UMW Faculty Academy 2011

It was great to be back in Fredericksburg for the 2011 Faculty Academy! I was only able to attend one day of the two-day conference, and though I missed Michael Wesch’s keynote, I did hear Amanda French’s plenary on the The Ivy and the Kudzu, or, the Lush Perils of Openness in Academe–a wonderful model of a talk, merging theoretical reflections with a very clear practical apprehension of both the tools used during the presentation and the on-the-ground ramifications of academic openness. Her comments on the DIY university movement were interesting, and I keep returning to the idea of the university as a gymnasium–a place you pay to go to because you know it’s good for you, and if such a formal structure didn’t exist, no one would exercise. And we’d all be lazy consumers thinking we were otherwise. Okay, so I added that last part, but you get my meaning. The talk also make me think seriously about putting my own work–conference presentations, papers, slides, &c–out there under CC license; the fear, on my part, is not so much that folks will figure out I’m a fraud, but rather that folks will deem me such a fraud I can’t be helped. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but grad school really wasn’t that far away. Maybe this summer I’ll figure out a new way to organize this site, perhaps install it on my own server so I can use it as a platform for openness. For my test of openness.

A couple other interesting things I came across at the Faculty Academy–YouTubing the Literature Classroom, a presentation I’m going to crib shamelessly from by Maya Marthur, and a presentation by Andrea Smith on low- or no-cost solutions to university problems, A Job Bank or: How to Engage Students and Alumni Without Spending a Dime. Andrea’s model encouraged me to create this mockup for an English Department internship site, using a Google spreadsheet and form plus MIT’s SIMILE project, Exhibit 2.0. Still working on the details, but I’m excited to see what we can do with it!

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