Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

The WmD Project

WmD Logo 2014-07-24-1000px

The WmD Project is a media-based learning tool for teaching about ecology and evolution. Created as a blogged video series “produced” by a fictional character named Wallace Maynard Darwin (WmD), the project uses character development to allow the viewer to develop a better understanding of how the biological world works, how scientists learn about this world, and what places limitations on scientific knowledge. On this site I call this the “WmD project” so as not to allow search engines to find it by its full name (see WmD Mythology below).

You can read all the blog posts related to this project here.

Contents of this page:

  1. WmD website
  2. WmD review board
  3. WmD mythology
  4. WmD project geography
  5. WmD acknowledgements

WmD website:

You can find WmD’s real but fictional website here: Individual episodes are posted here, or you can view all episodes in HD by going to the Wallace Darwin channel on Vimeo.

WmD review board:

To help guide me through the process of creating the WmD Project, I am lucky to have been able to enlist this diverse group of talented people as a “review board”:

I actually have never gotten any of these generous comrades together to discuss this project, so perhaps calling them a “board” is a bit misleading: they are more like collection of patient friends, each of whom is kind enough to give me periodic feedback. These folks provide me with valuable counsel, but I do not always listen so well, so blame me for anything about this project that seems off.

WmD mythology:

Wallace Maynard Darwin is a fictional character who lives in Brooklyn, New York. I play this character, who interacts with the “real world” and produces his own video blog. As such, the project creates a kind of “real but fictional” mythology around the development of this character. Clearly I am not trying to hide that I am the creator of this character, or that the character is not real: hence all the discussion of this project on this site. For those who discover that WmD is not a real person, my hope is that they will become interested in why I have created this character and his intellectual journey. But WmD also has to exist in a world that makes him a feasible character, and I hope that eventually many people will primarily discover WmD in his own environment. For those that stumble upon WmD’s site, he needs to be a believably real person. Finding out that he is a fiction cannot be as simple as searching on his name. For this reason, on this site I use the code name “WmD” to discuss the character; searching on the name he uses on his own site will not lead you to this site unless you are willing to sort through an unholy number of search result pages (go ahead, try it here).

WmD project geography:

Geography will play a huge role in the development of WmD. Like a lot of other ‘explorers’, his journey begins with an appreciation of his immediate surroundings but is expanded when he expands his geographical reach. You can be the ultimate WmD fan by following the geography of this project as it develops. I have created a WmD Google Map that includes all of the locations where WmD episodes have been shot. To see the map, you need to be signed in to your browser with a Google account (sorry, no way around this):

WmD acknowledgements:

The WmD Project has been greatly aided by ideas and feedback provided by Ric Brown, Teresa Torchiano, Gaia Moisan, Richard Gilman-Opalsky, Jeremy Tausch, Gregory F. Tague, Bricks AvalonBen Kates, Adam GorenJ. Matt Hoch, Jennifer L. Verdolin and Aman Gill.