August 20, 2022

Digital Native

Caitlin Murphy ’12 knew she was prepared for a job that combined her history and digital studies degrees and thought a position at PBS would be the perfect fit.

Not long after she submitted her application, Murphy got a call from the internationally renowned public broadcasting network.

Caitlin Murphy ’12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

Caitlin Murphy ’12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

They had reviewed her resume and delved into her online portfolio, which she developed while a student at the University of Mary Washington, and it wasn’t long before she had the job.

“When I applied for the position, they said my online portfolio was one of the main reasons they had contacted me,” Murphy said. “It really helped me get a foot in the door. I don’t think I would have gotten called if I hadn’t had the portfolio I did.”

Murphy is a program associate at the PBS headquarters just outside Washington, D.C. She screens upcoming programs, like “Masterpiece Theatre” or “Foyle’s War,” to make sure they meet PBS’ standards.

The position requires an eye for detail and the ability to research, skills Murphy said she honed while a student at UMW.

“Caitlin took full advantage of the liberal arts experience at UMW,” said Jeff McClurken, chair and professor of history and American studies. “Not only was she a history major who wrote a thesis that earned her departmental honors, but she also crafted a second major in digital studies, anticipating our development of the formal digital studies minor by nearly two years.”

Her digital studies major combined her passion for history with her love of technology in a multi-disciplinary way, combining classes in English, art, history, computer science with ds106, UMW’s open online digital storytelling course.

Murphy’s online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Murphy’s online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Murphy’s portfolio, which she shared during her job interview with PBS, included work from her classes and internships, as well as her work on the James Farmer Lectures project.

“She co-produced a site making the words, sounds and images of Civil Rights leader James Farmer available to anyone,” McClurken said. “She then took an assignment in my class to create a digital portfolio and ran with it, producing an amazing site featuring her projects in several classes in multiple departments.  It’s no surprise to me that PBS hired her based on her work.”

Now, all incoming students have the opportunity to create an online presence like Murphy, through the Domain of One’s Own initiative, launched in August 2013. The pioneering project provides free, personal domain names and web hosting to help students take responsibility for their online identities, as well as explore the implications of what it might mean for them to take control of their work and manage their own portfolios.

“Mary Washington does a really great job of providing opportunities for students,” said Murphy. “A lot of departments are working really hard to integrate digital media into day to day classes and projects. The integration of creating a website, blog or video project to create content that is still valid and historical really provided something a traditional class didn’t.”

Digital Native

While at UMW, Caitlin Murphy '12 combined her passion for history with her love for technology.

UMW Freshmen Build Digital Identities Through Innovative Project

This fall, incoming freshmen at the University of Mary Washington will have the opportunity to create their digital identities through the Domain of One’s Own initiative. The Domain of One's Own initiative allows students and faculty to experiment with domains and web hosting. The pioneering project provides free, personal domain names and web hosting to help students take responsibility for their online identities, as well as explore the implications of what it might mean for them to take control of their work and manage their own portfolios. Domain of One’s Own reinforces UMW as a leader in higher education, according to Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies Jim Groom, since it is evidence that emerging technologies are central to the university’s student and faculty experience, not afterthoughts. “Domain of One’s Own is an opportunity to build on a tradition we have had for the past 10 years to build the Web into the curriculum,” said Groom, whom the Chronicle of Higher Education named one of a dozen top tech innovators in 2012. “UMW is one of the first [colleges and universities] to think about this in a central way. Mary Washington is suggesting and doing something radically different. We are building the Web into the fabric of how we teach and learn here.” Domain of One’s Own started as a pilot project in 2012, with more than 400 students and 30 faculty participating. It is the brainchild of Groom and his colleagues in the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies. The initiative has two main goals, Instructional Technology Specialist Tim Owens explained, with the first focused on the value of archives and portfolios for students’ future professional and academic endeavors. “The other side of it is that it is valuable for students just to inhabit the Web and understand how the Web works,” he said. “It’s important for us to have those conversations with students about how stuff happens on the Web and how they can control it.”   Haley Campbell '13 has used her domain as a portfolio and academic blog. Haley Campbell ’13 has used her domain as everything from a portfolio to an academic blog to a place to experiment with online editing tools. “A lot of people take the Internet for granted,” Campbell said. “They know they have to use it, but they don’t necessarily think about how they’re using it. [Domain of One’s Own] encourages critical thinking about those tools.” The initiative has created a buzz on and off campus, including in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired, The Web Host Industry Review and The Center for Digital Education. The idea for the initiative started when the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies’ staff received their own domains and web spaces in 2004. “Two years later, after we saw how it empowered us in so many ways, we informally banded around this idea of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could give this to every student?’” said Martha Burtis, special projects coordinator. “It really evolved over about 10 years to where we are now.” For Burtis, Domain of One’s Own isn’t just about technology, it’s about transforming students through meaningful interactions. “That kind of empowerment is huge in terms of what we can do for our students,” she said.

Jim Groom Delivers Three Invited Presentations

Over the course of two weeks, Jim Groom was invited to give presentations about the innovative work the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies has been doing recently. On May 16th, Jim Groom delivered a talk titled “Syndication-Oriented Architecture: a Solution to Problem of Coherence” for Campus Technology’s Virtual Leadership Summit. You can read more about the conceptual thinking about the ideas presented here.

On May 22, he was invited to speak about the open, online class ds106 to the College of Wooster, you can watch the presentation in its entirety below, and read more details here.

Finally, on May 30 he presented once gain about ds106 to the University System of New Hampshire, a presentation you can read more about and listen to the audio here. The slides can be found below.

UMW’s ThinkLab Makerspace featured in EDUCAUSE

8104216938_f27446563b_z-150x150The innovative ThinkLab Makerspace in the Simpson Library of UMW has been featured in the latest publication from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s 7 Things series on rapid innovation. UMW is cited alongside Stanford, Rutgers, and Case Westerns among other institutions for recognizing early on the importance of makerspaces as a way to inspire self-directed and hands-on learning using emerging technologies like 3D printing, robotics, and e-textiles. DTLT and UMW’s work has been featured in past issues of the 7 Things series on a variety of topics including MOOCs, WordPress, and 3D Printing technology. The full paper can be found on the EDUCAUSE website in PDF and ePub format.

Jim Groom Interviewed for Ohio State University’s Writers Talk series

On May 6th an interview with Jim Groom was aired on the Ohio State University’s radio program Writers Talk. The discussion focuses on the work he has done as part of UMW’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technology: ranging from the formation of UMW Blogs, the popular appeal of the Digital Storytelling class affectionately known as ds106 and its relationship to those confounded MOOCs, as well as DTLT’s current groundbreaking project Domain of One’s Own. The interview runs 30 minutes and you can listen to it below.

OSU Writers Talk

Faculty Recognized for Digital Pedagogy

A ceremony and reception on Friday, April 12 celebrated the work of faculty members in the realm of digital pedagogy.

Professor of Spanish Elizabeth Lewis and Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Andrea Livi Smith were awarded the Innovative Digital Pedagogy Fellowship. Assistant Professor in the College of Education Janine Davis, Associate Professor of History Susan Fernsebner and Assistant Professor of Music Mark Snyder received honorariums for their work in digital pedagogy and scholarship. Faculty who participated in UMW’s first Domain of One’s Own Faculty-centered Initiative also were recognized at the ceremony.

President Richard V. Hurley was on-hand to congratulate the award recipients and to express his support for the initiatives. The Innovative Digital Pedagogy Fellowship Award Ceremony was a collaboration between the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Jim Groom invited to Open Learning Hackathon at MIT

jimgroomAs part of an attempt to start imagining what open systems for publishing and sharing a community’s work—as UMW has done exceptionally well with UMW Blogs, ds106, and Domain of One’s OwnJim Groom (the Director of the Division of teaching and Learning Technologies) has been invited to the Open Learning Hackathon at MIT this weekend to work with a range of thinkers to start framing an architecture that might harness and expose the power of loosely coupled syndication systems modelled on the qweb rather than monolithic information systems..

Applications for 3rd Online Learning Initiative (OLI) Cohort Due April 8th!

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 4.14.50 PMWe are currently soliciting participation in the third cohort of the UMW Online Learning Initiative, beginning in August 2013. All full-­time, continuing faculty members in any of the three UMW colleges are eligible for this program.

The Online Learning Initiative began in 2011­-2012 with an initial cohort of seven faculty participants, who engaged in a faculty development project to develop quality online or blended1 courses in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. It continued in 2012­-2013, with another six faculty members developing new online courses.

The Initiative is designed to be collaborative, with participants working together and learning from each other as the process unfolds. The project is led by the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT), the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation (CTEI), and the Committee on Distance and Blended Learning. Project leaders from these three groups facilitate the process but do not prescribe outcomes, preferring to let course planning grow organically out of the conversations about liberal arts teaching and technology innovation.

The project will start with a series of summer workshops in August to explore what it means to teach a quality liberal arts and sciences course online. The workshops, which will be conducted like small seminars, will include conversation and response to selected readings, demonstration of various technology tools and approaches, and advice from former OLI faculty. Overall, what guides the workshops is a focus on teaching excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and how technology can be used to explore disciplinary approaches, build creative and effective teaching environments, and offer learning opportunities that may not be possible in face­to­face classes.

Upon completion of the workshops, participants will write a planning document to guide the development and implementation of their courses. These documents will then undergo a review process, providing faculty with useful feedback and advice for improvement.

Following the development of the course plan, faculty will work in conjunction with DTLT and CTEI to refine their plans and develop their courses, in time to teach either summer or fall 2014.

Schedule and Deadlines

April 8, 2013: Deadline for Proposals

April 22, 2013: OLI Awards Announced

Summer 2013: OLI Program Workshops.

Attendance at these workshops is mandatory. Currently, we plan to have 2-­3 full­-day workshops in mid-August. However, we are requesting information about summer availability during the proposal process so that we can adjust the schedule according to participants’ calendars.

Fall 2013-Spring 2014: Course Development

Throughout the 2013­-2014 academic year, faculty participants will work with DTLT and the Center for Teaching Innovation & Excellence on developing their courses. This will be an ongoing process, enveloping (and informed by) the course plan reviews.

October 1, 2013*: Course Plans Due

November 15, 2013*: Course Plan Review Complete

Summer & Fall 2014:  Courses Taught

* These dates are tentative and are subject to change.

Application Process

Please discuss your grant idea with your department chair/associate dean and college dean before applying. Your submission indicates that your chair or associate dean endorses your participation in this program and agrees to allow you to offer the course online no later than Fall 2014.

To apply, submit a letter of application with the following information:

  • Your Name, Department/Discipline & College
  • What course do you propose to modify for teaching online? Can you attach a recent syllabus, ideally modified for online teaching?
  • When will this course be first offered online?
  • How will offering the course online support the academic program of your department or college?
  • Describe your current competency with instructional technologies (no experience necessary) and identify those technologies you are interested in learning as part of the project.
  • Briefly outline your vision for the course:
    • Will the course be fully online or blended (and if the latter, to what extent online)?
    • To the extent that you can, describe the online environment that you imagine for the course. For example, can you identify any instructional resources, tools, technologies, or online Web spaces that you plan to use and briefly explain how you plan to use them?

Please limit your application to no more than five pages, double­-spaced. Applications should be emailed to by 5:00 pm on April 8, 2013. Awards will be announced by April 22, 2013.

Preference will be given to proposals with any of the following characteristics: courses targeting UMW undergraduate students away from campus during the summer term, and/or courses with high demand and low time­-slot availability.

Award Details

Each participant will receive a grant of $3,500 to develop and teach a course in a fully online or blended format. The grant award will be distributed in two payments; $2,000 upon completion of the orientation seminars and $1,500 upon teaching the course online. The grant recipient authorizes the university to use the course as a model with other faculty members subsequently developing other online courses. The grantee otherwise retains the intellectual property rights to all faculty­-created instructional content.

In order to ensure that the course delivery meets the traditional standards of excellence for a model UMW course, the faculty member acknowledges that during the semester of offering, frequent, if not daily, interaction with students in the course is expected. Grant recipients will be asked to share their experience developing and teaching their online class by participating in a campus event no later than Fall 2014.

If you have questions, please contact Mary Kayler (

Jim Groom Keynotes OSU’s Ed Tech Conference


Image credit: innovateOSU “Jim Groom Keynote”

Jim Groom delivered the keynote presentation at Ohio State University’s  fourth annual educational technology conference, innovateOSU, titled “Domain of One’s Own: Open Educational Experiences.” The presentation shared the work that has been happening at UMW over the past eight years, chronicling the fruits of  DTLT‘s experimentations with commodity web hosting which led to innovative projects  such as UMW Blogs, Digital Storytelling (ds106), and most recently Domain of One’s Own. You can see the slides for this presentation here. To see an archived video of the live presentation click here.