A JUMP History

The Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects (TheJUMP) began in the Fall of 2009 via an email exchange between Justin Hodgson, Amanda Booher, Jason Helms, Joshua Abboud, Sergio Figueiredo, Anthony Collamati, Joshua Hilst, and Victor Vitanza. Hodgson was teaching a Writing in Digital Environments course at The University of Texas at Austin (his first semester there as an Assistant Professor) and he asked students to create remix projects that utilized public domain/educational video footage in order to offer current socio-political commentary. One student, Rusty Fausak, made this video entitled “Communism.”

Hodgson was so engaged by the project that he shared it, via email, with his friends and colleagues from graduate school (the RCID doctoral program at Clemson University). As the email discussion evolved around the merits and limits of the project, Hodgson noted that these kinds of multimedia projects had no scholarly outlet. Undergraduate papers, of course, had any number of academic venues–from local institutional publications to things like Young Scholars in Writing–but multimedia projects vanished into the digital wasteland. So, over the course of the next few weeks, Hodgson built a mock-up of a potential digital journal, laid out some basic approaches for how the journal might operate, and shared it with the same individuals to see if they would be interested in serving as founding members of the journal’s editorial collective.

Not only did his colleagues agree to be in, but many had student projects in mind they thought could fit for this kind of publication. So, with an initial team in place, Hodgson worked with the Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL) at The University of Texas at Austin to put the journal online (using Drupal as its 1.0 and 2.0 platforms), to help provide administrative and system support, and to serve as the institutional backing to the journal project.

With key participants in place, Hodgson began expanding the editorial collective, advertising the journal, and accepting/processing projects. The first issue of TheJUMP released in March of 2010 just before the Conference on College Communication and Composition, and was received quite well by the composition community–particularly the computers and writing scholars.

In the coming years, the journal would grow into a “project group” for the DWRL and graduate students would serve as managing editors to help facilitate the day-to-day operations of TheJUMP. It was during this time that Hodgson realized his initial Drupal design/install was idiosyncratic and not operationally transferable. So, with a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, and with support from the Graduate School, the Department of English, and the Department of Rhetoric at the University of Texas at Austin, Hodgson brought on Mike Widner to help redesign the journal’s infrastructure. Working in collaboration, using the Drupal 6 platform, TheJUMP 2.0 (so to speak) launched in November 2012 with Issue 4.1.

TheJUMP continued with this design and approach until Hodgson left The University of Texas at Austin to take a position at Indiana University. While Hodgson and the DWRL agreed to maintain the partnership for two years after his relocation–including continued involvement from the lab in the form of the project group members who worked on TheJUMP–once that initial period ended, infrastructures changes at UT necessitated an ending of the partnership and TheJUMP’s relocation.

Hodgson intended to just port TheJUMP over to IU, but they were not set-up to handle the platform as required. So, after attempting to rebuild TheJUMP in an IU specific content management system, Hodgson and his Editorial Board thought it best to just rebuild and rebrand TheJUMP. Now, TheJUMP+ operates on the WordPress platform and has been rebuilt over the course of two years (with critical assistance from two undergraduate interns: Kallie Willits & Stephanie Delph, both of Trine University in Indiana).

The “plus” addition to the journal is a marker referencing its attempts to branch out going forward. In addition to publishing projects as it has in the past, TheJUMP+ hopes to take on more undergraduate participation, to add a heavier social media presence, and to offer regular blog posts on topics of interest to a multimedia/digital rhetoric audience.

While not every element of every project survived the rebuild/transition (the result of data corruption, file loss, system incompatibility, and the like), the Editors at TheJUMP+ hope the new design and function can operate for at least four years like the previous versions and help lead into the next generation of digital writing and new media production in the undergraduate classroom.