Part of the excitement of bringing a Domain of One’s Own model to OU was the opportunity to contribute to the broader community in edtech that is thinking about how to apply web domains to higher ed. There’s a rich narrative (nay, myth) that has mostly been archived on Jim Groom’s blog about how the model came to be through the leadership of several UMW folks: Gardner Campbell, Martha Burtis, Jim himself, Tim Owens, and others that I’m surely missing. This practice of reflection that Jim has modeled so well has deeply influence my own desire to attempt to document and articulate where OU fits in the story. Over the years, I have tried to narrate several contributions:
- Scaling up DoOO to a large, public institution (we are now north of 6,000 users)
- Using FreshDesk and Slack to support this user base
- Sharing of institutional documentation
- Launching a blog titled This Week On OU Create
- Attempting to frame the idea of Indie EdTech
- Hosting the inaugural Domains conference
But perhaps the contribution that we’ll likely be most known for launch the Creaties: the weird, annual awards show for students and faculty to showcase and highlight the work across campus. For the past four years, we’ve celebrated those who have put in work to build their digital identities. This became most crystallized for me when Educause published “7 Things You Should Know About a Domain of One’s Own”: including this:
Award-winning student work at the University of Oklahoma in 2019 included student portfolios of designs in structural and landscape architecture and research on the science of lightning.
So when the institution went remote, it should have been no surprise that folks who run physical end-of-the-year award shows reached out to us about how to do so virtually. And we were happy to oblige. John Stewart has been managing the Creaties for the past three years and deserves the entirety of ODL credit for offering up his time and energy towards making two specific projects happen.
I've just hit publish on a couple of websites that I've been working on lately. With campus closed, we've moved @UofOklahoma Undergraduate Research Day and the School of Visual Arts' 106th Student Showcase online:https://t.co/BJVtma4nRo https://t.co/zWGWoFLtav
— John Stewart (@JohnStewartPhD) April 28, 2020
106 Showcase – OU School of Visual Arts
Each year the OU School of Visual Arts puts on a showcase where students submit their best work. It’s so popular that a lot of students will be driven by the idea of creating showcase-worthy work their entire tenure. It’s over a century year old and not even a worldwide pandemic was going to end the streak. The online showcase is absolutely killer and was a great collaboration between the students nd faculty in SoVA and John. The landing page is particularly intoxicating.
Honors College Undergraduate Research Day
Another long running streak is the Honor College’s Undergraduate Research Day. As Doug Gaffin, the dean of the Honors College and organizer of one of my all-time favorite Create websites The Scorpion Lab, notes on the site:
I initially reached out to Joey Albin, Keegan Long Wheeler, and Aaron Biggs, and my conversations with them led me to the three individuals from OU Libraries and Instructional Technology who stepped forward to make this happen: Tara Carlisle (Head, Digital Scholarship Lab), Claire Curry (Science Librarian, OU Libraries), and John Stewart (Assistant Director, Office of Digital Learning).
This project is another example of hard work through collaboration. Collaboration between ODL, the Library, and the Honors College; one that reminds me a lot of another project we collaborated on with Tara Carlisle’s Digital Scholarship Lab team in 2016 that used Omeka to document WPA projects. It’s times like these that I’m grateful to be on the capital O-capital U team. As has been cemented in me over the past few weeks, in times of need the walls that divide us come down fairly quickly.
I don’t get to write history outside of inflating my own sense of self here on the dot com, but if OU Create ultimately goes down as a project best known for leveraging the platform to support and celebrate the work of its community then we’ve succeeded at what we set out to do.
Early on, I made four promises about OU Create. The first: learning will forever be the center of the project mission. That rings true today as much as it did four years ago. Domains might be playing side stage at today’s festival of remote learning, but the spirit of the radio remains.