Some Thoughts On Student Domains

In Audrey Watters’ article “The Web We Give To Students” she discusses the potential benefits of giving students their own website domain to upload work to. I happen to agree with her on pretty much all of her points. By allowing a student to have a website they can post their work to as a showcase, it encourages them to take pride in their work. It also allows them to control what they show off without any need for physical records. This is important because, as Watters says, “a student’s work exists only inside a learning management system and cannot be accessed once the semester is over” at most schools. I intend to maintain my domain and upload the work I am most proud of while I’m here at PSU.

But there are potential downsides to this as well. In Matthew Cheney’s article “How Public? Why Public?” he warns of the potential dangers of existing in an online space. Anybody who has spent 10 seconds reading YouTube comments knows that people on the internet are not nice. As he says “the internet allows a kind of anonymity that can be empowering for some people, problem for others, and both for man. Trolls thrive on anonymity”. It’s true that anonymity can be a shield, for good or for bad. But, in my opinion, it can also inhibit you. If I want to show people that I’m proud of my work, and unafraid for my opinions to be known and up for critique, I ought to attach my name to my work. This holds me accountable to only upload things I would be comfortable with someone associating with me, and it shows that the work I upload on my site is I am proud of. For that reason I made my website domain my full name.

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