What I’m Working On
I’ve spent most of the week thinking about the four projects listed out below. I also migrated a couple of websites into and around OU Create. For one of these migrations, I manually copied over both the file structure and the SQL DB from an external server, and then I changed the domain by rewriting more than 1200 SQL cell values. I don’t know if that’s actually impressive, but I was kind of surprised that it went so well. Here’s the instruction set I followed.
This week, we reviewed over 100 nominees for the 2019 Creaties, decided on the winners, and started producing a video to recognize the winners. I’ve been working with my colleague, Andy Vaughn, and we’re hoping to have the video out at the beginning of next week.
Architecture College Website
The Gibbs College of Architecture here at OU has a really nice WordPress-based web site: architecture.ou.edu. My colleague Angela Person has done a great job building out the site and assembling a team of undergraduates to maintain a blog that I helped them build last semester.
This week, I sat in as they went through the process of creating site backups and updating the theme and plugins. Like any big WP site, there are a lot of plugins, so we wanted to be extra careful about compatibility during the upgrade. I had told them that I was at least 90% confident that nothing would break, and, for the most part, that held. The GUI that we’re using in place of WP’s default classic or Gutenberg editors didn’t update properly, but nothing broke from the user perspective. We’re working on contacting the GUI plugin’s maker to get that update completed.
I’m still working on the Italian program’s website. In fact, I should be working on that right now, but I wanted to write this post instead. I’m optimistic both will be finished by the end of the work day.
Last week I started talking to Keegan about rethinking one of our favorite faculty development programs, GOBLIN. The first version of this program centered on having faculty play a Dungeons and Dragons themed game as a way of exploring what games have to teach us about onboarding, scaffolding, overcoming failure, assessment, group building, storytelling, etc.
Keegan and I had been talking to a couple of different schools about the program, and I started thinking about what if each school played a different storyline, with all of the storylines being intertwined somehow. This might have been spurred in part by the new Avengers moving coming out and the Marvel Universe’s model of 21 films all intertwining and leading to one culminating event.
This week, Keegan and I met with Maddie Shellgren from Michigan State to see if she would help us think through the game design. Maddie did a fantastic job designing escape rooms for the recent OLC Innovate 19 conference. Those escape rooms required multiple groups to work together in separate locations, then come together and work as a team to ultimately escape. Maddie thinks a lot about games and pedagogy, and she’s a badass, so we’re really excited that she wants to work with us on this.
I’m going to try to write up a separate post more fully explaining Goblin 2.0, and I’ll link it here when it’s done.
What I’m Reading
I’m trying to read a book every week this year. This week I read:
At OLC Innovate 19, we were lucky enough to have Tressie McMillan Cottom give one of the keynote presentations.
I’ve been reading Prof. McMillan Cottom’s articles for a few years, so I was happy to hear she had a new book of essays. I read the entire book over the weekend and really appreciated Tressie’s candor. The epigraph for the opening essay includes a quote from Lucille Clifton, and her strong, affective voice was a clear influence throughout the book. Tressie’s essays are both intellectual and personal, an embodied take on race in modern American society.
I’ve already recommended this book to several people. I was in a panel on media literacy on Thursday and brought up one of the essays in which Tressie calls for a woman of color to write op-eds for the NYT. Her point, which I was reiterating, was that we’ve read plenty of David Brooks’ inane takes on life. If we make space for a woman of color to write, and give her the same latitude to over extend metaphors about modern society, we will have taken a small step towards racial and gender equality.
I’m reading several other books, but haven’t finished any of them. I did read my first article by Ellen Meiksins Wood and loved it. It typifies a broader set of readings that critique modernity. I am integrating all of this reading into my own writing right now, and I hope I will have more to share on that in the coming weeks and months.