Praxis Weekly Digest #1

First, if you missed our post last week about redesigning Ivanhoe, we are now in the process of building the game as a WordPress Theme.  If you are a potential Ivanhoe user, help us out by giving some feedback about the way you use WordPress.

Congratulations to Zach for passing his orals!  Now he has read even more books and will be that much better qualified to wage a fierce Ivanhoe war.  Way to go, comrade!

Francesca and I dusted off our artistic abilities the other day to brainstorm a logo.  Watch out for a post from Francesca on this first step to designing Ivanhoe.

And last but certainly not least, many thanks to our Development Team for putting in hours and hours of learning and wielding PHP, led by the tireless and endlessly patient Jeremy.  They now have a page built which allows a user to enter a move and which then displays the moves in a series of posts.  Great job, guys!  (Stay tuned for a post on this from Veronica.)

As we plunge headfirst into building and designing the Ivanhoe WordPress Theme, I reflect on the vast change which has occurred in our group dynamics between this semester and last.  In the fall, we spent most of our time deciding what Ivanhoe was about.  Several posts mused on teamwork (see “Forming, Norming, Storming & Performing,”More Musings on Tuckman,” “Stephen Covey intervenes in wire-framing Ivanhoe”, and “Sticky Situations: Lessons in Group Cohesion”), and, indeed, we had difficulties coming together on some points.  In retrospect, several elements contributed to this.  As I mentioned then in “Stephen Covey,” we all have strong personalities and fervent opinions.  Apply that to the attempt to rethink an already abstract idea such as Ivanhoe (which I would then have described as a game where you make moves on a text or concept to intervene in that text and generate criticism), and rabbit holes get deeper and deeper.  Furthermore, as a group we didn’t know how we all fit into the mix.  Once we took our places in Design (Francesca and Zach), Development (Eliza, Scott, and Veronica), and as project manager (me), we each had an individual purpose and set of responsibilities.  Now that the wire-frames are finished (see Francesca’s post), we all feel energized and are moving forward.

As project manager, I realize how much I enjoy talking with the team and seeing what challenges everyone is taking on.  I enjoy getting updates on people’s progress and being a sounding board for ideas.  I also thrive on creating to-do lists and getting word out about what is going on in Praxis.  That being said, I see it as part of my job to share our progress with you, as well.

This will be the first of a series of weekly check-in posts I will be writing as we proceed in building and designing Ivanhoe this spring.  Each post will provide a space to acknowledge what our group has accomplished that week.  Our charter emphasized equal credit.  Something which I believe is critical to all members receiving that equal credit, however, is to acknowledge individually what the teams and members have done from week to week.  I plan for these posts to provide that acknowledgement.  Only in that way will those interested in our activities see how each member’s contribution fits into the whole.  My weekly updates will also uphold our charter’s emphasis on outreach by letting you all know what is going on in our group.  Now that we are actively building, this is more vital than ever.

So welcome to my Weekly Praxis Digest.  Keep an eye out for the upcoming posts I mentioned from Francesca and Veronica, don’t forget to fill out our WordPress questionnaire if you’re interested in Ivanhoe, and wish us luck as we move into a new week of building!

I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia with an AB in English and Spanish. I am now in my second year of the English MA program at UVa and am focusing on American literature, textual studies, and digital humanities. DH interests include digital applications to textual criticism, archiving, and prosopography; but I'm excited to expand my DH horizons this year in the Scholars' Lab. In my spare time I enjoy jamming on my violin, researching family history, going trail biking, and having movie nights with friends. I love ballroom dance, can't get enough opera, and enjoy making gourmet pizza at home.

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