A Domain of One’s Own

A Domain of One’s Own – Wired

That’s why I was delighted to hear recently from Jim Groom about an effort called A Domain of One’s Own. (The name is, of course, a hat tip to Virginia Woolf.) (para. 11)

Gardner Campbell talks about this but, it was interesting seeing the project from the perspective of Jim Groom – who is quoted in the article. I also found it fascinating that the name is a literary reference. I occasionally work on a project (yet to see the light of day) about cultural in-jokes.

A light of good publishing practices, a site for everyone regardless of his or her class status, and course spaces that actually looked good. We were already dreaming of fancy syndication, course aggregation, and a space attractive and user friendly enough that you would actually want to have a stake in it. (para. 4)

What I liked about this article was that it was more than a rehash of Gardner Campbell’s Personal Cyberinfrastructure idea. It explains in better detail what the Domain of One’s Own project is. University of Mary Washington’s DoOO project gave/gives space to their students, courses, and staff. What has been done with the project really shows the possibilities outside the LMS.


The Web We Need to Give Students by Audrey Watters – Bright (Jul 15, 2015)

This article is a great review of not only the DoOO project, but how that framework (or philosophy) translates to other schools. In particular, the application of personal domains for secondary students.

While some schools are turning to social media monitoring firms to keep an eye on students online, rarely do schools give students the opportunity to demonstrate the good work that they do publicly. Nor do schools give students the opportunity to decide what and when and how that public, online display should look like. (para. 16)

This point I think is really salient to the discussion. Project driven courses/units are something that students enjoy, are engaged by, and can even raise student success. Having a way for students to curate their work as a long-term project is a great idea. It gives them a chance to see how they’ve grown, and to possibly come back to projects from a different angle at a later date.

“As time went on, we talked a lot more about technical issues (backup, recovery, privacy options, hosting laws in different countries, etc.). But we also talked a lot more about digital citizenship, safety, control, design, etc. The kids saw the site much more as their own and their responsibility.” Clarence Fisher (para. 18)

This is a big point of interest for me: taking responsibility for one’s own actions/learning. I think taking responsibility for your work, and the way you interact with the world (in this case digital world) can be an important lesson and life skill for students. More importantly, it has the potential to help them mature – to be fully participant citizens (digital or not).

In InCtrl’s Digital Footprint video, they talk about chastisement “don’t do this, you can’t do that” style lessons not making a positive impact on students. I think giving students agency over their work, and their online presence, and showing them how to control it – with discussions about why one should – would create a greater impact. One that would have real world applications, even into adulthood. And isn’t that what education is aimed at?

One Comment on “A Domain of One’s Own

  1. The interplay between the ideas of Gardner, Jim and Audrey (who I don’t know) is fascinating. And it stretches back even further, including Jim’s time being known as the EDUPUNK guy.

    Jim has, of course, really developed the idea of DoOO and Reclaiming, both metaphorically and literally, while Gardner has continued in a different and deep vein.

    Audry brings a nice, somewhat skeptical, extremely sharp mind to the proceedings which is great to both further the philosophical exploration and provide a reality check. I can’t wait for her book about the history of edtech…but in the meantime I also admire how she brings secondary school activities into the frame.

    I’m working with Jim on a meetup next week with the class. Since he is in Italy it will probably be morning time for us in Alaska. I do hope you can be there because you get this stuff at a deep level that could make for some good conversation…

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