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Interviewing my Domain

Yesterday, @cogdog blogged a request on behalf of #OntarioExtend asking for those who own their own domains to write a short blog post about their experiences. Here we go...

Q1. What is your domain name and what is the story, meaning behind your choice of that as a name?

I have two domains right now, and several sub-domains. The first domain that I created was merelearning.ca. I chose that name to reflect my desire to blog about learning and to do so without becoming an 'ed-tech solutionist' or a hype evangelist for the 'next big idea that will revolutionize education'. As a faculty developer, I'm interested in 'what works' in education. It is also a nod to CS Lewis.

More recently, I purchased the domain madland.ca, but let it sit vacant for a long time, not wanting anyone else to purchase it before I had plans to do something with it. As you can see from the link above and from this blog, I have installed a couple of instances of Grav here. The meaning behind choosing this domain is that it is my last name.

Both my domains have '.ca' as the top-level domain because I am Canadian, although I have looked briefly at purchasing both merelearning.io and madland.io so that I can look like one of the cool techy kids.

Q2. What was your understanding, experience with domains before you got one? Where were you publishing online before having one of your own?

Prior to registering merelearning.ca, I had very little experience with domains beyond being able to choose my subdomain at culturalvertigo.blogspot.com, where I blogged for a couple of years while I was living and working in Japan for two years..

Q3. What was a compelling feature, reason, motivation for you to get and use a domain? When you started what did you think you would put there?

My introduction to owning my domain started when Brian Lamb started working at TRU Open Learning in 2011(?), and just started doing his thing. Then when Jim Groom and Tim Owens launched Reclaim Hosting and offered hosting packages for dirt cheap, I jumped on board.

Things really got interesting for me when Alan did a 4-month gig at TRU and with Brian ran the YouShow. It was there that I really dug into WordPress and created a portfolio at merelearning.ca.

Q4. What kinds of sites have you set up one your domain since then? How are you using them? Please share URLs!

Q5. What helped you or would have helped you more when you started using your domain? What do you still struggle with?

It was incredibly helpful and formative to have Alan and Brian providing leadership and guidance through the YouShow. Participating in the YouShow and building my portfolio in WordPress changed the trajectory of my career.

I am now struggling with learning Grav, which is a significant learning curve. Fortunately, I am connected to a generous and open group of educational technologists here in BC, including Paul Hibbitts.

Q6. What kind of future plans to you have for your domain?

I think merelearning.ca will become more of a 'showcase' portfolio on the web, while madland.ca will become my open publishing presence during my PhD journey. Hopefully it will also host the final products generated during my research.

Q7. What would you say to other educators about the value, reason why to have a domain of your own? What will it take them to get going with their own domain?

I appreciate the freedom and flexibility of having control over my domain. I have learned a tremendous amount from making mistakes and having to troubleshoot through them to come to a resolution. The experience of trying to export my old blog from Blogger was a little ridiculous, and it is nice to know that I could pick up and go with relative ease with my current setup.

In order to succeed and persist, new domain owners will need an active community around them that is willing to be open and generous with their experience and their difficulties.

I hope that this has been helpful! Happy to chat with anyone about my experience.

Header Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash