Archive for the ‘Featured Blog’ Category


3D Printing at UMW

Monday, February 13th, 2012

If you’ve never heard of 3D printing, don’t worry – you will.

Here at UMW, Professor George Meadows and Tim Owens of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies have been spearheading an effort to incorporate this nascent technology into the classroom. Follow their adventure here.

Adaptations Creates a Web of Media

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Professor Whalen’s ENGL251yy course “Adaptations” is doing big things over on their course website


This course is about analyzing works that were inspired and adapted from other works.  Currently, the students of ENGL251yy are making an intricate web of connected media.   Each student is expected to complete 10 different “vectors”, by connecting them to other vectors already placed on the web.  Check out their ongoing vector project here on a Google Doc.


Stop Internet Censorship

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

You may notice that today, January 18, a number of high-profile sites have “gone black” to protest two bills being considered by the U.S. Congress right now. SOPA and PIPA , if passed, will cripple the Web by requiring the owners of Web sites to police content uploaded by users. If they fail to follow these strict content-monitoring requirements, they risk having their sites blacklisted (essentially, made unavailable to users of the Web) with no access to due process.

If passed, sites like Wikipedia, Reddit, YouTube, and Flickr, will almost certainly go away (at least in their current forms). Furthermore, if these bills are passed, UMW Blogs will be in danger of being blacklisted unless we begin to police and monitor every piece of content uploaded to the space.

We believe that there needs to be an intelligent and balanced discussion about the nature of intellectual property in our increasingly-digital world. We are sure that neither of these bills contributes to such a conversation.

Please join us in protesting SOPA and PIPA.

UMW Cited as Model for Future of Networked Learning

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

UMW, and UMW Blogs in particular, is being heralded in Richard Demillo’s new book Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities as a space of great educational ferment, to quote from George Leef’s review of the book here. In fact, Leef’s review not only examines more popular open education mainstays like MIT’s Open Courseware, but spends a bit of time discussing the role of networked culture in re-imagining the future of higher education:

Open courseware is not the only way online learning is going to change higher education. DeMillo observes that whereas the traditional college class involves the broadcasting of information from the professor to (doubtfully alert) students, blogs involve rich connection networks where students and instructors interact and share their questions and information.

In that regard, DeMillo points to a little-known school where there is great educational ferment: “At the University of Mary Washington, learning takes place in the digital spaces engineered by Jim Groom and his band of Edupunks. At UMW, learning takes place in blogs.”

And when highlighting the importance of a networked culture for the future of learning at institutions UMW is highlighted as a model. UMW Blogs provides more than open resources and lectures on the internet, it also enables the ability to interact and share ideas and resources that helps bridge the gap between institutions of higher learning and the web.

James Bacon, proprietor of the Bacon’s Rebellion blog that focuses on all things Virginia, not only gave UMW kudos in for it’s work with UMW Blogs in his post on the DeMillo book, but also points out what remains the most important lesson of UMW Blogs. The open publishing platform is not remarkable because it is single-handedly transforming higher education (such an assertion would be absurd), but rather it is how this platform embodies “the process of experimentation” that is still in its infancy when it comes to the future of higher education. To Mary Washington’s great credit, it has been on the bleeding edge of innovation in this regard for more than seven years. What’s more, I’m glad people are recognizing it as a vital investment in not only the institution’s future, but in a larger discourse around the future of educational institutions.

Image credit:  Ethan Hein’s “Hyperbolic orthogonal dodecahedral honeycomb”

Principles of Newspaper Writing: Digging Down Digitally

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The PRINCIPLES OF NEWSPAPER WRITING course at the University of Mary Washington was designed to marry old-school in-depth reporting and new-school digital technology. In other words, journalistic tradition in modern form. The instructor, Michael McCarthy, assigned three teams of students a “beat” — or a specific area of news coverage — and asked them to use their own research, creativity and initiative to develop Web-based special reports. With four to five students on each team, they had all semester to report on their topics, conduct interviews, and gather data and design their pages.

To portray with some depth the university’s chase for reaccreditation, what students do with their free time, and what happens to students after graduation, the class worked on three beats and completed these reports.