Rochelle’s Online Lair

UMW creative writing professor, Warren Rochelle, recently redesigned his professional Web site at Hosted on UMW Blogs, the site shares information about professor Rochelle’s third novel, The Called, published this past July.

Professor Rochelle built the site a few years ago as a way to share information about his work. On the site, you can find summaries of each of his novels, as well as reviews and excerpts. He has also begun to share media files of recent interviews which you can listen to online.

The site represents the kind of professional presence that anyone at UMW can develop on the UMW Blogs platform. Individually purchased domain names can be “mapped” onto any site in the system — allowing faculty and students to build out their own domain and online identity.

A Garden grows at UMW

Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Earlier this week Emily Battle of The Free-Lance Star published an article featuring Bethany Friesner’s vegetable garden at her UMW apartment complex. The take away quote from the article for me the following:

She is reading what she can, and documenting her progress on a blog on UMW’s website.

“The whole point is an adventure,” she said.

Through her blogging, Friesner said she wants to help people understand that they can grow a little bit of their own food even if they only have a small amount of space to work with.

She really embodies the spirit of UMW Blogs by using this space to publicly document and help people understand—that is the very ethos that public education needs to both harness and promote. And thanks to Bethany, we have a brilliant example. Visit her blog here.

Image credit: Peter Cihelka/The Free-Lance Star

Psychology, Brain Trauma, and Phineas Gage

Portrait of Phineas Gage Professor Mindy Erchull’s Psychology 100 course is covering everything from brain trauma to memory to Freud in their blog posts. And the range of reflections and incorporation of the ubiquity of psychology in popular culture makes for a fascinating and engaging space to follow. Don’t miss Lucy Bain’s regular and intelligent posts that document her thinking and questioning on the topics being raised.

What’s more, professor Erchull’s link to these two articles on Phineas Gage, “nueroscience’s most famous patient,” makes for good reading. From the Smithsonian article you get a nice recounting of this 19th century railroad worker’s story:

In 1848, Gage, 25, was the foreman of a crew cutting a railroad bed in Cavendish, Vermont. On September 13, as he was using a tamping iron to pack explosive powder into a hole, the powder detonated. The tamping iron—43 inches long, 1.25 inches in diameter and weighing 13.25 pounds—shot skyward, penetrated Gage’s left cheek, ripped into his brain and exited through his skull, landing several dozen feet away. Though blinded in his left eye, he might not even have lost consciousness, and he remained savvy enough to tell a doctor that day, “Here is business enough for you.”

Gage’s initial survival would have ensured him a measure of celebrity, but his name was etched into history by observations made by John Martyn Harlow, the doctor who treated him for a few months afterward. Gage’s friends found him“no longer Gage,” Harlow wrote. The balance between his “intellectual faculties and animal propensities” seemed gone. He could not stick to plans, uttered “the grossest profanity” and showed “little deference for his fellows.” The railroad-construction company that employed him, which had thought him a model foreman, refused to take him back. So Gage went to work at a stable in New Hampshire, drove coaches in Chile and eventually joined relatives in San Francisco, where he died in May 1860, at age 36, after a series of seizures.

Read more:

And add to that the fact that the image above, believed to be of Gage holding the tamping iron that shot through his head was discovered recently via Flickr. How cool is that?

Image credit: image here.

Introducing Gravatar

The screencast below gives an overview of Gravatar, which provides a quick and easy way to get a globally recognized avatar that will work with UMW Blogs and beyond.

Via Profhacker.

Recording the Crisis

Steve Greenlaw's Financial Crisis Website

During the spring 2009 semester, Steve Greenlaw’s international finance students did more than just study the current financial crisis — they created a persistent online resource about the global recession. Students carefully studied and analyzed the international crisis and decided they wanted to build a Web site that shed light on the reasons behind the meltdown and the ongoing events surrounding it. Working on a site in UMW Blogs, Dr. Greenlaw and the students developed a structure for their analysis and presentation and then spent the spring and summer publishing and updating their findings. In addition to sections on the site that examine the intricacies of everything from the subprime mortgage market to the government bailout, students created a timeline of events and developed a robust bibliography of references.