This class will be the first on this campus to participate in The Domain of One’s Own project, which was created by Jim Groom at The University of Mary Washington. They’ve made a nice video that describes the philosophy behind the project, and I’ll ask you to watch this as part of your syllabus reading.
As the name indicates, you are going to carve out your own space on the web and experiment with it, learn from it, and do your best to assume control over your digital identity and how it is presented in networked space. I’ve come to believe that writing in new media formats has already significantly changed how we make meaning, and I’ll couple that philosophical statement with a more practical one: knowing how to work in digital environments is an essential job skill that is in demand now. I want you to be employed! That being said, I want you to emerge from a field of study that is meaningful to you far beyond the job you have.
You are starting from the ground up with this project, which means you will register your own domain, install WordPress in that space, and create the interface that the web-wandering world will see. To do this, you must:
a. Register your domain. Note: they have already been purchased for you, Hooray! You will get the code to acquire the space and we will go through this in class.
b. Install WordPress on your domain; choose a new theme and activate it (this kind of shopping can really suck you in–what theme do I choose? What is really me?) Take a peek at my domain if you want.
c. Create a subdomain for this class (the main domain is yours; the subdomain will contain work for this class). I created a subdomain, and right now it is monumentally lame.
d. If necessary, install WordPress in your subdomain (and again, install a new theme, maybe the same as in your main domain)
In the steps that follow, apply them to both your main domain and subdomain.
e. Get an API key for the Akismet plugin and then activate it. This is very important for limiting spamming of your website. See, since the space is your own, be prepared for immediate danger!
f. Make your first post to the subdomain, engaging with the following question: How would you define “experimental literature”? Have you ever read something that you would consider experimental? What made it so? Also, what do you think of when you hear the term “digital humanities.” (It’s okay if it makes you think of Star Trek, or The Matrix, etc.)
g. Sign up for a Gravatar and associate it with your principal email addresses (If you like to associate it with your school address, that is more than acceptable. Part of the process here may involve separating the personal from the professional–a key skill for a successful web presence.) It’s helpful if your Gravatar is a photo of you, but not required.
h. Create an “About” page, which essentially serves as an autobiography. On the “About” page write a brief paragraph or two about yourself that includes who you are, what you’re studying in school, and what your educational / career goals are. Include an image of yourself (or one you feel is representative) on that page, possibly the one that you’re using with Gravatar. See my domain for an example. Post this on both your “home” and class sites.
Credits: This introductory assignment for Domain of One’s own borrows heavily from the always generous Brian Croxall.