Final Project

Hi there! This is my final post for my Individual Study! It’s been a lot of fun creating the video and I’m really excited to share it with you. I finished my video and its all ready to be shown at orientation. Here is the final product:

I made a presentation at Research and Creativity Day, which was on the last day of classes. I’ll post that presentation down below as well as my slideshow presentation that went along with it. Take a look!


So Domain of One’s Own is a wonderful program that Mary Washington offers. Launched in 2013, the University allows all current students to register for their own domain name and provides web hosting for the duration of their time at the university. To date, the program has over 2,000 domains.

I became involved with the program when I was a freshman in 2013. My mom heard about the program during a parent’s session at orientation and bugged me to keep an eye out for it when I started classes. It turned out that my freshman seminar was taught by Jim Groom, the past Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies, the department that runs the program. He wanted everyone to sign up for the program.

That was where the majority of the class was held. We blogged about our readings and held discussions in the comment sections of posts. I was excited, but also a little hesitant to get started but quickly got the hang of it and quickly learned how to build out my own space on the web. This is where I began to claim my digital identity.
The main philosophy of Domain of One’s Own is to allow students to build out their digital identity. Most students have some form of digital identity when they come into the University. That can be either on a space of their own, like a blog, or through various social media accounts. This digital identity is different though.

Within social media, users are limited to the interface they are given. For example, users are limited to the features they are given in facebook. They can change their profile and cover photo, but they can’t change the way their profile really looks.

Within Domain of One’s Own, students aren’t limited to that specific interface, they can create whatever they want. They can begin to be creative and build out a digital identity that is completely their own. And they get to take that with them when they leave Mary Washington. UMW gives the students an option to move their domain and web hosting to different hosting companies after they graduate.

As a tutor in the Digital Knowledge Center, I get to help students on their websites. I get to set them up with their own account on Domain of One’s Own and see them begin to strengthen their digital identity. I’ve always been excited about Domain of One’s Own, and when Martha Burtis, my boss and individual study mentor, suggested that I create an introductory video I was on board immediately. As the Director of the DKC, she and Jeff McClurken (History Professor and Special Assistant to the Provost for Teaching, Technology, and Innovation), were looking for a way to tell the story of Domain Of One’s Own to the incoming students at orientation over the summer. I was looking for a topic for my individual study capstone and I wanted to do something creative. And this project seemed like the perfect option. 

To start out the semester, I wanted to have as much background information on Domain of One’s own as possible. I read tons of great articles on the beginning of Domain of One’s Own, digital identity (and the importance of having one in our society today), how technology in the classroom is enhancing education, and many more topics. This helped me understand what the Domain of One’s Own Initiative is and how unique it is.

After the research phase, the pre-production started. I decided to do interviews of faculty and students to get a wide range of perspectives. I wanted to examine what people thought of digital identity, how the web and internet impact our daily lives, and how each person uses Domain of One’s own. I was interested to see how students claim their space on the web and how faculty use their domains in their courses.

I constructed a list of 23 questions ranging from warm ups like “what’s your favorite thing about Mary Washington?” to the hard hitting “how does the web affect us?” I was set to go.

I was so excited to start filming. Jesse Stommel, the current executive director of DTLT, provided some professional tips on filming, like the placement of each shot and the importance of good lighting. I equipped myself with a lighting kit, a canon 5d, microphone, tripod, and a few tutors as assistants and I was off filming.

The first interviews were rocky. I filmed four in one day. But those were total fails. The microphone I was using didn’t have a charge so none of the sound recorded. **Sigh** I guess it was time to start over. By the time I finished Calle’s interview I think I asked her the questions 3 separate times. She had the answers down pat. But in all honesty I don’t know what I would have done without Callie, she was such a big help when filming. Between set up, shot placement, and b-roll Callie was there. It was awesome.

In total, I filmed 22 people, Jenn Hill, Elaina Fink, Janine Davis, Andreá Levi-Smith, and Zach Whalen to name a few. I also had the great honor of interviewing President Troy Paino. I was definitely not expecting that and he was a great addition to the video. Once filming was complete, it was time to start editing. I decided to edit using final cut pro X. I previously used final cut in another semester and was excited to use it again.

I first went through each individual interview to pull out the participant’s answers. When I recorded the interviews, I left myself asking the questions so I could have a frame of reference. Next, I combed through to pull answers that I would flow into a narrative.

I sorted the answers into keywords according to the section of the video each clip was going to be placed. Then it was time for another round of watching the footage. This time I pulled the footage in the timeline of the video. I added answers here and there until I had a flow. I broke up the sections into topics: digital identity, how the web affects us, how can you build out that identity, what is domain of one’s own, and why you should get a domain through the program. These questions were separated by a b-roll shot from places around campus. I added more broll over some longer answers and where I thought it would supplement what someone was saying.

After all the footage was in the timeline it was time for music. Elaina, another tutor, is a music major and offered to produce a track for the video. I’m so glad she wanted to create a track, it saved me from hours of searching the internet for background music. I then went through each clip to match the volume of each person and adjusted the music so it wasn’t over powering. As a final touch, I added the names to each person so the viewers knew who was talking. The video was now ready to go!

While I did learn a lot about interviewing people, and filming and editing video, I really learned more about what the Domain of One’s Own program is as a platform to the University. Before I started the project, I only thought about my personal account on Domain of One’s Own. Now I can appreciate how the platform is transformative to student’s education here at Mary Washington.

I’m so grateful for everyone who helped me along the way. I probably wouldn’t have a video to show you all today! Thank you so much for all of your help. Now onto the video, I hope you all enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *