Jim Groom from the University of Mary Washington

Uploaded by psutlt on 27.10.2011

Cole Camplese: That was amazing! (Audience Member: That was Brad standing up!) That Was Brad standing up?
So just so everybody knows, Brad Kozlek here,
organized much of this. Really put it all together, in the last
-what do you think, three weeks?- (Audience Member: Yeah) So I want to thank Brad
publicly for getting Jim Groom here. That's really awesome.
(applause) So it is my
distinct pleasure to introduce to you guys today,
Mr. Jim Groom from the University of Mary Washington. I've known Jim for probably
-what do you think, 5 or 6 years now?- And he has
picked up the mantle of innovation and higher education at PennTech in a way that
I don't think anybody has really seen in short bursts. Imean everybody think's Jim is
known for UMW Blogs, which is amazing. But the things that Jim
thinks about are really much more than that. He really thinks about teaching. He really thinks about pedagogy.
He really thinks about practice. And it's in those thoughts that have really
transformed the way the way people do things with technology in their classrooms. Jim is
known internationally. For better or for worse, he's coined the term Edupunk.
He's been a fast company. He's one of the brightest guys I know
on the web and he's actually relatively bright in person too, which has
been surprising to learn about you, Jim. Jim's
going to talk about a whole range of things today. I don't know how you want to do this Jim--you can let us know if you want questions
during or after? Jim Groom: Yeah! Please bring them on during.
Cole: The microphones in the front of the room are here because we actually have probably about 25,000
additional people out there on the internet watching this right now.
They're watching via Mediasite. They're listening in over ds106 radio, which you're going to get to learn about
in a couple minutes and Brad is actually going to live steam it from an ipod touch
to DTLT TV live,
to the University of Mary Washington as well. With that, please join me in welcoming
Jim Groom. (applause)
Jim Groom: Thank you
all for being here. I know it's like a week or two notice in advance and "BAM," were all here at Penn State.
That's pretty amazing. I can't start a presentation without saying this--
My name's Jim Groom, and I'm an Instructional Technologist from Boston. I don't know why,
but I always have to say that-it is like some sick joke!
-Some tick I have, where I have to do it or else
I breakdown.- So, what am I going to talk about today? I'm going to talk
about a wide range of stuff that we've experimented with at the
University of Mary Washington. It's going to start kind of orderly,
and you're going to get a sense of what I'm talking about. But then it's going to probably
devolve into chaos, and I just want to apologize for that. It starts orderly
kind of like our plans and hopes for a new year, and then slowly
be devolved into chaos. So just so you know,
I don't know where it's ultimately going. So, "A Domain of One's
Own." This is a reference. The title is something I'll explain in more detail,
but this is obviously a reference to Virginia Wolf's idea of "A Room of One's Own."
The question for me, -and this has been the question for me for
probably the last five years, and has driven most of the work I've done on the web with EdTech,- is
what does is mean to give faculty, staff, and students their own space
online to experiment, to create,
to share, and to build? And it's to that end, that pretty much everything I've done over the last
five years has kind of built towards. I can't say it's been a resounding success.
It's had moments, but it is still very
much for me the point of interest I have with the web,
with teaching and learning and what it means for us to be here in this moment,
which is a fascinating moment. Much of it starts with this: Email
What does it mean to most of us
when we started university? I remember I was in university in 1993-'94,
when UCLA was first coming online; I got my first email address,
jgroom@UCLA.edu. That is an archive that I've lost
20 years later. It's completely gone. I left the university and
I lost all my relationships to that email. I couldn't get on it. Like six
months after I left and graduated. There's an interesting thing to me
about email. Email is an important identifier for us while
we are here. That net ID and that idea of a kind of address.
But as soon as we leave, that connection between us and the
university is strangely severed, right? And I'm thinking
to myself, -and this brings me back to the idea of the domain,- why
don't we as universities with this kind of infrastructure of IT?
Kind of separate ourselves out from who we are? This is my address
for UMW right now, but I rarely use it. Mostly I use
jimgroom@gmail.com. That's kind of my main identity
via email. How many of you remember something like this?
Right? The shared folder nightmare that we are just kind of emerging from?
You know, GoogleDocs came up with this notion of just sharing folders easily or
file easily, and this whole idea of mapping drives,
and maybe doing something like WebDav. -What a nightmare!-
It was so much work. And this was the infrastructure that we were working
from. This one is particularly special to me,
the personal website! Isn't this awesome? This is an aesthetic
of a particular time and place, and many of us still have it. But notice,
-I don't know if you can see it in this one,- This is Marvin AlDenny's site. I'm sorry
Marvin. -he doesn't know I took a screen shot of his site,- This is not personal. It's
interesting to me, many of these professor sites for some weird reason
always have someone climbing a mountain. (laughing) Is that a common theme in
professor's personal webpages? Like you're all climbing mountains? "This is the mountain of
bureauc!" I don't know what it means, but they're always there. It's bizarre to me. (laughing) I don't know, maybe
it was a stock html fee issue? But
these were sites you created on your own personal webspace. It might be
psu.edu~jgroom. And that
was your space. And you put you're little html in there, and then you didn't update it for 15 years.
And then it looked like this in 2012,
and you said to yourself, "what?!" But all this while,
something has changed. We've kind of been introduced
in the websites. Can you guys relate to this address?
Did you put this on your business card? This was something where you
lived. But often because of the nature of the web,
from about '95-2001,
it was very hard to update; very hard to change. You could say
"Dreamweaver changed my life," but not really because it didn't
leave you to regularly update your stuff, right? Now,
then "BUM, BA BUM BUM," we had
LMS. So email-web server,
right? Personal pages, and then low and behold the
LMS. The "black box" of education. Most of my life
is kind of, -my life? No, (laughing)- most of the last five years, which feels like
my life because I had kids seven years ago, so there's a point where everything changes...
But five years is pretty much all of my life because I don't remember any
of my life before having kids. It just completely went away! (laughing)
I wish I could get it back. Like I watch home movies to remember who I was! (laughing)
So LMS, right? This idea for the last
five or six years-this idea that we were storing
our personal information and our class information in this black box.
And what always talked to me about the LMS was I know there's functional features of it
:testing, grade book, although that's not teaching and learning as we know it.
The thing that always told me the LMS doesn't love students
is that at the end of a semester when you've done this work there, what does it do?
Delete it. It's like, "I don't love you-you're deleted!"
Nothing you did in this class matters. Deleted.
You are deleted. Think about this. There's an archive there of student's work over
the course of their career that's invaluable to them. Something that
I wish I had when I was going to school. But they can have it
if we start thinking about the nature of publishing online in different ways.
If we start imagining the fact that each of us, can manage and maintain
our data, and control where it goes and how it goes there,
all so we can take it with us when we're done. This notion of the "Domain
of One's Own," is really that. It's this notion of an address
that we take with us when we come to the university. We develop a cross
rod while we're here, but we take it with us when we go. It's a seamless
process. Now, I'm not much of an investigative reporter
to be honest. But I'm interested, is there
even a personalized namespace on the LMS? Of course not. I'm interested
right now, in this notion of, "What's on
the horizon?" I know PSU went through
this and decided ultimately against GoogleMail.
I actually think that's a good thing. I might be one of the few people here.
Why do I think that's a good thing that you're not using GoogleMail or you're using HotMail,
or "live" as they call it? Well, one of the reason's that I'm interested
in this or not using these is, "Who are we as universities
to bring 90,000 students like you do here at Penn State,"
and say, "Look-you're locked into a contract with Google." And more than not,
you're now part of their advertising empire. It's a weird
position to us find ourselves in. Kind of forcing students
into a model. In the latest EDUCAUSE journal, -I don't know if you follow it,-
says DIY-too expensive! Outsource everything!
I'm a little bit afraid for the outsource everything. How did that work for the American
Economy? (laughing) Well you guys can judge that. There might be
economists here who could say "actually, you're wrong!" so feel free!
The other one, Live.Edu and then this one.
In 2008, -and I spoke about this earlier to a bunch of folks,-
there was a Chronicle article that really fascinated me. The Chronicle article basically
said this--why the hell are making students get a psu.edu
email address, or a umw.edu address, from the beginning?
Why don't we just say, what's your email address? -Oh it's jim.groom@gmail.com-
-or it's jimgroom@hotmail.com, or it's whatever...-
Fine! Give it to us and everything we want to communicate with you,
we'll push out to you directly. It seems pretty easy
in this day and age that we could do that. And so, Boston College.
under Mary C. Corcoran, was like -you know what, that's what we're going to do!- I was like oh my god!
This is a model that we can start thinking about how we deliver all sorts of
information. And how we start thinking about publishing in new ways.
So last year, I'm not much of an investigative journalist, but I
tried my hand at it. I called Mary Corcoran and I said, "Mary,
"did you guys ever do this?" She said, "I gotta run; talk to you later!" She hung up
on me. So I called her again and I said, "Mary-what's going on with this? Did you ever
get this free flowing email where everyone bring's their own email?"
She said, "I'm in a meeting-gotta run." Then I felt like I was on
to something. Like there was some big black hole of information that wasn't
being used, and I thought I was going to get into the nitty gritty. Ultimately I found they never
did it. I don't know why and Mary didn't respond to me,
so I kind of left it alone so I wouldn't seem like a stalker. Like "Mary....what's going on
with your email?" (laughing) You know, I kind of had to basically step back.
But what I'm fascinated by is that their vision was this. We don't know
the long term implications of contracts with Gmail, or
contracts with Hotmail or Microsoft. We don't know what that means to
put our students in ultimately a consumer relationship--to a use advertising
company. So they were gonna back out of it. Now, they ultimately didn't,
and I'm interested in why they didn't, although I don't have an answer to that
yet. I don't think it's a bad model. Now,
this is where they talk about it. "College officials looked into outsourcing
their email to Google or to Microsoft, as many other colleges and universities have. Both
company's offer services for free, and then the contracts are incredibly
difficult," though that might not be true. But for me the real question is, what does
it mean for us as public universities, to put our
students in a relationship automatically mediated
by an advertising company? That's what Google is. It's an advertising
company. So what does it mean when we put that much information into an advertising company's hand?
What's more--how come faculty don't have to do it, or
can't do it, but students can? There's this kind of weird
questions that I think universities in general around the country are sort of
ignoring. Or at least saying, "Look it's going to be cheaper-we're going to save money...
Let's do it that way." I'm not convinced. You know
there may be a solution, but I don't know of one we've figured out.
Now this brings me to a different kind of modeling. It's one of the reasons
I'm probably here-it's this thing. This is called UMW Blogs.
And it's not too different from something you have here called PSU Blogs, right?
You have Penn State blogs and it's been extremely successful. It was really cool because
when I was developing this at Mary Washington, Brad and
Cole were developing PSU blogs alongside of it. So we were running
parallel on two different platforms, but really doing the same
thing. And the bottom-line behind this publishing platform in my mind was to get
a free, open space for anyone in the UMW community to publish
online freely. That's it. You didn't have any restriction.
All you need was a UMW email, and you can publish anything you wanted.
And that means students got on there. They starting using it for study abroad blogs, club sites,
course sites, personal sites, portfolio sites, etc...
And it was really cool because organically, we could see how people would use this stuff.
And then we were able to really develop for their uses.
-It was really,- It was a pilot for almost three years, which we ran on external
hosting. For the first year it cost us like $30 a month, and
it grew up from 500-600 users for the first semester, to about
7,000 users, and over 6,000 blogs. And you realize
at Mary Washington we have 4,000 students. So that's huge for us. It's like complete
adoption. It's as if I've created an empire alongside
and I'm like you-I'm like Darth Vader now with UMW Blogs, and the big cape! (laughing)
It's like, "He's the one we hate-he makes us get on UWM Blogs!" But it's interesting
that it became such a part of how people publish online.
There's a couple of reasons why. One of the reasons is we still have that
terrible storage space. We still have those
~jgroom personal sites. People realized around the university
that they wanted a site that was easy to use. They
wanted a space where it would be simple to share academic
student created content, with anyone on the web. So for example,
this is Professor Steve Greenlaw's site. Him and his students created a site
which was about the 2008 financial crisis, right? And this
is a highly visited site. Most of our sites default to open,
which means anyone on the web can find them. What's interesting is that
you start realizing that people start reading and giving feedback
to student generated research and work. And this is actually happening
a lot. So, here's one example. And then this is another
example. This is a student run site in Fredericksburg. Now how many of you
are familiar with Fredericksburg, Virginia? Okay a few of you. So if you're familiar
with it you probably know that the civil war is a current event.
Like it's never really stopped happening! (laughing) I'm serious! Okay, here's
a story I tell every presentation and I can't stop. So me and my
wife are from Brooklyn -actually my wife is from Italy,- but we lived in Brooklyn for about seven years.
And then I got a job at Mary Washington, so we moved down to Fredericksburg.
It was December 13th. Historians out there will automatically be like, "Ding!"
December 13th was the big battle-the first
Fredericksburg battle where the North got slaughtered. And they got
slaughtered on the hill that I moved into, -the house!- So me and
my wife are taking stuff out of our car, and all of a sudden
we see people in Northern outfits running
down the streets yelling, "Hey that's a mad house--they're slaughtering everyone!"
And my wife was like, "What the hell's going on? Let's get the hell out of here." They were reenacting
on our street, and we were freaked out. Let's be honest-we're from Brooklyn, where
there's revolutionary history everywhere but no-one cares. Usually they're graffiti-ing on it, or they're peeing
on it, right? There-it just blew up!
And I was thinking to myself, this is really weird. So knowing
that Fredericksburg is in many ways living in the time
machine that is the civil war, the students at Mary Washington
kind of created a series of research sites which were actually focused on
the historical markers in Stafford county, Fredericksburg county and Spotsylvania county, which are
the surrounding counties. And they did amazing research on these historical
markers. They created a big Google map to point them. But they also
did research on them in order to give you books and backgrounds around us.
Well this is a site that is regularly visited. This is done by Jeff
Mcclurken, and we get like 10,000 hits. What's more is the community loves it.
They've finally started commenting and saying, -hey Mary Washington actually
does do something up there on the campus! You know the town and gown stuff?
Well they we're fascinated by it. And so the community in this
became a kind of bridge to thinking about what we do here. And through these open
publishing platforms, is a way for public institutions to share the wealth
and value of what they do. This is a very easy site to create.
What's cool is it was created entirely by students. And the research was also
done by them. This is a regularly visited site. Here's another example.
This is a seminar taught by Marjorie Och, called "Venice".
I love this example because they create an exhibit of research done
on Venice. For some reason, this is the most highly visited site on UMW Blogs.
It gets anywhere from 70,000-80,000 views on a regular basis.
I don't know where they're coming from. I don't know if there's some bot engine just
throwing views, but this also gets a lot of discussion around student's
work. One of the things they were discussing when they were doing it was discussing advertising
in Venice. Does anyone know how they advertise? When they're redoing a
building in Venice, -how they advertise is,- they take a big sheath of
ad and they wrap the whole building in an ad, which is kind of
despicable right? The whole building becomes a Calvin Klein ad- look at me
in my jeans,- and behind it is centuries of history hidden.
So the students were railing against this. "This is absurd!...this is
abrogation of the public trust in Venice!" And then the advertising
dude from Britain who runs the company, got on
their blog and was like, "You have no idea. Without this funding from the advertising
company, this would never happen." And the student's in the advertising agency
starting getting a rumble in the comments. They were all "This is awesome!"
This is like live interactive relationships, that move us
outside of the idea that theoretically this is bad. It puts us in a real relationship
with people who have another point of view. And it was through this site that I started thinking
how this opens up all sorts of possibilities. And one of the things that happens
when you're open is you can't predict what comes next, which
for me, is part of the fun. Now, I want you to do
a little test. -Does anyone have a computer in this
room?- (laughing) -Or an iPhone?- Search
the term in Google, "banned art". Two words.
And don't look at the pictures because if Mapplethorpe comes up and you try to sue me,
I'm not responsible. Banned art. What
is the first, (-banned, b-a-n-n-e-d-) what's the first
hit? (Audience Member: Oh-you guys! Nice job.)
We own the vertical and the horizontal, and i'll get to what that means.
When you search banned art in google, the first hit you get
is a site created by University of Mary Washington: Professor
Nina Mikhalevsky. Now think about what that means. If you get
96,000 students at PSU blogging openly on a
platform that is Google friendly and the Google juice goes up, you start to
control some of these major points of research
and interest for people all over the web. Another interesting thing is
the Black Mountain poets. Search the "Black Mountain poets."
Were the fifth hit in google. I argue that it's a better
site and a better article than what you have on Wikipedia.
And that's our students, programming the web. I think
it's part of our obligation as a public institution to do that.
To put good content out on the web, and to make it accessible. Now I'm preaching to the choir here,
because PSU does that, and they do that right now.
Now, Eighteenth-Century Audio. This is an interesting site. This is the
idea of the unpredictability of open content.
Marie Mcallister produces a site where students actually record
readings of eighteenth-century poetry, and put it up. It just so happens that
it's one of the best archives of eighteenth-century read poetry right now.
What happens is students from Saudi Arabia have been using this regularly
to learn English. And that is awesome. They're learning
how to speak English through Robert Burns read poetry... Can you imagine
-to speak English like Robert Burns,- how hard that would be?
I mean woah. But this idea that you never understand when you put something
out there, how people will use it. And not controlling the content
and letting that context reverberate through the eternity of the internet,
really changes the notion of what we do in the classroom. I think the change
is a cultural change of understanding. When you go into the classroom understanding
that what you produce and research and create in that classroom should have
a portal to the web that people can search, discover, and use
kind of changes the way you think about teaching--
in some real powerful ways, potentially. Now,
this is another cool example from UMW Blogs. And this goes
to our experiential learning, kind of doing this stuff underground. Every semester,
students in this literary journals class, -which is called "Practices of Publishing"-
create a literary journal in WordPress, from scratch.
So what they do is week one, they look at all these other
literary national journals. They see how they're working and they talk about their mission. Then they frame a mission.
They use Facebook, Twitter, Myspace -when that was relevant,-
etc... and they created a critical mass around their journal to get people to
submit. And by the end of the semester they had to create a full blown journal
that they programmed and designed, and that they released.
They did this -now, for it's sixth year,- and we have
30 journals that were created by students. What's interesting about this as a project
is that whenever one of the sites go down, I get an email from one of the students like,
"How can that go down? That's on my CD." This is something that they're linking
back to and that for them, is a real manifestation of the work
they did in this class. It's one that I think many of them are super proud of.
Okay. And there's more
if you like The Big Lebowski, this is the film club site. This is interesting.
-I'll talk more about it in a second.- We're starting to see departments
really using Contribute. Does anyone know Adobe Contribute? It's a
nightmare. It was really interesting in 2002--it's 2011.
So we actually forced faculty to publish again.
So faculty took their department sites and started to move over to UMW Blogs, which as you can
imagine created issues, right? Their department official sites are on UMW
blogs. So what happened is our entire site moved now
-and is opening in October,- to WordPress. So all of you at www.edu
are going to be WordPress. We'll talk about some of the implications of that for the work we've done
on UMW Blogs, but this is an interesting example of a site
for a department that's using WordPress, to share what they're doing.
Notice that the front page is not a static brochure page.
It's an ongoing series of posts, created by professors about what they're doing in their classes.
What would it mean for departments at PSU to regularly -as part of their
site,- update you on their research? Update you on what they're doing? Update
you on what they're teaching, and how they're teaching it? It'd be pretty amazing
to have some of your departments-some of the best scholars in the world,- producing regularly
what they're doing, and how they're doing it,right? And that
no longer becomes the web as brochure. It becomes the web
fish-tank for the life of the mind at Penn State.
That's a powerful transition. And it's simple when you make publishing
simple. It's a simple kind of transformation. Now,
this is amazing. We'll talk about this and then I'll actually move on
to some different stuff. This is something we experimented with at Mary Washington
and I really like this idea of the syndicated model.
We found that students were actually publishing
on UMW Blogs from all over the world. They would go on study abroad
and to stay in touch with their parents, they would use this space to write
about what they were doing, sharing photos and whatnot. And I started realizing that China, Australia,
Scotland, Argentina,--you name it, they were there!
Mali, Africa. It was fascinating to me. So I said to them, why don't you
guys drop off your feed at this main site, studyabroad.UMW Blogs.org,
and we'll aggregate everything? Well, within
a month we had 30 sites aggregating into this space
reflecting 30 different countries and their experiences there, and
I didn't have to do anything. All they did is drop off their feed, publish,
and in the course of a year, we've had 700 posts which actually chronicle the experience
of our students over seas. To me this is like, -if you were like a
marketing person,- this is like a layout. It's like handing it to
you, and it's real and it's authentic. What if this becomes a model for how
we share what we do at a university? I'm really fascinated
and intrigued by this idea of the public university, and what is our
obligation with publishing and with sharing, to
kind of frame this notion of education that moves beyond the campus?
Not in some course modular that's controlled by an LMN,
but out on the open web. To me,
that seems like a moral imperative that we need to move towards. Now,
we aggregate Google Calendars. Same idea. People
from all different departments from around our site, (our school) use Google Calendars. We found
a way to aggregate them and imbed them in WordPress so that we don't have to
re-produce the effort. For example, copy what happened on this date to the main calendar.
This idea of syndication and aggregation. Let the loosely
spaced tools that everyone's using--let them use it! They like it. They're comfortable
there. Just find a way to aggregate it cleanly into spaces
where everyone can see it. That's the key.
Now, presentations-this is an old one: "Don't call it a blog."
You like the kind of "surrealist
nod" there? I'm pretty cultured... (laughs) Okay!
This is also this crazy things we're playing with
now. So now the chaos starts, and the breakdown is going to start, okay? You can feel it coming.
The energy is rising! You ready? DTLT
Today is something that was invented by a colleague of mine called Tim
Owens. And DTLT Today TV is something that I'm
on right now. It's being run through an iphone, or an
ipod touch. It's actually, -we have,-
Wowza. It's basically called wowza. It's an application
that's a video server that we don't have to go through ustream. We don't have to go
through Justin.tv, we can run it on Amazon or from where ever we are,
and we can broadcast live to a video server. So our group
-Martha Burtis, Andy Rush, Tim Owens and myself,-
started to do a regular TV show called DTLT Today.
It's 15 minutes everyday. We talk about whatever we want. We had this couch
that has affectionately been known as the "cuddle couch," and we invite faculty and
people on our campus who are doing cool stuff, to come on to talk to us about what they're doing.
And it's a simple act of reaching out-an invitation.
It has created a kind of critical mass around sharing and doing
stuff, and letting us know what's happening around our campus. And, what cool
people are doing. So we did this. It's become extremely successful,
it's cost us next to no money, and we have the
vertical, right? We can control how we share. Think about what
it would take for you to create a TV show, right?
In your office? We have an office with just an ipad, a couple of cameras,
and a mac laptop. We're doing TV that's live streaming to the web that anyone
can share. That's a revolution. It's a
revolution because it slowly creeped up upon us. But when I tell you, -you know what? YOU could do your own
Dick Cavett show if you wanted to, in your office and in your spare time,-
you'd be like, "what?" But you can! And I think it's
something amazing that we take for granted. But,
how can that not effect the way in which we share information
in our time? It has to effect it. Same thing with The Bullet.
The university newspaper moved to our publishing platform, right? It's another
example. And what happened was as soon as we moved to WordPress, the local newspaper
in Fredericksburg changed their whole site design because we
made them look outdated. So they were watching the students work, and they were like
"Oh wait--WE have to change," because they actually
were not keeping up with media. That's actually something that relates to
a lot of stuff. To Virginia Wolf again and to this notion
of personal spaces, which is what I started with and what I want to continue with.
What we found, -and we didn't predict this,
but it was really interesting,- is we found that faculty and students alike started to use
UMW Blogs as a space where they would collect their information. They would collect
the work they did. They would present themselves to the world through these
spaces. And we set up a system whereby they could map
domains if they wanted. So for example, this is a professional
site for Professor Sue Fernsebner, right? She's got her classes
she teaches, home CV courses, institutional links, etc...
The url is susanfernsebner.org.
Notice it's not UMW Blogs.org--there's no tilde. What's more is
she can update it regularly because it's a WordPress interface.
It's a simple, state of the art CMS, that anyone could use.
This brings us kind of to the next level of what you could do versus that html
dreamweaver site. That's just one of many. Here's a
student's aggregation of a portfolio of work they did at Mary Washington.
This student blogged for 15 courses over her four years
there. She was actually only there for three years. She created a portfolio
that streamed all of the work she did, into this space. This is
now her physical work she did in classes, framed as a portfolio
for her virtual work. I'm happy to say she's working as an instructional
technologist in Morocco right now. I want to believe that part of that is because of the work she
did with these sites, and with understanding how the
stuff works. Another perfect example.
No one'e telling students to do this; these are just emerging.
Notice, laurafalcon.com. Hosted on UMW Blogs, but here's
that permanent sense of space. When she leaves
UMW, that address stays the same. She
comes and goes and she takes all the information she did here and maybe puts it on another server or
UMW or wordpress.com, but she doesn't loose any of the links.
There's that consistent space over time. That's a
portfolio. When you do it -and say like the domain you have
on UMW once you leave or the email that goes away,- this
doesn't. You control it. You control the data. You control the domain.
You control who sees your stuff, and how they see it.
The whole idea of FERPA is absurd, because this puts all
the control back into the students, which FERPA is supposed to
do in the first place. So we control and help them control
their data. I think this is integral to being
a literate student in the 21st century. Understanding
how data works, understanding how stuff is served, and undersating how you can
control that. Now, we have this also with professors
who've created their own personal sites. Again, Warren Rochelle. And it goes on.
This has taken hold, right?
And I already did this idea of "banned art" and "black mountain poets",
but this idea of being open and this idea of being
found. Over the last year on UMW Blogs,
we've had close to 3.5 million visits
from 260 countries, right?
We're a small liberal arts college, in the middle of Fredericksburg.
And we have people from all over the world who are viewing the work we do.
That to me is kind of a moment to take stock of what we're doing in these universities.
And also how we and the work we're doing, can ultimately
go out into some kind of eternity. And there's that banned and dangerous
art site I linked to before. Another example--and this is kind of trippy.
And this is where if you're kind of a techie, you'll start thinking about stuff.
My next idea is not only give everyone their own space, but give everyone
their own network. So not only can a professor create their own blog,
they can create their own multi-blog instillation.
So it's JeffMcClurken.com, and then he can have
history101.jeffmcclurken.com which is his own blog on that,
and history455.jeffmcclurken.com, which is his own site for that.
And he has his own network that creates site after site after site.
So not only are you giving faculty their own space, you're giving them their own network
spaces that they can create. And this would be easy to do. And it could also be
done with map domains, which I'm fascinated by.
Now, how many of you have seen the Adams special?
HBO1? I was blown away by this. I was particularly
affected by Jefferson, and Jefferson's image
in this. And there's something that Jefferson says in this
-one of the last or so episodes,- but it's when he's in France
right now talking about a concept known as the
-ooh, let's see if we can hear it...give me one sec,-
-it doesn't...-
-well, not to worry. we won't get too concerned.- One of the things that Jefferson
talks about is this notion of permanent revolution, right? This idea
where he has no faith in a country, or a nation, or a group of people
that are constantly in revolt and who are constantly questioning
where they are with a particular motion or notion of democracy.
And I'm interested in this as it relates to the idea of the
web, and publishing right now. Right? The web and publishing
has moved kind of exponentially to the
next level with allowing anyone to publish and share freely.
Universities have kind of moved in the opposite direction to try
to lock it down. We're not at all taking advantage of these new
additions and possibilities for publishing. So I'm interested in why
right? There's this idea that Gardner Campbell, -who
is now at Virginia Tech and a man I worked with for a little bit
at Mary Washington,- came up with that I think is compelling.
It's this idea of personal cyber infrastructure. Kind of the
name seems a little cyborg-y, -like you're looking to see, Oh students have a
mechanical eye, and one of their arms and we all have a chip in the back of our heads,-
but it's not that at all. The idea behind it is pretty simple.
Students come into a university. They start off by getting their own
space. They get their own domain. And over the course of the next four years,
that's their digital notebook. That's the work they're doing. That's how they're collecting
and more than that--they control the data. They manage the space. They're their own
css admin. And for too long we've been divorcing the idea of literacy,
writing, and critical thinking, from the actual means to which it's
created, produced, and shared in our age. I think
part of what we need to do when we think about the creation of information and the critical interpretation
of information, is also understand where and how that information
is created and served out. Which means the understanding of
how this stuff works is crucial. What's
more than that? If you give students a space with which they can create,
it changes the relationship between how they create,
and the possibilities for innovation. If you give these sandboxes to students
all over PSU, -you have 94,000 students,- what could that potentially mean
for innovation? For a student in their room,
experimenting and doing something they haven't dreamed of? Now,
here's the kind of interesting quote from this. It's the only
thing I'll read, but I think it's worth thinking about... "So, how might colleges and universities shape
curricula to support and inspire the imaginations that students need? Here's
one idea. Suppose that when students matriculate, they are assigned their own web servers--
not 1 GB folder in the institution's web space," like I was talking about,
"but honest to goodness virtualized web servers of the kind available for
$8 a month? Where they get on there. They understand how
the panel works. They understand how the main wrapping happens."
Now some people say this is way too complicated; you're getting too techie...
But I'm thinking, how can this not be basic literacy
about how we share and create content in this moment?
What is the actual machination for producing? For connecting?
I think all too often we kind of leave that out.
Now this leads me to a class I'm teaching
which actually tries to imagine this experience. It's called ds106,
which is affectionate for digital storytelling 106.
The idea of this class is kind of simple. It's a digital storytelling class, but it starts
with the idea that everyone who comes in get's their own domain and their own web host.
They have to figure out -like trial by fire,- how to set it up.
There's tons of resources called the internet, so don't come to me like, "How do I do this?"
Google it. Find out the information, create the stuff, and share how
you did it with others. So it's really abusive in that regard, but the
things is -amazingly-, everyone does it! How'd they do it?
Well maybe because we said, it's possible--it's not
impossible. And so what happens is they create their own space,
and what we do is we aggregate the work they do in their own space through RSS,
into this main course space. So what happens is that every time they post, it shows
up here. One of the things that's cool about ds106 is we opened it.
We said basically that we invited anyone who wanted to take it for free, to take it.
We had 75 registered students and then we had another 300-400
students who took it out in the open.
So here's the story behind this class. I announced it December 10th.
By about December 15th there were about 100 people
who were creating animated gifts for the class
and by the time the class stared on January 10th, there were 200 posts
of animated gifts that when the students stepped in who are
teaching at Mary Washington were like, "What the hell is going on? Why are there 100 animation
gifts-and what the hell do they have to do with digital storytelling?" People
started doing the class before the class even started. What's more? When
our students at Mary Washington started posting, they got 10, 15
comments like "That's great-welcome to ds106!" I didn't even have to do this.
Could you imagine using blogs in a class, and as soon as you're student writes their first post, 10
comments show up? Of people who are encouraging them? Right? That's a wet-dream for a
technologist. It's like, are you kidding me? That's amazing.
We did this by opening up the platform and letting anyone
in who wanted to play, charging the credit
students because they're going for a degree and giving them personalized attention of course, but anyone could
play along. And what happened with ds106 is it became
kind of a happening. Not just a space, but a happening.
It's based kind of on this idea of the MOOC. Has everyone heard of a MOOC?
Anyone heard of a MOOC? Okay-good!
A MOOC is a very strange term, and it reminds me of Do the Right Thing, "Hey Mookie, where's
my two-fitty?" Right? You guys know Do the Right Thing! That great film by Spike Lee?
Well at least one person knows it.
Thank you. The rest of you are like, what the hell? Well,
a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. The idea
is to create an instructional course that's online that
some folks can take for credit, but anyone can take and follow along.
This is kind of innovated by Stephen
Downes, George Siemens, Alec Coolrose, and David
Wiley. And they did some amazing stuff with this. So I treated ds106
kind of like a MOOC. The difference was it wasn't massive. 400
people is not massive. You guys have classes you teach that are 1500-2000 large.
You're probably like 400? That's not massive. I understand that.
But the implications and effects around 400 people taking
a class like that-out in the open, could be massive. And what I mean
by that is, let's take another example. How many of you
are aware of this class as Stanford? Artificial Intelligence, right? A few of you.
I think there's like 200,000 people signed up for this class.
That's crazy. This is a class that supposedly
is out in the open, that anyone can take. It's a class right now.
At the point I did it, it was 96,000. We're like 100,000
sign ups later. I guess the word comes out that it's free and open
so anyone can take it. You get a certificate if you want. But the issue
is they're also developing a way to actually find a
way to build an LMS around it that will manage 200,000 people.
But what does it mean to have 200,000 people taking the class?
Sharing the experience in however a distributed fraction way.
This is kind of the questions that Luke positioned. How do
we deal with the idea of some sort of organized structured learning experience,
online? Now people can share. A lot of it depends upon
you being a kind of independent learning. It doesn't replace
face-to-face classroom experience. It's an experiment. Well,
we actually got this idea and in many
ways are kind of framing our stuff around the MOOC, but understanding we're not
exactly a MOOC. We played with the idea of how do we network by teaching?
How do we open up the idea of sharing our teaching? One of the things that Martha
Burtis and Tom Woodward came up with, -that I really love,- is the idea of having students
submit a cybis. In ds106, we
go through design, visual, audio, video,
mash-up, fan-fiction stuff. We do all the experiments within those particular fields.
It's kind of like a media production class, but also we do it through narratives.
We actually ask the students from anyone online, to submit a cybis.
Well what happened is 150-180 assignments later we had
a repository of opened assignments that anyone could do.
So what we started to do is create it. Here's an example of it. Here are
particular assignments that were submitted, and that's what it looks like. You can actually click
on the assignment and if you tag it, an assignment you've done
will show up underneath that assignment. So we'll say 59 people
do an assignment. All those examples of what they did show up under it. Here's
a good example, right? You know what that is? Can anyone name that movie?
It's a white russian, a rug, a toe and a
bowling ball... The Big Lebowski, of course!
-"Oh I'll get you a toe. At three o'clock I'll get you a toe!"- (laughing)
So they actually -close to 30 people,- did this. This is an
iconic visual expression, right? Take four icons from a movie,
and you create it. So everyone who did that, actually shows up
here. So what were created was a repository. But we also
said anyone could do the create any assignment, and you could decide what assignment
you'd do. So here's a perfect example. We had a student, Colleen
Trachy, who -oops, there's the example of that last assignment,-
came up with this idea of the visual poetry playlist.
You take your playlist from windows or from itunes and you basically
turn it into poem. And I thought
that sounds like a kind of stupid assignment--who would do that? So I kind of got
snobby, like whatever... 60 people did that assignment
and they were from all over the world. People in Portugal and Australia.
What does that mean for you as a student when you submit an assignment and 60 people from
all over the world do it, and it creates this critical excitement around it?
Well that's not something I can do. As an instructor, I could have given them 10
minutes time and said that's it-see you later. But through a networking
kind of crowdsourcing approach, they had 200 assignments to choose from.
How they did it was kind of framed around the experience of a
community. And that's what's interesting to me about ds106. This is
not about a class only. It's about creating a community
of creative acts, and of sharing. It's a way to kind of
imagine the online space as a space that isn't just
a module or a Devour space. Here's an example of a 1984
assignment that was submitted by someone I'd never heard of. They didn't do anything else.
They just showed up one day, submitted it, and went. That's kind of how the MOOC works,
too. You do whatever's interesting to you. You share it, and then you're out.
Because if you're not taking it for credit, why would you worry about dropping out. Why would it even concern
you? You do what you need to do, and that's it. Can anyone
read what's in the grass? I want to tell you this is a lawn
in Melbourne, Australia. Someone mowed
ds106 into their lawn, and then un-mowed it.
They got rid of it. This was on the site, via
respondent Roland Peter, who lives there and was taking the class.
He actually started doing some amazing, kind of fun
creative stuff around his house. Ds106 kind of
became like a meme in the class, where people were just having fun.
Then this happened. I don't really know
what to say about this. This is kind of a wild example of a
class gone wrong. So--week two.
We wanted to do everything we could not to reproduced the illuminate nightmare.
You know that one-like, oh here I am in this
kind of florescent lighted ugly space, and it feels
institutional? We didn't want that. We wanted a place that was
fluid, that has free form, and that anyone could get on at anytime and share what they're
doing. Well Grant Potter, who's in
Northern British Columbia, said "I have and idea. I can create
a radio serve in Nicecast, that anyone
who has a certain application called Icecast, or Ladiocast,
can actually get into,
can broadcast, and anyone with an iphone,
ipod touch, or android, can from wherever they are start broadcasting."
So Roland Peter started broadcasting from Melbourne, what the cicadas
sounded like in January because it was actually summer there, and for us
in Virginia it was weird because it was dead winter. And there was this weird sharing
of space. And the thing of radio -what really hit me,- is that three in the
morning I was hanging out with a friend who lived in New Jersey, and me and him were doing our late night
talk on movies on the radio, and all of a sudden I hear someone walking down
the stairs of his house. And they go up to him and say "Are you still
on that goddamn radio?" And it just changed everything for me.
Because I was in his house, hearing his wife getting pissed at him for being on
the radio, and it was online, and on the air, and it was social. There
was this relationship that we now can share out this stuff.
People can program radios. Students can start creating
shows and narratives that they can build into a radio. So one of the things that came up in our long
conversations today, was what it would mean for Penn State to have
not only a TV station where you start interview the community, but what about a series of radio stations
that was framed by work you're students did in the class
on a particular researcher? About geography? About climate?
About literature? And that work they did in your class was produced
for a community for thought, and that we as universities
start thinking about these means of production and sharing our adequate disposal.
They're easy. It's a matter of us re-thinking our teaching to
how we build this in as a part of the teaching-as a sharing process.
Even as an open learning narrative, that students and us help build
together. I mean, to me it was radical in ds106--this radio
really brought that clearly to me. And
here's a picture here of Grant Potter,
to whom I want to give special kudos. I don't know why it's not showing up, but he actually
really came up with the whole ds106 radio idea and made it happen. Well soon after
the radio, came TV. So we had radio, but of course we needed tv.
So Tim Owens came up with this idea that through Justin.tv, could actually
create a TV station for the class. We could start broadcasting out
the stuff we're doing, from anywhere. So one of the first things that happened is someone
filmed a puppet boxing contest from New York City.
It was on TV. What was cool was that someone in the class had
a video, was able to capture it and share it instantly with the course.
This weird space that I had never really,
never owned a cell phone, and I still don't. But once this class happened I'm like the mobile
has really arrived-at least in my mind. So let's see here...
We also had a Mindcraft server. Any of you know mindcraft?
It's like 8bit gameplay and I had no vision for it but someone said "You
want a server?" I said sure! People went into it and they started creating
ds106 cities. They played around with this idea. Students
who were into it went in there and played and shared. I was
like-why not? The other thing that happened
is ds106 took a weird turn. This summer
I had the idea of actually teaching the
class as someone else. So what I did was made it a completely online
class. My idea was basically to shave my head. So I shaved the top
part because there's not much to loose anyways. But I shaved the top of my head and my beard, so I just had
a mustache. I looked like the character from David Cronenberg's Videodrome,
-Dr. Oblivion,- who's actually a character based on Marshall
McLuhan. The whole idea was to come to the class and teach it from the
first day as Dr. Oblivion. Now the unique characteristic about Dr. Oblivion is he's
never been on TV. I mean he's never been seen off of TV for 27
years in the movie. He's only been mediated by the screen. So my idea was
teach a class online where you're always only mediated by the internet.
And so I went on this and I started teaching the class, droning, talking about the
internet. The students were bored; they didn't know what was happening. By day three I started
to have some real identity crisis. My wife didn't know I was going to shave my head.
My kids were calling me Dr. Oblivion. It was really weird in my house. Like everyone was like,
"Get away from me!" So I was telling the folks I work with, I don't know if I can go on with this?
They we're like-why don't we have Dr. Oblivion go missing? And so he
did. Then Jim Groom -who's me,- came in as the TA and started talking
about Dr. Oblivion's gone missing. Then the class took on this emergent alternative reality
where students were creating art and resources about
finding Dr. Oblivion. The class just emerged as a
narrative. It was amazing to me because you can see
some of the craziness! -I don't know why the videos aren't showing,-
-Oh yeah! Here's the Videodrome!-
But this is actually Dr. Oblivion. So this is me
with a shaved head. People started making animated gifts of him.
There was a poster of Dr. Oblivion's gone missing that was put in NYC,
by people who were taking the class in NYC. And then this whole narrative around
Dr. Oblivion started to emerge. There was this kind of weird idea that
the class wasn't just talking about digital storytelling. It was creating an
episodic narrative over the course of five weeks. It started getting me thinking about
how the online teaching we've only just begun to
experiment with what's possible in this space. I mean, the idea of creating completely
alternative realities for experiences, and for the students to create and help build that.
To start thinking about how we can frame and contextualize
in particular, classes. And I know this is annoying you looking at me, because I can't
even look at it-it's weird. But there's the poster! So student's created
posters, "Have you seen Oblivion?" There we are on Twitter!
And it's this crazy thing. Then I had this video, which might show up here
so I'm going to stay for a second. I had this final video where me and
Dr. Oblivion had a face off. It was me as Jim
Groom and Dr. Oblivion as Dr. Oblivion talking to one another. And we were
having this argument -I don't know if it will show up but,- it was basically about what happened.
So what happened was we all went away to Camp Oblivion, which is kind of a slasher
reference. Martha Burtis, who was another teacher in this class
helping me teach the class, really wanted to be
Dr. Oblivion's TA. So she held me and Dr. Oblivion hostage at Camp
Oblivion, and started killing all the students. So this weird kind of
slasher narrative emerge out of something that was just kind of an experiment.
Unfortunately it's not showing up, but it's actually pretty funny.
So, here is this. Any of your heard of Storify?
Storify is this kind of new thing.
Storify basically takes tweets, videos and other blog posts from around the web and allows
it to integrate them cleanly into a narrative. Well it was so hard to tell the story
of Dr. Oblivion because so much of it was happening on Twitter or in the blogs, or on
Youtube. So we found that storify was really cool for integrating it,
and telling the story of the summer of Oblivion, and how Jim Groom went
crazy. What I didn't mention was Jim Groom, the TA, started banishing people
from the class. He basically started saying you're banished. And the class
got pissed, because they didn't know what was happening. So they created a separate alternate class called
ds107. And ds107 was the students class.
Some students stayed with that class. Some students reacted against it. But what happened
is the students started taking control. They started to realize this was a narrative.
They started playing along. I was just amazed!
I mean, I'm not saying this is good pedagogical practice, but
one of the things that also happens is people started to turn into Dr.
Oblivion. So you see what this created
was a community of sharing and of intimacy, but also the medium
was perfect for it. We were creating for the web.
We were experimenting with this web. The idea of this class, as much as it is about creation
and these different tools, it is about framing an identity online. My whole
idea of Dr. Oblivion was a crisis of identity we face in this digital age.
Who we are and how we frame ourselves online, and how
malleable fluid that is. For me, one of the fascinating things about thinking about
what we're doing in teaching and learning, should be as much about thinking about critical
relationships to how stuff is produced and reviewed, but also to how where
stuff is produced and created through this media. And how in some ways
we have control over that creation process now, more so than we maybe ever
had before. I think that's a key kind of
sense of responsibility. Now, I'm
going to jump off this to show you one video. If I
have time... I know I'm running out of time. Let me speak to this quickly.
Have any of you ever seen this XKCD? It's a great one. Like,
here's what the university website does, and here's what people are looking for.
Well we have a new idea for our website at Mary Washington. Our
website is going to WordPress, which is an open publishing
platform. It's what we do UMW Blogs in. Well what happened is we started
to get the idea of-why can't we bring what's happening in the classroom
forwards? Why can't we use UMW.edu
as a syndication hub for all the academic stuff happening? So
going to a departmental site, seeing what the faculty are saying, but also next to it seeing
what the students are writing. What they are saying. What they are producing.
Make these department sites and make the UMW.edu site a fishbowl
of activity of what's happening around the university.
And to me I think that's where the web kind of opens up all sorts of
possibilities. I mean, people are saying the web is 20 years old...
I think it's still an infant. We haven't even begun to imagine what's possible
for sharing the work we do and how we do it at public institutions. And there's all
this kind of talk about open educational resources, and when you put it in that
framework, it kills it. It crushes all the life out of it. It's like
open educational resources-as soon as you say that, it's like you put your hands around it's neck.
No! Let's just publish on the web, let's share freely what
we're doing, and let's find ways to send it to the right place at the right
time so people can then discover it. And part of that is not
understanding it as a web of a university that's faceless,
but instead, understanding it as a web of a whole series of people who have and idea
and an identity online that are sharing together,
right? Almost a kind of community. I think once
our university website stops trying to become a kind of
brochure -a kind of figure of what
they think the ideal of Mary Washington should be,- is
the point that they'll actually represent what it is through the voices of the people who are there
and sharing. Now one thing I'll point you to before I end is
this stuff is not only happening at Mary Washington. It's happening at places like the University of British Columbia.
They're building an entire open source publishing framework,
in MediaWiki and WordPress for a 30,000 person campus.
So this isn't just about 4,000 small liberal arts persons. This is about
a huge campus, too. The idea of publishing, whether it be video or
audio, or on the web through text is a way where we can actually
use as a portal in, to re-thinking some of the ways in which we teach
and how we teach, and how we go about sharing what we teach, right?
I don't think online courses are actually a bad thing.
I think they can in many ways, help us re-imagine the web,
so long as we think as online courses as native to the web. One of the interesting things I
got from my students when we did the final evaluation is, out of the 25
students who took the class for credit, 22 said that they couldn't imagine this class
as a face-to-face class. Isn't that trippy? Because usually it's "I
couldn't imagine this face-to-face class online." What happens when you change that relationship?
That the class you designed and built was in many
ways designed and built for the web. It was designed for the web. It was created for the
web. That to me is a completely different architecture to thinking about sharing
on this phase. Finally, I'm interested in this notion
-and this is something I think that Penn State is going to be a huge player in if they aren't already.-
is developing for open source software and platforms.
Developmental open source publishing platform, to gradually integrate into the school's general
education curriculum, the deep critical examination of how digital tools are changing
the way we think and learn. It's almost like McLuhan, who during
post structuralism was kind of an after thought, has come back
to haunt us all. That the idea of these spaces
and tools we use to imagine the spaces we're in virtually,
are changing us. They are changing the way
we think about space, time, relationships, and
nation states, and go on and on. Economies, right?
We're at a fascinating moment. And rather than outsourcing this
innovation, I would so much rather see it live and
flower from our space. So with that, I'll
say thank you. (applause)
Now, I know I went over time, but I do have time for questions.
But it's past 4:00pm, so if you have to run obviously I would not be concerned.
But do you have questions?
Cole: So If anybody has questions or anything else, all
we do is ask that you come down to the mic up front because we are pushing it out over the
interwebs! Does anyone have any questions?
Jim Groom: If you don't I won't be hurt--I know I just blew your minds!
Ah! Here we go.
Audience Member: I'll kick things
off! First, thanks.
What kinds of freedom did you have in terms of
-again please don't take this as a negative thing,-
but what can the university do in terms of things like grading, to make
that possible? In other words, people can't imagine that course as a
face-to-face course, but it's hard to imagine that course as something you would grade.
But I bet you had to do that, and I'm wondering what kinds of
or how do you reconcile your vision of education,
and things like grades? What did you have to do there?
Jim Groom: Okay-that's a great question. The way we did that in ds106 is luckily most of the people didn't take it for a grade,
so we didn't have to worry about it. But the 25 students in the class who did,
I met with them three times a semester, either in person or via skype.
And what I would talk about was their progress. There were certain things that they were expected to do. They're expected to
blog regularly, reflect on their learning, and create these assignments.
So I could track their progress very easily, and say
something like "You're not keeping up with the work," and goes through assessments kind of like anyone.
Now, when they were doing collaborative projects and stuff like that, like the
radio station that they built, that was based on a group effort. Most of the grades
really came out of -in my mind,- their regular attention to
the community. The idea of grades in ds106 really came out of
giving back to the community. Were you involved? Were you commenting on people's work?
Were you a good -I would think, you know-
Did you invest time in this community of practice?
That to me was where the grade came from. If someone came and they did their work but
they were completely uninvolved with the feedback and the peer review, they didn't
do well. So we did have a rubric set up of what was created and what was expected,
but in many ways when you're doing that stuff online and out in the open,
it's apparent who's doing their job and who isn't. So it's almost easier
to deal with the grading because it's apparent to everyone where they are. Now,
I'm not going to say it's always smooth with grading. There's always going to be questions
around grading, but that goes for any kind of course. Subjectivity creeps into
that. We can try and say it's a science of assessment,
but we all know that it ultimately comes down to a person to make that decision
or that judgment. You can basically say that
assessment is an inexact science, and it's one that with a class like this, that's based upon
creativity, that the portfolio project and
the way they do it in fine arts makes sense. Kind of review
each other's work and give feedback. They also say where have you gone? Where have you been? What have you
done? And how has the class gone for you? I have no problem
so long as everyone does the work, and it's good. I'll give everyone A's.
Like the whole bell curve thing-I'm not so invested in that concept. You know what I mean?
So I wish frankly, it was a pass fail class.
I would have a lot more fun with that. Because then I wouldn't even have to think too much about that. there would be
just basic guidelines. But grading is interesting.
I would, rather than think about grading and here's your grade, to think about what portfolio do you leave
behind. That's where real, qualitative portfolio based classes
can be far more powerful than-here's your
grade. I want to see you have something to show and something to share.
To me, that's a class and how this class should really work.
It should be based on your portfolio. I'd love to see students judge other students-like a peer review.
Does that make sense? Good.
Audience Member: I'm very interested
in your presentation. Along similar lines, I kind of
feel bad getting up here and saying this -almost putting a damper on things,
on an exciting possibility,- but what about some of the hurdles that you
see in the way? And thing's that I've run into...
I mean I'm utilizing the blogs at Penn State here for teaching and that's great.
One is the platforms. You're talking about WordPress. We're talking about Movable Type.
Which ones-where do you stick with things? The other one is
what about copyright issues? You've got all these people sharing all this.
You're talking about commons, and yet there are some rules there and
you don't get clear answers, particularly if you start asking questions.
And the last one that has really been a real damper
for me, but is an issue we all have to deal with is
dealing with accessibility. So, do I have to close caption
everything that I'm putting up? It's ends up being very, very
-it sort of kills my ability to be able to do that. It really creates real problems.
Jim Groom: Okay great. There are three parts of that question, and i'll take each of them. Platform.
I'm not too concerned about the platform -like whether it's WordPress or Movable Type,-
and that's why we've moved to the domain of one's own so that whatever has an RSS
feed, should be able to syndicate in. So the bare
requirement would be RSS. The idea that what you do in one space can be easily
relocated to another. So I'm not saying you have to use WordPress, you have to use Drupal, or
Movable Type-you just have something with an RSS feed. And that,
-it doesn't solve everything, but it solves some of the platform concerns. The other platforms we use
are like Twitter, Youtube, right? They're basically free. Anyone can access
Flicker, too. We have a great thing where we do a photo shoot a day for two weeks.
They're based on the daily shoot type, which gives you the assignment of today: Find something
with great angles. Then you just basically do an image in angles and everyone shares
what they did. The platform is kind of irrelevant. As long as you have a Flicker account, you publish
it there and anyone can see it. So platform is something we thought long and hard
about and I don't think we solved, but were getting at. Because we don't make people use
UMW Blogs. They can use whatever platform they want, as long as it has an RSS feed.
So there's one. The other question about copyright.
I'm of the mindset that universities haven't been nearly as aggressive as they can be
with the various ideas. Now I say this
with the idea that, of course that raises questions. But, one of the things
we ask students to do is ask them to upload their mash-up videos or the stuff they
ripped off of DVD's to Youtube. And what happens is Youtube
kind of becomes the constant. It's basically like you can't use this.
You can't use this. You can use that. But it's weird. Actually,
Youtube has become in a position of a constable for copyright when they find that they scan your
video, which I think raises a whole bunch of serious issues. But at least immediately
it offers me a buffer between the students doing this stuff,
and them getting sued by the DMCA. It doesn't solve copyright. But the other
thing about copyright is the Library of Congress just passes an interesting
-well, not passed- they actually said, it's not illegal
for a media student to rip a DVD or
to jailbreak his/her iphone or other device
for a class based thing. So I wonder at what point are we kind of now
pushing the edges of what that means. I don't want to be flipping about
copyright. Copyright is important. Ds106 radio is a copyright nightmare.
People are uploading songs from anywhere and everywhere. I love it! I think it's great.
But that doesn't change the fact that at some point, copyright and
university is going to have to come to a head. I do not want to be at that head. I don't want Penn
State University to be at that head. But it's the fair use question and how
we deal with that. There are people like at American University, Professor
Auerbach, -I think,- she's doing some great stuff about
fair use and what are universities rights in this situation.
I'm of the mindset that I hope we get to a point where universities and
campuses around the country are creating content that is open
and that we can actually share freely with one another, but also that we can use
a clip of a 70's movie like we would use a quote
from a Shakespeare play, and not have to worry about spending 10 years
in prison. There should be some kind of viable cultural understanding
so that we could use some of these cultural artifacts freely without thinking that we're
pirates. Because once we're all pirates-nobody's a pirate.
And that's kind of where we're moving towards right now. Everybody
here is basically -if you've watched some infringement on Youtube,- you're basically
a pirate according to the NPAA and the RIAA.
That raises real questions. We're in the system that is transforming
and we need, as educational institutions, to be at the forefront of that head.
I'm not saying just go crazy and have a free-for-all. But challenging
that intelligently. As a university
a lot of things come, but if you take all the universities around and you start coming up with ways to think about
doing that creatively, I think that's interesting. Now the final question-
the final part of your question. So I answered
about copyright. What was the final one? Oh, accessibility!
WordPress is more accessible than our LMS, so we do have some value with that.
But in terms of video and audio, that really does become
problematic. Like can you have audio automatically transcribe
into a post. We don't do that. It's not
accessible to everyone, i'll be completely honest. I hope that
part of what we do is some of these technologies Google uses to make sure we're not
breaking copyright, it would be very useful to make sure that we're making it
accessible to everyone. I wish that we'd change some of the focus. One of the things that I
found that was really cool in ds106 was a project done by Tony Hurst, who found
by someone else that you could actually close caption a video on Twitter.
So if you're going through Twitter, we had students actually closed caption videos
using the Twitter stream, which then synced up with the Youtube video. And so there are kind of
creative ways at these problems that I would like to use the class as a way to think
through. But yes, accessibility is a huge issue. I think
just about any class at any university in the U.S. and beyond
would probably get dinged when it comes to accessibility, because I think as a culture we
haven't really paid close enough attention to that, and we have to make a decision to.
So, yes ds106 violates that but I think a ton of sites out
there do. And I think Penn State, -you guys are really thinking hard about this question,-
and it's an important one. I think
using open sources as I talked about earlier,
provide an interesting possibilities for accessibility. Like someone or a group
will be the developing plug-ins and you can make a whole network more accessible.
Like maybe develop a plug-in or some sort of software that automatically transcribes
videos, right? I don't want to think that this is out of the realm of possibilities
any more. Especially since it's built right into Youtube now. I mean Youtube actually
allows you to go in there and subtitle videos right out of the box.
That's a lot of manual labor though. So how do we automate
it? I don't know. That's a really good question. Smarter people than me are going to figure
it out. But those are all good questions. I think that,
rather than seeing this as a hindrance to what we're doing, it's even more of a reason to go forward with
this. These are all questions that need to be dealt with. I think hiding
behind a wall like is the LMS, doesn't help us.
Right? It kind of just hurts that culture.
I love these questions!
Audience Member: Do you have any other platform at UMW
for digitial records management, other than just
keeping blogs and tags. I mean, you're creating a lot of content in the blogs and tags
so is there any thought of how to archive this? Or is it not
a concern? Jim Groom: That's a huge concern. Here's how we do the archives.
That's a good question and I want to take it on two fronts. The first front is
everything on UMW Blogs is backed up independently, and we're now working
on our library to deal with how to take stuff we want to preserve for
the record, and pull it into their repository. So we're trying to look for ways
that will make stuff on UMW Blogs, that is like thesis-the idea of submitting
a thesis and bringing it into library. So right now we're in those conversations and haven't figured it out yet, but we're trying
to. Another question that's a huge one is if you're a faculty
member and you have your students write a blog for your course, one of the things
that's required in Virgina and probably here too is that you have to keep that on record for X amount of time.
So with ds106 the question would be, if they're all doing it in their own space,
how do you keep records and copies of all those? Well actually
one of the things we do -and this is a great archival tool,- and there's another
plug-in I'll talk about in a second, called FeedWordPress. Everything that feeds into the
main ds106 site is put into the database. I can automatically
save it. So I have a copy of every student's work once it's republished
there. So over the course of three years, I can keep that. If I need
to go to that I can even if they get rid of their domain or delete all their stuff. I still have a copy.
That's one way of archiving. There's another plug-in that was developed
by the folks at CHNM called Archiving. Archiving is a really
facinating plug-in because it goes into a WordPress blog, and it takes the entire blog
and it archives it locally as a PDF or as a
file, kind of like what you were doing Harlow with the -yeah, it's awesome!-
with Pack It Up. It's kind of like Pack It Up, but it puts it in e-book form, it puts it in
PDF form, and then it saves it as a local version. So there's another
way to archive this stuff in different forms. So this is why I'm excited
and I don't to tell you this. You guys have been doing awesome stuff-you don't need me to tell you that. But I'm
excited at the idea that you might be developing in an open source
platform, like WordPress. And all the stuff you do, little old Mary
Washington that's poor and Fredericksburg that's still concerned about the civil war can benefit.
Also too that all of us as universities, public and open
around the country, can start creating a critical mass
for opening up these tools and makings them freely available so that that
war institution or even a school that's not related with higher
ed, could benefit from our proceeds. They could benefit from what we're doing.
It's kind of like an ecosystem of sharing-and I love it because it's more sustainable.
Or I'd want to think it is. Does that make sense?
Any other questions?
Audience Member: I'm going to follow up on Tim's question.
Also the internet archive is also archiving all those blogs, right? -Yes.-
That's totally open and really cool. So I have a question that's also related to
archiving, which is about a project you might have heard about. University of North
Carolina is doing it, called Lifetime Library Project. -They're going to give,-
They're piloting it in their library school, and they
are going to give lifetime server space
to all their library school students so that they can archive their
personal libraries and have access to them for the rest of their lives. -So my
question to you is,- You know, I liked how you encouraged everyone
to have these more open URL's so that they're not tied to
the institutions, so that they move on and their work moves with them more
openly. So what do you think of an initiative like this? Should it reside with the institution?
Or is it more about acclimating people to the open
web and thinking about their products as body poll? Jim Groom: Well that's a great question, and I
think right now there's two ways to think about it right? Right now we've moved
to the personal and we've argued the personal at Mary Washington because the institutional kind of
space for archiving doesn't exist. So unlike the University
of North Carolina, we didn't come up with a magic project. Now what would be nice
is if you archive everything you do in your own space, if it automatically
archives in that other space. This is the whole thing that I've always thought would be interesting. Why would we
upload a video to Youtube, or Blip, or Vimeo-there's now a little button that says
"do you want to also archive this on the internet archive?" so that
when you're doing it in your own space, you can also archive it one that space. If they actually
developed it with the sense that this may not be the only place you want the keep it,
I think that would be great. This brings me to another interesting question
about the internet archive, and Brewster Kahle -I love, right- because
his vision is basically he wants to archive all the world's information that was ever created
period. I love that vision. Even if it's not possible, it's great.
Well he was talking recently on democracy now, about the
Google eBook initiative. He said that ultimately the Google books initiative became
something that I think is why we should be a little bit wary about Google email and stuff.
Basically they scanned all these books in the University of Michigan
and all these other schools, and these offering books right now, right?
They aren't in publication, and it's not clear who has copyright. It's kind of
coming under Google's control. Brewster Kahle is actually challenging
this idea and this access to this information. These are key issues
that focus around copyright, around publishing and archives,
and they focus around the idea of having open access. I wouldn't want to think that we all
need to go through Google's checkpoint, -an advertising company,-
to get access to all the world's knowledge. Right? There's some real questionable
things about that. Not that internet archive is ultimately the solution.
It's a very slow site-it has a lot of infrastructural problems.
But I love the way theoretically, they're challenging some of the assumptions that would come with Google.
I think as a culture we've been way to trusting of Google. I don't think
that's a bad thing per-say because we've benefited in some real ways, -and I use Google
it's not like I'm free of Google,- but I think when it comes to the world's
information and the world's best thought, it was universities traditionally
that were the kind of safeguard of that. I wondering if we're giving away the
farm a little bit. Internet archive, and particularly
Brewster Kahle really raises some of those questions and what I think is a great
interview about where we're at and what does archiving mean. I'm
fine if institutions take a roll in that. But institutions have failed up until
now because they haven't made it easy enough for people to do it there and
elsewhere. Think about an infrastructure that makes it simple.
Once they figure that out, then what does Google have over them? That's what Google's figured out.
I think now we're at a place with open source being
mature enough, that we can do this well and we can do it together.
That's what's exciting. That's what I think is potentially going to move us.
Hopefully! I mean I always feel like we're in a particular critical moment. We could go a lot of different
ways. Distopia, where you see the distopia everywhere right?
The Apocalypse film. The world is ending, right? Nothing's sustainable. We're all going to
die. Peak oil, right? But then the other one is rainbows and unicorns.
And I want to believe that we're moving towards rainbows and unicorns!
And that we can control that-that we're not without
agency. Taking back some of that agency starts with something as
critical as who we are in this new medium. To me,
that's far bigger and transcendental when we think about that versus a tool to use.
Tools just become the way to exercise some of our power
in this space.
Cole: Please, I want you to join me in thanking Jim.

Cole: I'd like this to go on forever, but the web can't handle it. Rainbows and
unicorns, that's perfect. I have a whole new image of you.
If you want to continue the conversation with Jim we're planning on
going out to Ottos later this evening for an informal get together.
If you're going to come, RSVP to me and I'll get a tabl-
-nah, just kidding! Just show up and I'll be there. But thank you so much, and I wanted to mention
that we will be announcing the symposium key note speaker is Jane
Mcgonigal this year, and this is on March 26th
right? Or 16th? Oh, yeah 6th.
Ah! It's March 24th. See how well I
know these things. Anyways, thank you everyone for coming. Thank you so much.