Embedding Myself into the Professional World

Well, #domains17 is done! We’ve wrapped up on Tuesday and are all home by now. I definitely needed a few days to gather my thoughts for this post. I’m so grateful for this chance to experience what the Ed Tech world is like before I even start my job with Reclaim Hosting. It was a great way to meet tons of new people I will interact with. 

wanted to talk a bit about what I wanted to get out of the conference, how the conference actually was, and what I’m doing after it. 

So I knew that Reclaim was planning a conference in OKC back when I was an intern. Lauren would send messages on Slack of updates to her planning and it was very cool to follow how she was planned out the entire thing. I was looking forward to hearing about all the fun once I started at Reclaim. Then about 2 weeks ago, I received an email from Tim asking me if I could come along with them to OKC. I was on board immediately! I definitely didn’t want to miss the chance to get to hang with the full team before I started and to see what the Ed Tech world was all about.

Now flash forward to Saturday. I was so nervous, anxious, but mostly excited. I was nervous because it was my first exposure to a business conference. I was anxious because I really only knew the Reclaim and UMW crew out of the 80 people that attended. But I was mostly excited for this wonderful opportunity to really jump into my career with both feet before it even begins. 

I arrived at the hotel by the early afternoon and met the whole team to get things set up for the conference. Although the conference really started on Monday, we used Saturday and Sunday to get acclimated to the space and have everything ready for when people got in on Sunday. We all got dinner together along with Adam Croom, the University of Oklahoma liaison for the conference. He and Lauren worked closely to plan. It helped to have someone on the ground who knew the surrounding area and was able to provide awesome recommendations. 

Sunday rolled around and it was a great day full of awesome conversations. Lauren and I started the morning by walking to a local coffee shop called Coffee Slingers. And when I say walked, I mean like 30-40 minutes through the city. OKC is a weird mix of open space, but also you get into the city quickly. It was such a nice morning, despite the rain that I totally didn’t mind walking. I enjoyed the time to get to know Lauren a little more than just from our Internet class with Jim in 2014. It was a great girl bonding morning. After the morning, we met for lunch with Jim and Tom Woodward for another meal full of awesome conversation. Tom talked about his work with Georgetown University. He gave a presentation on his work during the conference, you can read that here.  He also took some awesome photos as well. 

This was my first experience with a conference like this where I am actually involved. I’ve been to other conferences before but never on my own and in this capacity with people who are now colleagues.  But honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to be introduced to the new professional world than through this conference. Jim, Tim, and Lauren both helped make me feel very welcome by introducing me to people and asking me to be involved with a lot of the conference. 

We kicked off the conference with a Domain Fair, where participants had numerous booths talking about the different projects they were working on. It was a great chance for people to catch up. For me, it was a great experience to see for the first time what people were working on. I was also recognized from Twitter which was insane, I hadn’t thought that my profile would be recognizable!

Then it was time for Martha’s Keynote! Martha Burtis was my boss at UMW, the director of the DKC, and I knew she was going to talk at the conference but I had no idea that I was going to see it. It was totally awesome. At UMW, the Domain of One’s Own project has been around for 4 years. I was a student there when the program started and I’ve seen it grow so much over the years. Martha talked about the DoOO program being at a point of “inflection,” as she called it, to shift the focus from getting the program set up, to a point of deeper thinking about what DoOO really is. Martha said

“I want to spend my time here dwelling on the the inextricable, in this case, why we in higher education must teach our communities to grapple with the Web in these deep and discerning ways — how the Web, and our culture, and our systems of education are bound up with each other and why they demand a particular responsibility of us.”

For me, this quote really stuck. I have noticed a lot of times that people don’t really understand how to navigate the web. And not just students I’ve encountered as a DKC tutor either. Other students and friends take the web for granted very often. It’s important that we teach others how to use the web, what the web represents in our society today, and promoting digital citizenship. Martha continued to talk about DoOO and provided some thought-provoking points. Towards the end of her talk, she mentions my name. I was totally surprised!  She talked about my individual study I did last semester and one of the questions I asked, during the interview process, if the web was a concrete space what would it be? Martha put together all of the answers to that question. It was such a cool video, take a look:

She challenged us to think about what the web would look like if it was a concrete space to us. After I interviewed everyone for the project, I had an idea of what everyone else was saying but I never really put it together like the way Martha did. I thought about and thought about it, then, it hit me that the web was a shipping container. You can do a ton of things with shipping containers, build shelters, buildings, and ship things in them. But when I’m talking about the web as a shipping container, I don’t mean just one of them, there are thousands of them around the world. And they can be transported anywhere in the world. There’s not just one item in them either, there can be a bunch of different products in one container. Just like websites, there are tons of different things within a website.

I thought this example is perfect for what the web represents in my life. My dad works on ships, piloting them from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay up to Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. He travels on all types of ships, car, container, and tanker ships. So I thought to illustrate my example of the web as a concrete space, I would use some of the photos he’s taken from the ships perspective:

Panorama Shot my Dad Took

 

I took this in London when studying abroad.

Another photograph my dad took while on a ship

After Martha’s keynote, the group broke into sessions for the remainder of the conference. This was another great opportunity to see what others are working on. This was very new to me, which was very exciting. But there was a chance for me to step out of my comfort zone as well. I’m used to being behind the scenes of events not presenting in front of other people. During a few of the sessions, I was introducing the speaker. It may seem like a small thing introducing someone but for me, especially since I’m so new to the field, it was pretty daunting. Luckily I got to introduce some of the UMW DTLT crew, so that took a little bit of the nerves away.

The first talk I introduced was Sean Morris and Jesse Stommel’s “If bell hooks made a Learning Management System (LMS).” Their talk was awesome, diving into the question: If bell hooks Made an LMS: Grades, Radical Openness, and Domain of One’s Own. Here are a few quotes from the talk:

I also introduced Jordan Noyes and Lora Taub who examined archiving protests. This was something that I’ve never really thought about. I haven’t participated in a protest before, but after their talk, I was intrigued. So I’ve set this as a new goal, start archiving protests, or participating for that matter.

One of the other talks I went to was from Jess Reingold and Jenna Azar. Jenna is an Instructional Designer at Muhlenberg College, who also runs the Digital Learning Lab, which is just like the DKC. She brought her son along, Jarrett. Jarrett is a Digital Learning Assistant and helps students with their digital projects. It was really interesting to see how the Digital Learning Lab is run as compared to the DKC, and really cool to see the concept that the DKC started to continue to grow.

Jess talked about her time as an Instructional Technology Specialist at UMW. It was really interesting to see that perspective. Here are some quotes:

Overall this trip was one of the best things I could have done to kick off my career. It still hasn’t hit me that I start at Reclaim Hosting this week. I feel refreshed, excited, and motivated to get a start and jump into my work at Reclaim. Thank you, Tim, Jim, and Lauren for this opportunity!

The Dead Moocmen at Domains 17

It’s all but official, on the night of Monday, June 5th a 9:30 PM, the Dead Moocmen will be performing live as part of the Domains 17 conference. I would like to say it was smooth process get them to agree, but I can’t. After reaching out to them many, many months ago, their A&R person just got back to us last week with a ridiculous backstage rider.  Here is just a taste to give you a sense of what we are up against:

After some stiff negotiations we got them to settle for 25 pizzas and a 6-pack of FROYO instead of the California Coolers. You can read the whole rider here, but trust me it is not pretty. In fact, to offset some of the costs we had to dig deep and get shirts and stickers made so Reclaim Hosting doesn’t go totally bust in trying to land these titans of ed-tech punk rock. I mean we’re not Canvas over here, it’s not like we can just call up M.C. Hammer ? 

 

If someone said my ulterior motive for this whole conference was getting a ragtag band of ed-tech together to hack out some punk rock, I’m not sure I could entirely deny it. It promises to be loud and raucous, so bring your earplugs along with some over ripe tomatoes ? The conference has filled out nicely, and we have an amazing line-up of events and speakers on both Monday and Tuesday. We finalize the numbers on May 30th, so if you were still on the fence, here is your last chance link to register. If not, we’ll see you on the #ds106radio!

N.B. – You probably noticed from the artwork we went to the Bryan Mathers well of remixed creativity yet again, and I am hoping to get a poster for the gig out of him sometime soon. 

My Parents Went to Domains17 and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Have you registered for Domains 17 yet? There is no time like the present! Especially since we are presently working on the conference t-shirt. Bryan Mathers came up with the following sketch of the shirt…

…based on this email by Lauren Brumfield to get the word out to folks who expressed interest as well as a gentle reminder for scheduled presenters to register. 

There has been some guff from folks, specifically our fellow conference organizer Adam Croom, about Reclaim’s resistance to black t-shirts. Tim Owens has gone on record about his problem with the hegemony of Def Leppard-inspired concert Ts, but Adam promised us the black t-shirts would mean more registrants so it is time for you all to prove him wrong so we can go back to the many colors of the Reclaim Rainbow.

But if you register now we will not hold it against you either.

Michigan State University Domains: “No Scholarly Activity without a Digital Artefact”

I have been dying to catch up with the good folks at Michigan State University and talk about the work they’re doing on the ground with their domains project. I was quite struck by Chris Long‘s ability to so brilliantly frame the importance of building scholarly community around these online tools. What’s more he regularly practices what he preaches with posts on his blog The Long Road, enhanced digital texts, the Digital Dialogue Podcast to name just a few elements of his extensive online vitae. He has been publicly building and sharing his scholarly work online for more than a decade, so when he talks about “Digital Scholarly Presence” (he has also called it “Online Scholarly Presence” on his blog in 2014) it comes from a position of vast experience. He’s been walking the long road of his own digital scholarly presence since he was a Philosophy professor at Penn State until his recent deanship of the College of Arts and Letters (CAS) at Michigan State.

I’ve been following Chris’s work for almost that long, ever since his time at Penn State working with Cole Camplese as a faculty fellow in 2007 or 2008. I was immediately struck by his willingness to openly narrate his scholarly and personal life online through all kinds of media, be it text, audio and/or images—a definite inspiration for me. What’s more, it provided a great example I could point faculty at UMW to. So, it was a real pleasure to finally get to speak with him about his work then and now, and to see how he frames this as academic administrator at one of the largest public campuses in the U.S.

And, as is often the case, it takes a team of folks to build a community, and working side-by-side with Chris on this initiative (as well as on this radio discussion) are Digital Humanities Coordinator @CAS Kristen Mapes and Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology Scott Schopierry.* Kristen and Scott have been running a seminar for faculty and graduate students that introduces them to philosophical and practical implications of a scholarly digital presence, wherein the domain is one of many tools faculty use to explore their online presence. Both Scott and Kristen have really thought through the process of on-boarding their community, and I was truly struck by just how intentional, strategic, and robust MSU’s approach to their domains project is.  All three of them can speak quite eloquently about the importance of thoughtfully integrating a vision for digital scholarly presence into the value system of the land grant university. It’s a brilliant marriage, and I came away from this conversation freshly excited about the work I often take for granted these days. Thanks to Kristen, Scott, and Chris for a fun, inspired conversation, and the quote in the sub-title is just a taste of the many gems you’ll in this audio discussion. What’s more, they will all be joining us at the Domains 17 conference in June, you should really come!

Chris Long, Kristen Mapes, and Scott Schopierry from Michigan State University talks Digital Scholarly Presence

N.B. — The recording was captured using audacity, and at moments there is some digital noise, particularly during the last 10 minutes.  I’ll see if I can get help cleaning it up, but for now better to get it out there. 


* Professor Bill Hart-Davidson is another regular collaborator who was not part of the discussion.

Domains 17 Interview with Martha Burtis: “Web literacy is cultural literacy”

Last Friday the Domains 17 organizing committee got to sit down and chat with Martha Burtis, keynote for the Domains 17 conference, to get a preview of what she’ll be presenting in June. There’s a lot to process in this 50 minute gem, a conversation that ranges from everything to how domains got started to the posts tagline “web literacy as cultural literacy” (one of the many gems from the conversation) to the ongoing work of making digital fluency a foundation of higher ed. It’s a great look at what’s in store, and listening to Martha riff on this stuff really made me miss the 10 years we worked together on all these issues and more.  Few people frame it better, and this conversation underscores the fact that NOBODY thinks domains like the Burtis!

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Domain Sessions

I’m excited to announce that the schedule for Domains 17 is now up and online. It is going to be a pretty awesome two days, and fresh off-the-press is the abstract for Martha Burtis’s keynote “Neither Locked Out Nor Locked In: Finding a Path Through Domain of One’s Own”:

Four years into Domain of One’s Own, I wonder if we are at an inflection point, and, if so, what we will do to respond to this moment. At its onset, Domains offered us paths into the Web that seemed to creatively and adequately address a perception that we weren’t fully inhabiting that space. Our students could carve out digital homes for themselves that were free of the walled gardens of the LMS. Our faculty could begin to think of the Web not as a platform for delivering content but as an ecosystem within which their teaching could live and breathe. In doing so, perhaps we would also engage our communities in deeper conversations about what the Web was and how we could become creators rather than merely consumers of that space. But in those four years, as in any four years, our popular culture, our technical affordances, and our political landscape has continued to march forward. How does Domain of One’s Own grow into and with these changes? Where do we take this project from here so that we continue to push the boundaries or our digital experiences? How do we address the ever-looming tension between building something sustainable while also nurturing new growth?

From there we have a wide variety sessions broken into three tracks: Pedagogy, Domain of One’s Own, and Tools. The categories blur for sure, but they helped us pretend there is some kind of cosmic lattice of coincidence. Sean Michael Morris, Tim Klapdor, and Keegan Long-Wheeler are providing three different lenses on the role of the learning management system on day one. Lora Taub will be framing the Domains project at Muhlenberg as spaces for “transformational resistance.” Brian Lamb, Grant Potter, and Tom Woodward will be running an API audio party, while a cadre of presenters from Michigan State University will be talking about how their digital presence and public scholarship initiative. And did I mention Jon Udell will be joining us too?  And that’s just day one!

Continue reading “Domain Sessions”

Sharing the Domains Documentation Love

I wanted to make sure Adam Croom gets the appropriate love for helping several schools get up and running with Domains documentation over the last several months. More than a few folks have inquired if we had any recommendations for solid documentation, and it is hard to compete with the new and improved OU Create docs.* Once upon a time, before the Smallest Federated Wiki whisked Mike Caulfield away, we had an idea for federated documentation using DokuWiki, but that never came to be. There was some early momentum to prevent folks from reproducing the documentation wheel—but time, energy, focus, and squirrels got in the way.

More recently a few schools asked us if the could reproduce Oklahoma’s documentation and then customize it for their school, and it turned out that Adam had already done this for Middlebury’s Middcreate. So, he was kind enough to not only help out a few schools by porting over OU Create’s documentation site whole hog, but even wrote up a tutorial on how to do it.

Re-visiting how we re-use and remix documentation resources across schools running Domain of One’s Own will most definitely be on the Domains 17 conference agenda.  I think this is something we need to revisit in order to make this much less arduous. Thanks again Adam, you rule.


David Morgen did some amazing work with Emory’s documentation early and that was the inspiration to try and figure out how to easily share work between schools that wanted to share and re-user Domains documentation.

It Came from the Domains Stacks!

Bryan Mathers is experimenting with animating his art—which is lucky for us—and he has taken the “Domains Death Star Eye in the Sky” poster he created for Domains 17 and gave it life:

But he even got crazier than that in the following video gem (be sure to make it full screen before viewing!):

How cool is that? Embedding that animated brilliance into a stack of records to help define and promote the insanity that will be Domains 17.  Are you ready? Are you animated? Are you registered? No? Let’s take care of that now.

Domains as Art

I just got another delivery of Domains 2017 art. Damn this conference has the coolest aesthetic ever. Bryan Mathers rules, and he has taken the Sci-fi 70s idea I recently blogged about and is running with it. The examples below are so colorful and gorgeous, and get at the whole play on an early attempt we made at UMW to frame Domain of One’s Own as Cloud City (which none of the students really got, which was bizarre to me). The Domains conference promises to be something totally different, and you can get a sense of that from Lauren‘s recent posts about both OKC and the venue where Domains17 will be. If you are looking for reasons to come, let the focus on space and art be amongst them!

Also, have I mentioned Bryan Mathers rules?