The Hub: Taking Students’ Academic Life Online

The Hub @ Notre Dame has gone live! The Hub takes students’ academic lives online, providing a platform for exploring ideas, presenting their work, and social networking within an academic community.

I initiated this project in the spring of 2009 at Notre Dame, so it is wonderful to see it come to fruition. Here is the opening to my original Hub Proposal:

Students today can share their personal lives on online sites like Facebook and MySpace. They do not have a comparable site for their academic lives. Through the creation of the Notre Dame Hub, students will be able to share their research and artistic creations, reflect on what they are learning, and discuss new ideas and opportunities.

The Hub will offer that through a centralized online architecture, a core group of students in charge of managing the site and handling editorial responsibility, a faculty advisory group, and content created by students from across the Notre Dame campus.

The student editorial team, led by Paul Baranay and Kirsten Adam, have worked hard to achieve that vision, adding a lot of ideas on the way. Tyler Hulett, who graduated last spring, was instrumental in developing the different domains of academic life that the Hub addresses. Kirsten Adam describes those domains in her post, So… What is the Hub?

First and foremost, the Hub is a site that depends on YOU.

The content on the Hub is all user-generated, and it’s all from people at Notre Dame. The site exists to provide a community with which to share your work, ideas, and advice. Use the Hub as a tool to share your ideas with an audience, to gain insight from the ideas of others, and to exchange advice about student life…

We’ve split up the site into what we see as three major arenas of our academic lives.

1. the Commons

This portion of the site is a literal common room. Find opportunities you didn’t know existed. Hear from other students who have been through service trips, med school applications, and study abroad experiences. Share your own experiences with others.

2. the Think Tank

This arena is a place for discussion of the ideas and issues that matter to us, our campus, and our world at large. We believe that when we come together to share ideas, wrestle with crucial questions, and seek paths to a better world, we forge stronger selves and a stronger community.

3. the Showcase

Last but not least, this arena provides you an opportunity to share what you’ve been thinking about and working on in your area of expertise. Why let that poster presentation or paper gather dust under your bed when you can share it with a responsive audience? Use the showcase to get feedback and to promote yourself and your work to the world at large.

The Hub @ Notre Dame also permits the formation of specific interest groups, as well as student-driven discussion. Paul Baranay describes how students can engage with the Notre Dame Forum through the Hub. This year the President’s Forum will focus on The Global Marketplace and the Common Good, and feature Thomas Friedman. Barany writes:

If you’re interested in discussing the Notre Dame Forum on the Hub, here’s a few ways to go about doing it:

1) Join the “ND Forum 2010-2011″ group on the Hub. Groups are a great place for short discussion about a particular topic.

2) Simply create a post explaining your reaction to the Forum events. Put your post in the “Think Tank” category, and tag it with “forum” (plus anything else you think is applicable).

3) Comment on other posts tagged with “forum” to join the discussion!

Only Notre Dame affiliated people can post on The Hub, but the posts and discussions are open to the broader public. Here is a recent post on Lunch in Diehesia Refugee Camp, covering a student’s experiences in Palestinian refugee camps. This post examines the controversy over Wikileaks: When does transparency hinder security? And here are two poems, Pancakes and Lovesick.

The Hub @ Notre Dame has been shepherded along by Cecilia Lucero, assistant director of the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement at Notre Dame. Kevin Abbott, educational technology specialist at Notre Dame’s Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, was instrumental in helping to create the site with the students. Paul Turner, manager of Academic Technologies, encouraged the development of this project from the very first time we spoke about it. Finally, the Notre Dame administration at multiple levels has provided consistent support for the project.

Congratulations to everyone on getting the Hub going. I look forward to seeing how the project develops, and how other universities can use the Hub initiative to help their students develop their academic life online.

Link to The Hub: Your Academic Life @ Notre Dame.

Daniel Lende Hub Proposal

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