Augustine of Hippo

In the spring of 1994, O'Donnell taught what is arguably the first MOOC in Internet history.  (He defers to Floyd Zulli of NYU as the real creator of MOOC teaching with "Sunrise Semester" in the 1950s.) Using "gopher" and email only, O'Donnell taught an advanced introduction to the work and thought of Saint Augustine to 500 students from around the world.  In the days when many people enjoyed the New Yorker's famous cartoon with the tagline, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog", O'Donnell gave Augustine his own website (believed a first for any saint) and his own cartoon.  The website has aged and some links do not work, but it captures the essence of the saint's thought and a moment in Internet history.

Web Site from 1996

Here is the earliest surviving record of O'Donnell's web page, from 1996, recovered through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.  The Latin quotation means, "I have to admit that I've learned I lot I didn't know already by writing about it."

New Tools for Teaching

In the fall of 1994, O'Donnell's "New Tools for Teaching" website went live just as Netscape was released to become the second widely-used graphical browser for the World-Wide Web. It described the real practices and exciting possibilities for transformation of teaching through networked technology. Much of what these pages say is still valid and much of what they imagined has come true.

Doughbelly Price

Doughbelly Price in front of Clip-Joint Real Estate OfficeIn the spring of 1959, when I was aged 9, while on a vacation in Taos, NM, my parents took me along to see a local real estate agent and professional "character" named Doughbelly Price. Price had been a chuckwagon cook and rodeo cowboy in his youth not long after the turn of the century, and had settled down in Taos to sell real estate and tell stories, some of which wound up in columns in the local newspaper and were eventually collected into books. He was a scrappy little bantam of a man, and I retained a vivid memory of him. His fame beyond Taos began in 1949 when Life magazine ran a profile of him.

Doughbelly died on 8 June 1963. There was a news report in The New Mexican on 10 June, an editorial on the 11th, and a news report about his funeral on the 12th.