- Prototype 1 due Thu., Nov. 30, at the beginning of class (category = domain designs)
- Prototype 2 due Mon., Dec. 4th, at the beginning of class
- Domain Design, completed Website Rubric & Post Audit due by Dec. 14, 5:15 pm (the end of exam period); category = domain design
Your final project is to design and build your own Domain, building a website that you may use for the rest of your time at Davidson (and after) as a way of communicating your interests and accomplishments to the public. This is your chance to begin a narrative about who you are and what you’ve done at Davidson—including your experiences as a pioneer in the first Collaboratory.
The goal of this assignment is for you to build the foundations of a website that you can expand, develop, or fully renovate as you go through life. You are always learning and changing, so your website should grow and change with you. This is YOUR DOMAIN, so the site should reflect WHO YOU ARE.
Step 1: Read
Download and read the articles on website design available on the Readings page: “Principles of Information Architecture,” “Information Architecture Guide,” and the excerpt from Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. Review the slide presentation I showed in class UX Design: Basic Principles, and Instructional Designer Sundi Richard’s slide presentation Designing Your Domain. If you are really interested in good design, you may also enjoy exploring 52 Weeks of UX.
Step 2: Choose a Content Management Systems (CMS)
To design your own domain, you need to choose a content management system (CMS). Here is a list of some of the more popular CMS on the web:
- WordPress (recommended)
- Examples: https://wordpress.org/showcase/
- Tutorial: ‘WordPress Essential Training’ on lynda.davidson.edu
- Although WordPress comes with pre-installed themes and there are many free themes available online, Davidson owns site licenses for the professionally designed Studio Press or Organic Themes. I especially recommend Studio Press. When choosing a theme, it’s helpful to look not only at their themes, but also at the showcases that demonstrate how people have adapted them:
- If you choose WordPress, make sure to install and activate the plugin WordFence to protect your sites from hackers, bots, and trolls.
- Examples: http://community.joomla.org/showcase/sites.html
- Tutorial: ‘Joomla! 3 Essential Training’ on lynda.davidson.edu
- Examples: http://topdrops.org/
- Tutorial: ‘Drupal 7 Essential Training’ on lynda.davidson.edu
- There are many others! Feel free to explore ‘Web Applications’ in Davidson Domains and choose your own.
Step 3: Evaluate a Website
Study and evaluate one website running your chosen CMS. You can start by looking at the Examples above. Think about and answer the following questions:
- Who is the author of the page?
- What is the intended audience?
- What kind of information is the author sharing?
- Is the chosen CMS well suited for the chosen materials and audience? That is, is it easy for the user to navigate, search, and find answers? How so, how not so?
- How would you improve the presentation and/or design?
Step 4: Sketch a WireFrame
Drawing upon what you learned from the readings about website design and your own evaluation of a specific sample site, sketch a wireframe for your own website (See the reading on Information Architecture). Make sure your wireframe include all the elements in the rubric (see Step 5).
Step 5: Refer the Rubric
Your website should include the following elements:
- An “about me” page indicating who you are and what purpose your website serves. You may want to include your major(s), minor(s), and concentrations(s) in your narrative bio.
- A resume page. Here, you can install a PDF Viewer, so that you can upload new versions of your resume as it changes.
- A portfolio of the work you’ve done in the Collaboratory.
- You must include at least one exemplary work from each of your four courses.
- To make the work intelligible to audiences outside the Collaboratory, you may want to indicate what course you wrote the work for and what the nature of the assignment was.
- We recommend that you transfer ALL the work from the WRI 101x and CIS 150 course sites to your own domain, to assume ownership (SWC will archive the sites after the semester, so you won’t be able to access the work on the course sites).
- If you are using WordPress, you can display the Russian Revolution timeline in a post or page by creating an iFrame; you may also be able to use an i-frame to display your group Meiji Revolution digital project.
- You may keep, delete, or relocate after we have evaluated your site.
- A list of courses you have taken at Davidson with short descriptions of each (catalog copy is acceptable; you can find course descriptions on these course websites and the collaboratory website).
- You may want to include a short description of the Collaboratory, which is likely to generate interest and questions from your audience.
- Looking ahead for the long term, you may arrange the list of courses thematically, chronologically, or in whatever organizational form allows you to foreground your most significant work and initiate a clear, compelling “map” or “timeline” of your academic development.
The following elements are optional:
- A narrative that embeds all your courses within the progress of your academic development.
- A personal blog
- A section dedicated to extracurricular activities
- A portfolio of your art, music, theater, or other activities/work
If you are stuck or overwhelmed, you may find it helpful to explore other Davidson student domains, including:
Step 6: Set up a Subdomain*
*You may also install the CMS at the domain level, if you want your website to correspond with the URL for your domain.
- On Davidson Domains, create a new subdomain:
- Go to domains.davidson.edu
- Sign in
- Click on ‘Dashboard’
- Scroll down and click on ‘Subdomains’
- Select a name (keep it short). Click ‘Create’
- Then install your selected CMS on your new subdomain. To do this:
- Go back to your Domains ‘Dashboard’
- Click on your selected CMS under ‘Web Applications’
- Click on ‘Install this Application’
- In the first dropdown menu, select the subdomain you just created
- At the bottom of the page, click ‘Install’
- Use that CMS to build a personal website.
- If you installed WordPress, download and activate the plugin WordFence to protect your sites from hackers, bots, and trolls.
- Remember and consult the tutorials listed above. The video tutorials at lynda.davidson.edu are excellent. You do not have to watch them in their entirety. You can skip the parts on installation, for example, and view only the chapters on ‘creating content,’ ‘menus,’ ‘themes,’ and the like.
- Seek help from Media Consultants, whose expertise and ingenuity will astound you (Sun-Thu, 8-11 pm, Studio D, no appointment necessary, but they close up shop on Reading Day, so don’t delay).
- Transfer your work from the WRI 101 and CIS 150 websites to your subdomain.
- Copy and paste work from ENG 110 and BIO 1o7 to your subdomain.
Warning: Do Not Steal Images!
You should have permission for all images you use. Search CreativeCommons.org for images in the public domain and make sure you abide by any copyright restrictions or citation guidelines provided with the image. Use the caption area to cite the source for any image you didn’t create yourself, regardless of whether the original source requests a citation. You can also link the image to its original source. But a link alone is not a sufficient citation, as links tend to fracture over time.
Having a domain requires some housekeeping, so you should periodically check your websites to update WordPress and any plugins and repair any damaged files.
Your goal should be to produce a simple, well-designed website that is:
- easy to navigate,
- explains who you are,
- allows us to review all your WRI 101 & CIS 150 coursework in one convenient location,
- shows what other courses you’ve taken so far.
Thanks to Dr. Jakub Kabala, assistant professor of history, for sharing his digital studies assignments and allowing us to crib from them. We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions for this assignment. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification. Please also use the “Tips” category to post links to fellow students’ websites that offer good models for us.