Readings 1 – A Domain of One’s Own

  • Gardner Campbell: Personal Cyberinfrastructure
  • “To build a cyberinfrastructure that scales without stiflling innovation, that is self-supporting without being isolated or fatally idiosyncratic, we must start with the individual learners.”
  • “But if what the professor truly wants is for students to discover and craft their own desires and dreams, a personal cyberinfrastructure provides the opportunity “
  • Gardner Campbell: A Personal Cyberinfrastructure Revisited
  • “A distributed publishing system operated by its user”
  • Audrey Watters: Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters (For the Future of Knowledge)
  • ” And that’s the Web. That’s your domain. You cultivate ideas there – quite carefully, no doubt, because others might pop by for a think. But also because it’s your space for a think. ”
  • Audrey Watters: The Web We Need to Give Students
  • “And then — contrary to what happens at most schools, where a student’s work exists only inside a learning management system and cannot be accessed once the semester is over — the domain and all its content are the student’s to take with them. It is, after all, their education, their intellectual development, their work. ”
  • “And if a student owns their own domain, as she moves from grade to grade and from school to school, all that information — their learning portfolio — can travel with them.”

The idea of everyone having their own server and domain seems a bit daunting and challenging mainly in the area of higher education. Watters talks about students being about to have access to all of their material once they have graduated and as nice as this may be I do wonder if it is relevant. I have two bachelors degrees and one masters and am now working on a second and every time I graduate I hold onto all of my material for a while thinking that I will someday need it and then after 2 or 3 moves I finally whittle it down to maybe one book that, I honestly hate to say, never look at. This might be because it is outdated and no longer relevant. So is this material really needed for ever? Do we really need access to all of our thoughts and education materials forever?

This was my original thought but after some deeper thinking and understanding of the concept having a domain of one’s own might just very well be the way of the future and make sense. We are able to collaborate more freely and have access to more knowledge then ever before. Having access to your transcripts alone would have been amazing for more recently and what Watters explains in her article would very well be possible if we could store our own transcripts. Because our identities are becoming more and more online having a domain of your own does not seem as unreasonable.

Campbell’s ideas were a bit more confusing and baffled me a bit more then Watters. I do like the idea that students are able to express more then just their assignments but also able to share and express their ideas, desires, and dreams. This is a new concept that seems to be growing and a new way for students to learn. Instead of a professor lecturing and then giving a tests students are able to have their own space on the web and with some guidance professors want “students to discover and craft their own desires and dreams” and if students have their own cyberinfrastructure they are able to do this. Campbell also says,”communication is publishing in this world.” this definitely seems to be the way of the future. People are more and more reliant on the internet and as much as I don’t always like it I have to accept the fact that the internet is a powerful tool for communication. We can all now be publishers and spread our thoughts and ideas out into the world.

The main aspect that I worry about is the privacy aspect. How will that be handled and should we even be worried about it? At this point I feel like if anyone really wants to get my personal information and even credit card information they will figure out a way so should it be a worry? I am still not sure about how having a domain is all that different from having a site like Maybe if you have a domain then you are able to secure some of the privacy issues a bit more but I am not sure. You might also not have to worry about your information being out there and tracked for every company which I currently don’t like but I understand why it is there. Money has to be made somehow on all the sites that we call “free”.


  1. Sam Starr said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, while I also have apprehension about the practicality of students needing to someday access their previous work I can see that technology is the way of the way of the future. I also worry about the privacy issue, every school I have been involved with goes to the greatest lengths to ensure students anonymity, I find it hard to believe that school administrators would ever support displaying student work online where anyone could get their hand on it.

    Thank you for the great reflection! Very thought provoking!

    June 11, 2019
    • Chris Lott said:

      K-12 is definitely harder to work with when it comes to public display of student work (and naturally so). It *is* done occasionally, but usually in an exceptional/special circumstance. Last summer I had a guest speaker share his K-12 publishing project and I’ll see if I can get someone again this summer.

      In some cases, creating a publication that was open but where authors were anonymized or given aliases might be a reasonable compromise.

      More common in K-12, I think, is having an internal system that is open to the internal school community in some way, with selected work potentially being made public as part of a portfolio process.

      In the end, my thinking is that the principles of teaching children how to be work online safely and flourish creatively, even if that means that much of their work isn’t really public, is sound. And if the processes remain the same, then they are more ready for the open potential when they move on to higher education.

      June 11, 2019
  2. Chris Lott said:

    I wanted to get at a few other things here:

    ” I am still not sure about how having a domain is all that different from having a site like” — see the 2nd paragraph of my comment on Deana’s post — and there is also som value to not having everything going through a central system that you don’t own where they might be advertising and potentially using your data to monetize and support their service (which is certainly not intrinsically bad…as you say, they have to pay for the service somehow!)

    The question of the value of the “archive” is an open one. There is some circular problem that arises in the sense that if work in the classroom isn’t devised with the future in mind, then the product is unlikely to be useful! That said, I personally think there’s less value in the content of the archive of work being useful as I find in the concept of making one’s presence coherent and (relatively) controlled…and considering how these systems might continue to be valuable outside the bubble of “school work” (but see the circular problem above: the other part is trying to work outside that school work bubble while in class 🙂

    June 13, 2019

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