Online platform provides students with portfolios

By MOLLY HODGES

A new University of Mary Washington pilot project program, “A Domain of One’s Own,” allowing every incoming freshman to create a domain name, will receive funding from the university to target all incoming freshman and will be used as a tool for freshman advising and freshman seminars.

The goal of the project is to “give students the flexibility to build out their e-portfolio using a variety of software and approaches in a space that gives them the power to easily migrate and transport that data when they graduate,” according to the project’s website.

According to Instructional Technology Specialist Timothy Owens, the implementation of the program in the upcoming year will cost roughly $50,000. This figure accounts for the salary of a project manager, which the University intends to hire for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 academic year.

Currently, there are 400 UMW students and faculty participating in the pilot project. Participants have received the opportunity to create their own domain names and develop their e-portfolios.

“You have more control than people suggest you do,” said Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies Jim Groom, who hopes that the program will empower students.

According to Groom, the web is inescapable, therefore, it is important to understand it and learn how to make intelligent choices. Groom hopes the program will de-mystify technology for students.

The “A Domain of One’s Own” website features testimonials from UMW students who have created domains of their own.

“One of the most important things I have done is creating my own website, my own space where I can form a digital identity by putting whatever I want in it, whenever I want and however I want,” said junior geography major Carl Larsen in his testimonial.

Ashley Gaston, a senior computer science major said, “The best part, I feel, about running this site is the fact that once I choose to put something out on my site it will still belong to me.”

“I will gain control of how the world will see me, a concept that I feel is extremely important,” she said in her testimonial.

The title of the program gives a nod to Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.” Woolf writes, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Groom expresses the effect he hopes the program will have on students, “they’re going to build things and they’re going to create things because we’re giving them the sandbox to do it.”

Sophomore psychology major Angelica Estero is excited by what “A Domain of One’s Own” can do for students.

“It would be useful to people planning to build their own businesses,” said Estero.

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