite well through goodfolks in our Western History Collection) . So building the foundation of a digital archiving strategy could be very productive of the institution by making these historical records more accessible. Part of that strategy would likely include recommendations towards some more complex questions about archiving such as what is inevitably publicly accessible. I am also fully aware that this can’t be a project that I, nor any one person, could conceivably support long term, so the idea of proposing some broader recommendation is very appealing.
But I look at how we are thinking about using the classroom as a space for testing potential endeavors and I can’t think of many better learning environments. Students are learning through the process of attempting to capture learning. It really is a beautiful thing. This is what gets me up every day. Its the reason teams like ours exist.
I hope I’m doing justice to Nathan’s vision. The archiving space and its complexities are spaces I’m just beginning to understand (and probably poorly… apologies to all digital archivists if this post reads a dumbdowning of your work! Give the new guy a break! ). I’m just grateful to find someone who is equally interested in preserving the bits and bytes of the web. Neither of us are making promises that any of this will work but I can vouche that I’m personally eager to explore.
On October 21, 2016, Audrey Watters gave a talk on the Monterey, CA campus, entitled, “Attending to the Digital / Reclaiming the Web,” as part of the launch of MiddCreate. View the entire recorded presentation below.
A handful of blog posts have came out recently on Muhlenberg’s Domain of One’s Own project bergbuilds including a posts from Lora Taub (post) and Tim Clarke (post) at Muhlenberg and Lauren Brumfield (post) at Reclaim Hosting.
Lora’s post encouraged folks to get involved in this years OLC Solution Design Summit, which is actually where I first met Lora. I wrote this in April:
If they pull off their idea (I’m hoping someone from their team will write a post), it will be one of the more innovative approaches I’ve seen in holistically engaging a community in domains and digital literacy.
I continue to stand by that statement. Muhlenberg is utilizing their domains as a central space for students to think broadly about digital learning and digital scholarship as a student’s pre-orientation experience. From what I remember, students even move in to their dorm room early to partake in the week-long session
As someone who’s graduate experience was deeply impacted by a similar experience and as someone at a university that’s about to launch two residential colleges, I’m thinking more and more about how these types of experiences. Too often, digital is positioned as in conflict with the residential experience. I don’t want to hear another person lament about students learning at home in their pajamas, as if that’s vitriolic. I don’t want to hear another false argument about digital natives. I would rather see us explore, together, head-on the opportunities and challenge that digital space brings. If anything, let’s embrace the way that the two worlds have deeply merged.
I do believe that a good place to start building respect with the students by offering and supporting them with their own space. What better way to fully actualize the digital verison Virigina Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own then a Muhlenberg-type of project? From Lora:
In fact, our tagline for this entire pre-orientation experience was, “A Dorm & A Domain” — emphasizing that a Muhlenberg experience is as much about staking out an online presence as it is setting up a dorm room or learning your way around campus.
Both Lora and Tim both touched on the ways which they’ve felt supported by the broader domains community as they’ve launched this project. Tim had these nice things to say:
To inform these efforts, we reached out for assistance to Adam Croom who kindly shared his afternoon with us fielding far ranging questions. It’s difficult to quantify Adam’s helpfulness, but it’s essetial to try. At the close of our online meeting, Adam encouraged us to continue to reach out, even offering to provide a clone of Create OU Support for us to customize. Adam’s efforts to work openly and to share everything from support documentation to learning community reading lists and curriculums will save us at Muhlenberg weeks, perhaps months, of effort. But more important, Adam’s, and Martha’s, and Tim’s, and Jim’s, and Lauren’s engagement with us will make our efforts better.
I have to say I really like this idea of working together. I’m always the first to say that what we are doing is, if anything, the opposite of innovative. One of the best things about the community is how much everybody wants to see the other person succeed. Create is only what it is because UMW is what it is and Emory, Davidson, BYU, VCU, Middlebury, CSU Channel Islands, Georgetown and many others are what they are. And the different ways in which institutions have reimagined it for their specific community is really, really gratifying to watch. It’s like, oh I don’t know, the web; small pieces loosely joined.
Some day I’ll probably stop gushing about domains and the web. But, until then, I’ll take my people over anybodys!
Through the maps in my story map I compare areas with lower rates to areas with lower incomes and see a clear trend. Also groups with higher averages such as white and asian groups, are typically associated with higher income groups. The maps in my story map also show higher incomes around counties with high graduation rates. I was surprised to find that the school I graduated from had such a high graduation rate when drop outs seemed so normal throughout high school. Also my high school was primarily hispanic and economically disadvantaged, meaning it should have some of the lowest graduation rates based on the national statistics. However, in 2014 Olustee Public High School had a 95 % graduation rate, putting my high school above the national average. – Lexi McLaneAnother project I saw pop up this semester is the OU Integration Business Core program. IBC is a set of four courses students take in which throughout the courses they do market research and launch a product. The profit generated is then donated to a local company. All of the companies have a WordPress landing page (they use an OU purchasing tool for actual orders) and two of the companies are using OU Create: I’ve said this time and time again, but I love the flexibility of the web to serve such vastly different needs. Both of these projects fall widely out of the scope of a traditional eportfolio, our original idea for OU Create, but show the creative ways for which the technology can be exploited by the users. Oh, and support these IBC projects if you know what’s good for you!
Interested in creating a course site or assignment using MiddCreate? Not sure which application fits your needs? Look no further! This guide will provide resources to help you think through how a domain can best serve you and your students.
A “Domain of One’s Own” asks us to consider the infrastructure. It asks us to understand the Web and our place on it. It asks to us to pay attention to the content we create — as teachers and as students — and to weigh where it best resides — who has access to it, and for how long.
Technology is all about removing limitations and building connections. The MiddCreate application you select for your course site or project should connect your students with new, useful content and experiences. Having specific goals is the key to maximizing a digital tool’s value. Determine how the tool will figure into your existing tool inventory and pedagogy. Do you intend it to replace something or is it just an addition? Thinking about these questions will help inform your course objectives, determine how to proceed with initial set up and how much time the configuration will take.
Design Your Project
It’s a good idea to focus on what the technology can do uniquely well (such as enabling multiple modes of participation) when thinking about how it will integrate with your course. MiddCreate applications like WordPress, Known, Dokuwiki, and Omeka can be used to help your students collaborate and build a sense of community among the class. There are many models by which you can achieve this. For example, by establishing a communal space where everyone can create content, or by syndicating content students create individually to a community space.Click to view slideshow.
You might also consider the site’s intended users and audience: who will be utilizing the site and how will they interact with it? Will this change over time? An example of this would be having students collaborate to draft information into a wiki resource site, then opening it up for public contributions once the initial entries are completed. In order to make this run smoothly, an instructor would need to understand not only how to create and edit pages within the wiki application, but also have a plan for how to configure changes in privacy and multiple user access settings at each stage of the project.
Every application has unique aspects that will require careful thought and intentional planning to ensure that your project fulfills its purpose and provides a rewarding, enjoyable learning experience for everyone involved.
Identify Appropriate Challenges
Before you decide which MiddCreate tool to use, properly consider its drawbacks. These could include limitations that arise due to its features, or the extra time and effort needed to create, maintain, and grade, digital assignments. You and your students are busy, so you’ll want to consider how long it will take to get your site ready. Will the application require extensive configuration to make it do what you want it to, or will it be usable soon after installation? Consider this carefully when planning your course, learning objectives, and the timing of assignments you expect students to complete.
You should also take into account how comfortable you and your students are with technology. Think about the tools they have used previously and how those compare to your potential selection. Even if students lack experience with this kind of digital tool, it could still be a valuable learning opportunity, but be aware that using it may require planning in extra time to accommodate the learning curve.
No doubt you want to give students the freedom to explore their own ideas and interests. However, leaving things too open can be intimidating and cause students to feel lost. The best way to increase students’ comfort level with new, experimental methods of learning is by including clear structure. Provide detailed requirements and frameworks for those who need them, but encourage students to take off in their own direction when appropriate. Remember that digital tools can give students the chance to take risks with the material they are learning, providing instructors insight into their students’ unexpected capabilities.
Plan for the Future
After students complete assignments, it might be nice to ask if you can feature the best work for all to admire. It’s also a good idea to archive the semester’s best examples for future classes. When students are struggling to find inspiration or understand what the project should look like, it often helps to give them look at some of the best work from previous semesters.
Another thing to consider is whether you’ll be using the same course site again in future semesters, or would like to archive and duplicate it each time. Think about how much of your content you can create as separate assets that can be easily migrated if and when you decide to move on.
Evaluate the App
Think you’ve found the right digital tool for your site? Go though the questions in this handy, comprehensive guide to choosing digital tools for course sites. This resource offers queries to develop and improve the digital pedagogy of your classes, focusing on the unique complexities and responsibilities that incorporating MiddCreate’s web tools into a curriculum may present.
- Why MiddCreate?
- How is MiddCreate Different from Hosted Blog Environments?
- Beneath the Cobblestones…A Domain of One’s Own
If you’d like help getting started in MiddCreate, feel free to drop by the DLC Learning Lab or make an appointment with a DLC staff member.
You are not an object that online companies get to play with. You don’t have to submit yourself to data mining by large corporations. You can control and reclaim your online content.Join us for a live presentation by Audrey Watters, education writer and rabble rouser at Hack Education, entitled “Attending to the Digital / Reclaiming the Web”. This is connected to the launch of MiddCreate, Middlebury’s initiative to offer a “domain of one’s own” to everyone in the Middlebury community. Audrey will be talking about what happens to your content, intellectual property, and online data when you’re not paying attention; why it’s important to take control, or reclaim, your portion of the web under your own domain; and how you can present your identity with integrity and thoughtfulness through having a domain of your own. Stay with us after the talk for a hands-on workshop in Monterey led by Audrey called, “A Domain is not a Website.” In this workshop, we will look at our personal online data trails and raise questions about how to take back control over what we (sometimes inadvertently) share online. The workshop will include lunch at Monterey.
Two Events, a Talk and a Workshop:
1. Details for the TalkPlace: The talk will be held in Van Buren 499 on the Middlebury Institute campus in Monterey, and streamed online at middcreate.net. Date: Friday, October 21, 2016 Time: Starts at 10:30 AM PT What: A viewing and discussion of Audrey Watters’ presentation. The talk will focus on how and why it’s important to reclaim the web.
2. Details for the Workshop (Please RSVP)Place: The workshop will be held in the Design Sp@ce of the DLC, MG001. Date: Friday, October 21, 2016 Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM PT What: A hands-on workshop led by Audrey Watters focused on how you can utilize your domain on MiddCreate to control and reclaim your online content. Includes lunch. Bring a computer so you can fully participate. RSVP Below
Current Sign-up Sheets
|Post-lecture workshop + lunch with Audrey Watters||October 21, 2016||29||View & sign-up »|