Midstream DoOO Arrival Seeks Advice

Hey Folks,

I’m moving from VCU where we mainly had a large multisite and headed to Middlebury where they’re much more focused on the DoOO side of things.

I’m looking for a couple of things from those of you who have been running a DoOO for a while. If you’ve got larger posts or presentations on this links would be great as well.

  1. Advice: What would you have done differently if you were starting over?
  2. Success: What patterns are you seeing as successful and worth repeating?
  3. Proof: What are you using to demonstrate success?
  4. Management: Any particular tips or tricks making this more pleasant for you?

Thanks.

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Initial Twitter response from Lauren Heywood

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Here are the top-of-mind things, but I may add more as I think of them, and if that’s ok.

advice
We provide access to our DoOO accounts to folks for a full year after graduation. But this means when it’s time to remove the account, contacting these folks is a real challenge for me, because access to college-provide email ends much sooner. Our Student Information System isn’t something I can access based on my role. I wish I had a better way to make contact to offer assistance with migration, and to encourage folks to keep going in some way with their domains. If you could plan with your institutional IT around expiration of accounts, obtaining lists by class year, and auto-capturing some limited data like class year in WHM/WHMCS at the point of account generation, that could be really helpful.

We have some really amazing sites go dark because we don’t have any archival arrangement. This is a problem for various reasons, but topmost is #3 Proof. I resist any sort of onerous sign-up process (I usually just ask for course rosters), and expecting folks to grant archival permission at the point of sign-up just feels wrong to me. But asking folks (at another point) if we can keep a snapshot of some domains would be great for lots of reasons. It would help faculty model expectations and give ideas to students getting started by exploring others’ past work. It would maintain connection between current students and past students. It would allow us to keep, again with permission, retired faculty work in our college archive. And obviously, it would help with assessing the strength and the growth of DoOO at my college.

Still thinking of archival wants and needs - we can’t afford to keep cPanel accounts for past domains beyond that 1 additional year we offer. So the workflow and the time demands of an archival process have proven to be a lot. I’ve looked at generating flat-file surrogates through tools like wget and Site Sweeper, but scripting these is difficult. I’ve encountered a bunch of hiccups, most notably getting flagged by my own campus firewall and by Reclaim :smile: and put in the penalty box. So thinking this through with Reclaim Hosting sysadmins, and coming up with something that could work for us and other DoOO institutions would be huge.

Beyond the management side, in the classroom I’d encourage language that doesn’t conflate DoOO with WordPress. It’s tough, but we’re slowly getting folks exploring other auto-installer applications AND we’re seeing a few folks finding F/LOSS stuff to bring into their domains on their own. I try to present a DoOO account as a full-fledged web hosting account, and talk up all the other stuff folks can do, even if WordPress is 95% of the stuff that’s happening here.

So, maybe that’s one success - after several years, we’re starting to see more projects within student DoOO accounts collected into digital portfolios, more WordPress sites serving iframe-like embedded content of increasing sophistication, and more sites utilizing software other than WordPress.

Another success, I think our greatest success, is our Digital Learning Assistant program. We center peer learning and support, and prioritize student to student engagement, because we learned really well from UMW and their DKC. It’s part of our proof and it definitely makes management more pleasant and effectual.

This response is too long, and I feel I have more to say. I’ll get blogging and post a link. I hope this is helpful for now.

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This is great! I really appreciate you taking the time Tim.

Here’s a bit of research (although I use the term loosely) on various DoOO home pages.

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And here’s my first conversation with others at Middlebury to try to talk through what we’d like MiddCreate to become.

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I finally got around to writing that blog post: https://simulacrumbly.com/blogging/assessing-dooo-at-berg/. Looking forward to the next Reclaim Roadshow and/or the next trip to Fredericksburg.

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Another post on thinking about the DoOO. This one tries to look more closely at what we’re saying via our cPanel layout and language.

Related to some of your thoughts this backstory one why the Applications section was built might be useful Move the installatron applications installer icon further up on the dashboard (Completed) There was a bug preventing Installatron’s widget from displaying much of anything other than their own icon so we ended up removing their widget and using a custom built one (code at GitHub - reclaimhosting/application-panel). Most schools don’t have the second grouping of apps at all, but if it works it may make sense to remove the first (or vice versa depending on preferences, I could probably argue either way).

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That’s beautiful Tim and exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for. I’m just prying at edges as I figure out what the options are and that’s an easy win. The JSON to structure it looks dead simple too.