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.”
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
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.)
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.
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
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
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.