To be honest, this Domain of One’s Own Faculty Initiative isn’t at all what I imagined it to be. I thought I would be given step-by-step instructions about how to create my on-line identity. But instead we have been reading articles which has slowed down my momentum…in a good way. I came in all guns blazing, ready to finally get my act together and create my own webpage. I imagined it as a kind of personal archive and bulletin board, but one which would be more interactive and purposeful than my Facebook account. Mostly, I imagined it as more professionally-oriented.
But the first week’s readings put a halt to my wild imaginings, making me think about how I wanted to present myself to the world. They made it clearer that I have the power to control my own image. This was an issue that had already arisen in Facebook where, within the past few months, I felt like my personal and professional lives have collided. Up to that point, Facebook was purely personal while my professional life was limited to LinkedIn and conferences. But, in a surprising turn of events, 16th century French scholars created a Facebook group which was instantly full of activity. I was hooked by the beehive mind and eager to read updates and answer open questions. The catch came when I went to write a personal post on my page and wondered if it would somehow make me seem like a less serious scholar.
I still struggle with how much non-professional information to include on the website, but I plan to start slowly, focusing on the professional and tweaking as necessary. I’d like to include the obvious – my CV, research, and syllabi, but then include French resources as well. I consider it part of my role as professor to impart information about French culture and provide access to resources which allow students to explore on their own, outside of class. Weller’s chapter “The Pedagogy of Abundance” suggests that increased accessibility to teaching resources changes the role of the educator and presents innovative alternative pedagogies. Before reading the article, I would have feared that the conclusion would be that professors will ultimately be obsolete. After reading it, however, I see things differently.
I will be able to use my website to enhance my students’ learning experience and I think my absence is key to their development. By providing students with multiple resources (on-line dictionaries, newspapers, radio stations, tv stations, etc.) and interactive formats (blogs, Instagram, twitter), I will be able to provide them with a virtual space to apply what they’ve learned in class and make it their own. As Madsen-Brooks said, I hope to use my domain to “make students curators”. Using my collection as a springboard, they will be able to create their own exhibits.
Now, if I can just figure out how to organize the museum…