Jim Groom visits CNDLS to speak on new ITEL tool ‘Domain of One’s Own’

Professor Jim Groom visited Georgetown University on Friday, September 25 to speak with CNDLS staff about the digital pedagogical tool, Domain of One’s Own.

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Jim is the former Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington. Working in higher education for over fifteen years, specifically in the field of instructional technology, Jim is a pioneer of the Domain of One’s Own movement and a co-founder of Reclaim Hosting, along with Tim Owens.

His visit to CNDLS coincides with a group of faculty who are undergoing a pilot of the Domain of One’s Own project as part of the fifth round of the ITEL initiative. The cohort will explore how faculty can incorporate flexible online spaces into their course utilizing the Domains toolset. Cohort members include Francisca Cho (Theology), Hiroshi Nakai (Biology), Lahra Smith (SFS), Maria Marquez (Medicine), Monica Maxwell-Paegle (CLED), Scott Taylor (SFS), Tommaso Astarita (History) and Emily Francomano (Spanish and Portuguese).

A Domain of One’s Own provides domain names and web space to faculty and students, encouraging individuals to create, develop and own their digital identities. Members of Domains have access to tools and support to create and maintain their own websites and online identities.

Domains provides faculty and students greater freedom as well as greater support. Users have access to applications such as WordPress, Omeka, and Mahara. Unlike other website creation services in the marketplace, the Domains project does not leave the user at the mercy of third-party hosting. With a personal domain name, an individual controls his or her own data.

Jim insists that while the Domains project is not a revolutionary concept (he cited the decline of tilda space hosting), the project offers people a way to take back the internet. Domains is about teaching, both faculty and students alike, how to use the internet independently. While ownership is crucial to the Domains project, Jim acknowledges that not all faculty are in need of this pedagogical tool; However, he challenges the CNDLS staff to think about what spaces are offered to the Georgetown community to publish information in powerful ways.

Domains offers the Georgetown community another space in which to focus their energy collaboratively. The project also offers students a space on campus which is entirely their own, which can be a powerful source of independence.

“I shouldn’t have to depend on an application like Facebook or Tumblr. I should depend on my own namespace that I control and manage,” Jim said.

Email is another key example of something that gives faculty and students identity, but is owned by the system and not by the individual. Domains forgoes the middle man while still offering the support and tools for those that want to carve a unique space for themselves on the internet and reclaim their digital domain.

Faculty interested in finding out more about the Domains project at Georgetown should email Marie Selvanadin or Maggie Debelius. To learn more about the ITEL cohort investigating this toolset, visit the CNDLS ITEL page.