Considering Running Domain of One’s Own on Your Campus?

Well then, Martha Burtis, Tim Owens, and Ryan Brazell have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Below are a series of resources that we have shared with people who are inquiring about running UMW Domains on their own campus. The response from folks at the Sloan-C Emerging Technologies Conference about the possibilities of Domain of One’s Own has been really encouraging, and I think we’re both excited and relieved to find out not everyone thinks we’re crazy 😉

So, feeding off some of that excitement, I figured I would annotate a series of links to the various posts and documents about DoOO over the last two years that Martha Burtis sent me earlier this afternoon. Additionally, I am including an updated version of Ryan Brazell’s handout which provides an awesome overview of the broader trajectory of digital projects at UMW.

Domain of One’s Own: The Pilot

As Martha noted in the email she sent earlier:

Here is the original 5-part series Tim wrote about the pilot setup. The caveat to these is that some of this has changed since the project went live this fall (we’re not using Plesk, we have a different sign-up procedure, etc).

Building a Domain of One’s Own, Part 1

The first post is a 30,000 feet overview of our vision for bringing web hosting on campus. Getting a virtual private server, connecting with ENOM (the domain wholesaler), and taking stock of where we were six months into the pilot. It’s a broad look at what the hell we were getting into, as well as considering where we might go in terms of software, services, etc.

Building a Domain of One’s Own, Part 2

The second post is an examination of the actual space where users manage their own slice of the server: the control panel. In short, the graphic interface that allows you to manage your bit of the server without using command line and drinking Mountain Dew. Some confusion with terminology here might be that during the pilot we used Plesk (one brand of control panel software), but ultimately decided on cPanel (the industry standard brand) for the official launch. Tim is weighing the possibilities of both, but this post gives you a nice, detailed look at just what it is your community members can do with their own slice of hosting heaven 😉

Building a Domain of One’s Own, Part 3

In part three of this series, Tim does an excellent job taking you through the thinking around how to handle sign-ups for the domain and web hosting service on campus. There are more than a few moving parts, so this post really takes you through the thinking for the pilot which we changed quite a bit for the offical launch in August.

Building a Domain of One’s Own, Part 4

The fourth post finds Tim framing out our hosting environment, effectively bringing together all the various software pieces on the server level. One of the best choices we (royal WE) made was going with Installatron over Simple Scripts or Fantastico. Also, WHMCS is the client/reseller software we use to provision web hosting accounts and domains—it’s been crucial and Tim and Martha have done a lot of hacking around that plugin to make it not charge people 🙂

Building a Domain of One’s Own, Part 5

Finally, the early thoughts around syndication in Domain of One’s Own were laid down here. Tim and Martha had a major breakthrough with developing this approach out in some really powerful ways, but the adding specific data to sites at the point of installation of the application with Installatron was a game changer for us. Eight months later (see follow-up posts below on building out community site), Martha and Tim came as close to a seamless syndication hub as you’re gonna see in a distributed system like this. Also related, Tim blogged his first pass at building a community site in Spring 2013—this would be the basis of the brilliance that is

 Domain of One’s Own: It’s Official

Below are the posts from Tim and Martha that track the progress of Domain of One’s Own up and until are present moment.

Lessons Learned Week 1: Not even a week into the project Martha shares out what we learned so far, the great promotion, inevitable gotchas of email blacklists, the dreams vs the reality of getting students onboard, and the fact that this is gonna be a learning experience, so start learning from ours.

Custom Installation Packages: As we started settling in during the Fall, Martha started building on Tim’s work in the Spring with Installatron, and started created custom packages that students could install. For example, custom WordPress setups with particular themes, plugins, and pre-defined pages/posts that a course or department could use to create portfolios. The full power of Domains is starting to sink in. 

The Six Month Report: Our Provost, Jonathan levin, has been a huge supporter of Domain of one’s own, as has President Hurley, so when we were asked to create a report for UMW’s Board of Visitors, Martha start doing the deep and rigorous examination of where we are and where we should go. This Burtis at her best, refusing to blindly champion the project (that’s my job 🙂 ), she wants to know what’s working, what’s not, and how to make it better. This initiative will be successful because of Martha’s unbelievably adroit leadership in refusing to accept the blanket assumptions that it is “the next thing” or “truly innovative.” There is no doubt she believes in its power—she not only dreamed it up with the rest of us almost a decade ago,  she also helped build it!—-but she is an exacting mind that is going make sure it remains true to its vision and we continue to push hard on making it authentic.

Details about Infrastructure/Custom Code: Not to be outdone, Tim goes on a tear as we were preparing for the first cancelled Domain Incubator conference in Atlanta(there was to be another, and may be another yet 😉 ) at blogs a recap of all the work we have done in terms of documentation Domain of One’s Own for our community, a close look at our server setup down to the specs, a recap of the software, and custom Installatron code available on GitHub. It’s a move towards starting to share as much as we can in some coherent space, something we’re continually working towards.

Teaching Models for UMW Domains: It’s like a tennis match at this point, Tim then Martha then TIm and now martha again 🙂 This posts lays out how students and faculty are actually using it in the community. Portfolios, blogging, course sites, digital projects, etc. It’s a great read to start getting a sense of how all the technical infrastructure starts feeding a culture of empowered creators on the web.

Building a Community-base Syndication Hub: The final two posts get at what I think is what might be the most amazing think DTLT has done yet as a group. if building and installing our own pacemaker wasn’t enough, TIm and Martha nailed the community side of things and built a syndicated community hub that aggregates every post from every installed application on the server to one site: Tim takes you through their process in this post: Martha adds to that the fact that the work they have done allows us to not only assign data to various sites, posts, and processes that was impossible within a single WordPress multisite, but also enables us to expose the broader activity through aggregate data through such a community hub.

A Handy Dandy Hand-Out

FInally, Ryan Brazell has put together a handout that Martha and Tim have tweaked for their presentation to the Board of Visitors last week. This document provides a far more coherent and targeted overview of all this work and more. It comes highly recommended as a piece that will give someone a sense of what’s at work here without so much of the overly technical, insider language when it comes to administering a server, edtech, and the web more generally. It was a stroke of genius on Ryan’s part to frame this out for a broader audience so that the work we are doing can appeal to as many folks as possible. View it here.

I have to believe the only reason people aren’t more blown away by what we’ve been up to is because a) they don’t yet fully grok it; or b) they haven’t been paying attention. But I am working on making sure all that changes very soon! Cole Camplese asked me how UMW Domains different from UMW Blogs? I will write a far more detailed response soon, but let me say very briefly here that Domains is the apotheosis of UMW Blogs. It takes the vision of the web as learning platform to the next level, and by virtue of that provides a student-centric technical ecosystem that can then become part and parcel of a broader, cross-discipline curriculum for digital literacy. It is the future….GET ON THE BUS!!!

Ok, but now I have to get to this other post I have to write so I can then write another post before I dialogue in another post with Mike Caulfield. TIme to make the donuts!

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5 Responses to Considering Running Domain of One’s Own on Your Campus?

  1. Pingback: Playing Host to Higher Ed’s Long Overdue Web Party | bavatuesdays

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  3. Joss Winn says:

    Thank you, Jim and all.

  4. Pingback: The Digital Classroom is a Sham | Ed Tech in the 306

  5. Pingback: Template for what I want to create at @TecDeMty courtesy of @jimgroom #Tec21

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