Module: What is a Domain?

Module: What is a Domain?

Building Blocks for Domain of One’s Own: A series of adaptable modules

Goal

Introduces the Domain of One’s Own project at UMW, specifically what a domain is, how we choose one, how it works… (from a technical standpoint), and what we can do with one.

Sections

Activity

Part 1:
Spend some time thinking about what the internet looks like to you. If the internet were a concrete space or thing, what would it look like or be? Draw what you think the internet looks like, or find a photograph online that you think represents the internet.

Part 2:
Now that you have thought through what the internet may look like, consider how you would like to fit into that space or landscape. How does your space fit into the larger world of the internet? When you choose a domain name, that will be the first thing people encounter of you in the space of the internet. What do you want that domain name to invoke? How do you want to represent yourself linguistically or rhetorically online? Brainstorm 2-4 possible domain names that you could see yourself living with for the foreseeable future and check at whois.net to ensure that they are available.

Part 3:
Share your domain name ideas with a friend and with a family member. What responses do they have? What words or emotions do your possible domain names evoke from them? Finally, choose one to be your domain name.

Questions

  • What factors went into deciding what you would choose as your Domain name?
  • When someone visits your space, what do you want them to feel?
  • What could live on your domain and what you would like to feature about yourself?
  • Which social media profiles you would like to link to and through this space?

Instructor Guide

Choosing a domain name isn’t as easy as it sounds; the students need to choose something that not only reflects their nascent digital identities today, but something they can carry into the future, or at least the next couple of years. Particularly challenging are students with common names, which have probably already been taken. A possible activity is to brainstorm in small groups all possible domain names based on a short interview (or Google search) in order to generate a number of possible domain names.

Make sure you are communicating to the students that this is THEIR corner of the web, to explore, to expand, and to understand. Ownership and agency here are key.

Customize It!

Choose a domain for your class, class project, your residence hall, or some other organization or club students are involved with. Why would you make that particular choice?