The Domains Initiative

This week I explored three articles that discuss domains and how they should be integrated into the education system. The article “The Web We Need to Give Students” by Audrey Watters talks about the domains initiative that began at University of Mary Washington (UMW) and has started to spread to other educational facilities. The Domains initiative gives students and faculty their own web domain as a space to use for educational purposes – this is great because we have so many different websites online for more social purposes, I believe it is important for students to have a space that they can totally control and broadcast their educational work and make professional connections. As the article says, “students have little agency when it comes to education technology – much like they have little agency in education itself.” (Watters) I think it is time that we change this and I am glad that a movement has been set forth to start letting students be more in control. Having a space for them to express themselves and store their work as they progress through their education will not only be convenient but will help them to start building a platform for their future career. The second article, “A Personal Cyberfrastructure” by Gardner Campbell, continues the discussion on students creating their own domain and brings up great points of how useful a domain really would be. “In building that personal cyberfrastructure, students not only will acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives but would also engage in work that provides richly teachable moments ranging from multi-modal writing to information science, knowledge management, bibliographic instruction, and social networking.” Honestly, I don’t see how students having their own domain would be negative in any way, as Campbell pointed out there are so many good things that would come out of it!

The last article, “Do I Own My Domain If You Grade It?”, is written by Andrew Rikard, a student at Davidson College who gives his perspective of the domain initiative. Rikard makes an observation that there are two types of domains that he noticed came out of the initiative, the first being the type that took audience into account and considered the representation and student agency. The second approach mirrored the traditional way of teaching with students being assigned papers and other assignments that had to be posted online. Rikard says, “giving a student ownership over data means nothing if it doesn’t allow them to determine that data.” Sometimes students may not necessarily want to post a piece of work that a teacher assigned because they feel it does not properly represent who they are. I believe that it should be solely up to the owner of the website, the student, to decide what they want to post, and if teachers do create assignments that they want posted then the teacher should be vague and allow the student to express themselves within their work. Overall, I love the idea of owning a domain to post my work and opinions too and I am curious as to how it will help my education and career.

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