On October 13 and 14, the Digital Learning Team at Muhlenberg College had the pleasure of hosting our friends from Reclaim Hosting, Jim Groom and Lauren Brumfeld. I’m not exaggerating when I say the days were packed and both Lauren and Jim were generous in their authentic engagement with the various staff, faculty, and student groups they met throughout the visit. The Digital Learning Team spent a long morning with Jim and Lauren, in critical discussions about how we are launching bergbuilds, our Domain of One’s Own initiative, and how to make it sustainable. It was heartening to hear their sense that the intentionality framing our early efforts has been critical to successful Domains projects on other campuses. Indeed, from the earliest moments of exploring the possibility of Domains at Muhlenberg, conversations with folks leading Domain of One’s Own initiatives at other campuses were vital to shaping our understanding, goals, and approach. This includes Kristen Eshelman at Davidson College, Andrea Rehn and Whittier College, Jill Leafstedt at CSU Channel Islands, and more recently, Martha Burtis at University of Mary Washington, Adam Croom at Oklahoma University. It also includes Andrew Rikard at Davidson, who woke up early one summer morning to share with our Digital Learning pre-O students his perspective on what it means for him to connect his learning to his own domain. Each of them has been generous in sharing their experiences getting started with Domain of One’s Own and have taught me a great deal about the kind of support and strategic thinking that is useful to iterate and sustain a local Domains project.
And I think they all said, if you can do it, bring Jim Groom to campus.
Having Jim and Lauren on campus for two days was an opportunity to intensely explore with them the kind of local Domains scene we hope to cultivate in our community. They paid close attention in each conversation and it was clear that they were listening deeply for the themes, values, meanings that were surfacing across many different gatherings over the two days–with the Digital Learning Team, the participants of a Domains Faculty Learning Community, the student Digital Learning Assistants, and with students in the first year seminar, “Who Controls Your Digital World?” taught by Tina Hertel, director of Trexler Library at Muhlenberg. During his workshop with the Faculty Learning Community, Jim very seamlessly worked with Digital Learning Team folks as if they were longtime colleagues–and in doing so really meaningfully called attention to the expertise on campus, especially with instructional technologists Jordan Noyes and Tim Clarke, and Jenna Azar, instructional designer. Long after Jim and Lauren’s visit ends, these are the three who will hold much of the responsibility for cultivating and supporting Domains at Muhlenberg.
Digital literacies and identities are at the heart of these conversations, and so it was really intentional that Tim Clarke (Instructional Technologist) and Jenna Azar (Instructional Designer) chose the library for the site of Jim’s talk. This is a perfect place to emphasize how central librarians are to our Domains project and to digital learning in general at Muhlenberg. In the moment that Jim took the mic, it seemed as if he might bring the library roof down. Everyone loved it.
Sean Miller, manager of Media Services, helped transform the library concourse into a presentation space, and also captured Jim’s talk on video. He gets credit for the howling mic gif, too.
Jim’s full talk can be viewed here:
Here’s the Storified version of tweets from the students in the class, Who Controls Your Digital World? Jim and Lauren visited their class earlier during the day and then they attended Jim’s talk in the evening.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and I’m looking forward to collectively processing some of the key ideas and aesthetic elements that Jim and Lauren helped surface with us. Until then, I’m going to remind myself of something Jim said early on: “Domain of One’s Own is won one post at a time.”