LA Roadshow Recap

10 days ago I was sitting in a room in Los Angeles with 12 other folks listening to Marie Selvanadin, Sundi Richard, and Adam Croom talk about work they’re doing with Domains, and it was good! That session was followed by Peter Sentz providing insight on how BYU Domains provides and supports top-level domains and hosting for over 10,000 users on their campus. And first thing that Friday morning Lauren and I kicked the day off by highlighting Tim Clarke’s awesome work with the Berg Builds community directory as well as Coventry Domains‘s full-blown frame for a curriculum around Domains with Coventry Learn. In fact, the first 3 hours of Day 2 were a powerful reminder of just how much amazing work is happening at the various schools that are providing the good old world wide web as platform to their academic communities.

All of the presenters that shared at the workshop provided a wide range of examples, and they were kind enough to provide both links and slides post-facto. I’m including them below along with some notes from our shared Google Doc of the panel session:

Panel on “Possibilities with Domains” featuring Marie Selvanadin (Georgetown), Sundi Richard (Davidson) and Adam Croom (OU Create):


  • Why Domains? “..provides you with web hosting so that you can take ownership of your online presence, develop valuable digital skills and engage in open and connected learning practices that go beyond institutional boundaries.”
    • Digital Fluency 
    • Digital Identity
    • Digital Freedom
    • Community Directory
    • Lead with examples
    • Web Hosting vs. web publishing
  • Georgetown
    • Marie: Teaching and Learning Center
    • Cross campus collaboration using Domains
    • Learning, Design, and Technology
    • Flourishing in College and Community
  • Davidson College
    • Shared a bunch of examples of how domains is being used
    • Faculty: When we meet new faculty, we let all faculty know about domains
  • Oklahoma Create 
    • Webfest
    • Faculty development programs
    • The creaties
      • This highlights good sites and shows what good work looks like
      • It is a way to award people for good work
      • e-mail list of all users, send broad e-mail to seek for nominations
    • This week on OU create
      • Weekly blog on best of OU Create
      • Students lead this activity
    • OER: textbooks online

You can also see the full slides from Peter Sentz’s presentation which created over a year ago as a defense of the BYU Domains program over a year ago, and really intelligently frames the pros and cons of  running a domains program at scale, and what it requires. 

The afternoon of day 2 was spent diving into SPLOTs, which is becoming a cornerstone of our Roadshow sessions at this point. I love those tiny teaching tools more and more each time I share them with folks. Below are a few examples of SPLOTs that were shared during the show and tell, many of which were created in just a few minutes time as part of the workshop: talk about fast cheap, and out of control edtech!

SPLOTs Show & Tell:

One of the questions that came up during the SPLOT workshop is if there’s a SPLOT for podcasting, which reminded me of this post Adam Croom wrote a while back about his podcasting workflow: “My Podcasting Workflow with Amazon S3.” . We’re always on the look-out for new SPLOTs to bring to the Reclaim masses, and it would be cool to have an example that moves beyond WordPress just to make the point a SPLOT is not limited to WordPress (as much as we love it) —so maybe Adam and I can get the band back together 🙂

And that was just day 2!* In fact, the workshops are starting to take on a shape that seems to work. Day 1 is a deep-dive into the technical management of the Domain of One’s Own platform, which means we get in the weeds of how WordPress, WHMCS, and WHM all work together to automate the creation of cPanel accounts through a given campus’s single sign-on. Understanding the ins and outs of these systems takes training, and the workshops are one way to provide campus admins more dedicated instruction as they want to take over more responsibilities on the ground and be proficient with their web hosting environment. All that training has been compressed into day 1 (you can find much of the workshop documentation on our site), and day 2 is dedicated to sharing how various schools are approaching, supporting, and enabling work on their platforms. It’s a lot of fun to hear all the good work, and I think it is quite useful for re-invigorating folks given it takes a lot of time, attention, and care for a Domains program to take root and grow. 

Special thanks to all those folks who attended,  you can see the participants list here (it’s a SPLOT!) and given the success of this workshop (and last year’s at Skidmore College) we are currently planning on running another in the Philadelphia area for Spring 2020, so stay tuned!  

*I’m kind of exploring an in media res approach to this recap post because I am always experimenting 🙂

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7 Responses to LA Roadshow Recap

  1. Alan Levine says:

    It’s bigger than some sign on a hill! Thanks as always for making SPLOTs a part of the show (and Reclaim), I enjoy seeing the new examples (I love the Performance toolbox and the roadshow bios).

    A few thoughts on a podcast SPLOT- being there no fixed definition, anything could be. Out of the box, any WordPress site published a podcast feed for any posts with an embedded mp3 url.

    But for something being WP, I’d strongly suggest Podcast Generator it’s open source, and pretty much installs after uploading some files and hitting a URL. I bet it could be easily wrapped into a cpanel installer.

    I followed Adam’s lead for doing the Puerto Rico Connection podcast with audio on S3. it’s doable, though I wonder about the level of effort needed for new podcasts where the demand is likely not crushing. Tim Klapdor did something a few years ago with cloud hosted audio and a jekyll site run from GitHub.

    So I am not sure an out of the box podcast publishing platform needs/makes a new SPLOT. I’d consider setting up a SPLOTbox site, you can limit it now to accepting linked / uploaded MP3s, and a category structure could create a feed / feeds for different shows? This would create a submissions/review process where you could have episodes authored by multiple people.

    Viva la SPLOTs thanks again, kind of a big fan here…

    • Jim Groom says:

      Hey Alan,

      Yeah, I do think SPLOTBox fits the bill quite nicely, and I think a pre-defined form that speaks to audio uploading and provides the feed cleanly and maybe even integrates with iTunes or whatever would make a big difference. I think the thing that sells SPLOTs, as you know, is the steps are there and there is no guesswork. And I think the naming of it as a Podcast toll or whatever makes a big difference.

      I have no doubt if we ever get a SPLOTbox installer that we can push that as a all-in-one tool for faculty and students to collect video and other pertinent media tfor a class, project, assignment, etc. And I would group audio here, but in some ways, even though it is just semantics, a podcast seems distinct—its own thing. And you would almost want to separate it out somehow, so the idea that this SPLOTbox install will be for podcasts or a media resource site, etc. Does that make any sense?.

      • Alan Levine says:

        A first cut version here, a PodBox that episodes can be added by upload or via link to audio. I’m not firmly stating it has to go this way to use the general SPLOTbox, and if it came down to it, we could make one specifically for podcasts.

        Try this one!

        I have yet another novel idea to put in the box, just needs more tinkering.

        • Jim Groom says:

          This is awesome, I am finally finding my feet, and I am going to reach out to the folks at University of Minnesota who requested this to show it off. The SPLOTs are increasingly proving a hit, just the other day I on-boarded the University of Kentucky, and spent a good part of that demoing how they can get their faculty up and running quickly with a workshop with the portfolio SPLOTs (DImensions, Big Picture, etc.), TRU Collector (my favorite), and TRU Writer. I love having them in the Domains toolbox. What’s more, I can’t wait until we get an installer for SPLOTbox because that is such a layup to sell folks on given the increased omnipresence of video/media in all things teaching and learning.

  2. Tom says:

    Jörg and I are presenting on SPLOTs at OE Global. I’m glad we’re getting in on the trend. I’m also over-thinking this at the moment so . . .

    I end up with mixed feelings when you have to bring in Amazon or Google for the data storage. I’m never quite sure who gathers what data in these scenarios. We’ve used both. I certainly use Google Sheets to make SPLOTs all the time. (On a technical level, I would be interested in how the Amazon integration would work through cPanel.)

    It feels like there are SPLOTs in at least three categories. (I could easily be wrong.) There are SPLOTs like Alan has made which are generically specific (writing, collecting, audio etc.) There are SPLOTs that are hyper-specific (dichotomous key entry for Eastern USA plants, gestalt theory art examples found in the wild, etc.). There are SPLOTs that shape your viewing of data in a very specific way*. The data may be created more generically (non-SPLOT) but the view is shaped in a very specific way to help you see something specific.

    I also have some vague notion of SPLOTs that build SPLOTs but that may be not quite right. You have things like Gravity Forms w/in WP, ACF w/in WP, Google Sheets/Forms, etc. They feel like tools for building SPLOTs in a non-programistan way.

    *For me there are some really interesting things possible by loading JSON data into a viewer-tool via whatever data is spit out via whatever API. This opens up the SPLOT viewer concept which could be agnostic as to data creation/storage as long as it has certain structural elements. Stuff like the WP/Knightlab timeline viewer could become really interesting and allow lots of customization through URL parameters. You could easily build a Google Sheet to kick out the right data or a web tool that would write out the JSON to some destination of your choosing.

    • Jim Groom says:

      I have been loving the hyper-specific SPLOTs, and Karen Cangliosi immediately saw the value in the dicotomous key idea. I think one of the things I loved about your talk at OE Global was the fact that if you are working within a university like you are for your group at VCU, the endless amount of customized tools you can create for your community really undercuts the current trend of outsourcing each and every tool to a third party that will more likely wither disappoint or ultimately go away. In that regard, the tiny targeted teaching tools you have been building are a model for how my dream edtech shop would work within a university. The WP/Knightlab timeline view was an amazing frame for that workshop, and the SPLOTs/TTT you are building are distinct from Alan’s in that he’s managed to create a stand-alone site that is fully functional from the get-go, and has allowed us to get an edtech running Domains to think about these possibilities even if they don’t have the coding expertise in-house. The work you two are doing is so complementary and makes a broader case for the kind of edtech that gets us out of the endless lament looping of the vendor alternatives, or the one LMS tool to rule them all. It’s been refreshing for me to have these options, and the introduces a whole new set of options that might entice the edtech that has the ability to start coding some of these, but not the ideas and examples that will get the wheels turning.

  3. Pingback: Reclaim Roadshow Headed for Philly in May | bavatuesdays

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