Archive for the ‘UMW Blogs’ Category

 

500 Open Courses on UMW Blogs

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013


500
At the beginning of every semester I get a hankering to post something about UMW Blogs. I don’t know why, it has arrived to the point that it’s more like air than technology around campus at this point. We regularly have more than 50 faculty using this platform any given semester as a space to share their teaching out in the open, and after five and a half years of UMW Blogs now  have more than 500 courses on the system (and this doesn’t include courses from the 2007/2008 academic year—we didn’t start tracking them until Fall 08). What’s more, since we started tracking traffic on UMW Blogs in the Fall of 2009 we have had more than five million unique visitors and almost twelve million page views—two million of which came last semester alone.

Five hundred open educational experiences laid bare to the world at large, each one a love letter to the ideal of thinking, sharing, and creating on the open web as part of a public institution. To be clear absolutely clear, a number of those courses have been taught several times, and the courses are uneven to say the least. But that’s part of the experience—it must remain a space for experimentation, and with that comes false starts, mid-stream re-thinking, and, sometimes, abandonment of an experiment gone awry in order to re-group for the next one. Not failure but learning. I want to take a moment to recognize all the awesome faculty, students, and staff at UMW that make this kind of sharing of the work we do possible on a regular basis, you all rock!

UMW Blogs Trusts and Loves You!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Sarah Cunnane, writer for the Times Higher Education blog, recently featured UMW Blogs as one of the rare scholarly publishing platforms for a university community that actually cultivates, encourages, and allows for open publishing by anyone in the UMW community. We are proud of this public display of trust, and rather than resulting in a black eye for the institution it has become a mechanism for highlighting the amazing work of faculty and students alike, as well as bringing attention to the great work we do at UMW on a regular basis.

The discussion around trust and academic blogging platforms was ignited by a post by Mark Smithers on “Blogging and tust in Universities”. He highlighted UMW as a rare example of trust in Higher Education:

Now the question is why aren’t universities doing the same thing? To be fair, there are some very good examples of university blogging environments where numerous members of the university run a blog. One of the best known is the University of Mary Washington blogs site but even this runs from its own domain and not from the UMW main site. These sites, though, are the exception rather than the rule.

Fact is, this is just the beginning of UMW’s experiment with openly sharing the work we do with the world. over the coming academic year our main website, http://umw.edu, which is now running on WordPress will feature more department bogs/sites (see here, here, and here for examples), individual sites/blogs, and cross-fertilize content from specific departments and class sites into the umw.edu space. This open, fishbowl approach to teaching and learning on a university’s website brings a new idea of open engagement to a university’s web presence. UMW’s website is not just a brochure anymore—it is an open educational experience and a resource all at once!

UMW Blogs Upgraded

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

We have upgraded UMW Blogs to the latest version of WordPress Multi-User, which has been nick-named “Coltrane” after the late, great Jazz musician. This version has a very different user interface on the administrative backend, and it may be a bit confusing at first glance. However, we have documented the whole thing for you in the support section here, so be sure to take a look there if you get lost. Also, if you have any specific issues or questions please contact Jim Groom at 654-1997, or use the contact email form here. Finally, take a look at the video above which provides a quick overview of the latest version of WordPress.

EscherMath

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Image of Debra Hydorn's students at Joe DiBella art showThe students in professor Debra Hydorn’s Freshman Seminar EscherMath have created a series of pieces that imagine “the mathematics of art.” They class visited professor Joseph DiBella’s exhibit at UMW’s DuPont Gallery in order to study how he “uses symmetry and pattern to define space, fill space and create borders in and around his works.” After thinking and discussing the way in which art and mathematics intersect, students imagined and created their own pieces as you can see from the fruits of their labor above. Professor Hydorn’s course provides a wonderful example of how a Freshman Seminar might explore the interdisciplinary nature of the arts and sciences in some creative ways–very exciting and inspiring stuff afoot at UMW.

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

Thursday, February 12th, 2009
Have those mid-semester blues? Need a good laugh? Too lazy to drag yourself to the movies or the Blockbuster?

Well look no further than UMW’s production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet). Read an abstract of the play by Ann-Marie MacDonald if you don’t believe me:

Plucky college professor Constance Ledbelly sets out to prove, on a mere sliver of evidence, that Shakespeare’s two most famous tragedies were, in fact, comedies penned by an unknown author. To prove her point, she disappears into her wastebasket and emerges invincible in the worlds of Othello and Romeo and Juliet, conjuring swashbuckling adventure and laugh-out-loud results.

And for those of you who wonder what it is like to prepare for giving such a performance take a peek at Katie’s blog, where she discusses her preparation for playing Desdemona. Itching to learn more about the theatre department? Then take yourself right over to theatre.umwblogs.org and get the inside scoop!

The play will be open February 12-22, so see it while you can!