Why Georgetown Domains?

Website Creation

Georgetown Domains doesn’t just let you create your website or websites, it allows you to learn how to use various website creation platforms such as WordPress, Omeka, Mediawiki, or plain HTML and CSS. It is an opportunity through creating on the web, to develop a better understanding of how the web works and what you can do on it. It also is an exercise in iterative design and experimentation. As Martha Burtis, one of the founders of the Domain of One’s Own initiative at the University of Mary Washington, reminds us, when things break is as important as when they work because it allows students to “embrace adaptability, peer support, and a commitment to understanding not just how things break but WHY they break.”

Further Reading: Messy and Chaotic Learning and Making and Breaking Domain of One’s Own by Martha Burtis

Digital Presence 

Have you googled yourself lately? What do you find? What story does it tell about you? Is that the story you want to tell? Georgetown Domains helps you create and curate your digital identity, learning how to gain greater control over your digital narrative and beyond. Domains is about becoming more aware and deliberate about who we are online and how it converges with our non-digital selves. We are all always already online, and we are not powerless in this process.

Further Reading: How to Develop A Digital Presence for Professional Success  and Talking Digital Identity by Adam Croom

Data Ownership

As we use more and more digital subscription and cloud-based services, as more and more corporations track us through cookies and obscure Terms of Use policies, question of digital and data ownership are increasingly pressing. Georgetown Domains ensures that the intellectual property that you create belongs to you and you maintain control over it. Publish it, build it, disseminate it, and, perhaps most importantly, delete it – it’s up to you. While there will always be much we can’t control on the web, we can control our own intellectual property.

Further Reading: Do I Own my Domain if you Grade It? and The Weaponization of Education Data by Audrey Watters.

Digital Skills

Because you’re working with the web, on the web, using the tools of the web, using Georgetown Domains helps you to develop valuable digital skills, including how to use platforms such as WordPress and Omeka, but also how to edit images, sound, and video, to be able to include as content on your website. It allows you to think about UX (user experience), design, and other important digital skills. Who is your audience and how will they be engaging with your site? Learning how to promote a site, content, or create engaging content are digital skills that you can practice and perfect using Georgetown Domains.

Further Reading: Building Digital Capacity from Jisc (U.K.)

Community Engagement 

At Georgetown, “[s]tudents are challenged to engage in the world and become men and women in the service of others, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community.” Georgetown Domains is a powerful way to engage with various communities and to create meaningful partnerships outside of the institution. Whether it is a way to more broadly disseminate research findings, engage with potential community partners, or even create connections and facilitate conversations, a website on Georgetown Domains can enhance the Jesuit values of serve to others.

Further Reading: Teaching Commons on Ignatian Pedagogy and http://dhimp.georgetown.domains/

Digital Accessibility 

While “everyone” has access to the web, this doesn’t mean that the web is accessible to everyone. In the process of building a website and a digital presence, you are confronted by issues of accessibility and access. Being purposeful during the design process means that accessibility isn’t an afterthought, but an integral part of the thinking behind your site. Designing for inclusivity doesn’t just mean making a site or information available, it means making it accessible to the widest possible audience.

Further Reading: Accessibility Standards for the Web

Global Engagement 

In order to engage with a wider audience, our work needs to be open and accessible online. The key words are open and accessible, not behind a paywall or on a website so complex that it cannot be accessed by an audience with low-bandwidth or minal computing power. The majority of the developing world accesses the web through mobile devices. Georgetown Domains gives you the platform and the opportunity to develop minimal computing programs and platforms that will allow the greatest reach for your work.

Further Reading: Minimal Computing from Global Outlook Digital Humanities and Nimble Tents Toolkit

Digital Literacy

With the proliferation and seemingly never-ending expansion of digital tools, platforms, and resources available, it is imperative that we equip students with not only the skills, but the mindset necessary to thrive in this unprecedented digital environment. Georgetown Domains provides a platform for the Georgetown community to actively engage, build, iterate, experiment, and learn digital tools, digital community, and digital citizenship. Georgetown Domains empowers self-directed learning and engagement, nurturing the skills necessary to thrive beyond their time at Georgetown.

Further Reading: Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers by Mike Caulfield and Digital Polarization Initiative