Tona Hangen

Projects

DigitalWorcester: a collaborative digital archive of Worcester history since 1800, using Omeka, launched in 2008. For more on why Omeka is an academic “killer app,” see here. Media coverage: see Rachel Faugno, “Digital Worcester Makes History Accessible,” Worcester Statement Fall 2009, 16-17.

Podcasting: in the fall of 2009  and 2011, with my honors first-year seminar, “Roadside America,” we created podcasts that profiled different states and their unusual (or even, perhaps, bizarre) roadside attractions or festivals. We used Audacity, enhancing them with clips from freesound.org, and posting them to Blackboard or to the course’s blog. Listen to my sample podcast on Pennsylvania here (4:32) – a somewhat ragged first attempt at podcasting. I hope to add audio components and assignments to future courses, especially my course on radio.

ePortfolios: In my work as the chair of the curriculum committee for the WSU Department of History, we explored a portfolio or ePortfolio option. I’m developing a couple of sandbox sites for experimentation with different digital portfolio platforms, including GoogleSites and Wetpaint. This website serves as my own ePortfolio (a WordPress installation).

Blogging: I use blogs to deliver all my course content. Our college uses Blackboard as an LMS, so I whittle the standard sidebar options to little more than the email system, paper submission upload, and an external link out to the freestanding course blog. I’m also a frequent writer or commenter for a number of blogs, some public and some private, on topics of interest to me. I’m a contributor to the Juvenile Instructor, a blog by and for historians of Mormonism. Blogs chronicle our family medical volunteer work abroad (Bhutan, Tanzania). I use one blog as a personal teaching journal, and another as a research log to organize my current book project. Although I started with Blogger, I tend now to prefer WordPress to create dynamic online spaces that organize ongoing academic and professional group work. Through my RSS reader, I follow over 100 blogs from family and friends, my denominational community, higher education and learning, history and digital humanities, and a few just because they’re quirky, funny or beautiful. Some of my favorites are listed under Resources.

Wikipedia: Every now and then, a reasonably intelligent person thinks, “gee, I could improve this one,” and so it begins. Writing for Wikipedia has a low threshold (obviously) but is perhaps a more worthwhile endeavor for professional historians than it might at first seem. While Wikipedia tends to get dismissed (or outright banned) in higher ed settings, it can be a valuable pedagogical and scholarly experience to actually improve the thing rather than just complain about it. I have made some modest contributions to Wikipedia, and plan to do more – in particular, the WP:WMNHIST project launched in February 2011 by a Brandeis grad student colleague of mine shows real promise and I hope to squeeze in. I also dream of creating an undergraduate course – perhaps for our university’s Winter session – on history-writing for Wikipedia, because I think it’s an act of public history that could deserve academic credit.

Conferences: I keep a running list of academic conferences which I have had the pleasure to attend or of which I’ve been on the program. Also, I have been an invited featured speaker at various nonscholarly conferences, including keynote addresses at regional New England religious conferences and the BYU Women’s Conference.

Webmaster: I help design and maintain websites for the Worcester State History and Political Science Department, the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and the New England Historical Association. I’ve also done website development for community organizations, including my town’s middle school parent organization.

Center for Teaching and Learning, Worcester State University: Advisory Board member, 2009-2012; the Center supports faculty development through a variety of year-round activities and launched Currents, an online peer-reviewed journal of teaching and learning.

Worcester Public Schools, TAH Grant: I am part of a 5-year project titled “Securing the Blessings of Liberty,” which involves mentoring, conferences, and collaboration between higher education faculty, public historians, archivists and public school educators to strengthen the teaching of history in Worcester schools; funding from the TAH grant.

I have also been a twice-invited guest speaker to the Worcester-area Public Schools Humanities Scholars Collaborative to address several hundred high school students in a large plenary session held at WSU each April. In 2010 I spoke on “The Wrong Side of History,” and in 2011 on “The Changing Face of America.” My talks and slides are posted on the linked pages.

College Service at Worcester State: Assistant Director of the Honors Program 2010-2013. NEASC 2012 Self-Study Committee for Standard 7 (Library and Information Resources), 2010-2011. Honors Program Advisory Committee member 2009-2010. First Year Experience Working Group 2009-2010. College Wide Library Advisory Committee 2009-2011 (Co-Chair in 2009-2010). Chair, Departmental Curriculum Committee 2008-2010. Co-Chair, Departmental Assessment Committee, 2008-2010.

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Header Image: Adapted from Niki Feijens

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