May the Domains be with You

May’s Intentional learning is Domain of One’s Own. I’m super excited for this month! Not only because DoOO is such a big part of Relcaim’s infrastructure but it’s always nice to have a refresher on how the system works together to create a space for students to start carving out their own space online.

So to start the monthly learning, I wanted to refresh myself with an overview of DoOO. Lauren created a virtual walkthrough tour of the 3 facets to the product, WordPress, WHMCS, and WHM a few years ago. It’s a short and sweet 35-minute video that gives you a taste of the system itself. I never realized really how much all 3 pieces interconnected together but Lauren does an awesome job connecting them into the video!

As I was watching, I started to jot down some notes of things that stood out to me, but I found I was writing ideas down for potential documentation to write! So I wanted to write this post as a way to document the ideas for what I want to write this month (and mainly accountability on my end):

  • Highlighting plugins used in the WordPress site
    • Remvoing Dashboard Access
    • Switch User’s
  • Giving Students/Users Access to their cPanel after Graduation/Leaving Instution
  • Removing application access within Installatron
  • Highlighting important files within the WordPress theme that are necessary for the DoOO infrastructure to work
  • Adding WHMCS administrator users
  • Interpreting WHMCS Log information
  • Finding Account numbers

And this is just to name a few! I do want to take the time this month to bolster our documentation for admins and end users alike as we’re big into teaching first ?

I’m ready to dive back into intentional learning and taking the time to really focus on Domain of One’s Own. Stay tuned!

Intentional Learning: February

This past month, Reclaim has embarked on a journey of intentional learning. Learning has been at the forefront of Reclaim’s core values and something I’ve personally enjoyed during my time with Reclaim. It’s always pushed me to learn as much as I can, pushing me to grow within my position. And that’s been the foundation of my Customer Support Manager position. I’ve jumped into learning what it looks like to a teacher first, manager second.

But before I get too in the weeds with another post (that’s on the docket and coming soon), I wanted to talk about February’s Intentional Learning, Domains in cPanel and File Structures. I’ll also use this time to experiment with March’s learning topic: WordPress! There’s a ton to unpack with this month so I’m super excited to jump in.

When working with the curriculum for this month’s learning, I wanted to start with the basics. Domains and File structure are where most of the basics happen in cPanel, particularly addon domains and application management.

To do this, I split up the month into 3 sections. The first section was all about Domain Management, covering everything from Addon domains, to aliases, and subdomains.

Section 2 was all about file structures within the File Manager. We looked at designating when it’s best to use subdomains vs subfolder, the public_html directory, understanding the .htaccess files, and even file permissions.

Section 3 ended up being more in-depth about file structures within applications and troubleshooting some common errors, like HTTP 500 errors or 403 Forbidden errors.

With a base of learning down, we were all tasked with writing about what’d we learned, whether that be through documentation, blogging, or support tickets. I really wanted this month to be a conversation in a tangible way that we could use to scale as we grow, which leads us into March perfectly!

At the end of the month, we all met as a team (!!!) to discuss the learning that happened over the last couple of months. This doesn’t happen very often with busy schedules and remote workers but it was so great to be able to sit down as a team!

I didn’t think to grab a screenshot of our meeting so thank you thank you, Lauren!

During the discussion, I only asked 1 question, what stood out to you? That was the only question needed, and we were off, we can talk a ton ?

The next piece was examples to apply our learning. I broke my site a few times to demonstrate, plugin errors causing the HTTP 500 error, permissions, and core file updates. Then we worked through each piece to solidify our discussion.

So as we look forward to March, Jim introduced the topic of WordPress and using it as a tool to document our learning. Which is a major throwback! I can clearly remember learning WordPress on the fly while in wire106 at UMW, which became a huge part of my web presence and digital foundation. Without WordPress and ds106, I’m not sure I would have written as much as I have over the last 5-6 years.

To wrap up February, I took the time to write 4 blog posts encompassing the file structure and domain management:

As March rolls in, I’m excited to see what the team comes up with! And of course, stay tuned here, more posts coming soon!

Intentional Learning at Reclaim Hosting: Back to the bava Basics or, Blogging about WordPress

A blog title so long it might as well be a tweet….but it’s not, it’s a god-damned BLOG! I’M BLOGGING, HOLD ALL MY CALLS!!!

Feel the burn, THE BLOG BURN! 

So, I got that out of the way, but it is a reflection of how fired up I am these days. Let me start by saying that Reclaim Hosting has been pretty awesome. Meredith has stepped into the role of Support Manager brilliantly, and Lauren continues to rule as Director of Operations, add to that our part-time support hire last Spring, Chris Blankenship, who has become the systems administrator Tim and I have been dreaming of! And just a few short months ago we got lucky enough to bring on Gordon Hawley has come to us with decades of support experience in the field and has fit-in seamlessly and proved to be an immediate win. What’s more, we recently hired soon-to-be UMW alum Kathryn Hartraft on a part-time basis, and she is proving why UMW’s Digital Knowledge Center is ground zero for recruiting fresh Reclaim talent. I am not gonna lie, the gritty and grounded UMW students have been an absolute boon to Reclaim Hosting since the beginning, and I am feeling ever more confident that they can run the ship without Tim and I—they are that good! 

It’s been rewarding to see the team congeal so well over the past two months, and I think that has given all of us room to start becoming more pro-active about filling in gaps we have in our collective knowledge. Out of which the idea of a more intentional learning program at Reclaim has emerged. The idea is simple: we take a topic for an entire month and recommend various readings and tasks around that theme, and folks are then expected to explore it and then narrate their learning on their blog. For example, in January we focused on migrations (a chore I have become all too familiar with these days) and this month has been dedicated to file and directory structures in cPanel. In fact, last night we had our first meeting with the entire team in a long while in order to reflect upon and wrap-up February’s learning, while at the same time introducing the next month’s topic. Meredith brilliantly wrapped up the month on file structures with a discussion around what we learned in the first hour, and I introduced the coming topic for March: all things WordPress! 

As usual I was ill-prepared for anything formal, so I basically tried to reinforce the fact that despite the haterz, WordPress still rulez! And while it only powers 35% of all sites on the web, that figure is closer to 90% of Reclaim Hosting’s users. So being familiar with the ins-and-outs of WordPress is a must for our team. It doesn’t hurt that I cut my teeth on WordPress and it has been very, very good to me over the years. I often think beyond marrying Antonella or teaming up with Tim as a business partner, choosing WordPress over Drupal was the best decision I ever made ? What’s more, I spent many, many years on this blog trying to get folks in higher ed to take it seriously as a viable alternative to the LMS. In fact, bavatuesdays was one of WordPress’s earliest and most passionate promoters, and as is often the case I wasn’t wrong ?

So, I am fired up because the month of March on bavatuesdays will be a kind of homecoming for some WordPress blogging that I’ve not done in earnest for near on 7 or 8 years. In many ways WordPress has become invisible for me; it is the air I breath. That said, I do recognize I’m becoming a bit rusty when it come to seemingly endless possibilities of hacking it to do your will, but that’s why I still read bionicteaching and the cogdog religiously. So, the Reclaim Hosting team will be blogging about WordPress throughout the month of March, and if you are so inclined blog along with us and share it at the #reclaimWP tag on Twitter and/or drop your feed in the comments below and use that tag so I can pull them into our main site aggregator.