By APRIL STEGEMILLER
Domain of One’s Own, a new web-hosting project from the University of Mary Washington, is set to launch a new pilot project in the fall of 2013, with faculty and incoming freshmen as its main target.
According to the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, the Domain of One’s Own server provides faculty and students the opportunity to enhance and broaden their professional work and online identity by utilizing new venues for research and communication, all at no cost to them.
As noted in Jim Groom’s article, “Domain of One’s Own as a Legacy Archival Project,” the new pilot server is expected to save UMW $1,000-$2,000 a year in hosting and domain fees, making the new pilot “an innovative bargain” with the new cost at around $8,000 or $9,000 a year.
The server, allows its users “the freedom to have their own space that they control,” without being “tied … to [a] URL associated with UMW,” said Co-Creator and Instructional Technology Specialist Timothy Owens.
One can map a domain on top of already existing sites, such as Tumblr and Facebook, and when it comes time to graduate, they can take their domain with them, “seamlessly [moving] it to another service without losing anything,” according to Owens.
Ashley Gaston, a senior computer science major, initially created her domain as a portfolio for class work and, over time, used hers as a personal blog.
Students have also gone on to use their domains as resumes, adding documents and linking their Twitter, Facebook, email and Tumblr to their websites.
Both Gaston and Zach Whalen, an English professor, thought that the Domain of One’s Own server stands out from other servers by allowing its users more freedom and control over personal information, while also being free.
Gaston finds the domain versatile and maneuverable, as it provides its users with a variety of options in software ranging from very simple and easy software, such as WordPress, to a more difficult, such as Droople.
When comparing UMWDomains to complex servers such as GoDaddy or CastIronCoding, Gaston mentioned how UMWDomains is “easy and free” to all students attending UMW.
Whalen has helped his students build websites for years and said that UMWDomains.com provides his students with “more freedom than normal,” while also saving students the cost of buying their own domain.
By creating and providing this one-of-a-kind server to its students and faculty, the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at UMW will be one step closer to making UMW distinctive, according to Owens.
For admission into the Domain of One’s Own, faculty must submit an application through the Center for Teaching and Excellence and Innovation by 11:55 pm on Dec. 12, 2012. Stipends will be awarded to selected faculty.