Past my comfort zone….

When I first arrived at the University of Mary Washington I was a timid, but still a confidant transfer student who really did not know what he wanted out of his education. In my first meeting with my advisor I was told that transfer students usually do not fare to well at UMW. I was told that I should not expect the same grades I received prior to coming to the university. Rather than seeing this as an insult, I saw it as a challenge. I thought to myself that “you don’t know Jack!” I knew I was going to have to prove, not only to my advisor and other professors, but to myself that I could and would succeed as a student. Soon after I was hit with similar situation, I had accidentally signed up for an honors history course because I was unfamiliar with registration system at the time. I was told by the professor of the course and the person running the honors program that it would be in my best interest to drop the course and save myself from the headache and potential bad grade that could potentially ruin my GPA. I was told that I probably could not handle the course load and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the class. I thought to myself again that these people don’t know Jack. I proceeded to take the course regardless of its honor title and took on the challenge

After a few weeks into my first semester I quickly realized the warnings were not without merit. I had never before in my past educational experiences received so much work! Reading two or three books a week while simultaneously writing papers and doing projects was quite the challenge. Nonetheless, I learned to adapt and soon found myself excelling at my studies. After a couple of semesters at UMW I started to fall in love with education and work. This is mainly thanks to the many great professors I had while attending UMW. In fact I cannot recall a single professor I did not like or did not enjoy a class with. School was no longer about just getting a degree, it became much more than that. I started to have true passion for my work and what I was learning. That’s least to say I didn’t have passion before, but that it reached an entire new level. Thanks to UMW I do not think I will ever stop wanting to learn. It truly has become an addiction that just won’t go away.

After a successful first semester at UMW I decided to take a class with my advisor in my second semester and to be honest I was a little concerned at how well I would preform. The intelligence of this man was nerve racking and I heard rumors that he was very subjective and critical of students’ work. Once I started taking his courses I was able to confirm these rumors were true. However, the subjectiveness and criticism were only a small part of how he taught. In the first day of class I was hooked. You could instantly tell that he had a passion not only for history, but for teaching. He also pushed his students farther than any other professor I had before. He introduced many students, including myself, to new types of technology that weren’t generally associated with a liberal arts degree. He pushed me way past my comfort zone, which today I could not be thankful enough, especially towards helping me in my professional career. Though that class didn’t go exactly according to plan because of some other conflicts ( projects..cough), I still enjoyed every last bit of what I was taught. I gained a whole new sense of confidence to take on classes that I thought were way beyond my capabilities, including a few more with my advisor.

After a couple more courses with my advisor, he approached with an opportunity to work on a digital history project with several other students. Until that point I had never been hand selected for an academic project in my life. It was perhaps my proudest moment at UMW. However, after being told who I was going to work with I was a little intimidated. The three other students I was going to work with were way beyond my academic level (Thanks again for pushing me out of my comfort zone). Throughout the entire project I could not understand why my advisor chose me out of seemingly endless candidates to work on such a project. As the semester progressed my confidence grew, I was no longer out of my comfort zone, but exactly where I needed to be. I guess my professor saw something in me that I did not see in myself. The most important lesson he taught me during my education was not about the history of mental institutions or the history of the atomic bomb, but that it is vital to push yourself farther than you ever thought you could accomplish because that is the only way you will truly learn something new.

I can not thank you enough Dr. McClurken. You have opened a new world of possibilities for me and I am absolutely certain you have done so for many other students before and will continue to do so as your career goes forward. You have been a tremendous teacher, advisor, mentor and most importantly a good friend who I will always feel indebted towards. Please continue to push your students past their comfort zones because the rewards are truly endless. I also do not wish to say goodbye because like I said I am forever indebted to you with my education and cannot simply leave with a thank you.

Dr. McClurken is not the only person I would like to thank for my time at UMW. There are endless people who helped directly and indirectly with my education. The folks over at DTLT brought a whole new meaning to education in my life. Even before we all formally met, you guys already had a tremendous impact on my education. I hope they continue to have the same impact because I just know in my heart that they are transforming education and are continuously making history. I also have to thank the various students I have worked with over the years. To know that many of you share the same passion I have about education and technology tells me that UMW is doing a tremendous job at transforming the way we learn. We pushed each other farther than I think most of our own teachers thought we would go and I hope you continue this trend in your own personal and professional lives.

Thank you UMW,


p.s. I have been writing this post for almost two months now. Post-graduation life is busier than I could have ever imagined.

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Who owns your digital identity?

This past week in Infoage14 we discussed the importance of digital identity and we ran into a few snags. As an activity we Googled ourselves to check on our own digital identities (yes, we signed out of Chrome first). Many students found they had at least several Google pages worth of links about themselves, mainly of things they created. However, some students only had a few links to their name and others found way more information about others who shared their name than they did themselves. Now whether or not this is a problem is up for debate. Does it really matter if you own your digital identity? In my opinion yes…yes it does.

For young people who have yet to establish themselves in a career it’s important to start working on your digital identity as soon as possible. You do not want to be 22-24 years old and the only thing that shows up when someone Googles you is your Myspace account from 10 years ago or worse someone who is not even you who has a criminal record. Now to be fair, it is unfair to be judged solely off of your presence in a digital space. HOWEVER, YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGED IN A DIGITAL SPACE! No matter what job you apply to someone in human resources is going to Google you and are expecting find at least one thing online about you, whether that’s your own website or simply a Facebook account, they are going to be looking. We increasingly live in a digital world and the cross between reality and that digital space is becoming ever more slender. It is up to you to take control of that space and take back your identity. In some cases you may have to fight for your own identity, most of due unless you have an extremely unique name. Though it is extremely important for you a presence online for professional reasons, what about the importance of a social life and your social digital identity?

Most conversations about digital identity and who you are online generally revolve around the idea of who you are in a professional setting. However, your professional career is only one part of your life and is actually a very small part of who you really are. So which one is more important, your social or professional digital identity? If you like to party all the time and want to be able to share your experiences having fun all the time, should you take the risk of posting pictures of yourself getting drunk or should you have be weary of what you post? If having fun is who you are, shouldn’t you have the right to show the world that you like to have fun? Well….yes yes you should. Life is not always about work, but is also not always about having fun, there is great balance between the two. That is why there should be a balance between the two when you work on controlling your own digital identity. If you only identify through work or through your social life, you may want to develop a system of checks and balances, unless you have landed your dream job and the two are one in the same. You should not have to sacrifice or shame on who you really are to just land a great job or just maintain your professionalism outside of work. But what about just your social life?

How important is it to maintain a social life online? Well that too is up for debate. For instance I do not  have a Facebook and to many people especially my friends and family they see that as missing out on a great deal of information and they are correct. I have missed a lot of news about my friends and families personal lives by not being on Facebook, I even missed the announcement of my sister-in-law being pregnant and had to learn that through my girlfriend who of course saw the news on Facebook. But for me the benefits of Facebook do not outweigh the odds. I do not see the point of keeping up with hundreds of different peoples social lives, its just too much and I have way more important things to attend to than I do most of the things that get posted on Facebook (I’m not saying that my future niece or nephew is not important, but you get my point.) Additionally, I just don’t feel comfortable sharing that much personal information about myself on the internet. I don’t want two hundred plus people I don’t ever interact with to know that much detail about my life nor the many problems that come attached with said life, their my problems I’ll handle just fine without the need to outsource to so many other people. I guess you could call me an introvert when it comes to a digital space and my personal life, but on the other hand I love do what I’m doing right now, sharing my thoughts and ideas about the digital world in a digital space. This post right now will always be a part of my digital identity as long as it exist on the web. This post also contributes to the maintenance of my digital identity making it stronger with every word I type while also giving control over who I am in a digital world.

It’s important to take control of your digital identity both in a personal and professional space. Or you may end with someone else’s identity whether you like it or not. Sometimes people can deliberately take control of it for you. It pretty simple to take control of someone else’s digital identity, you just have to put the utmost amount of time in to do so. It takes years just to get several pages about yourself on Google, and if you aren’t hard at someone else might be so get at it. You don’t want this to happen to you because you continuously put off maintaining an online presence whether for you professional or social life:



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Not so reputable…

Andre Marshall 

Crocodile Shears 

Gold Tea

Reich Corps of the Trombone






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North vs. South: Propaganda

After many years at war the world was divided in two. Four leaders emerged at the end of the massive conflict, each controlling their respective hemispheres. Emily and Jess formed an alliance and have ruled the Northern Hemisphere ever since, while Jack and Bruce dominate the South. This map illustrates how the world looks today:


It has been decided by these leaders that countries in both the North and South will be given the option to defect to the other side or stay with their current leadership on November 2nd, Defection Day. Each side has created propaganda that has spread across the globe for months on end. Numerous commercials and posters have been circulating to try and persuade the other side to defect. These are some of their propaganda material:

The North:

This Northern propaganda commercial has been airing on Southern televisions for months and has become quite popular throughout the globe.

Northern posters can be found on just about every street corner in the Southern hemisphere.

KevinRebel (1)Emily (1)JessPoster (1)welcometothenorth



The South:

This Southern propaganda video, which slanders Jess and Emily’s leadership, has been seen by millions of viewers in the Northern Hemisphere:

These Southern posters can be found throughout world, trying to convince Northerners to head South and Southerns to remain where they are:

South-RISE (1)southwillrise

solidaritysouth (1)southflag (1)

Decisions will be made November 2nd, but the consequences are still unknown.

We created the propaganda videos to imitate modern day political campaigns that try to either slander the other side or promote themselves. Creating the fictional world allowed us to try and persuade others to either fight or defect from their current leadership, just like numerous times throughout modern day history. Throughout the World Wars, both sides tried to depict the enemy as an evil force that needed to be dealt with, such as the Hun campaigns run by the United States during the Great War. Many cases of propaganda like what we created was seen throughout the the Great War. For instance the Germans attempted to persuade the black population not to fight for the United States because of past treatment of the community. We wanted to capture some of those same techniques in our own respective campaigns.

Poster picture image creation through public domain.

Bolton, Humphrey. “Wentworth Castle, Stainborough.” Photograph. September 13, 2009.,, (accessed October 22, 2014).

Chang, A. “Korean War Fallen Soldier.” Photograph. August 28, 1950., (accessed October 22, 2014).

Crumb, Graham. “Dandan.” Photograph. December 22, 2009., (accessed October 22, 2014).

Flood, Kyle. “Waaah!” Photograph. February 20, 2007.,!.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

“Kids playing basketball in Farah.” Photograph. May 23, 2010. U.S. Embassy Kabul Afghanistan, _in_Farah.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Peterson, Aaron. “U.S. Navy team detonate expired ordnance in the Kuwaiti desert.” Photograph. July 12, 2002. United States Navy, wiki/File:US_Navy_020712-N-5471P 010_EOD_teams_detonate_expired_ordnance _in_the_Kuwaiti_desert.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Scott, Emmett J. Scott’s Official History of the American Negro in the World War. Chicago: Homewood Press, 1919.

U.S. Navy. “Korean War Navy Gun Fire.” Photograph. December 26, 1950. U.S. Navy, (accessed October 22, 2014).

Webb, Sarah R. “Afghan girls from Ghazni province.” Photograph. November 30, 2009. United States Air Force, Ghazni_province.jpg (accessed October 22, 2014).

Music found at:

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Why the Internet is Still an Infant…

Last week we covered a lot of information about Web 2.0 and where the web is heading in the future. I must say that the discussion was a great experience mainly because it is one of my favorite topics to discuss. One the reading we examined in class made the analogy that the internet is like a baby and as a society it is duty to raise, nurture, and groom that child. After class I thought about this analogy for a while and came to the conclusion that the internet could still be considered an infant. Yes, the internet has been around for quite some time now and the web is just as old as I am, but internet years are completely different from our human years. The web has grown at such a rate it would be easy to argue that the web has aged well past the years of a college graduate. However, even with this alarming growth and seemingly infinite knowledge the web is far from being considered as mature.

We have progressed well past Web 1.0 and wedged ourselves right between Web 2.0 and 3.0. If we continue to think of the web as software updates like we have down so since Tim O’Reilly popularized the term Web 2.0 back in 2004, then we can at least say that the web is somewhere around the age of 2.5 (remember this is in internet years). In its early stages back in the 90s, the web had limited information and had limited mobility, in terms of digital movement. Over the years we fed the web an abundance of information and it continues to grow on a daily basis. Though the web has this vast amount information and knowledge, where it really still lacks is in digital mobility/movement. Yes, Web 2.0 brought on a whole new way of going about the web with new tools and technology, but we are still learning how use these tools to the best of our abilities. Just as an infant finds news way to move around by either crawling or eventually standing up. I would say we are the mist of finally standing up, but we probably won’t get there for a few more years, and probably won’t being walking around anytime soon either. The more we take control over the web the more we will be able to move around (I hope most of this is making sense). We have gained a considerable amount of mobility in the web since its early years through the use of blogs, CMSs, social media, and even commenting sections. Yet, we still don’t have complete control over our own digital movement. Now defining exactly what complete digital control is can be left up to interpretation. We still need our mothers to carry us around (cough…ISPs…cough…social media).

One of the largest reasons we are stuck in this infant stage is because many of us on the web haven’t really claimed a spot. There is plenty of real-estate to go around, but to few of us ever want to pull the trigger and set up shop. Instead, we rent through social media, limiting our household to the landlord decisions…but lets head back to the other analogy. Since the spawn of the Web 2.0 revolution we have seen more and more digital tools arise to help us become more mobile and fluid on the web, but not many of us take advantage of such tools, even when they are absolutely free. Well this is all about growing up and discovering new things. As more people begin to actually use these the more the web will grow along with the need to become more mobile and adaptive. For many tech savvy individuals it may seem like an eternity because these tools and capabilities have been around for so long, but in reality they have not, and the adoption of new technology like the web tools always takes a while to catch on anyways.

Many of us wonder if we going to ever get to Web 3.0 or if we are living in it right now, but beyond looking what to call this new age of the web perhaps its more important to look at how are we going to get there? As the web grows up it is our decisions that will ultimately form what its going to become. Whether that is going to be a more immersive and fluid web or a more restricted social media based web, we will have to determine that as a society. Do not be fooled by internet service providers or major corporations….the web is in out control and not theirs and we must not forget that we have a certain responsibility to hold when we raise this gargantuan child.

Lets be responsible parents and raise this child right with out relinquishing control of our parenting to a select few as it was its most early stage. If we want the web to stand and walk around anytime soon then we need to do something about it and not wait around for it to happen. Nonetheless, we can not rush a infant into getting up and walking around in a day, so we can not expect the same for the web. Once we have more and more individuals up and walking around in the web itself, it will be time for the web to stand on its own.


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Terminator 2: Silent Film

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Ralph Waldo Tyler: War Correspondent

Ralph Waldo Tyler was the only black war correspondent during the Great War. He spent his entire time alongside black soldiers as they fought their way through France and on their way to Germany. I compiled some tweets from some of his final correspondents at the end of the war. The dates do not align correctly because the war ended in November. Here are some of Tyler’s own words from the end of the war:
Not all of the tweets are exact as Tyler had originally wrote because I had to make them all fit into Twitter word count limit. However, that is precisely where this project becomes interesting. How would reporters have used Twitter a hundred years ago? I would assume they would use it the exact same way as they do  today. So when I had to shorten some words or omit characters I would like to think that Tyler would have done the same with his own words.
I chose to tweet out Tyler’s reports because it is a part of my research for my thesis on black officers during the Great War. Seeing how Tyler was the only black war correspondent it makes for one interesting story. Every report he sent back home had to go through a rigorous government approval process and at the end many of his works were shortened or censored. Throughout the war black soldiers were not fully recognized for their gallant efforts on the battlefield. Those who served next to them understood how hard they fought, but for the military as a whole many did not accept the fact that black soldiers could be effective on the battlefield. With little coverage by the media, besides Mr. Tyler’s reports, the news of black soldiers fighting was not common, thus the recognition was not there either.
If Tyler had twitter at the time of these events, as he watched firsthand blacks fighting courageously on the battlefield, he could have live tweeted everything he saw. Maybe a different story would have been depicted as news of blacks actually fighting would have spread back home. Maybe white soldiers would have had different views of their fellow black fighters. The democracy and freedom blacks were fighting for may have been received differently and a whole string of events may have been played out differently. No riots, lynching, or massive Red Scare. Quite possibly the Civil Rights Movement may have came fifty years earlier. The power of social media and especially Twitter is endless. We saw this with the Arab Spring a few years ago and the live tweeting of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Additionally, the reports Tyler sent back home would have reached the black community, for which he served, much faster than they did almost one hundred years ago. White racism on the battlefield would have been more widely noticed back home as well as the heroic efforts of the black soldiers like I stated earlier. The black community could have been that much more proud of the soldiers fighting overseas and could have gained the recognition they deserved. However, the government may have taken control of social media and censored most of it as they did with all other forms of media at the time because their country was at war. It could have been exactly the same as it was back then just in a different platform, but I like to think otherwise.
Sadly not much has been written on Tyler’s experiences during the war. His reports are only briefly mentioned and some times not at all in scholarly work on correspondents during the Great War. Nonetheless, this sad truth just leaves more room for scholarly work in the future! This project was a lot of fun and with it brings much to be discussed about the power of social media and how information has spread across time. Additionally, I have to say this project turned out a lot better than I had originally thought, but that’s least to say I had any negative thought about the project at the beginning. It just shows that this project made me think much deeper about this history than what I expected.
Scholarly Works:
To learn more about Ralph W. Tyler see Lorenz, Alfred Lawrence. “Ralph W. Tyler.” Journalism History 31, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 2-12. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Official Reports:
Emmett J. Scott, Scott’s Official History of the American Negro in the World War (Chicago: Homewood Press, 1919): 284-295.
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DS106 Frisbee

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First 3D Design: Castle

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As You May Think

The Aurora: Computerized Bracelet with a hologram

Automatic video translator

Augmented Reality

Self Driving Cars

Nationwide Wifi

No desktops

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