On Thursday September 27th, 2018, Learning Design Specialist Lee Skallerup Bessette and Instructional Technologist Randal Ellsworth co-hosted a webinar on using Georgetown Domains in the classroom. The webinar will be available for viewing soon, but until then, you can access the resource document we created at bit.ly/GUdomains. You’ll find links and resources in that document, which we will keep updating as time goes on, so you don’t even have to worry about a link being broken.
In this follow-up blog post, we wanted to address some of the questions we received 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?
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!