Humans of OpenGrounds


An Interview with Kimberley Barker

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 12.31.19 PMImagine you’re hosting a party: You spend weeks preparing for the party, choosing decorations and food, and meticulously constructing a party environment. But on the day of the party you realize that you never invited anyone! If you don’t tell anyone about your work, you’re not inviting anyone to your party.

This is the analogy Kimberley Barker uses to explain the importance of developing an online presence. A faculty member at the UVa. Health Sciences Library who serves as the Emerging Technologies & Digital Initiatives Librarian, Ms. Barker explains the purpose of her job quite plainly as “to help people become more comfortable with using technology.”
She works on a variety of projects, from helping people set up iTunes accounts to working to integrate Google glass into a project with a team of systems engineers. Her overall goals, though, are always to increase the approachability of technology and act as a translator between technology and people.

These goals relate to one of the primary reasons she frequents the Corner Studio, OpenGrounds’s space on the Corner: her Massive Online Open Course (MOOC for short). Ms. Barker’s MOOC is centered on personal branding and reputation management. It’s targeted towards individuals at different levels of their careers. One specific population she is interested in are doctors who need assistance connecting to their patients. However, Ms. Barker also wants to help college students manage their online reputation. “Self-promotion is a moral obligation,” she opines, and the average undergraduate should be able to graduate with a fully developed online presence.


Interview by Tarun Kalakoti