Category Archives: THATCamp Pedagogy 2011

The Humanities and Technology Camp

Live blogging?

I’m at day 1 of THATCamp Lehigh Valley at Lehigh University. Walking from parking at Zoellner to Linderman Library covered my exercise for at least today. Seriously, if I studied on campus, I would be fit as a fiddle.

Linderman Library at Lehigh University

Linderman Library at Lehigh University

Anyway, this is boot camp day – the day before the “unconference” – and I specifically signed up to participate due to the availability of a workshop on using WordPress. Though I failed to blog about it (epic fail #678,900, yes I’m counting), I stumbled through a WP- an audio player-plugin fiasco the other week.  Apparently, I could use a workshop on using WordPress! Get it? ;-)

Here we are at an introduction to WordPress with a room of 75 people simultaneously setting up a personal space. First, this should qualify for Guinness Book in my opinion. Fortunately, I was here early and, as a THATCamp alum, I grabbed a table space. I feel bad for the 70 people furiously lap typing right now. They are superheros.

The differentiation between categories and tags was helpful. I have always had some trouble effectively differentiating between them. Though I never considered adding a home page to change the feel from a blog, that is an interesting idea. I was hoping for a rundown on the whole .com vs. .org thing, but nothing so far. Something tells me that we won’t have time for that, since we didn’t even make it as far as widgets. Maybe later…

Follow-up: I added a news page and reversed the comments. This seems like a much better option than pulling in facebook or twitter feeds that contain a broader range of content, all of which will not be appropriate for this space. I guess the introduction was valuable after all.

Next Day: Reflection on live blogging…

In my attempt to live blog, I did miss some of the speaker’s points. Similar to contributing to Twitter backchannel, my attention was so divided that I couldn’t focus well on any of the individual threads. This is a problem, particularly considering what we know about the cost of switching tasks. Some people seem to do it effectively, but do appearances reflect reality?

With so many simultaneous demands on our attention, written support resources may be even more important these days. With this in mind, I made a request for the session speaker to prepare a document that covers the high points from her presentation. This resource could benefit multitaskers like me as well as camp participants new to WordPress. I see this as a win-win! ;-)

THATCamp Pedagogy 2011 & Vassar College: On a Personal Note

Vassar College

It was a busy three or four days between THATCamp Pedagogy 2011 at Vassar College, homework, work, life – probably just referred to as “the usual” when people ask how it’s going. I took Thursday – my birthday – off from work in an attempt to reduce my over-sized to-do list and it was a productive day overall. Friday, on the other hand, saw a steep decline that began with a lengthy online dialog with a TA over grading errors and ended with a speeding ticket on a New Jersey highway. Some days just work that way…

I had a terrible headache by the time Sunday morning rolled around; likely the result of anxiety and sleep deprivation. I promised myself that I would leave the hotel an hour early that morning so I could walk the gorgeous Vassar campus with my new camera. As I probably should have expected, however, time dwindled. Note to self: if you book a suite with a Jacuzzi in a picturesque locale, plan to leave the textbooks behind – at least the majority of them. The Jacuzzi remained dry and I never even made it out onto the hotel patio to view the passing waterfalls. Epic fail on the R & R front :-\

On a positive note, the Sunday morning weather was perfection and I did take the time to circle the main quad, though I ended up at our morning briefing 20 minutes late. oops! So, a half hour and a few dozen pictures later and my calm had been miraculously restored. I am loving my new Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX100V with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 30x Optical Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080 Video from Amazon! Put a camera in my hands and the rest of the world just melts away! It’s amazing how that lens can immediately adjust my focus. ;-) It’s not necessarily that I am a great photographer, but becoming one with the camera is like a system reboot for me.

Being a returning adult student probably makes life more challenging. There is always something or someone that requires your immediate attention with probably a line of other somethings directly behind! My advice is to stop and take some time for yourself; even if the world seems like it is spinning out of control. Immerse yourself in something that you love – something that demands 100% of you. The investment of even the briefest encounter – allowing yourself to go into full-on creativity mode – will be time well spent when you return to the task at hand refreshed and filled with renewed enthusiasm.

I guess I have learned something from #CMC11 after all!

Post THATCamp Pedagogy 2011

First, much gratitude to Matt S. and everyone with the power (you know who you are ;-) ) at Vassar and THATCamp for hosting Pedagogy 2011. Second, my thanks to whoever reviewed applications and stamped me a yes, even though I am not a faculty member serving the traditional higher education student population. Third, thank you to all fellow campers for graciously including me and accepting my differentness. Fourth, my apologies to anyone who actually reads this; I’m certain that it would be better written if I wasn’t fighting exhaustion and cognitive overload. Speaking of that… to those of you who think that I am a crazy multi-tasker – I ain’t got nothin’ on campers. They are simultaneously writing session notes, hacking resources, composing a group bibliography, tweeting back-channel, and participating in a live and lively discussion. WoW. I am totally blown away. Right now, my poor little brain is like Rocky Balboa after the fight – maybe I coulda been a contender…  For now, there are no art museum steps in my plan for the remainder of the day ;-)

I’m gonna pull a Scarlett O’Hara and I’ll think about that tomorrow!

THATCamp Pedagogy Eve

Several months ago, I applied for the opportunity to participate in #THATCamp Pedagogy at Vassar College. THAT stands for The Humanities and Technology Camp and the weekend is an opportunity for open collaboration and information sharing with people looking for new and better ways to use technology in a variety of teaching and learning experiences. I was pretty excited when I received notification of my acceptance. Now that the time is actually here, I’m very excited and a little nervous.

So, to set the tone, I am making a list of hopes for both myself and for the experience. I’m not going to call them goals because I am already about two breaths shy of a total freak-out and I don’t need to add any extra pressure…hahaha.

1. I hope that I am a good community member – an active participant in a cooperative, if not collaborative, environment.

2. I hope that I add value to the experience – that what I contribute is found to be useful in some way to my fellow campers.

3. I hope that I let myself have fun.

4. I hope that the experience rejuvenates and refocuses and refines my own ideas and perspectives and goals.

5. From our first messages, I am already confident that many other campers believe in a learner-centered approach. I hope that I meet a few of them. It would be really great to get to know them :-)

Tomorrow is the big day!