Reclaim the Web with Reclaim Hosting

Image credit: "No Dash for Gas" http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/

Image credit: “No Dash for Gas” http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/

Yesterday Tim Owens finished up the “10 Reasons to Reclaim” series on the Reclaim Hosting blog. Granted I’m biased, but I think what he’s laying down in that series—especially the #1 reason to Reclaim—is arguably the most innovative infrastructural work happening in edtech. Why? Well, he’s taken what we’ve learned helping schools get up and running with their Domain of One’s Own projects and made it dead simple and dirt cheap for any school—no matter how big or small, rich or poor—to get up and running.

For $199 a month a department, school, or university can start exploring what it would mean to give faculty, staff, and students a domain of their own with web hosting. While this price doesn’t include a unique domain like mysite.com (though that could be easily arranged), it does provide a subdomain on any given top level domain, such as jimgroom.reclaim.host, that has access to a cPanel interface with the ability to install applications, map a domain, create an email, etc. You can get a trial account to see exactly what I’m talking about here: http://reclaim.host/

How could schools not afford to experiment with this? I think the innovation here is four-fold:

  • It’s an excellent platform for controlling one’s own data and identity
  • It meets a growing need for digital projects, courses, and portfolios
  • It’s eminently affordable
  • It can be seamlessly integrated into a school’s authentication system making it dead simple to rollout

Don’t believe me? Try get up and running with your own subdomain here, and tell me you can’t see faculty, staff, and students doing this?

What excites me most about this whole thing is that Tim has formalized and scaled a vision we’ve had for a while at UMW. Finding ways to share the innovation we’ve been working on with as many people as possible. We did it with UMW Blogs back in 2008, but that was a one-off approach that we couldn’t support and sustain beyond one school. Reclaim Hosting is for real, with the recent ten reasons series we’re doubling down on just how serious we are about making the work we do accessible to just about anyone.

This marks a highpoint for the edtech work I’ve been part of over the last decade. Rather than just bemoaning existing possibilities or pointing out the limits of the existing infrastructure (something I’m certainly guilty of), Reclaim marks an intervention into technical reality behind it. We’re offering something we believe in, we can scale, and we want to support. We’re making it easier and cheaper for colleges and universities to enable their communities to invest in the open web again.  It’s time to reclaim the power of the web with (or without) Reclaim Hosting. We’ve just made it easier. Can you dig it?

I knew that you could.

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