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 飘忽不定: To Drift Without Rest, created by Travis Wayne Sanderson, a rising senior International and Global Studies major with a concentration in East Asia Studies at Middlebury College. Travis is also the winner of the ‘Best Overall Site’ 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 his 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 Travis for entering our MiddCreate Contest by sharing his study abroad experience and congratulate him once again on winning this category.
DLINQ: How would you describe your MiddCreate site?
Travis: “My website is a collection of stories, thoughts, and pictures from my time abroad in China. My blog explores my photographic documentation of my semester.”
DLINQ: What is the purpose of your MiddCreate site?
Travis: “I hope that my website is useful for people contemplating going abroad in future years. The website includes posts on everything from culture shock to cool experiences to useful vocabulary, all things I wish I had before going abroad myself.”
DLINQ: How did you discover MiddCreate?
Travis: “The Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry advertised the opportunity to join a Study Abroad blog contest at the beginning of Fall 2017, which inspired me and others to design websites in order to compete. ”
DLINQ: What apps did you install on your domain, and how did you create your site?
Travis: “In designing my website, I used entirely free tools available through the server MiddCreate operates on. There were no fancy or especially different widgets required, just a lot of thinking on what sort of design combines accessibility with aesthetic. The theme “Twenty Seventeen” was the foundation of my design precisely because, in my opinion, it combined those two factors most seamlessly. I did not stray beyond the tools available through that theme.”
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?
Travis: “I do not recall a lot of challenges except the occasional bug or two. Nothing too complicated.”
DLINQ: What are your plans for further development on your site?
Travis: “At this time, I don’t intend to develop the site beyond the end of this semester. The website is designed as a study abroad blog, to help future students, and continuing to use the blog would just make it more difficult for future students to find posts most relevant to them.”
DLINQ: What advice would you give to someone just starting out on MiddCreate?
Travis: “Design something you like! Have fun with it! If you like looking at it, other people will too.”
DLINQ: What are your general thoughts on MiddCreate?
Travis: “MiddCreate is an invaluable tool for Middlebury and MIIS students to document experiences, and I hope more people take advantage of it during their academic careers.”
DLINQ: How do you believe having this platform has helped you?
Travis: “The platform provided me the best forum to document my experiences due to its affiliation with the College. In writing my blog, I always paid attention to a little voice in my head asking me how to help future students. If I had used a platform that wasn’t tied to the College, I would not have direct access to the future students I aim to assist.”
The Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry encourages our readers to check-out Travis’ MiddCreate site here.