By Sarah Grace Edwards, Digital Media Tutor & DLINQ Intern
I’ve spent the last couple of months as a Digital Media Tutor working as an intern with Sonja Burrows of the Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry on a website that will serve as a digital hub for all things Portuguese at Middlebury. I went into this project not knowing what to expect, never having spoken a word of Portuguese in my life and with limited web-design experience, but I think that made the process even more valuable.
In preparation for this project, Sonja suggested I read several pieces by Amy Collier and others on the Domain of One’s Own initiative, and I really liked the concept. I agreed theoretically that it seemed empowering for students to have their own creative space and to integrate digital platforms into their college work through MiddCreate, but I didn’t realize quite how important this was until I experienced it myself.
As I was working on the Portuguese at Middlebury hub, I was also thinking about how I would present my final project for one of my classes, a gender studies course. We had been spared the task of writing yet another fifteen-page research paper (as a humanities student, I usually have to produce around three of these at the end of each semester, which can sometimes get monotonous and overwhelming) and instead were asked to make a web page showcasing our work. For me, this served two purposes: to make the content more accessible for others, and to make the process more refreshing for us.
As I began to add my content to the WordPress page that our professor had made for each of us, I realized that this format was not going to work for me. I needed more creative freedom and flexibility to present my research the way I envisaged it, and then I thought, “Duh – try MiddCreate for your own work, since you’ve been using it as a DLINQ intern for weeks!” After experimenting a bunch, I ended up using a different platform simply because I needed one that would let me embed my funky info graphic; however, it was such a learning moment nonetheless.
The timing of reading about Domain of One’s Own and quite literally suddenly needing a domain of my own could not have been more perfect. It showed me how essential a customizable online presence is for students like me. It has been amazing to share my work (a research project about Bromances and masculinity on campus) with my friends and family and have it be presented in a familiar and engaging format. If anything, there’s really something to be said about including GIFs to break up those long critiques of toxic masculinity!
Featured image by Nadi Whatisdelirium on Unsplash