Domain of One’s Own

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction – Virginia Woolf

During the pandemic, I have been fortunate to continue working virtually from my home office, even if it is in the basement. While my work supporting faculty with open and online teaching and learning is demanding and my children require constant supervision to stay on task in virtual schooling, I have been slowly moving content from my various web spaces to my new domain,, hosted by Reclaim Hosting.

In the TEDx talk above, Professor Jim Groom, explains that the idea of having a personal internet domain is not a new one, but that

Faculty and students must have a domain and web hosting of their own if they are to truly understand and engage in the deeper possibilities of the open web – UMW’s DTLT

He suggests that having a domain of one’s own with a whole new set of tools–open formats, open source applications–poses “a new way of putting students as nodes in the grander hub of the web.” Groom admits that this is not a cutting edge technology, but rather a “trailing technology.” I agree. I have administrated websites for over 20 years, but I am revisiting having a domain of my own with access to install 150+ apps, including custom ones like Mukurtu, Pressbooks, Omeka, Scalar, etc.

As a student, I created this website for a weekly course assignment to learn basic HTML. I chose to make it a personal website, a dynamic reflection of my emerging academic identity. It is arcane, which is good because I can’t remember how to access and it hasn’t been updated it in over a decade. I vaguely remember the instructor introducing website creation as a part of the class, and we got a 1-page handout. I got some help from peers, but I basically had to learn a lot of digital literacy skills on my own. Writing for the web, hand coding, using text and image editors, CSS, checking for web accessibility, etc. are still useful to me now. It was exciting for me as a student when people would find my site and contact me to connect, and even offer me jobs related to my studies.

As a faculty member, I find it difficult to carve out time to maintain a WordPress blog like this one that began during my PhD studies, a traditional faculty teaching dossier, and an educational developer’s eportfolio. So, I will compile my distributed digital spaces into one domain and curate the content a little bit at a time, when I can. I hope that I can present the digital work that I do better on the web than on a static PDF format that I currently use for annual reporting and my renewal, tenure, and promotion process.


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