Embedding Myself into the Professional World

Well, #domains17 is done! We’ve wrapped up on Tuesday and are all home by now. I definitely needed a few days to gather my thoughts for this post. I’m so grateful for this chance to experience what the Ed Tech world is like before I even start my job with Reclaim Hosting. It was a great way to meet tons of new people I will interact with. 

wanted to talk a bit about what I wanted to get out of the conference, how the conference actually was, and what I’m doing after it. 

So I knew that Reclaim was planning a conference in OKC back when I was an intern. Lauren would send messages on Slack of updates to her planning and it was very cool to follow how she was planned out the entire thing. I was looking forward to hearing about all the fun once I started at Reclaim. Then about 2 weeks ago, I received an email from Tim asking me if I could come along with them to OKC. I was on board immediately! I definitely didn’t want to miss the chance to get to hang with the full team before I started and to see what the Ed Tech world was all about.

Now flash forward to Saturday. I was so nervous, anxious, but mostly excited. I was nervous because it was my first exposure to a business conference. I was anxious because I really only knew the Reclaim and UMW crew out of the 80 people that attended. But I was mostly excited for this wonderful opportunity to really jump into my career with both feet before it even begins. 

I arrived at the hotel by the early afternoon and met the whole team to get things set up for the conference. Although the conference really started on Monday, we used Saturday and Sunday to get acclimated to the space and have everything ready for when people got in on Sunday. We all got dinner together along with Adam Croom, the University of Oklahoma liaison for the conference. He and Lauren worked closely to plan. It helped to have someone on the ground who knew the surrounding area and was able to provide awesome recommendations. 

Sunday rolled around and it was a great day full of awesome conversations. Lauren and I started the morning by walking to a local coffee shop called Coffee Slingers. And when I say walked, I mean like 30-40 minutes through the city. OKC is a weird mix of open space, but also you get into the city quickly. It was such a nice morning, despite the rain that I totally didn’t mind walking. I enjoyed the time to get to know Lauren a little more than just from our Internet class with Jim in 2014. It was a great girl bonding morning. After the morning, we met for lunch with Jim and Tom Woodward for another meal full of awesome conversation. Tom talked about his work with Georgetown University. He gave a presentation on his work during the conference, you can read that here.  He also took some awesome photos as well. 

This was my first experience with a conference like this where I am actually involved. I’ve been to other conferences before but never on my own and in this capacity with people who are now colleagues.  But honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to be introduced to the new professional world than through this conference. Jim, Tim, and Lauren both helped make me feel very welcome by introducing me to people and asking me to be involved with a lot of the conference. 

We kicked off the conference with a Domain Fair, where participants had numerous booths talking about the different projects they were working on. It was a great chance for people to catch up. For me, it was a great experience to see for the first time what people were working on. I was also recognized from Twitter which was insane, I hadn’t thought that my profile would be recognizable!

Then it was time for Martha’s Keynote! Martha Burtis was my boss at UMW, the director of the DKC, and I knew she was going to talk at the conference but I had no idea that I was going to see it. It was totally awesome. At UMW, the Domain of One’s Own project has been around for 4 years. I was a student there when the program started and I’ve seen it grow so much over the years. Martha talked about the DoOO program being at a point of “inflection,” as she called it, to shift the focus from getting the program set up, to a point of deeper thinking about what DoOO really is. Martha said

“I want to spend my time here dwelling on the the inextricable, in this case, why we in higher education must teach our communities to grapple with the Web in these deep and discerning ways — how the Web, and our culture, and our systems of education are bound up with each other and why they demand a particular responsibility of us.”

For me, this quote really stuck. I have noticed a lot of times that people don’t really understand how to navigate the web. And not just students I’ve encountered as a DKC tutor either. Other students and friends take the web for granted very often. It’s important that we teach others how to use the web, what the web represents in our society today, and promoting digital citizenship. Martha continued to talk about DoOO and provided some thought-provoking points. Towards the end of her talk, she mentions my name. I was totally surprised!  She talked about my individual study I did last semester and one of the questions I asked, during the interview process, if the web was a concrete space what would it be? Martha put together all of the answers to that question. It was such a cool video, take a look:

She challenged us to think about what the web would look like if it was a concrete space to us. After I interviewed everyone for the project, I had an idea of what everyone else was saying but I never really put it together like the way Martha did. I thought about and thought about it, then, it hit me that the web was a shipping container. You can do a ton of things with shipping containers, build shelters, buildings, and ship things in them. But when I’m talking about the web as a shipping container, I don’t mean just one of them, there are thousands of them around the world. And they can be transported anywhere in the world. There’s not just one item in them either, there can be a bunch of different products in one container. Just like websites, there are tons of different things within a website.

I thought this example is perfect for what the web represents in my life. My dad works on ships, piloting them from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay up to Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. He travels on all types of ships, car, container, and tanker ships. So I thought to illustrate my example of the web as a concrete space, I would use some of the photos he’s taken from the ships perspective:

Panorama Shot my Dad Took

 

I took this in London when studying abroad.

Another photograph my dad took while on a ship

After Martha’s keynote, the group broke into sessions for the remainder of the conference. This was another great opportunity to see what others are working on. This was very new to me, which was very exciting. But there was a chance for me to step out of my comfort zone as well. I’m used to being behind the scenes of events not presenting in front of other people. During a few of the sessions, I was introducing the speaker. It may seem like a small thing introducing someone but for me, especially since I’m so new to the field, it was pretty daunting. Luckily I got to introduce some of the UMW DTLT crew, so that took a little bit of the nerves away.

The first talk I introduced was Sean Morris and Jesse Stommel’s “If bell hooks made a Learning Management System (LMS).” Their talk was awesome, diving into the question: If bell hooks Made an LMS: Grades, Radical Openness, and Domain of One’s Own. Here are a few quotes from the talk:

I also introduced Jordan Noyes and Lora Taub who examined archiving protests. This was something that I’ve never really thought about. I haven’t participated in a protest before, but after their talk, I was intrigued. So I’ve set this as a new goal, start archiving protests, or participating for that matter.

One of the other talks I went to was from Jess Reingold and Jenna Azar. Jenna is an Instructional Designer at Muhlenberg College, who also runs the Digital Learning Lab, which is just like the DKC. She brought her son along, Jarrett. Jarrett is a Digital Learning Assistant and helps students with their digital projects. It was really interesting to see how the Digital Learning Lab is run as compared to the DKC, and really cool to see the concept that the DKC started to continue to grow.

Jess talked about her time as an Instructional Technology Specialist at UMW. It was really interesting to see that perspective. Here are some quotes:

Overall this trip was one of the best things I could have done to kick off my career. It still hasn’t hit me that I start at Reclaim Hosting this week. I feel refreshed, excited, and motivated to get a start and jump into my work at Reclaim. Thank you, Tim, Jim, and Lauren for this opportunity!

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