Trinity Ed Tech folks at #Domains17

#Domains17

This week, most of the educational technology group went to Oklahoma City for the Domains 2017 conference, jointly hosted by Reclaim Hosting and the University of Oklahoma.

We went because we are quite close to setting up a pilot instance of Trinity Domains, a Domain of One’s Own project (see also: A Domain of One’s Own in a Post-Ownership Society) that will give faculty, students, and staff the digital infrastructure to stake out their digital identity and develop new, exciting forms of scholarship. Since setup is imminent, the conference seemed like a good way to see what other schools were doing, and to make connections for when we inevitably need help.

We’re launching the project because we want to be able to support as much open, web-based teaching, learning, and scholarship as possible, in as many forms as possible, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to experiment online.

I don’t think any of us at Trinity were well-positioned to do a proper “review” of #Domains17, as we don’t yet have access to the Domain of One’s Own setup, and so don’t have fingertip knowledge of what’s easy, what’s hard, or anything like that.

In lieu of that review, then, here’re a few thoughts:

  • #Domains17 was a great short-conference experience, at an interesting venue and with lots of very friendly, collaboration-minded people. Lauren Brumfield, Adam Croom, Jim Groom, and everyone associated with the conference deserve a lot of credit. 13/10, would attend another event.
  • Martha Burtis’s keynote, “Neither Locked Out Nor Locked In,” is a really great starting point for thinking tangibly about some of the reasons one might want to pursue a Domains project.
  • It also primed me with a thought that held up very well throughout the conference: Her entire section on “WordPress as Symbol and Choice” decries the fact that WordPress often becomes the default way to inhabit a domain of one’s own, which is . . . problematic. Students and faculty need to be free to have domains with different technology options, even if we all have to stretch a bit in terms of what we support, and what people have to support on their own a little bit.
  • Once you’d heard that talk from Martha, it was hard not to realize that the conference schedule was quite WordPress focused. There were more examples of “here’s how to do a cool thing in WordPress” than there were examples of “here’s a successful instructional use of Domains.” This is neither good nor bad as such, but it was just interesting to see the lay of the land. Since we have two multisite WordPress installations on campus, the temptation to default to WordPress will be something to both resist and work with.
  • Switching gears a little: On a personal note it was neat to see Jon Udell talk about annotation. It’s probably not the thing he’d pick to be known for, but I’ve shown his screencast on Wikipedia & the heavy metal umlaut to thousands of people over the years.

There will be more thoughts on this over the summer—and I’d certainly invite Amy and Dave and Sue to chime in with their impressions—as we get started. Certainly it’s the case that I jotted down a ton of things to look into as soon as we’re up and running, which I hope to be able to report on soon!

Photo with all four of us by Tom Woodward, shared under a Creative Commons-BY-SA-2.0 license