MiddCreate is a project managed by Middlebury’s Associate Provost for Digital Learning, in collaboration with colleagues in the Digital Learning Commons at Monterey.
The mission of MiddCreate is to provide spaces on the web where students, faculty, and staff can explore and connect their learning, experiment with digital tools for teaching and learning, and create a digital identity that is owned and managed by them. Users have control over the tools they use and how they represent themselves in their digital spaces.
MiddCreate is founded on the principles that:
- Learners should have access to spaces that they control and use to reflect on, document, and share their work with others.
- Digital spaces, when created and owned by learners, can allow for an individual’s creative expression of their academic and professional work. Too many of the digital spaces in which we work are closed and proprietary, not allowing individuals to own their data or to be agents of their own work.
- Connection and reflection are key elements of learning. Learners should have spaces that don’t bind their learning to specific times, spaces, and places, but rather allow them to connect their learning in unique ways based on their experiences and interests.
MiddCreate is one of several “Domain of One’s Own” initiatives happening at institutions of higher education. Domain of One’s Own initiatives start with “this notion, deeply embedded in Domain of One’s Own, that it is important to have one’s own space in order to develop one’s ideas and one’s craft. It’s important that learners have control over their work — their content and their data.” (Audrey Watters, The Web We Need to Give Students)
As part of the MiddCreate Domain of One’s Own project, all Middlebury students, faculty, and staff can create their own subdomain (example: amycollier.middcreate.net) and install open source web tools on their domain (such as WordPress, Omeka, Drupal, etc.).
In short, three words: Rigorous connected learning.
At Middlebury, we believe that education is about rigorous connections between learners and experts, between learners and other learners, between communities, between disciplines, and between ideas. Who are learners? We all are. Some of us are also experts, but even experts are learners. To be true learners, and to keep learning, we need spaces to reflect, connect, and explore.
MiddCreate is one such space.
As a student, faculty, or staff of Middlebury you have access to MiddCreate throughout your time here. When you leave Middlebury, you will need to move anything you built on MiddCreate to another hosting provider or to an individual account on Reclaim Hosting, which is the hosting provider for MiddCreate. Moving to an individual account with Reclaim Hosting will cost approximately $25/year, and you can transition your account from your cPanel in a few clicks. You can also transition to another hosting provider; costs and services will vary. If you have only built a WordPress site on your MiddCreate space, you can transition that WordPress site to be hosted on WordPress.com, which is free.
You have up to six (6) months after you graduate or leave Middlebury to move what’s on your MiddCreate site to another provider. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this.
Some people may wonder about how FERPA is implicated in projects like these. Here is what Reclaim Hosting says (on their FAQ page): “The student is controlling how much information is out there. Similar to a public blogging platform being run by a university, FERPA only requires that student records (and what constitutes a “record” is debatable) not be public unless a student gives permission. In this case if the student wanted to sign up and lock down their hosting they can certainly do that, no one is requiring them to make their information public.”
Reclaim Hosting was reviewed and approved as a vendor for Middlebury College by the Information and Technology Services group (ITS) at Middlebury.
With MiddCreate, learners (that is, faculty, staff, and students at Middlebury) are encouraged to build their digital identity as a process of learning and sharing. This will look different for every learner—and that is okay. Some may choose to build a portfolio of their work, some may create a blog to reflect on course topics, some may create a community wiki for others to contribute ideas.
Classes and programs may also use MiddCreate to build a space for students to share and comment on each others’ contributions.
Please note that all of your MiddCreate site is subject to the policies of appropriate content for and conduct on Middlebury websites:
- Any use of Middlebury College’s Web sites for illegal or inappropriate activities or harassment is prohibited. Illegal activities shall be defined as a violation of local, state, and/or federal laws. Inappropriate use shall be defined as a violation of the intended use of the College’s computing resources and policies, and/or the purpose and goals of the College Web site. Harassment is defined and addressed in the Middlebury College Harassment/Discrimination Policy Statement found in the College Handbook .
- Unauthorized use of Middlebury College’s Web sites for commercial purposes is prohibited. Personal or institutional Web pages may not be used for direct advertising for personal profit or gain. E-commerce applications are available through the Installatron for educational/learning purposes only. See this link to our support docs for more on e-commerce applications.
- Unauthorized use and/or distribution of others’ intellectual property (including but not limited to text, images, sound, and software) violates College policies and the Honor Code, and is prohibited.
- Exploiting Middlebury College’s Web sites for malicious purposes is prohibited. Discovered exploits should be reported to email@example.com, immediately. Public disclosure of means to exploit the College’s web sites is prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action.
- As stated in the Middlebury College Harassment/Discrimination Policy Statement, Middlebury College recognizes that the protection of free and open speech and the open exchange of ideas are essential to any academic or artistic community and crucial for the activity of scholars and artists. Free, honest intellectual inquiry, debate, and constructive dialogue are vital to the academic mission of the College and must be protected, even when the views expressed are unpopular or controversial.
- Middlebury College also recognizes that contents of electronic publications or electronic communications can be used specifically to intimidate or coerce and to inhibit genuine discourse, free inquiry, and learning. Such abuses are unacceptable. As an educational institution, Middlebury College is committed to maintaining a campus environment where bigotry and intolerance, including discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or age have no place, and where any form of coercion or harassment that insults the dignity of others and interferes with their freedom to learn or work is unacceptable.
Please note that content of the websites and blogs contained within MiddCreate is the responsibility of individual site authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of nor is it endorsed by Middlebury.