Not sure what happened here, I blinked and suddenly Reclaim Hosting’s second Workshop of One’s Own happened two weeks ago! It’s been a whirlwind past couple of days (ahem, weeks) but I wanted to take a moment to recap.
Overall, I thought this workshop was a great improvement from our first one last November. Our November Workshop was successful, no doubt, but it was our first one so we were definitely still working out the kinks. By this Spring, we had more than doubled our attendance, and the Reclaim Hosting staff fell into their stride. Bigger and better, people!
You can find a rough itinerary of the workshop below:
// Day One
8 – 9: Coffee & Light Breakfast
9 – 5: How best to use each platform; Understanding WHM & WHMCS; DNS Overview; Common Support Troubleshooting; Graduating Exit Strategies
// Day Two
8 – 9: Coffee & Light Breakfast
9 – 4: Strategies for Promoting DoOO; Case Studies for Omeka, Scalar & Grav; SPLOTs; Building your own project template; Free Workshop
Reading over the schedule now, I think we were probably a tad ambitious to push all of the technical content into Day 1, but it worked and I’m proud of what we accomplished. We didn’t make it all the way to 5 pm, but we paced ourselves, covered what was important, and made time for more conversation as opposed to just lectures. We broke naturally at 4 pm, which I think was needed after such a full, technical day. You can find recordings from bits of Day 1 below:
Meredith, Exit Strategies & Domain Transfers
After getting through most of the technical stuff on Day 1, we opened up Day 2 with a much more hands-on, critical thinking vibe. Jim led a conversation that navigated through the following questions:
Why Domain of One’s Own? What’s the significance? How can we push this project across campus? How will DoOO look different for faculty members with different levels of technological exposure? What about Freshmen vs. Seniors?
Jim works through some of this in his recent post, Why A Domain of One’s Own, but it was incredibly fascinating to hear from the folks that attended as well. While one goal of this workshop is to grant attendees with the ‘keys to the kingdom’, so to speak, and give them a conceptual overview for managing their Domain of One’s Own instance, the other goal is to connect participants with members of other schools running similar, if not identical, projects. Listening to them pass experiences and strategies around was by far one of the most rewarding parts of this Workshop for me.
Meredith, Tim, Jim | Beyond WordPress: Introductions to Omeka, Scalar, and Grav
From there the conversation led into an overview of other tools available to DoOO users besides WordPress, namely Omeka, Scalar, and Grav. This addition to the itinerary was a direct result of listening to feedback from our first Workshop. Since WordPress powers roughly 30% of the web and takes up a large majority of resources and time for DoOO administrators, it’s incredibly tempting to only focus on supporting WordPress. However, we agreed with participants from the first Workshop that supporting DoOO involves more than just one application. Administrators must be able to listen to faculty members and students, address their goals for a digital presence, and translate them into the proper web tool. And to do that, a general understanding of other applications is essential.
— Lauren Brumfield (@brumface) March 16, 2018
After lunch, Alan dove into an afternoon of understanding SPLOTs, how they came to be, and what you can do with them. An overview of his talk can be found here, “SPLOTs? Don’t Worry”, says Madge, “You’re Soaking In It”. (His presentation links can also be found here.) I’ve written about the potential of SPLOTs before, but it was cool to see yet another group of folks get jazzed about SPLOTs for their schools. I teamed up with Alan by showcasing how one would go about creating their own SPLOT using WHM’s Template feature. The natural next step in this conversation, however, always leads to How can we easily share these between different schools?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t have a simple solution currently, but it’s most definitely on our radar for the near future. Tim has actually begun playing around with and building SPLOT installers. It’s a step further than templates. So instead of a drop-down menu item in your WordPress installer, i.e. this:
…you’d actually be installing your SPLOT instead of WordPress:
Pretty slick, right? Once the installers are built, this will allow Reclaim Hosting to easily share SPLOTs between schools/servers. But without getting too far off topic for this post, I’ll end here by saying that the afternoon’s conversation, questions, and feature requests definitely got our gears turning. Workshop participants spent the rest of the afternoon dreaming up ideas, building out SPLOT templates, asking follow-up questions from the previous two days, and working through strategies for approaching their communities about DoOO.
Lastly, I can’t do a Workshop recap without mentioning our lunch-time activity on both days: an Escape Room. I can hardly take credit for this one- Tim was the mastermind behind building this out. We transformed our back private office into a dorm room, set up clues and locks beforehand, and then sent the players in. Tim addressed the players from a computer in the dorm room as a frantic IT support guy. He explained their situation: the players would have to solve a series of puzzles in order to rescue a student, Paul, who was trapped inside his computer due to poor code that he had written! Oh no! The escape room was a ton of fun to watch. It was also a great chance for participants to get up and move around, problem-solve, and work together.
Whew, if you’ve made it this far, congrats! I’ll conclude with my takeaways:
-It’s becoming all too clear from the responses we received that these Workshops are beneficial for both the attendees and the Reclaim Team. I’m thinking they’ll stick around as long as there’s an interest.
-We’ll be continuing to update and add to our Documentation of DoOO Admins. Let us know if something is missing! For now, here’s what is coming soon:
// A category on customizing your DoOO instance (hacking your theme, changing your splash page, etc.)
// How to Create a DoOO Account for Someone Without SSL Credentials
// Adding Custom Reporting Columns to your WHMCS Instance
-We need something to showcase the work that schools are doing. Case studies for specific applications. Something to highlight how different faculty, departments, clubs, and students are using DoOO. An Assignment Bank of sorts. Something to show potential for interested schools. Reclaim is currently working through what this will look like, but it’s happening!