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.

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.

WordPress for Libraries

Faced with a limited budget and the desire to offer new resources and services, the librarians at the Stafford Campus developed an innovative approach to using WordPress in a library setting.  Their efforts led to the re-creation of the research guides being used by students at the Stafford Campus.  Using WordPress, the Stafford Librarians changed their research guides from a static collection of weblinks to a versatile research blog featuring instant messaging, Twitter, RSS, videos, and a federated database search engine.

“How I use Drupal to roll my own LMS,” or “Eight Reasons why Drupal is better than WordPress”

In this presentation, I will give an overview of how and why I use Drupal as my platform of choice for creating online learning spaces. Since my assigned teaching area is New Media, my pedagogy is often as much *about* technology as it is *through* technology. Therefore, the choices I make regarding our course websites give shape to the opportunities my students have for creating content and learning to express themselves digitally within a participatory learning experience. These choices must closely reflect and demonstrate my teaching philosophy and pedagogical agenda. For this brief talk, I will structure my remarks around a list of ways in which Drupal is better than WordPress. This somewhat facetious framework invokes the long-running generic debate between proponents of the two platforms, but it is not necessarily my aim to convince WordPress adherents to switch sides. Rather, I will focus on why Drupal has been a good choice for me and ultimately argue that a working knowledge of how any works with or against pedagogical goals is an important component of course design.