Welcome back to MiddCreate Spotlight, a blog series hosted by the Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry. In this series, we highlight one MiddCreate site at regular intervals on our blog from a faculty, student or member of staff at Middlebury College or Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Three short words describes how important we believe MiddCreate is: Rigorous connected learning. At Middlebury, we believe that education is about rigorous connections between learners and experts, between learners and other learners, between communities, between disciplines, and between ideas. We are all learners and to be true learners, and to keep learning, we need spaces to reflect, connect, and explore. MiddCreate is one such space.
MiddCreate is an initiative at Middlebury that offers faculty, staff, and students their own subdomain spaces and easy installation of open-source applications such as WordPress, ownCloud, MediaWiki, Drupal, Known, Scalar, and Omeka, among others. MiddCreate users can decide what tools they want to set up on their domains and have full control over their applications. MiddCreate encourages users to take ownership of their digital identity as well as to develop the digital literacies that will serve them well throughout their academic and professional trajectories.
This week in MiddCreate Spotlight we are highlighting a MiddCreate site, entitled Wàiguó Péngyou: Foreign Friend, created by Emily Cipriani, a senior Feb, Chinese and Political Science double major at Middlebury College. Emily is also the winner of ‘Vantage Point: Best Reflective Writing’ in the Study Abroad MiddCreate Contest. The contest was created to challenge students to present their cultural, linguistic and academic integration in the form of photography, video and writing on their own MiddCreate sites. We believe that her MiddCreate site is a great example of how we would like the Middlebury family to utilize this Domain of One’s Own project. We would like to thank Emily for entering our MiddCreate Contest by sharing her study abroad experience and congratulate her once again on winning this category.
DLINQ: How would you describe your MiddCreate site?
Emily: “A bilingual blog about the friendships I have made (esp with a guard named Auntie Cai), museums and historical sites I have visited, as well as academic posts to document my language progress.. It is a collection of class essays, journal entries, and documentation of important sites in Hangzhou and other locations I visited during breaks. I try as best I can to translate everything I write (though I sometimes lag behind in getting translations up in a timely fashion).”
DLINQ: What is the purpose of your MiddCreate site?
Emily: “I set up the site as a way of communicating with family back home what experiences I was having as well as to document my language progress.”
DLINQ: How did you discover MiddCreate?
Emily: “I don’t remember very clearly. I was planning on making a blog anyways and I think I got an email about the middcreate contest and checked it out. ”
DLINQ: What apps did you install on your domain, and how did you create your site?
Emily: “I didn’t think about the design of my site much because I didn’t really have to. WordPress has plenty of nice templates to chose from and I picked the most straightforward one I found. I wanted something simple to navigate as it was my first time making a blog.”
DLINQ: What challenges/issues did you face creating your MiddCreate site and how did you overcome these setbacks? How helpful was the existing documentation on our site in solving your problems?
Emily: “No problems :)”
DLINQ: What are your plans for further development on your site?
Emily: “After my year abroad ends I’ll most likely stop posting. I may return to China for thesis research in which case I may add to it.”
DLINQ: What advice would you give to someone just starting out on MiddCreate?
Emily: “Don’t worry if you aren’t talented with the arts or computers. WordPress does all the work for you.”
DLINQ: How do you believe having this platform has helped you?
Emily: “MiddCreate has made keeping a blog extremely effortless. It’s become a very meaningful time capsule of my experiences in China and has encouraged me to thoughtfully process my time here.”
The Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry encourages our readers to check-out Emily’s MiddCreate site here.