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Digital Literacy: Reclaiming Your Space

As promised in my last post, I wanted to take a moment to summarize & document my Workshop presentation meant for #OER18, even if I wasn’t feeling well enough to present it. Jim, Tim, and Meredith ended up covering for me on the day of, and I couldn’t be more thankful or proud of how it all turned out! I do hope that someday I’ll be given the opportunity to do the talking myself, but for now, a summary of the Workshop will have to do. :)

Workshop Abstract:

The abstract can be viewed here or in the PDF below.

Digital Literacy_ Reclaiming Your Space

 

One of the biggest changes made from the original abstract to the final product was how we decided to break up the hands-on time with the lecture time. Splitting it half and half made sense on paper, but thinking through the real deal made me realize that 45 min is quite a long time to hear one person talk, and a second block of 45 min is quite a long time to have an unstructured free time for a group of WordPress beginners. To combat this, I broke it up into 4 units of combined lecture & workshop time and then asked Jim & Tim to each take a unit. The idea was that when we weren’t up at the front talking, we’d be walking around the room contributing to the conversation and helping folks one on one. To clarify, here’s a quick outline of how the workshop would have been broken up:

Workshop Outline

Unit One: Lauren
Lecture: Digital Literacy
Workshop: Signing up for an account

-What is Digital Literacy? Why is it important?
-Case Study: Personal digital identity transformation from static HTML to professional documentation platform
-The other side of Digital Literacy: Responsibility; Understanding the scope of your digital presence

Unit Two: Tim
Lecture: Folder Structures
Workshop
: Getting familiar with File Manager

-Understanding Servers
-Where are your files stored? How can you access them?
-Public_html & folder organization
-How do you create a file?

Unit Three: Jim
Lecture: Setting Up Your Domain with Installatron
Workshop: Installing WordPress

-What is Open-Source software?
-What apps are available within cPanel’s Installatron?
-Case Studies with Scalar, Omeka, and WordPress
-Software Files in File Manager

Unit Four: Lauren
Lecture: Using WordPress
Workshop: Designing Your Site

-Overview of the WordPress Dashboard
-How posts, pages, widgets, and menus on the back end correlate to your front-end website
-Recommended Themes, Plugins, and Widgets for getting started
-Refresher: What you’ve learned & what you’ve done

Presentation Slides:

Links for Case Studies:

+ Slide 3: html.labrumfield.com
+ Slides 4-5: labrumfield.com
+ Slide 18: baltimoreuprising2015.org
+ Slide 19: slavery.georgetown.edu/timeline
+ Slide 20: blackquotidian.com

 

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Documentation April

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made it my mission to build on, add to, and update documentation articles at Reclaim Hosting. This was inspired after our last Workshop of One’s Own event when attendees asked what other schools had done to tweak and add to their DoOO projects. How were schools changing their homepage? How were they handling community support? How were they handling graduating students and their data?

I created a new category on the Workshop of One’s Own Documentation called Customizing your DoOO. This topic is still very much a work in progress, but my goal is to make this a full list of everything that can be safely done or added to a DoOO instance without fear of “breaking the system”. It will include everything from different pages and elements that we can add to a DoOO system, to editing a Domain of One’s Own WordPress theme.

One of the most common “extras” that DoOO schools ask for is the Templated Community Documentation. These are articles written specifically for the students and faculty using Domain of One’s Own. They were written originally by the OU Create team, and were later shared and expanded at other schools. So when new schools start a DoOO Pilot and ask for this documentation, we would copy from one of these existing schools to the new school. This was hardly a bad system, but it’s always bothered me a little bit that we were handing off documentation with another school’s logo on it. It just doesn’t scream “here’s your fresh copy”.

And since every DoOO Project looks a little different, the documentation will look a little different as well. For instance, we have some schools that buy top-level domains for all users and give them access to everything that the default cPanel provides. By contrast, other Domain of One’s Own schools only support WordPress, and have stripped the cPanel down to the very basics. So what may be true for one school may not be true for another. In addition, Reclaim underwent a pricing change a couple of years ago for shared hosting plans & top-level domains to accommodate for ID Protect. What’s more, when software upgrades take place, screenshots need to be updated. And plugins that were relevant 2-3 years ago may now be abandoned by their developers.

I mention all of the above to show that there are clearly a ton of outliers that can lead to a miscommunication and/or change in documentation. So it was time that Reclaim Hosting took ownership of the existing documentation to create a centralized hub of always correct, always up-to-date information. That way any school writing their own docs can always look back at this resource and pull articles that are relevant to their specific projects.

For instance, the team at emerson.build wrote a great article on getting up and running with the Neatline plugin in an Omeka instance. We get questions about this plugin all the time at Reclaim Hosting, so I’m thrilled for finding it! But it also helped reiterate this very real theme surrounding documentation: we need to do more sharing as a Domain of One’s Own community, and Reclaim Hosting needs to help facilitate that. I’m sure there are plenty of schools that would benefit from that Neatline article as I have, so now they can find that article, along with a compiled list of others on State University’s new documentation site: stateu.org/docs

Which brings me to my next point: If you’ve written documentation for your DoOO community, you may receive an email from me in the next couple of weeks asking for permission to add your article to the main hub. You’ve been warned. :) Alternatively, if you’ve written articles that you think would be a good addition to this main list, please contact me!

And while I’m on the subject of creating documentation, I can’t write this post without mentioning the recent work that Chris, Reclaim’s intern, has been doing for the Reclaim Youtube Channel. We’ve been working together on prioritizing videos that Reclaim needs in terms of tutorials, and he’s created some really great stuff so far. (Examples: Easy Site Cloning with Installatron, Backup Tools, & Adding WordPress Themes and Plugins)

His most recent tutorial, and easily my favorite video so far, is Understanding FTP, Part 1. (Part 2 will be on troubleshooting FTP!)

 

You can find these video tutorials on Youtube, of course, but also embedded in their corresponding written articles on Reclaim Hosting’s main documentation site.

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Transparent WPMS Pricing Model

Managed hosting for WordPress Multisites is a something that Reclaim Hosting has always willingly taken on behind the scenes, but it was never formally offered to the public. And by “formally offered to the public”, I mean listed as a product option on our website. Well… gone are those days!

I wanted to put up a post quickly today to shout from the mountaintops that anyone wanting managed WPMS hosting can now do that through Reclaim (if they didn’t already know that they could.) What’s more, we have a handy-dandy calculator on the WPMS webpage that will give you a pretty good idea of what it will cost. Creating the calculator, surprisingly, was probably more helpful for us be the scenes than folks may realize. Pre-WPMS webpage, we priced these projects on a case by case basis: What will support look like? How about offsite backups? Will migration fees be determined by users or data?

While there are still outlier cases no matter how we price this (support-intensive scenarios, for example), we’ve now standardized the costs associated with a managed WordPress Multisite instance for all educational institutions to see clearly. So when we give the option to choose an 8GB server at $40/month, that’s literally what Digital Ocean will charge us on a monthly basis for their infrastructure; Reclaim Hosting is not upcharging anything. Similarly, it costs Reclaim Hosting $35/mo for the necessary cPanel software & firewall licenses, and an average of $50/month for us to 30 days of reliable, offsite backups. Its completely transparent, and I love that.

^Feel free to watch the above screencast on using the calculator. Please note that its meant to estimate your monthly cost, so that’s why selecting the one-time fee for setting up Single Sign-On integration is not included in the final quote.

As you begin to make your server calculations and are unsure which server setup may make sense for your school, click the line above server size that reads …click here for our recommendations.

And just like that, our recommendations will appear!

Lastly, the bottom of the calculator turns into an inquiry form which is one of my favorite parts of this page, I think. Once you calculate your server requirements, you can click the “next” button, fill out your personal details, and click submit. Your specific selections & questions are then sent to support@reclaimhosting.com, where a Reclaim staff member will greet you with the next steps, provide clarification, and send you a formal quote. Boom!

See the WordPress Multisite webpage here.