In 1996 or 1997, I took a desktop publishing course as an undergraduate. Instead of just teaching us whatever software that was about to become obsolete, our instructor instead taught us how to create webpages using HTML, written from scratch in a text editor, uploaded to a tilde site provided by the university to any student who asked for one. I worked to move our program’s newspaper online, which lead to my first work term, writing content and helping to maintain a government agency’s intranet site.
All of this to say, I have been engaging online for a long time. This interest in the Internet and what I could do there led to my interest in Digital Humanities, Open Education Resources, social media, and public scholarship. This early encounter with the web in a classroom setting shaped my pedagogy into digital pedagogy. It led to my public advocacy for adjuncts and contingent faculty members online and elsewhere.
It led me to my job at DTLT.
I have watched and participated in the shift higher education has wrestled with in the face of the growth of the Internet and its influence on our work as academics. From being told as a new PhD student to stay offline because work on the web would lead me to not be taken seriously as a scholar to a widely read blogger in Inside Higher Education and ProfHacker, I have experienced the best and the worst the web can offer scholars.
We all have our own stories about how we discovered and interacted with digital spaces as academics. On Thursday, October 12th, from 4:00-5:30pm, I will be chairing a UMW faculty panel to discuss when, where, and how our disciplines engage with online and digital spaces, and how we help our students navigate these evolving landscapes. The panelists are:
- John Broome (Education)
- Will Mackintosh (History and American Studies)
- Mary Beth Mathews (Classics, Philosophy, and Religion)
- Chad Murphy (Political Science)
- Jason Robinson (Art and Art History)
- Marcel Rotter (Modern Languages and Literature)
Some of the questions we will be addressing including how to engage meaningfully online, what our responsibilities are as intellectuals and educators, and how we help students find their place and their voices online.
Hope to see you there!