Drew Domains

AUGUST 23, 2016
12:45 – 2:00


Domain Name

A domain name consists of the “friendly term” (which replaces a non-descriptive number), and an extension, which gives a clue about what kind of web space is represented. There are a number of different extensions, .com for businesses (amazon.com) and social media platforms (twitter.com, facebook.com), .org for non-profits ( doctorswithoutborders.org, pbs.org), .gov for government sites (www.house.gov/, whitehouse.gov), .edu educational institutions (drew.edu), etc. Many people use .com for individual sites, but .name is also a possibility for this kind of site. I’ve chosen that for mine (gaminbartle.name). The purpose of this project is to provide an individual domain for Drew students, faculty and staff, a “Domain of One’s Own.”

Digital Drew

As most of you know, this is part of the Digital Humanities grant that we are applying for with the Mellon Foundation, the scope of which includes supporting digital literacy for all Drew students. In fact, the name of the initiative we hope to support through the grant is Digital Drew. 

Many of the schools we researched, had visitors from, and visited use Domains of One’s Own as the centerpiece of their digital literacy and Digital Humanities programs.

Domain of One’s Own

Following the model of several of these other schools, including Davidson, we are calling this “Drew Domains.” Mark Sample from Davidson explains as follows:

Davidson Domains is a pilot program that gives faculty, staff, and students a “domain of one’s own”—an online space for blogs, exhibits, research, creative work, portfolios, web development, programming, and more. Users name their domain and maintain control over it. Faculty and students can create a domain for their courses, but they can also use it outside of coursework.

From Mark Sample’s post:  What are the bottlenecks of Davidson Domains?

The mission of Davidson Domains is to enable faculty and students to:

  • Develop technical and critical web literacies;
  • Forge a digital identity through online publishing;
  • Reclaim ownership and control over one’s digital footprint;
  • Explore the possibilities of blended learning and social pedagogies.

Underlying this mission is a fundamental concern of the liberal arts: to raise technical, philosophical, artistic, economic, and political questions about the role of the Internet on ourselves, our communities, and our practices.

Davidson provides three areas of focus for their domains:

Web Literacy: Master the tools and technology that make up the web to build your own space online.

Digital Identity: Explore the notion of digital identity and how publishing on the web can frame an identity.

Reclaim: Learn to take ownership and control over the content you put on the web instead of handing it to third-party publishers.

Mary Washington is a pioneer of Domain of One’s Own, in fact it was sort of the incubator. In Making and Breaking Domain of One’s Own: Rethinking the Web in Higher Ed, Martha Burtis, Director of the Digital Knowledge Center at Mary Washington describes four goals that are embedded in their program:

  1. Provide students with the tools and technologies to build out a digital space of their own
  2. Help students appreciate how digital identity is formed
  3. Provide students with curricular opportunities to use the Web in meaningful ways
  4. Push students to understand how the technologies that underpin the Web work, and how that impacts their lives
Keep in Mind

There are any number of uses for domains, from blogs to online resumes, courses, exhibits, etc.

At this point the main thing to keep in mind is that a successful domains project does not happen overnight. In fact it can take years for it to take hold and spread across an institution. We need to take the long view and build carefully and slowly. Everyone who starts up a domain has to think about content, texts, design, images, and multimedia, as well as the technologies that make web presentation possible.

As we consider how – and whether – to integrate domains into courses as well as into the larger curriculum, it’s important to know that one major advantage of using domains is that things will break and fail. It’s a learning experience above all else, and we should be sure to support students when something doesn’t work so that they learn to be more resilient and learn even more about the technology that underpins having an individual presence on the web.

A final consideration before looking at some examples and talking about Drew Domains specifically is to think about how people understand the Web behind the scenes, and how they present themselves online through third-party platforms. Martha Burtis writes:

Google and Facebook are cornerstones of the Web. They give us information and they take information from us. They use that information; they control it. They decide what we see, when we see it. Facebook has run experiments to try and change how we feel.  Google can from one day to the next drastically alter what the entire world sees when it searches for a presidential candidate, a drug, a breaking news item.

Students drift on the Web from site to site, search engine, to social network. They pull open their phones, they snap a picture, they believe it will disappear in a few seconds. They don’t understand how any of it is built, who controls it, who codes it, who changes that code and why.

We can give them opportunities through projects like Domain of One’s Own to begin to think critically about what they’re doing online. Not through either the fear mongering they’ve experienced in high school or through Pollyannaish rhetoric about the Web being the ultimate democratizer. But rather by asking them to make things on the Web, to grapple with how those things are managed and controlled, and to consider how what they see on the Web shows up on their screens.


I’ve chosen three institutions to show examples of how they use Domain of One’s Own, Mary Washington, Emory and Davidson.

Mary Washington

Student: Mary Washington Graduate Candice Roland’s Online Portfolio and CV

Course: Will Mackintosh’s Rare Book History course with student projects


Faculty Participants

Faculty: Heather Julian

Course:  Multimodal Composition and Digital Publication

Faculty: Nick Block – he seems to have left Emory, but taken his domain with him, which everyone can do.  

Student: Nana Lowery’s Blog


Mark Sample’s Course Descriptions

Environmental Politics

Graham Bullock

Davidson in Peru


Reclaim Hosting

Phase I: Focus will be on WordPress and Omeka

Pilot Summer 2016

Nicole Pinto

Shawn Spaventa

Paul Coen

Verna Holcomb

Guy Dobson

Omeka Site for Drew University Libraries Special Collections

Reclaim Hosting

Reclaim Hosting 

Reclaim Hosting Login Page

Overview of cPanel

Reclaim Hosting’s Resources

YouTube Channel




Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *