FIT’s Digital Spa

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of kicking off Fashion Institute of Technology’s Digital Spa run by Sandra Markus and Kurt Vega. They are focusing this year’s week-long faculty development workshop on getting folks up and running with their own domain, and when we talked a few months back I recommended they take a look at the Faculty Initiative resources the we created at UMW for the 6 week introduction to Domains for faculty. It’s cool to see they have integrated elements of that approach into their workshop; caring is sharing. I firmly believe a Domains project is only as strong as the community created around it, let the OU Creaties stand as a testament to that.

For my part of the Digital Spa, I was there to give a sense of the project’s history and raison d’etre, if you will. It’s a story I have shared often, and it’s one I never tire of telling. But given I would be presenting via Hangouts to a fairly small group I dispensed with a slideshow. I did use a visual aides and web sites, but I wanted the tone to be conversational given the shared purpose and focus of the event.

I think it was fairly successful given it kept my talk relatively short at 35-40 minutes, and allowed the Q&A to run at about the same length, that’s a fairly decent balance if you can manage it. The only issue is I love to talk, and it’s hard to shut me up even during the Q&A. 

One of the things I discovered while preparing for this talk was that a domain I shared from a couple of years back by then UMW Art major Sidney Mullis was still active, but totally different. The screenshot I took a couple of years ago looked like this:

Screenshot 2016-06-07 11.27.35

Two years later the domain name is active and working, but it has in many ways become her art. The front page of looks like this:


What’s animating there are 3 YouTube videos set to automatically play and repeat that have these crazy creature creations that she designed. I love the whole thing, here is one of the videos:

So the domain itself has transformed as the artist has, while at the same time remaining a pointer to her work and thinking. I couldn’t have found a better demonstration of the power of the domain. And this re-enforces many of the points I lifted from Mark Sample’s post outlining the logic undergirding Davidson Domains:

I really enjoyed this session. It was almost entirely extemporaneous, an approach that often keeps things compelling (at least for me) when presenting remotely. I also loved the questions because they demonstrated that these sessions aren’t about “selling” folks on the value of a domain and web hosting, the value of having a domain is everywhere apparent in 2016. What faculty want from a session like this is inspiration via examples of different ways people have used their domains as well as technical guidance for what’s possible. One question that summed this up for me was a faculty member wondering if she could export her work from Blogger to WordPress. Short answer yes, and a question like that demonstrates folks are already in this space, but hosting and its innumerable affordances represent a new trove of online wonders.

Another question that was spot on was what happens when Reclaim Hosting (or fill in any 3rd party hosting service free or otherwise) goes away? The answer was simple, make sure you can backup/download your data and that it’s portable. No matter what service you use, this is probably very good advice more generally. And it makes the broader point that with a Domains initiative this question undergirds the entire project—take control of your online archive because no one will care more about the work you do online than you.

Thanks to Sandra and Kurt for letting me kick things off yesterday, it was an honor and a privilege, and to all those faculty, staff, and students out there….

Image credit: Alan Levine's "Keep Up Reclaimin"

Image credit: Alan Levine’s “Keep Up Reclaimin”

This entry was posted in Domain of One's Own, presentations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to FIT’s Digital Spa

  1. Asta says:

    hi Jim,
    It was great meeting you yesterday in Sandra’s class. I was the question about abut transferring my blogger blog to WP. Thank you for all your help!
    And Tim has been great in answering my multitude f questions.

    • Reverend says:

      Glad to hear things are going well, and thanks for commenting here. I loved your Blogger to WP question, to epitomized for me that so many faculty are already doing this work, we just haven’t focused a sense of community and support for at at many of our institutions. This is often a lost opportunity for IT in my mind, but it’s also why Reclaim exists 😉

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