Digital Fluency, Online Communication, History and American Studies: One Department’s Engagement with Social Media & Pedagogy

This will be a panel discussion of our department’s engagement with social media and digital literacy. Topics for discussions will include:

Discussions of blogging with AMST & History classes.

Discussion of the way the three of us contribute to the department blog as a way of communicating with our students and the larger community (including alumni and prospective students), including our basic use of UMWBlogs, Twitter, Linked-In, and Facebook.

We want to engage with the audience in a discussion of how digital fluency (both in terms of consumption and production) plays an increasingly significant role as a critical skill for our department.

I Contain Multitudes: Finding Whitman in a Digital World

“Digital Whitman,” a Fall 2009 senior seminar in English taught by Mara Scanlon, Brady Earnhart, and Jim Groom, was part of an NEH-funded grant called “Looking for Whitman: the Poetry of Place in the Life and Work of Walt Whitman.”  This project, which was cited in the 2010 Horizon Report from The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE, allied five classes, at four institutions, on two continents, with strikingly different student profiles, through open source blogging and social networking technologies.  Considering specific technologies, multimedia student work, pedagogical challenges and rewards, and the implications of the open and collaborative classroom, this presentation will discuss the experience of teaching in a unique, digitally linked, distributed environment.

Curriculum, Community, and the Capacious Blog

At a minimum, blogs may be aesthetically pleasing and fluid course management systems.  But my interest here is in what I call the “capacious blog,” the ability of the multiuser course blog to contain all levels of discourse, to be both analysis and play or indeed to blur the lines between the two.  What is the relationship of such a blog to traditional course content and to formal assignments?  What is its relationship to the intellectual and embodied community of the humans in the classroom?  What is the pedagogical purpose of allowing or fostering a capacious blog?

Finding Their Own Way: Student Digital History Projects

In this panel, 3-4 students from the Adventures in Digital History Senior Seminar will discuss the process by which they developed and created group digital history projects on Civil War Fredericksburg, the James Monroe Papers, and Mary Ball Washington.  They’ll also discuss how such free-form assignments fit into their liberal arts experience.

Fairytales about Cooking with Monsters & Math: Blogging in the Freshman Seminar

Professors Maya Mathur, Kelli Slunt, and Leanna Giancarlo will be discussing how they have used blogging as a supplemental resource around sharing resources and building community. More importantly, each of their sites frames some very interesting stories, cool videos, and a more gernal sense of allowing the students to use the open web as a way to bring the onversation already happening on the wider internet into conversation with the class.

Here come the Blogs!: A Panel Discussion About Re‑thinking Course Spaces

Donald Rallis, Jami Bryan and Melina Patterson will discus the ways in which they have been experimenting with course spaces that are using blogging software to accomplish a series of tasks traditionally relegated to the LMS. The conversation will examine the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach as well as an opportunity to share ideas and build upon a more fundamental re‑thinking of how we conceptualize blogs here at UMW.