Publishing as Sharing with a Community of Interest

Domain provides students with the opportunity to publish their networked selves for communities of interest. Through design choices, and/or password protection, the Domain author may publish work to engage with a range of communities. As the Anatomy of a Domain page shows, a typical student Domain page may draw together elements as disparate as a photo gallery, a travel log, a collation of social media posts, professional materials (CV, job letter, portfolio, etc.), multimedia projects, and an archive of primary source materials. Domain allows the user the freedom to contribute to the class wiki required in her English 181 course; organize with an activist community to address accessibility issues on her campus; and curate her professional portfolio with an eye toward the job market. Domain users share their cultural texts with communities of interest and create the narrative context in which their audiences read those texts.

The following in-class activity will help faculty to guide students through the initial stages of composing their sites as a means of publishing to a communities of interest. Please note the activity is easy to adapt to fit specific classroom needs.

Mapping Your Networked Self

This exercise is designed to help students invent topics for a single hypertext essay or topics that will guide their websites and research for the entire semester. Students should emerge from the exercise with a topic that is both personally relevant and connected to larger social, political, cultural, etc. issues.

  • Give students blank sheets of paper
  • For 5-10 minutes, ask students to free write names of all the communities of interest to which they belong. Have them spread the names of their communities across the page instead of listing them in a hierarchy.
  • Once the allotted time has expired and students have generated 20-30 communities, give them 5 more minutes to draw lines between communities that overlap or have common interests/purpose
  • Once students have marked connections between communities with shared interests, give them 5 more minutes to mark potential site of conflict.
  • Once students have finished mapping, generate a class discussion of findings. You may want to ask, what points of intersection in your mind map most surprised you? If you participate in communities with rival ideologies, how do you navigate those differences? What points of contact would you like to pursue father?
  • Following the discussion of findings, ask students to freewrite for 5 minutes on how they navigate participating in two or more communities with rival interests.
  • When the class reconvenes for another round of discussion, guide students to make connections among the communities to which they belong and bigger, more abstract communities such as state, nation, university, gender, etc. To help guide this stage of the discussion, ask questions such as, who are the stakeholders in the conflict you have uncovered? Who benefits from the conflict?
  • You may have one student write his or her short write on the board or project it onto a Googledoc and then have that student solicit feedback from the rest of the class. The use that one short write as a jumping off point for thinking through the connections between the local and global in other student texts.
  • Finally, ask students to revise their freewrite to include connections between their personal issue and its global resonances.
  • Students should emerge from the activity with a visual representation of the connections and conflicts that exist within in their networked selves, and a few rough paragraphs shaping those connections through an expository or narrative frame.
  • The student can then move from this invention stage to composing the site with a more thorough understand of his/her communities of interest and ways he/she hosts those communities.