Building Your Own Website


So: the Internet. It’s kind of a thing, and it doesn’t appear to be going away. There are many things that are important about the Internet, but here are two that are germane for our class.

  • The Internet is a space where writing happens. A ton of it, actually.
  • The Internet is responsible in many ways for the rise of digital humanities, through the dissemination of both its tools and methods and the conversations about them.

For these reasons, learning how to make use of the Internet is important for the study of the digital humanities, especially in the context of an English class. You of course know how to use the Internet for finding information, but you will now get some experience creating information: about yourself and your investigation of the digital humanities.

I have three goals related to digital humanities in asking you to build your own website:

  • Becoming facile with web publication—including managing a domain, deploying content management systems, and using some HTML and CSS—is a good first step toward gaining skills you could use in digital humanities work…or many other types of work.
  • It provides you a platform to begin doing and sharing that work with others in the digital humanities community.
  • It provides a fantastic chance to practice skrewmeneutics.

As for the English-class side of things, I’m asking you to build your own website as a chance to write yourself into the world. Deciding how to rhetorically position yourself in relation to your studies and your career goals is important. This is a chance to take a first stab at this process and why I’m asking that you consider getting a domain name that is somehow related to your own name.

Nitty Gritty

Here’s the ten things you need to do and when you need to do them.

  1. Register and purchase a domain at org for $12. Send me an email letting me know your domain name. Due, 5pm on 20 January.
  2. Install WordPress on your domain. Send me an email letting me know when it’s done. Due, 5pm on 21 January.
  3. Create a subdomain for the class on your site from within the cPanel and install WordPress there. Title it something specific to our class, like “dh” or “dh15” (e.g., Send me an email with the URL. Due, 5pm on 22 January.

From here on out, you should be doing these steps on both of your sites. The subdomain will be specific to our class and will contain all your class work. The home domain should be more about you. Consider it as a step toward being a professional to have your own portfolio space.

  1. Choose a new theme to install on your site and activate it. Send me an email letting me know the theme name and when it’s installed. Due, 5pm on 23 January.
  2. Get an API key for the Akismet plugin and then activate it. Email me the API key. Due, 5pm on 26 January.
  3. Post your first blog entry for the blogging assignment on your course site no later than 9pm on 26 January.
  4. Sign up for a Gravatar and associate it with your principal email addresses. It’s helpful if your Gravatar is a photo of you, but not required. Send me an email with a screenshot of your “My Gravatars” page. Due, 5pm on 28 January.

 Banners and Alerts

  1. Create an “About” page. On that page write a brief paragraph or two about yourself that includes the following information: what you’re studying generally in school and what your educational / career goals are. Include an image of yourself on that page, possibly the one that you’re using with Gravatar. See net/about for an example. Post this on both your “home” and class sites. Due, 5pm on 2 February.
  2. Find one thing that you wish one or both of your websites could do. Find a plugin to do it. Install that plugin. Send me an email with the problem and the name of the plugin that fixed it. Due, 5pm on 4 February.
  3. Write a three- to four-page paper (12pt Times New Roman, double spaced) in which you reflect on the build-a-website assignment. Some questions to consider are the following:
    • What have I learned by building my own website and managing my own domain?
    • Has “writing” myself into the world changed how I think about representing myself to others?
    • Did completing this assignment help me learn new things about the digital humanities?
    • What would I change about this assignment to make it more relevant, informative, enjoyable, challenging, or interesting?

    Once you’ve written that paper, email it to me as a PDF. Title the file “last name”-website reflection (e.g. croxall-website reflection.pdf). Due, 5pm on 10 February 12 February.


Each of the requirements for this assignment will be graded as pass/fail. If you complete a requirement on time, you will receive 5 points. Completing all ten of them on time nets a total of 50 points.

For 5 extra-credit points, create a second subdomain and map it to Tumblr. Send me the URL. Due, 5pm on 10 February.