Just short of a year ago, I blogged about stepping into the great wide open.
I also spent a few weeks sanding and painting my deck.
This time with my own choices of what to do was a gift I can never say enough thanks to my late true life fairy godmother (thanks Aunt Martha!). It was hardly sitting around (besides the deck sanding).
And with the passing this year of my Mom, my savings again could allow me another year or two of free living. But it did feel time to get back to a place to do some W.O.R.K.
A goal of the trip was to figure out that age old question, what do I want to do? I left my job last year, cause I knew that it was not IT. I gave some thought to being a consultant, got advice from people I respect who are making it, but shied away from the idea of selling myself around (that is a gross characteristic what that means). I then thought about the idea of still traveling, but spending longer time at places (months?) doing short term work. My idea that you don’t really learn what makes a place work in a few days and it could be interesting to be embedded some place a while, provide some services there, learn about what makes them tick, and take that working info around, sort of a Pied Piper?
To cut what is already growing into a long story short, when I talked to Jim Groom about it as a possibility, he said they don’t have any visiting geek positions, but that they would be opening a full time slot, and suggested I apply and consider moving my base to Fredericksburg, in fact, offering me a place to stay in his house. I had already pledged to coming here to teach (as adjunct) a section of ds106.
Why do this? In my previous stints at Maricopa and the NMC, I was working at the organizational level of learning, and they were great perches to get to do a lot fo R&D, understand things from a systems place, etc. But I felt a calling to get to a place of innovation right where the teaching happens, and where I would have the opportunity to teach too.
And the other appeal was to work with a great creative team; in my previous positions, I worked with other people, but for the technology side, I was pretty much on my own. Here I sit at a table with the great energy of Jim, Martha Burtis, Tim Owens, and Andy Rush. It’s a great seat. And that’s not to mention a long list of super creative faculty here I am eager to get to know better. And getting to be here for another Faculty Academy? Cherry on top.
In late January, I closed up my little house in Strawberry, and did a 4 1/2 day sprint back across the country (between class ending Wednesday night and arriving in time for class Monday night)
And thus vague tweet…
In other news to be blogged later, I am no longer unemployed…
— Alan Levine (@cogdog) March 12, 2012
So yesterday, was my first official day of employment as an Instructional Technology Specialist at UMW. What am I doing? Finding out. I’ve got my homework to do and meet people, I will be working with faculty in the Humanities, tinkering with wordpress. Other things on my list hopefully to explore are:
- Update and maybe overhaul of 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story
- Development of Feed2JS as a WordPress plugin
- Explore the MediaWiki / WordPress integration that has been a huge success at UBC
- Implementation of the PirateBox technology in other spaces.
- Rich media publishing on the web, sites that don’t look like web pages, but more like say Jux. Not apps, the web, that’s where its at. Maybe it is HTML 5? Got to learn.
- Visualizations. I want to learn a tenth of what Tony Hirst does.
And that is just a scratch list. I await the ideas I don’t know about yet. Got ideas? My ears are open.
But it’s great to be back in the saddle, and it could not be at a better place. Want to know what UMW and DTLT are really about? Get yer butt here in May for Faculty Academy. I am working there, hoping I can carry my load.