I dressed the site in creamsicle for the summer.
Education is a making endeavor and that’s the fun of it. Whether we’re making valentines in kindergarten, musical plays in grade school, or robots for the science fair in high school, we’re just about always making something in education, and if that doesn’t include higher ed, it ought to. I always thought of English composition courses as courses in making stuff—essays, collaborative websites, Facebook groups, posters. Yes, writing is stuff you make and it’s yours. You know it’s yours when you have a real audience reading it and when you care about what you said.
Somewhere, maybe everywhere, I have lamented the poor essay as an outdated form of writing for our students, unless they are going to grad school, and even then, we all know that scholarly essays get few readers. I would much rather see my students writing in their own blogs and falling in love with both their writing and the space in which they write. I know my blogs have become places to me that I tend like a home or yard or garden, where I can be as interested in the theme chosen as I am in the topics of my posts and pages.
I obviously use WordPress.com here, but I can understand the allure of self-hosting with a service like Reclaim Hosting, for example, the offspring of A Domain of One’s Own at the University of Mary Washington, and doing your own tinkering under the hood. Maybe I’ll have those skills someday, but wouldn’t it be great to get students involved in making their own sites where they can fall in love with their own stuff in whatever free hosting is available? A Domain of One’s Own makes a strong argument for the power of web ownership in their opening splash screens:
Gather the artifacts of your digital identity in a central place that you own and control.
Build out your own space on the web to define who you are instead of having services define you.
Who could argue with that, but do you think of it when you are designing a course or course project or just advising students in general? Do you have your own space on the web where students can get to know you? What maker experiences are you thinking about for the fall?