Photography for Study Abroad: Photography as Storytelling

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One of the challenges for faculty members and students on study abroad research and service learning trips is capturing their research in meaningful, engaging ways that can be captured and showcased for others at the College, and beyond, to benefit from. One current W&M solution to this problem is to create a course website using WordPress and then having students post their research on the website. While publishing research papers is a good first step, these text-based essays don’t take advantage of the great opportunity that a study abroad research trip affords for great photographic supplemental materials. Indeed, a good photo journal to go along with a student’s research can not only keep the reader of the website engaged, but it can help tell the story in fundamental ways that mere text alone can’t do.

Music Resources Available on the Web

Revitalize Public Domain Music project from the Free Music Archive.

In my last post, I gave an introduction to streaming music resources available through the W&M campus libraries. Today, I’m going to give an introduction to some resources you can use beyond the library. If the collections that we have available through our streaming services or in the library aren’t meeting your course needs, these Web resources might be just what you need!

The Library Is Alive with the Sound of Music!

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When I came to William & Mary two years ago, one of the exciting things about being at a liberal arts college was the way that all the performing arts are part of the curriculum across disciplines. In today’s post, I wanted to share some of the resources that the libraries have to support the use of music in your courses!

Photography is Dead, Long Live Photography

Eduard Muybridge

Since the beginning, photography (ca. 1837) has had a bit of an identity crisis — is it an art, a science, or just merely a documentary tool? Until recently photography had been in a large part limited by what could be photographed by the available technology. But now, with the advent of photo sharing and Instagram, photography just may be dead (or mostly dead as it were).

Three Ways to Teach Students Technology Skills

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Teaching students how to accomplish things with their computers shouldn’t be as overwhelming as it sometimes feels. Here are three ways that I have alleviated the burden of teaching students how to do things with technology that helped me focus my energy on students learning the course materials rather than on troubleshooting unexpected technology problems.

MOOC(h): How MOOCs Will Help the Rest of Us

Class2Go

As high-profile universities and professors set out to “change the world” with MOOCs and deliver courses to thousands of students at a time, they will also develop tools that will help everyone else teach and learn. Software engineers and professors will create new tools to manage large courses, and as they do so, they will change the conventions about what professors need from a learning management system (like Blackboard). While conversations about MOOCs can be about “democratizing education,” they can also be about getting professors better tools.

Using WordPress for Student Research Papers

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I’ve been preaching the use of WordPress to my faculty members in the humanities who want to find a better way for students to write and share their research papers.

Alternatives to the CMS-Based Student Project

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This post is part three of my three-part series on the CMS and Web-based student projects. While in parts one and two I talked about how CMS projects came to be and reasons why we might want to re-think them, in this post I suggest some alternatives to these types of student projects.

Why Re-Think the CMS-Based Assignment?

Derelict typing machine

Since I have been at W&M, we have gone from the relative freedom of the Web left over from the 1990s to the more managed reality of the content management system. Content management systems (CMSs), like WordPress, provide easy ways to build websites and have your students present their work on the Web, but the CMS does have its drawbacks. In order for it to allow for the easy creation of polished-looking sites and let your students focus on writing, the CMS makes many of the other decisions about the website for them. Thinking through what a CMS-based student project often accomplishes may help you better refine your web-based student projects.

The Origins and Drawbacks of CMS-Based Student Projects

Nothing says 1990s Internet like Netscape!

As an undergrad at W&M in 2002, I completed my first website for an assignment in an American Studies class. Ten years later, the Web has changed, but I am not so sure if I can say the same for many classroom Web projects. Publishing content on the Web is far easier today than it used to be, thanks to a category of Web applications called Content Management Systems (CMS). A CMS allows people to publish content to the Web without much technical skill. This is great because it allows class projects to focus more on writing and Web publishing. However, I wonder if we have lost something in Web projects as CMSs like WordPress have become more prevalent. I think it is time to reevaluate what a semester-long Web project should look like.