A Decade of Class Presentations

On Tuesday night I did what will most likely be my last class presentation/workshop for Domain of One’s Own at UMW. I was helping Gwen Hale’s Writing for Nursing students get up and running with their own domain and web hosting. I started with a 15 minute presentation about what UMW Domains is and why it matters. Then we had a 30 minute workshop to get them to create their domain, provide an overview of CPanel, and have them WordPress in a subdomain. It’s remarkable to think about the fact that 9 years ago it took me the same amount of time to get students to join a group blog.

I really love the class visits, and I have had a blast over the years. I visited many a class in my 10 years at UMW, and I never really got tired of them. Part of that is because, admittedly, I am a ham. But the other thing that has kept them fresh for me is that I rarely do the same thing twice. It’s a kind of personal tech jazz mediated by what I am reading, watching, thinking about, etc. That helps keep it fun, at least for me. What’s more, I always imagined at least part of my role at UMW was to make an impression upon the people I work with when it comes to technology. I don’t want them to think about this as just another thing to do, I want them to think about Domains or UMW Blogs or ds106 as THE thing to do. I want them to feel a sense of immediacy and importance, and that often takes equal parts enthusiasm, entertainment and storytelling.

So, during this last class visit I went on a bit of a rant about corporate silo sites, data as the new oil, and the veneer of privacy. It was pretty awesome. What fueled it was the following bit from The Power of Habit I came across on Twitter via Tumblr recently.

The highlighted text underlines the fact that companies like Target (and I imagine Amazon, Google, Apple, etc.) are mindful that they now have way too much data about us. So much so that they need to make it look like they aren’t spying on us. They need to start tricking us to think they don’t know as much as they do so we aren’t fooled. It’s like the Matrix. And it is spooky!

Domains are the red (or is it blue) pill. It’s a way if pulling back the curtain to start to understand how this stuff works. That was the conceit, that was the thing that drove the 15 minute information session about Domain of One’s Own. I believe a tight, focused argument around this one idea goes much further than a pitch for a portfolio solution—despite the utility of the latter.

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