A Little Bit More on Georgetown Domains

Georgetown Domains Pedagogical Strategies

Georgetown Domains Pedagogical Strategies image, a circle with community engagement, digital assignments, collaborative projects, interactive assignments.

On Thursday September 27th, 2018, Learning Design Specialist Lee Skallerup Bessette and Instructional Technologist Randal Ellsworth kicked off our Digital Learning Webinar Series with “Teaching and Learning with Domains”. You can re-watch the complete session recording below. We also encourage you to utilize the resource document our presenters created to accompany this presentation. In this document, you’ll find helpful links and resources to help you navigate the world of Georgetown Domains.  We will continue to update this living document with new tips and tricks, so we encourage you to save this as a helpful reference.

In this follow-up blog post, we address some of the questions we received during the live session in a little more concrete detail.

Who can use Georgetown Domains? Does my domain name have to have Georgetown in the web address?

Georgetown Domains is a service available for all students, faculty, and staff to use; all you need is your Georgetown NetID to set up your own domain on Georgetown Domains. This will get you a web address that looks like this: examplename.georgetown.domains. With that comes server space where you can host the content for your website. All of this is free.

If you want your own domain, without the georgetown.domains suffix, you can, but you would have to register and pay for the domain name and then have it mapped to your server space through Georgetown Domains. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Our service provider, Reclaim Hosting, can help you with all of this.

Speaking of Reclaim Hosting, where is my data being stored? Is it secure?

Your data is stored on secure servers provided by Reclaim Hosting. They have a very readable, clear, and strict privacy policy. They are currently providing these services to over 100 other institutions of higher education, and we feel good about the security and privacy of your data.

However, you still need to follow best practices when it comes to password security and other ways to protect your data online. Georgetown University’s Information Security Office has some really useful resources to ensure you are doing everything you can to remain secure. There are also a number of security plugins you can install if you are using WordPress (more on plugins below).

So can I really do anything on my Georgetown Domain?

Not anything. You still need to follow the Georgetown Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy. This includes not being able to post racist, homophobic, sexist, or other forms of hate speech. It also means that you can’t violate other people’s copyright by posting it on your site. We hope that Georgetown Domains can help facilitate these important conversations in your classrooms with students on what is and is not appropriate or acceptable to publish online.

But, besides those understandable and reasonable restrictions, you are in fact free to put what you want on your site. You can upload and share PDF documents you would like students to access (as long as you have copyright permission, of course!). You can post images, videos, sound files, datasets, animated gifs…if it can live online, it can live and be accessed on your domain.

There are currently no personal limits set up as to how much space you have on your domain. However, we strongly recommend that if you have very large files (like 4K full-length movies or hundreds of high-resolution images) that you wish to host on your domain to email us at commons@georgetown.edu.

Can we talk about access? How can I limit access, so that only students can see certain pages? How can I make pages publicly available so the community can contribute?

It’s your domain, so you have complete control over who has access to it. Now, what kind of access depends on what you have installed on your domain. Applications like WordPress and Omeka allow for certain pages, or even the entire site, to be password protected, meaning only individuals with the password can see the pages or site.

You can also invite students to collaborate on content for the website by making them users. This means that they can change the site and add to it. This is particularly useful to create collaborative resources and websites. You can learn about the various roles and capabilities in WordPress here. Omeka also has a similar structure for users.

The wonderful thing about WordPress is that the sites are highly customizable using things called Plugins. Using plugins, you can set up your website to do just about anything! Many of the plugins are free, but some of the more powerful ones are called premium plugins and you have to pay for them. There was a question during the webinar about creating a website where people could visit and enter in information that then transfers into a database. You could use something like the Participants Database plugin in order to achieve that aim with your website.

That’s just one plugin of the thousands that are available. It can be overwhelming, so we really encourage you to get in touch with us at commons@georgetown.edu, set up an appointment to speak with us, and we can help figure out the best way to make your vision for your website a reality!