Setbacks but plugging ahead

Hang in There!

Ah, the hang-in-there kitten.  I can empathize, my friend.


I had planned to work on a #DMCI project with a student who would record video of student lessons in various settings and we’d edit together a video, but the snow and sports and other obligations have meant too little extra time for the project for her.  I am powering ahead but trying to work out how I can be in multiple places at one time to record these lessons.  I need to make my pitch video* and I need to figure out a plan…part of me wants to just carry the camera with me at all times when I’m on campus, and just record snippets of students planning here and there to edit together later.  That would work for my quick intro video plan, but not for the other options such as library of lessons using models that could be really useful to our future students. I also want to capture lessons and planning from students in classes other than my own.  They often record themselves teaching, but on a wide variety of cameras of different levels of quality.  Maybe the various levels of quality could add to the charm, though, and showcase the messiness of it all.  I can see things like the Steadicam Smoothee (described here by Andy Rush) helping with the quality…maybe it’s about a progression of quality in the video clips over time as we figure out how to capture quality video in such far-reaching settings as student teaching practica.


We can do this, kitten.  I know it.



And Now February Is Snowing Acronyms

I tweeted recently that I began working on two different digital scholarship initiatives lately, and so I did.  After a long blogging hiatus and plenty of lessons learned, I am back.  It’s BLOG 2: THE RECKONING.  Or maybe: THE ACRONYM-ING.  This is actually very exciting because I have missed blogging.  Plenty of people hate it when asked to do it as part of a project/class, but I am not one of those people.  I think I was actually just looking for an excuse to start doing it again.


DMCI is the Digital Media Commons Initiative.  Andy Rush explains it super well here; basically a student and I are working on a project to make the work of our students more visible to the university community and the public in general as a transition into the opening of our giant amazing tech wonderland Convergence Center in the fall.  We will make a product to share, but also document our process.  Sometimes you start projects like these and have a nebulous idea of what the end product will look like, but that is decidedly not the case for me.  I can see the final product very clearly even though we haven’t even really begun.  Have you seen the Office intro?  The one with the awesome and catchy tune?  I see a video like that with lots of clips of our preservice teachers planning and teaching lessons.  (The project actually dovetails nicely with one that my Teaching of English class is doing, where they will record oral histories of local teachers–that piece shows the other side of the story, and the story needs to be told by the teachers, because lately others have been attempting to craft that narrative for them.)  I will update this blog with our progress during the semester, but for now, I have a question for you: The Office…the song and video work so well, but is there an underlying message there that I should avoid?  You know–Michael Scott and his bumbling nature…Will YOU be the one to crush my dream idea?  If so, do it now before we really get moving on this.  In defense of the plan, the Office may seem like a disorganized and unprofessional place on the surface, but actually, there is real LIFE and THINGS happening there and it is MESSY but it WORKS.  I’ll….keep working on that defense, but anyway–please weigh in, if you are picking up what I’m putting down.


DSI, or the Digital Scholars Institute, is a group of faculty who are working on digital scholarship projects organized by the fabulous Mary Kayler and my group is led by the wonderful Sue Fernsebner.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE interacting with people across the university? Because I REALLY do.  It is so awesome to learn about what other people are doing; an interdisciplinary approach is so essential to seeing our own and others’ work in a new light. I was feeling sad about how Domain of One’s Own ended last year, but then this came along and made it all better.  Already we had an excellent discussion about how exactly we define digital scholarship and where we will direct our focus this semester.  I got into using Twitter in my classes last semester and made it a small part of students’ grades–many of them had great interactions outside of class.  I would estimate that about 75% of the students tweeted at least twice.  Some didn’t love it, but I felt good about it.  And this semester I made it optional.  Aaaaaand….crickets.  Maybe three?  four? students are there and interacting, but most are definitely not.  With the snow days, to have everyone on there would have been amazing.  Canvas is one thing, but it didn’t have the same kind of community feeling that Twitter does and that I love.  So I am going to look into student engagement and thoughts about using  Twitter for classes and possibly even programs as well.  Serving as a social media correspondent at a conference in the fall (NCTE) also revealed a kind of weird vortex where I was more focused on interacting with people in the Twitterverse than I was with actual living humans in the room.  I will definitely write more about that another time, but that’s a part of it too–how do we decide where to focus our interactions, and why?  What drives students to comment/interact in this “third space”?


See you next time!