Departmental Handbook and Archive Working Meeting

Notes from Composition Committee Meeting, 3/5/2014


In attendance: Laurel Harris, John Talbird, George Fragopoulos, Benjamin Miller, Michael Dolan, Elise Denbo, Danny Sexton, Elizabeth Toohey, Aliza Atik, Robin Ford, Alisa Cercone, Matt Koch, Peter Gray, John Yi, Zivah Perel Katz, Jodie Childers, Mark Schiebe, Vartan Messier, Joost Burgers, Kat Alves, Jean Murley, Richard Tayson, Leah Anderst, Jean Darcy, Kim Banks, Tanya Zhelezcheva, Chris Leary, Matt Lau.


The meeting began with John and Laurel introducing the electronic faculty handbook, showing the current version and a mock-up designed by Jean Darcy with images from her students and from Jodie Childers. John and Laurel noted that the handbook will be completed by the end of the semester following a meeting with Bruce Naples to upload images and construct working links to Dropbox and the archive. It also needs to be verified that the handbook can open easily on the Firefox browser.


John and Laurel then introduced the department archive in Omeka, and those in attendance browsed the current activities and assignments using the tags. There followed a discussion of ways to make the archive useful as more material is uploaded. Comments for improvement included the following:


  • Make the list of tags more comprehensive on the archive and more explicit in the template faculty should submit with their assignments and activities;
  • Make the description accompanying each item shorter, no more than a sentence if possible;
  • Make the document hierarchy more “vertical,” or obviously hierarchal, like the menu on Purdue OWL;
  • Remove “Dublin Core” from the top of each item (this confused several users);
  • Change menu tabs from “Browse Items,” “Browse Collections,” “Browse Exhibitions” to a more specific definition of what is contained in each;
  • Make “Browse Tags” accessible with a single click, rather than clicking on “Browse Items,” then “Browse Tags.”


A question was raised about how to label and organize “Items,” “Collections,” and “Exhibitions.” For example, should there be a way to access all available rubrics or peer review sheets rather than accessing specific assignments? It was decided that every item in the archive should be contextualized, so there might be a “Rubrics” item that includes specific examples, but it would not be possible to isolate rubrics without contextualization.


How to tag items and the role of faculty in tagging items was another important question. John pointed out that it makes sense for the director and assistant director of composition to have the primary administrative role on the site for the sake of consistency. Questions were then raised about the workload of data entry for the administrators. It was pointed out that this question remains even with maintaining consistency in the site whether or not the director and assistant director are uploading themselves. It was also noted that tagging may need to develop organically as it is dependent on the materials in the archive.


Pete raised the question of audience for the archive, and John replied that the archive would both serve as a departmental database and make public the work of the department for an audience beyond QCC. Zivah then asked about editing the archive as the “public face” of the department. John replied that another advantage of having the director and assistant director upload documents onto the archive is that they could return assignments to faculty and ask for revision if they believed they weren’t yet ready to present to a larger audience.


The meeting concluded with faculty submitting assignments and the template to Dominique Zino to be included in the archive.

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