Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) is a project at the University of Mary Washington managed by the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) that allows UMW students, faculty, and staff to register their own domain name and associate it with a hosted web space, free of charge while at UMW. With their Domain and corresponding web space, users will have the opportunity and flexibility to design and create a meaningful and vibrant digital identity. DTLT works with faculty and staff and the Digital Knowledge Center (DKC) supports students in cultivating a digital presence for their academic, professional, or personal work. In addition, users may choose to “map” their domain (or a subdomain) to other services, such as Medium, Squarespace, Google Sites, or Tumblr. One of the major motivators behind Domain of One’s Own is providing faculty, staff, and students with the opportunity to take critical control of their digital identities and to develop advanced digital fluency skills. We strive to help faculty incorporate DoOO as more than just as an “add-on.”
Domain of One’s Own resists traditional educational platforms. Unlike the LMS, the project helps faculty, staff, and students at UMW “have more control over their scholarship, data, and digital identity” (Audrey Waters). What does this mean though? In a Web filled with third-party advertisers, social media platforms (with fake accounts), bots, and shady analytics companies all grabbing data, there is increasingly little space on the Web to call your own; a space where your content and information stays with you. While it is nearly impossible to create quarantined place on the Web, there is a way to cultivate a presence, a digital identity, away from the presets and pressures of platforms that require inputting certain information. This place is a personal domain. As stated under the About section, DoOO allows members of the UMW Community to have their own domain and associated Web hosting while at the University. The platform gives the faculty, students, and staff the opportunity to inhabit a corner of the Web as a human rather than an account number. It also gives them the opportunity to develop and decide on what kind of digital identity(ies) they would like to have. The freedom to express oneself and present oneself in any way they can imagine. The process of creating a digital identity is about discovery and choices, and DoOO helps facilitates that.
As Martha Burtis suggested in her keynote at Digital Pedagogy Lab 2016, four goals embedded in Domain of One’s Own are: