As an introduction to what we would be doing in this class, the first week of school we were assigned to read an article and watch a presentation by Gardner Campbell, a former professor here at Mary Wash.
My freshman year here at Mary Wash I had Professor Campbell for English 295 – an english class entitled “Art of Literature”. I did not need to take any english classes for my major or for gen eds, but I figured it would be a good idea to take a basic english class my first semester in college. Little did I know that I was signing up for the class that is basically the gateway class for all english majors. You know, the one that people take to decide whether or not they really want to major in english. Needless to say, the class was a bit more work than I anticipated. But the one thing I remember (ok…I’d like to think that I remember more than one thing from that class…) is that everyday before class we had to post a blog entry about the reading for that day. And I hated it. I love writing. It’s how I organize my thoughts and get stuff out of my head that would otherwise float around forever. But there’s just something about feeling like you’re forced to do something, even if it’s something that you love, that takes all the fun out of it. So even though I loved reading and writing, I hated blogging twice a week for Gardner Campbell’s Art of Literature class.
Being that this experience is the one I most remember about Gardner Campbell, I was not too terribly excited about this assignment. Seeing that the video was just short of an hour long did nothing to boost my excitement meter either. However, as I sat and watched the video I remembered other things about the class – like the fact that I actually liked him as a teacher and he was great at articulating his ideas. So upon recalling the positive aspects of English 295 and Gardner Campbell I was more willing to listen to his ideas on what he calls a “personal cyberinfrastructure”.
I see the merit in the concept of a place where all my work would be in the same place. A place where I could establish and present an identity – really of my own choosing – to the rest of the world. As I prepare to graduate at the end of this semester and move forward into a professional career, it would be nice to go back and pull information and projects that I have created during the past three years here at school and show it off to potential future employers. I am certainly intrigued by the possibilities presented by allowing each student to create their own personal web space for academic, personal, and even potentially professional use.