Playing with Ideas for DoOO Project

I’m hopping back to the blog (for the first time in a good while) as I join colleagues in the Domain of One’s Own project at UMW, working together with our Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) and Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation (CTE). The framework and goals of the project are timely:

This initiative is designed explicitly to provide resources and support for all UMW faculty to develop their own domain through an Open Call application. To incentivize this process, DTLT and CTE & I have partnered to provide faculty with their own domain, web hosting, and a stipend (not to mention bi-weekly support) to develop/refine a professional online presence ranging anywhere from an online CV/E-portfolio to a developmental space to explore digital pedagogy and scholarship, to an alternative class space online.

With some great conversation started in meetings this past week or two (many thanks to Jim Groom for getting the ball rolling in our Wednesday group discussions), I’m also thinking more about revising the frame/s of my own online presence. One initial concern may be better integration of the collection of relatively far-flung web spaces that I’ve accumulated the past few years. Here’s a quick run-down of my sites:

1. The Professional I.D. Page…

My first iteration of this (2008 or so) had combined the calling card with a blog format, but after realizing I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the blog then, I converted it to its current form, more of a simple, online business card, shown in the second image below.

The original frame (ca. 2008, under construction):

Susan R. Fernsebner  - Mozilla Firefox 5122009 82112 PM-001
(Okay, this image is squeezed, but you get the idea. Click image to view original.)

And my current professional page below:

Susan R. Fernsebner - Google Chrome 292013 113308 AM-002

2. Tumblr…  The professional calling card site above is just a starting place though. In addition to that frame, and the more informal blog on which I’m now writing, I’ve also recently set up a tumblr site for sharing news and resources related to my field of specialty, East Asia.

That site is called “gulou” – Chinese for “Drum Tower” (鼓楼). I was inspired to set it up after thinking about all the valuable EA-related links and resources that colleagues and I have been sharing casually over email, almost as a second thought or light distraction amid otherwise busy days, these past few years. Sharing those with others who might be interested seemed like a good idea, especially as I was starting to find myself forwarding emails here and there, or digging for old ones in the messy backlog of correspondence that is my email account. Now I can share links relevant to curriculum with my students, other educators (both university and K-12), and beyond. I’ve also got them tagged and archived (though the dynamics of both are worth further consideration, which I’ll save for a later time.)

鼓楼 - Google Chrome 292013 120312 PM-002
I’m also finding Tumblr to be a very convenient, quick frame for posting and am keeping an eye out for ways to do more with it. One sign of how easy it is: since last October, I’ve done 216 posts on Tumblr compared to exactly zero posts on this blog. But that’s probably a topic for another (yes, really) blog post of its own.

And then there’s a mob of other sites I’m utilizing for teaching (links here), my official faculty page at the department (with an image that actually resembles the one on my drivers license, alas), and other  pedagogical projects sitting in digital dry-dock.

So one of my main ambitions for this semester’s Domain of One’s Own Faculty Initiative is to think about better ways of integrating these sites–and to what extent I might want to. I’m also looking forward to exploring new tools, digging in under the hood with my own domain, and especially joining in on a conversation with others who are exploring similar projects of their own.

4 thoughts on “Playing with Ideas for DoOO Project

  1. I completely understand the desire to unify your web presence, but there is a nice upside to your approach as well: your sites can each have a distinct design and identity. This also makes it more flexible to make small changes and/or add courses.

    I’ve gone with the opposite approach: other than my tumblr, everything is under one roof. What I like best about it is that I can minimize changes that need to be made. For instance, I only have my instructor policies listed once, and link to them from each course page. Similarly, my office hours are in a widget so I only have to update them in one place.

    On the other hand, originality is pretty much nonexistent, and any change is momentous. Were I to choose a new theme, it would take forever to get it to work for all the varied content.

    All this to longwindedly say: you may want to keep the varied approach. I love the simplicity of your home site. It’s clean and clear, highlighting the variety in your course sites.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, it’s a big help to hear the pro’s and con’s from someone who’s gone a different route. And the home site look clean and clear, rather than dated? (As I’ve been wondering…) Also very helpful to know!

  3. One of the things I’ve seen, and I really like, is using one’s top-level domain to organize and point to all those spaces, while at the same time keeping them separate. One of the options of a Domain of One’s own is maintaining the namespace, but pointing it to the various sites you use regularly. For example, you could make your tumblr –> and should tumblr ever go away, you can still take all that data and set it up in a space on your own server with the same URL. Also, here’s a tutorial on how to do that.

    The other thing that is cool is increasingly applications like WordPress, whether hosted on UMW Blogs or your own server, give you the ability to play with custom menus so that you can point people to your various course sites and distributed spaces seamlessly from one landing page. You and Andi have both inspired me to take the time over the next 3 or 4 weeks and revamp to do just what you are both experimenting with so we can compare notes. I particularly like Andi’s use of self drawn icons to define her work:

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