All posts by Mark Long

Consider This

Moving to what we called in the last post “completion” might be usefully compared to the final phase in an editorial project. As it happens, I am currently coediting a book of essays on teaching the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In this book project we are at a similar phase: gathering editorial feedback from readers (outside readers, members of a scholarly publication committee, etc.) Similarly, you can benefit from having readers give you perspective on your site and editorial feedback.

Not everyone completed the “completion” post prompt. But we do have some excellent feedback to share that will give you some perspective on how an interested and informed reader is interacting with the project site you have constructed.Below are lists of comments from your peers and your instructors. Do consider having friends or colleagues review your site as well. The more insight you can gather from readers the better your final editing will be.

Over the weekend, all of you should be doing what is in effect a final edit of your site. Because these are public sites, that will persist on the web, you want to get your published work to be as “complete” and as “perfect” as it can be. If you did not complete the peer review, please use email to share your feedback with the project site authors.

Geneseo (Emily and John):

  • The font: Can you make the font bigger and/or double space in the articles and interviews? I can’t read it very well, and my eyes aren’t even that old.
  • Microstyle: The Understanding Empathy and Diversity through the Liberal Arts article heading quote is a little wordy/long.
  • Resources page: I like the resources page. The Resources page subdivisions makes sense (published, archival, online)
  • John: Where’s your picture on the “About the Authors” page? Miles to go, and promises to keep. . . . The head shot or image of you is an important consideration. Work on formatting text and sizing images fro consistency, as we have discussed in our project charrettes
  • The initials on the quotations is awkward for a reader (remember: quotes is a verb) page. It is a pain, but I would expand into at least first initial, last name. Or is there a common convention for published interview transcripts? This might be worth looking up.

UNCA (Casey and Julia):

  • UNCA should be spelled out on “What we’re about.” Most acronyms and abbreviations are writer- as opposed to reader-centered.
  • I would add more description/clarity to the link categories and link names. This can also be done on the categories widgets page. You can easily choose to have “metadata” (date and/or descriptive prose) in a drop down menu
  • I would put interviews first on the top bar, and contributors last (no offense, haha). If this does not work in the theme (if the default is alpha order and you can’t figure out how to make the change, go ahead and add a “Pages” widget at the top of the sidebar and order in a way that will direct the reader to the most relevant and/or important information
  • In the timeline I would put a picture in the “going medieval” section.

Home Page

  • I agree with the comment from class about removing “Continue Reading” and having the entirety of the text on the landing page
  • I would take away the “Read More” on the home page. Go all in and put the whole post, especially because it isn’t that long.
  • Is it possible to make “What We’re About” a page rather than a post without completely disrupting the rest of your layout? It would give the text more permanence (Unless you prefer to have date, name, etc. be included). The other way to do this would be to add a text widget at the top of the sidebar. Then you could use the main space on the landing page for something else. Image(s)? Just a suggestion.
  • Title/tagline: take out “under construction”!! maybe consider adding a little specificity to give a nod towards the narrower focus of the site–what’s currently there isn’t necessarily bad/wrong, but could lead a reader to believe that a wider range of topics will be examined.
  • Echoing the comments about reordering the menu in the header: maybe home, timeline, interviews, map, contributors? Timeline and interviews could be reversed, depending on how much context and history you want to push the reader towards before delving into the interviews.
  • Also consider renaming some of the tabs to give a little more context/specificity–though you would be sacrificing brevity (probably a personal aesthetic call)
  • The further context may also be less necessary once entirety of “What We’re About” is on the landing page
  • The title is a challenge for a reader. Spell out NAPLA acronym somewhere? Could be in a number of places.

Contributors Page

  • Pictures can be more symmetrical, consider different layouts of page, like we talked about in class before Thanksgiving. Crop the larger image and then use text wrap?

Current Campus Map

  • Consider adding some text to further contextualize map with the rest of the site–the title is a good start, but I think the relevance could be further explained
  • Is it possible to also mark the previous locations of the college in the map? It is a cool map but why is there? You don’t want the visitor to your site to be asking this question


  • I really like the visual layout of this page
  • Add a date/place of interview to the text of each interview
  • Add pictures to the Ogg/Meyers interview for the sake of symmetry. Center the Hyde / Reeve head shots to be consistent with the Waters image?
  • Consider order interviews are presented in–right now I can’t distinguish any deliberate order. IT would make good sense to have a few sentences to introduce the list and the order. You would also help a reader by perhaps summarizing or highlighting parts of the interview that are significant and that help a reader understand your findings in this project. Much of the material on the site is great but is waiting for you to offer commentary and analysis. What have discovered in the process of building this project? What do we know about UNCA that we might not have known when we started? What is the story?


  • Images are great
  • Make sure tense is consistent through all of the slide–right now some are present, some past. This is really important for professional presentation
  • Think one is necessarily better than the other, but just make sure it’s the same throughout.
  • “The Final Move:” it’s→ its

Keene State College: (Abby)


  • Stating title/tagline right at the beginning of the welcome page borders on redundancy. That being said, I really like the title and tagline.
  • I’m not sure about the arrangement of explanation-quote-explanation. I think I’d prefer an image or something more along those lines. I like the newly added (as of Tuesday night) text underneath the quote, but if you’re adding more text, I think more quotes would be better. Maybe have all of the site explanation together and then a few quotes? If you don’t go the image route.
  • An image or images here would be useful and would compliment the minimalist theme aesthetic. Like you said in last class, you are looking for the right image. Good. You could even do a little gallery of images
  • In sidebar: spell out KSC in “KSC Doc” link to mirror link to college website. Or abbreviate both.
  • The social media icons are great. Can they be scaled (smaller)? They do call attention to themselves (the color perhaps more than the size? Or both?)
  • The Categories for the Links is really great. Nice work.
  • Also consider adding links to COPLAC, NAPLA course site
  • In footer: consider adding customized text (maybe name of site)

Personal Narratives

  • From most recent to older graduates is order. That works. Why? The question is not to change it necessarily. The rationale for this order should be clear. It would be good to have a few sentences at the top of this page to give some insight into the interviews. What is story? What do we learn about the history of Keene State College by listening to these women?
  • Definitely Consider adding some sort of image to excerpt of each interview
  • Make sure date of interview is in each text description of interview–don’t necessarily remove “this morning,” etc, just add date parenthetically.
  • Make sure location of each interview is clear

Image Gallery

  • Maybe add more specificity to name of page? This would sacrifice the current brevity of the title, which has its own benefits
  • Scan images if possible–those with text are a little difficult to read without going into full screen
  • Include full images from background collage? It would be cool to see them in their entirety somewhere

About the Author, Acknowledgments

  • Both great
  • Maybe some kind of image for visual interest on Acknowledgments page?
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We are almost there!

As we said once again the project sites (to borrow John’s word) are beautiful. They each reflect significant intellectual work. As we enter the final weeks of the semester here is what you need to do:

  1. Before Thursday December 1: immerse yourself in the work of your peer’s project sites. Take notes. Then send your notes, in the form of a letter, to Mark, no later than 8 AM on Thursday. Mark will compile the notes and forward them to each project site team
  2. Work on your site. This work may pick up a bit once you have more written feedback from your readers
  3. Compose and post on your course blog a final “Research Reflection” by Tuesday the 6th at noon.

Public presentations of projects begin next week. The presentations may be “attended” by faculty and administrators from other COPLAC institutions:

Tuesday December 6 Presentation by Abby Shepherd, Keene State College, “The Women of Keene State: An Exploration through Personal Narratives”

Thursday December 8 Presentation by Emily Buckley-Crist and John Panus, SUNY Geneseo, “Foundations of Knowledge at SUNY Geneseo: Narrating the Public Liberal Arts: An Exploration of General Education and the Humanities Sequence”

Tuesday December 13 Presentation by Casey Brown and Julia Bone, UNC Asheville, “An Educational Narrative on the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the Liberal Arts”

On Thursday this week we will talk about preparing for and the logistics of the presentations. Please be in touch if you have any questions.

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This week’s project charrette was exciting to say the least. The post follows up our conversation with some of the design choices and spatial vocabulary that you were exploring, some of the questions we raised, and some of the emergent examples on your project sites.

  • Titles matter: consider Abby’s “kick-ass” title that captures the essence of her project
  • Project description: make a few sentences or a paragraph or two that makes the project crystal clear. This can be done with the title and the tagline, to be sure. But an introduction will in most case be useful as well. Where this appears on the site is another consequential question
  • What about your landing page? All three of the project sites need to sit with and attend to this question. Information now embedded in pages might be the landing or portal: image galleries or sliders, timelines, maps. Perhaps use a “sticky page” post to keep the landing or welcome page stable?
  • Might the landing page be enhanced by an image slider in the header, or perhaps on the main site page? Don’t limit your imagination to the header. Sometimes not having a header creates an opening for alternative ideas. Browse other WP sites.
  • Look for examples. Consider the poet T.S. Eliot’s comment in an essay on the sixteenth century English dramatist Philip Massinger, that “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Eliot might offer an instructive  gloss of a key term in the open education discourse on  repurposing information in digital domains. We are talking about poeisis here, after all: making, building, constructing.
  • Sidebars and footers: create link categories and assign each link a category. See Abby’s Site for an example of more than one category
  • Using the link category “NAPLA Sites” link to the other NAPLA Project Sites
  • If you have not already, add the creative commons license and social media buttons to facilitate sharing. Ultimate Media Social Icons is a WP Plug in that offers many choices for customizing the icon bar
  • Gallery options. There are many plug-ins. I believe Abby is using Photo Gallery by Supsystic
  • Add metadata to all images and documents in the fields provided when uploading. You do not want the default to be the file name!
  • Timelines: Emily and John’s site has a beautiful example. When adding content to the timeline remember to ask why each moment is being added and make sure to provide the reader with a connection between the item and the timeline, a connection between the micro and the macro, between the item and its context. Consider Timeline JS, Knight Lab Timeline
  • Maps: But to what end? StoryMapJS by Knight Lab is a promising plug in!
  • Integrating parts into the whole. How do the pages work together? Are pages the best way to segregate information?
  • Consider customization options. Feeling adventurous? Go to Appearance > Editor > Footer. So for example, in the footer on the NAPLA blog we changed the default “powered by wordpress” to ‘Copyright © 2016 Public Access and the Liberal Arts: A Narrative History’ Here is the code with the changes:

<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( __( ‘’, ‘twentyfourteen’ ) ); ?>”><?php printf( __( ‘Copyright © 2016 Public Access and the Liberal Arts: A Narrative History’ ), ‘WordPress’ ); ?></a>

  • Work on how to embed in a functional and attractive way the audio files. Use a gallery to include an image or artifact to create balance on the page. A thumbnail caption?

For a more general overview of the relationship between data and design, and to get you thinking in different ways about mis-en-page, you may want to look again at Trina Chiasson and Dyanna Gregory, et al., Data + Design: A Simple Introduction to Preparing and Visualizing Information on the NAPLA Resources page.

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We have reached the penultimate moment in our work together this semester. Over the next ten days you have the time and space to build out your project sites. We hope that you enjoy the process. As Cole encouraged us to remember last week, “Building things is fun.”

In addition to building we will be sharing—most immediately, sharing our work with members of the greater COPLAC community. Sharing your course blogs, and this NAPLA course blog, will foreground the power of teaching and learning in the open: That is, your research process and our collaboration on a public storytelling project will demonstrate to others the potential of narrative to capture and convey the experience of the public liberal arts. Your course blogs are beautiful chronicles of your research process—the Recent Posts list exemplifying an arc of accomplishment.

Your work in the next few weeks is to make the most of this penultimate moment. Here is how you should be spending your time:

  • As Mark explained in class this week, during the next ten days you would do well to undertake a self assessment and review. Make sure that you have 9 Research Reflections so that we are able to give you full credit for your work on the course blog. Then, before class next week, open the NAPLA category archive “Weekly Updates,” and read each of the updates from the bottom, starting with the September 19th Create Manage License. Each of the posts includes the steps you have taken (or need to take!), most often in the form of a bullet list of tasks. Together the weekly updates function as a general rubric to assess your own progress and help you fill in any missing parts. In addition, reading over these updates will remind you that what you have learned about digital tools you are using on your course blogs is transferable to the work you are now doing on your project sites.
  • The Schedule page on this site has been updated and meeting deadlines is imperative as we move into the third and final phase of the course. The updated schedule, outlined below, will help you make the most of your time before the holiday as well as make sufficient progress in preparation for the final weeks of the term:

Tuesday November 15: Project team meetings: 2:00-2:30 Casey and Julia(UNC Asheville); 2:30-3:00 Emily and John(SUNY Geneseo); 3:00-3:30(Keene State College)

Thursday November 17 Preview Institutional Project Sites. Each team will have twenty minutes to showcase the Project Site

Tuesday November 22: Cole and Mark will conference with project teams: 2:00 Casey and Julia 2:30-3:00 and 3:00-3:30 Abby. Emily and John TBA

The due date for the Project Sites is Tuesday November 29th. Please enjoy your holiday break. But please give yourself time and space between November 22 and November 29th to complete the Project Sites. Mark and Cole will be available by email should you need assistance.

  • Public presentations of projects will take place during the last two weeks of classes. The presentations may be “attended” by faculty and administrators from other COPLAC institutions. OnTuesday November 29th, when we return from the holiday break the Final Projects are due. We will then follow the schedule: OnThursday December 1 Casey and Julia (UNC Asheville) will present. OnTuesday December 6 Abby (Keene State College) will present. And on Thursday December 8 Emily and John (SUNY Geneseo) will present. We are happy to reconsider this schedule based on other commitments. If you would like to suggest a change, please let us know as soon as possible.

We are looking forward to our project team conversations next Tuesday. Your job is to get as much done as possible between now and then so that we can best use our time together.

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The Real Work

The checklists below are designed to help you complete the work on your course blog during the two weeks before we break for Thanksgiving. Your course blog is a process portfolio that Cole and Mark will use to help determine your final grade in the course. We highly recommend that you compete this work using the checklists below so that you will be able to direct all of your attention to your project sites in the final four weeks we will be working together.

Week 9 October 31-November 4

Tuesday November 1: Cole and Mark are available to meet with project teams by appointment

Thursday November 3: Project Charrette

Checklist for Week 9:

1. Course Blog

  • Complete your 8th Research Reflection by Sunday evening
  • Add the Category “Research Reflections” to each of your blog posts
  • Add any tags to each of the posts in your collection of Research Reflections
  • Convert all URLs in your posts to links
  • Consider the title of each of your Research Reflections. Make concise but make descriptive
  • Add relevant links (Your College, your Library Archive, a story on the College web site, COPLAC, etc.) to your Links or Blogroll

Add Categories to your Links Widget. (For example, you might have links under “Geneseo” and you might have links under “External links”

2. Project Site

  • Add a License to your Project Site using Creative Commons Attribution International License. To recall the reasons and protocols for doing this, see the Weekly Update Create Manage License on the NAPLA blog
  • Consider adding social media icons to your site. This will require you to go to your WP Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Search Plugins
  • Make a list of design features of your site. We have encouraged you to look at “exemplar” sites that allow the designer to organize and present information. Then browse or search WP themes
  • Use the list of design features of your site to search WP plugins Then browse options for what you are looking for. For example, you might be looking for an image scroll, slider, or carousel; an image or a video gallery; a video embed and thumbnail generator

For planning purposes, please check in on the Schedule page. This page has been updated. Please check your calendars and let Cole and Mark know if you have any conflicts so that we may adjust the schedule accordingly.

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Listening and Making

In our class meeting this past Thursday John and Casey described the arc of their research. With Abby unable to make class due to sickness, Mark reported on her first interview. We look forward to hearing from Julia, who had technical problems accessing the network while away from campus.

The Research Reflections continue to be an important dimension of your work. We all benefit from your thoughtful and timely reflections on what you are doing as you move along your research timeline. In our class meeting we asked everyone to look over the reminder in the post Good Housekeeping.


With three weeks before we gather for a preview of the project sites (November 15 and 17) we talked about interviews and interviewing. Mark described Abby’s “test” or pilot interview and the value of doing a lower-stakes interview. Both technical and methodological questions will come up and we want to work through these questions together. In addition, the Resources page now has links to materials that will prove useful over the next few weeks. Please make use of them.

We agreed in class that next week we will debrief our first interviews or a test interview. So here is what you need to do:

  • Conduct an oral interview
  • upload the digital file to Soundcloud or Audacity and, if necessary, edit the file
  • Post the audio file on your blog by Thursday morning
  • listen to the interviews and take notes in preparation for debriefing and discussion

Our class session on Thursday October 20 will begin with the interviews.  You will share your thoughts on the interview, the questions you have about recording, the digital tools you are using, and/or your methodological questions about conducting an effective interview. We will then debrief as a group as you look ahead to a couple of weeks of interviewing.


Over the next few weeks you will be working on your project sites as well. The sites are now live and listed in the sidebar of the NAPLA site. These sites are “under construction” and we look forward to seeing you on the job site and to the progress you are making. One of the questions is how you plan to present the interviews on the site. There are many options and we need everyone to be thinking about these kinds of questions as you go about the interviewing process.

At any time please be in touch with Cole and Mark if you have questions. We are available on Tuesdays between 2-4 for individual or team conferences.


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Telling Stories

In her 1942 autobiography, Dust Tracks on A Road, the American anthropologist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston writes, “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”

Our growing archive of Research Reflections on this NAPLA course blog is an example of curiosity finding a shape. Your poking around in course catalogs and yearbooks is fascinating; and is it not interesting to pry open the at times rough-and-tumble curricular histories of your college! Liberal learning and the liberal arts, we are documenting here, is deeply and intimately bound up in the histories of the educational institutions at which we are all at work.

As we embark on the second part of the course, and you each move through the stages outlined in your self-designed project timeline, your purpose is shifting to stories, specifically personal narratives: to the work of collecting and publishing the stories that capture the identities, cultures, histories, and environments related to a public liberal arts education. The personal narratives you are gathering will use stories as a way of knowing the world—of making sense of history through lived experience and memory.


So here we are. It is week seven of the semester. You have constructed a course blog that is documenting your research process. You have learned to navigate Word Press and are experimenting with tools to customize your site and organize the content. You are thinking about data and design and audience. You have sought out permission to do your interviews following IRB protocols. You have identified interviewees, begun to experiment with the technology you will be using to record oral interviews, and you most likely have in hand a release form for your subjects and drafted the questions for the interviews.

On Thursday this week we will devote our project charrette to the practical questions you have about the process of conducting oral interviews. As you continue to go about your work, we are asking you to be reflective practitioners—that is, you will be doing your research and also writing your weekly reflections on what you are doing, and what you are learning to do. To help with both the practice and the reflection on that practice, we offer some readings for you to situate your work in the methodology, theory, and practice of oral history. This material will help you with your work and will give you thoughts and ideas to incorporate into your weekly research reflections.

Oral History Reading List and Resources from a one-week advanced institute on the methodology, theory, and practice of oral/video history at the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) of The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley

A couple of excerpts should suggest the value of these readings. In his essay “Four Paradigm Transformations in Oral History” (The Oral History Review 2007 34: 49-70) Alistair Thomson captures the major shifts in oral history in words that are already dated by emergent technological tools:

We are in the middle of a fourth, dizzying digital revolution in oral history, and its outcomes are impossible to predict. E-mail and the Internet are certainly fostering oral history’s international dialogue. But, more than that, new digital technologies are transforming the ways in which we record, preserve, catalogue, interpret, share and present oral histories. Very soon we will all be recording interviews on computers, and we can already use web-cams to conduct virtual interviews with people on the other side of the world. Audio-visual digital recordings will be readily accessible in their entirety via the Internet, and sophisticated digital indexing and cataloguing tools—perhaps assisted in large projects by artificial intelligence—will enable anyone, anywhere to make extraordinary and unexpected creative connections within and across oral history collections, using sound and image as well as text. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software can already be used to support, extend and refine the interpretation of large sets of oral history interviews, and will, inevitably, become more sophisticated and powerful.

Michael Frisch argues that the digitization of sound and image will challenge the current dominance of transcription and return aurality to oral history, as digital technology makes it easier to navigate audio (and video) material, and as we extend our text-based literacy to new forms of literacy with sound and image. Furthermore, non-text-reliant digital index and search mechanisms will enable users to find and hear the extracts they are looking for in their own interviews—and across countless interviews from other projects—and will enable imaginative, unforeseen interpretations.

And Valerie Yow, in her “Introduction to the In-Depth Interview,” Recording Oral History (Altamira Press, 2005: 1-34) offers insight into what she calls “The Use of Narrative as a Research Strategy”:

But even before the narrative form of research became acceptable, many oral historians and humanist psychologists and sociologists sought in the individual life story a specificity and a richness of experience that general accounts did not offer. Anthropologist Ruth Behar says that life histories give us the information that general studies, supposed to be typical accounts, obscure: “Rather than looking at social and cultural systems solely as they impinge on a life, shape it, and tum it into an object, a life history should allow one to see how an actor makes culturally meaningful history, how history is produced in action and in the actor’s retrospective reflections on that action.” Even if scholars in the past regarded work based on narrative as simple, many believe now that narratives are not simple and they are not innocent either because there is always an agenda. Bruner asks, “Why do we naturally portray ourselves through story, so naturally indeed that selfhood itself seems like a product of our own story making?” He argues that narrative expresses our deepest reasonings about ourselves and our experience.

Oral history is inevitably subjective: its subjectivity is at once inescapable and crucial to an understanding of the meanings we give our past and present. To reveal the meanings of lived experience is the great task of qualitative research and specifically oral history interviews. The in-depth interview offers the benefit of seeing in its full complexity the world of another. And in collating in-depth interviews and using the insights to be gained from them as well as different kinds of information from other kinds of records, we can come to some understanding of the process by which we got to be the way we are.

Yow’s reference to the work of the psychologist Jerome Bruner is worth elaboration. For over the next few weeks you will be doing what Bruner calls the Narrative Construction of Reality. Surely professors and students of literature will recognize the correlations between the stories we tell to make sense of our lives and the stories that are handed down over time that fall under the term literature, perhaps by having read the work of the sociolinguist William Labov (Language in the Inner City 1972), the linguist and literary critic Mary Louise Pratt (A Speech-Act Theory of Literary Discourse 1975), or Bruner (Actual Minds, Possible Worlds 1985) or, more recently, Mark Turner’s The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language. Turner’s book, in particular, reminds us that stories are a basic principle of mind. “Most of our experience, our knowledge, and our thinking is organized as stories.” And, indeed, stories help us make sense of other stories, including codified or accepted stories, including institutional histories.

Please have a look at the Resources page for links to oral history resources on the web that will most likely be useful for your work.

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Good Housekeeping

Project Web Sites are Live!

Our amazing COPLAC program associate, Leah Tams, has set up your web sites:,

You should have received an email yesterday from WordPress about their your status (same usernames as on your blog and we recommend the same password). You can login to your subdomain by adding /wp-admin to the end of the URL.

Design and Customize: Plugins, Themes, Widgets

The Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington is a useful site to explore. In particular, have a look at Jess Reingold’s recent Jess’s Quick Guide to Plugins, Widgets, and Themes. Her post includes a list of best practices for choosing themes and plugins. Mark and Cole are available at any point to troubleshoot, or answer questions about themes and blogs.

 Class Schedule: Part Two of the Course

We have designed the course to give you ample time to do independent work on your projects. We will therefore meet once per week, on Thursdays, during the next four weeks. Our weekly project charrettes will give everyone a chance to ask questions, resolve challenges or problems, and learn from one another.

We will meet twice during week 10, before we break for Thanksgiving. Your project timelines should align with the expectation that our meetings on Tuesday November 15th and Thursday November 17th will be dedicated to previewing your institutional sites. It is imperative that the sites be developed and refined at this point. For when we return from the holiday break we will only have one class before the Project Presentations begin on Thursday December 1.

Research Reflections

There are nine “Research Reflections” required in the course. The first three Research Reflections were the product of writing prompts: 1) on September 11th “What’s the Story?; on September 25th “Reading and Writing,” about higher education in the US and your local institution; and on October 2nd, “For Me and For Someone Else,” about the digital humanities and your projects.

From your fourth Research Reflection last week to your final reflection due on Sunday November 20th your Research Reflections will be a product of the intellectual work you are doing—reflecting on the process of research, interviewing, and building a digital home for your work.

Each of your blog posts should make visible what you are doing, how you are learning, or what you are discovering in your research. Our expectation is that you will produce engaging and professionally presented writing. We want to give you the opportunity to “curate” your Research Reflections. And so at any time you may revise and/or update what you have written.

Nota bene: Because this “Monday Update” is posted on Thursday, and we are moving into Part Two of our course, I am going to change the Category on our NAPLA blog to “Weekly Updates.”


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Create Manage License

One of the objectives we have during the first half of the course is for you to create and manage content using Word Press.


Below is a checklist to get everyone caught up managing content on your course blog. The checklist is also designed to develop your skills (such as adding images and links) and establish habits, or protocols, (such as including categories and tags when you publish a post. Finally, we are introducing below a conversation we will have together about rights and responsibilities for creating and sharing content in the digital commons.

Here is your checklist:

Manage Your Blog

  • Add an Image to your About page (See example on Julia’s About page for an example). Consider Justifying image left or right and wrapping text using image editor. If fo rany reason you do not want to use an image of yourself, please choose an appropriate image that you would like your readers to associate with your blog
  • Add or Modify the Blog Header You don’t have to have a header. And what you can do with a header is in some cases determined by the functional capacity of the theme you have chosen. Still, headers are attractive and can serve to reinforce or echo the blog theme. Julia’s Liberal Art in the Land of the Sky is a good example. We might consider whether Emily’s fabulous image on Geneseo’s Educational Evolution is too large. On most screens, the reader will need to scroll before getting any information. John’s Liberal Arts in the Beautiful Valley is also large. This image is a bit grainy as well, and it may be that the resolution of the image may not support the size
  • Add a Links or Blogroll Widget (if you do not already have one). Delete any default WP links that do not seem relevant or necessary. Add your College home page (Title of the link should be the name of the College!). Add COPLAC. Add any other relevant links. Make a note to add relevant links as you continue in the course

License your Content

  • Add a License to your Blog As authors creating and publishing content on the web, we need talk about copyright and the commons, digital communities, collaboration and sharing. First, go to the bottow of the NAPLA course page and have a look at the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License icon. Next, visit Creative Commons and watch the three-minute Creative Commons Remix on Vimeo. Read About Our Licenses and What They Do. You will learn how the licenses for your work are designed to address legal, human, and software considerations. Then, choose a license. The NAPLA course blog uses the least restrictive license. The 4.0 License lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work, even commercially, as long as users credit us for the original creation. You retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make non-commercial uses of your work. Once you have chosen a license (we recommend the one above), add a Text Widget to your Blog. Put the text widget at the bottom of the widget sidebar. Paste into the Text Widget Window the following code:

<a rel=”license” href=””><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0;” src=”×31.png” /></a><br />This work is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=””>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a>.

Save and close the widget window. Voila! Welcome to the digital commons!

Revisit and Revise Your First Post

  • Add a Category Open edit for your first blog post and add the category “Research Reflections.” Make a note to add this category to all of your subsequent weekly writing posts
  • Add Another Category Add your first and last name as a Category to your post. This way the NAPLA course blog (where your posts also appear) will list your name under categories. Then you (or another reader like you mom or your uncle) will be able to click on that category and read a digest of your posts on the course blog. Make a note to add this category to all of your subsequent weekly writing posts
  • Add Tags Go through your first blog post and identify key words and concepts, people, place names. Add three or more Tags to the post
  • Add one or more Links Highlight text > add a URL > save (or command + K on a Mac). Casey’s Blog Post, for example, at the bottom under “Sources,” can embed the URL on the list by using the link tool. And Julia’s Blog Post can take existing text and add a link to COPLAC and a link to the UNCA Fact Book.

Complete the steps below by the end of the week. If you have any questions please let us know. We will troubleshoot and field questions during class or by email. Have fun!


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Reading & Writing

Research Reflection Prompt #2
Due: Sunday September 25

Introduction and Context This week we will will be reading selected materials on the history of higher education in the United States. You will then write a blog post on the relationship between higher education in the United States in relationship to the local history of your institution.

gi-bill_thumbThere are many book-length histories of American post-secondary education in your campus libraries. And we invite you to read in this material. However, for the purposes of this course, and the intellectual work you are doing this week, we have compiled selected materials that will introduce you to the governmental policies, social trends, and cultural forces that helped to determine the direction of post-secondary education during the past century.

As you read 1) prepare to bring your observations to our class discussion of post-secondary education this Thursday, 2) gather insights and taking notes for your second piece of writing that will be posted on your blog by Sunday and 3) use what you are reading to begin thinking about the kinds of questions might be the most useful in the interviews you will be conducting later this semester.

Reading List Everyone should read the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944

image035The relevant section for us is Title II Chapter IV Education of Veterans, 6-14. The pamphlet The Gi Bill of Rights and How-it Works provides another version written for military personnel that includes a complete text of the Bill and “An Explanation of its Provisions” and “Questions and Answers.”


Here is a short list of other readings that we believe will be helpful for all of you to consider as well:

College Education and the Midcentury GI Bills
, by Marcus Stanley, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 118, No. 2 May, 2003: 671-708

Review of When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, by Ira Katznelson. New York Times August 28 2005

Brown vs. Board of Education

Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

President Lyndon Johnson signing the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
President Lyndon Johnson signing the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

Trends in Higher Education from Massification to Post-Massification, by Patricia J. Gumport
, et al. Academic Reforms in the World: Situation and Perspective in the Massification Stage of Higher Education. Reports of the 1997 Six Nation Higher Education Project Seminar. Hiroshima, Japan February 6-7 1997

Distinctively American: The Liberal Arts College, by Eugene M. Lang, Daedalus. 128.1 (Winter 1999): 133-50

The Higher Education Resource Hub Page


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