“Giving students [and faculty] their own digital domain is a radical act. It gives them the ability to work on the Web and with the Web.”

Audrey Watters, The Web We Need to Give Our Students

The HIVE hosted its first Domain of One’s Own Learning Community in Fall 2016. Since then, nearly 1,500 domains have been claimed at Muhlenberg by students, faculty, and staff. This winter, we are convening another Learning Community, with a particular focus on how Berg Builds Domains (our local Domain of One’s Own initiative) provides space and resources for humanizing digital learning. With so much teaching and learning now situated online, we recognize that many faculty are seeking spaces beyond, and unbound by, the Learning Management System (LMS). Domain of One’s Own is ideally suited to faculty wishing to reimagine online learning experiences, whether in a fully online course, a hybrid course, or within a face to face course. In all contexts, Berg Builds provides a dynamic toolkit and new possibilities for designing and building digital presence with greater flexibility and independence from the logics of commercially-driven, surveillance-centered ed-tech.

To pilot this project, this PLC brings together faculty who will receive a domain, web hosting, support, and training to initiate a web-based scholarly or pedagogical project, in conversation with colleagues from multiple fields of study across campus.  While building our own individual domains, this cohort will consider how digital technologies are implicated in how we teach, learn, and create.

Our own domains allow us to name and place ourselves within the larger landscape of the Web, a landscape that every day seems to dominate a new aspect of our modern lives. Open-source Web hosting allows us to instantiate ourselves within these domains, unshackled from the private, proprietary, and corporate spaces that tend to overwhelm our online experiences.

Martha Burtis, Coding, Serendipity, and Domain of One’s Own

Over the next few weeks, this learning community will:

  • Create possibilities for students to engage in a variety of digital practices including (but not solely) blogging, reflecting on their learning in an e-portfolio, multimodal composition, image and video production, digital mapping, curating content related to research within a course
  • Cultivate digital space(s) to publish, curate, and share scholarship online. Connect with other scholars, build digital scholarly presence, and present forms of work free of constraints placed by proprietary publishers (e.g., paywalls).  This might include, among other things, blogging about our work in its early or emergent stages, posting published articles and conference presentations, or curating an online exhibit
  • Look ahead, and imagine how a Domain of One’s Own permits engaging with Web-based technologies or Web-suitable programming languages. Examples of projects possible on a Berg Builds Domain may include social annotation, hypertext analysis, digital mapping, data visualization, and 3D modeling

Cohort Leaders

Tim Clarke (x3560) and Lora Taub (x3880)


Participants will receive a copy of Audrey Watters text, Claim Your Domain.  Additionally, for each session, we will encounter a variety of texts, videos, websites, and other resources openly available on the Web.  You can access all of this material from links on the navigation bar at the top of this page. 


During the next several weeks, participants will engage asynchronously online with materials covering the theoretical, conceptual, and practical dimensions of Domain of One’s Own. Through engaging with this work and with each other, the aim is to support those interested while they integrate Berg Builds into pedagogical and scholarly activities. Our learning community will work asynchronously from January 18 through February 12, with virtual discussions on each Thursday as follows:

  • Faculty & Student Kick-off Panel. We will hear from and engage a panel of Muhlenberg faculty and students who have been using Berg Builds. We’ll meet via Zoom on January 21st at 4 PM EST.
  • Domains and Digital Identity with Jim Groom. We’ll meet via Zoom on January 28th at 4 PM EST.
  • Domains in Teaching with Alan Levine. We’ll meet via Zoom on February 4th at 4 PM EST.
  • Domains in Research and Scholarship with Martha Burtis. We’ll meet via Zoom on February 11th at 4 PM EST.
A flyer reading:  Berg Builds Winter 2021 Learning Community.  Students are not Data Points.  Join with colleagues to explore possibilities for humanely integrating the web to help cultivate inquiry, imagination, and inclusion in digital learning spaces.  January 28 through February 12.  In a guided online asynchronous format, explore conceptual, theoretical, and practical concepts.  Join colleagues and experts virtually on Thursdays in Zoom for dialogue and deeper insights into uses and possibilities of domains.  For more information contact Lora Taub lorataub@muhlenberg.edu

When permitted, sessions will be recorded and made available to learning community participants unable to attend.

Learning Community Goals

  • Contribute meaningfully to a supportive culture of digital learning that values inclusion, inquiry, and imagination and that empowers faculty and student agency, authorship, and voice.
  • Increase understanding, awareness, and integration of critical digital pedagogies.
  • Support faculty in using Berg Builds Domains to cultivate a digital presence appropriate to their academic field(s), interests, and objectives.
  • Explore approaches to integrating Domain of One’s Own into teaching practices in order to shape critical and meaningful digital experiences for students at Muhlenberg.
  • Inspire projects that foster awareness and the critical digital literacies necessary to exercise a greater degree of agency over our learning, control of our data, and ownership of our digital presence and identity online.

Featured Image by Alan Levine, 2020. CC 0.