September is here, and academic life has begun anew here at Agnes Scott. After a long summer of acclimating to my “new” environment, planning events, and assisting others on their respective odysseys through the blogging mucky muck, I am greeting the fall semester with open arms.
I won’t lie to you: as fulfilling and exciting as the Fellowship is, I was not a little intimidated by the job when I started. Making the transition from full-time student (a position practically defined by one’s ability to follow instruction) to full-time employee — more precisely, Fellow — is a bit jarring, kind of like experiencing culture shock upon entering a new place. Instead of blithely accepting someone else’s syllabus for work to be accomplished through a semester, I’ve been granted the unique opportunity to create my own, as it were. If one were to step into my office in McCain G-38, one would see a long list of potential projects spanning the year — a year that, for me, is marked by this fellowship. The list serves as my “inspiration board,” as it were, and keeps me focused on the tasks at hand: further defining the Digital Design Fellowship while working harder than hard to promote reflective thinking (and learning) across disciplines. If there’s one thing I’ve realized since graduating from Agnes Scott, it’s that you never stop learning. There’s still plenty of learnin’ to be done on my end, and I look forward to enhancing my digital experience right alongside the campus community.
As this blog is as much a chronicle of the Fellowship as it is an electronic resource for things electronic, I’ll take a moment (an Internet moment! Which is really like a nanosecond) to give you a few highlights of What I Did Last Summer:
- The Common Reading Project: User Education Librarian Casey Long and I started a blog for Agnes Scott’s Common Reading Program, a summer reading requirement for all new incoming students at the College. This year’s book was Outcasts United by Warren St. John, an account focusing on the true story of the Fugees, a refugee boys’ soccer team in Clarkston, Ga. Casey and I created the blog in hopes of inspiring reflective thought (and, certainly, feedback) from students, faculty, and staff alike. Students are required to submit a creative project or written response to the Common Reading Committee before annual Orientation begins in August, and we were able to post some great reading responses by faculty and staff, ending with questions to provoke deep, nuanced thought on Outcasts United. Additionally, campus-wide Scottie Book of the Month Club hosted a raffle for staff members who contributed a response to the book on our blog. We’re looking to document the Project’s yearly progress in selecting next year’s book, and continuing the cycle of thoughtful, productive discussion!
- The Leadership Retreat: Writing Center Coordinator Neil Simpkins ’10 and I attended the Student Leadership Retreat in late summer, held this year at a conference center in Helen, Ga. Aside from taking time to gawk at the awesome oddities of North Georgia (gem mining stands and surreal Bavarian villages were not the least of them), we were able to present to student groups and leadership organizations about how to blog effectively for the collective good. Main topics covered included the failure of the Outlook Public Folders message board system as a means of disseminating information campus-wide, and in that vein, what would be more productive ways of encouraging dialogue between students and organizations. My personal favorite point of the presentation was explaining the difference(s) between a website and a blog, and how different platforms serve different organizations (and individuals, natch) better! I’m hoping to incorporate that into my next post… in the meantime, Senate Secretary Jillian Pilch was kind enough to send me the link to the Tumblr for ASC Senate. Well done, y’all!
- Honing the Digital Design Tutor position: 2010-2011 has already proven to be a banner year for the Digital Design Fellowship. Here in the Educational Technology Center, we’ve been working to tweak the specifications of the Digital Design Tutor, currently a work-study position open to any student interested in blogging technology and helping others. This year, our Tutor is Estefania Palacio ’14, who has already started to set up her own e-portfolio. She’s been doing some fantastic research on other e-portfolio initiatives on campuses nationwide, and is a great additional resource for blogging tools and ideas.
So as not to exhaust any and everyone, I’ll sign out for now and put more exciting news up soon (like new class blogs! Hooray!). Look forward to next week’s post on alternative blogging platforms and ways to maximize your e-portfolio’s appearance (and content) — as we all know, WordPress is never the only option! (Sorry, WordPress. I’m a Tumblr fanatic.)
Have a great weekend, everyone!