Planning a DoOO Summer Camp

For participants in the eCampus Ontario Extend project, some of whom have gotten Reclaim hosting, some who will be starting. I’m planning on running a 4 week online “summer camp” workshop.

This will be open for anyone who wants to get involved. It will likely be a weekly “lesson” with some activities, an intro how to video, a weekly open office hours via Zoom, and a lot of tweeting & blogging.

I’m curious to hear from others who have developed intro materials what sort of topics you find are most important to teach new domain-ers. Links appreciated. I drafted some guide materials last year that is a base

but I’m thinking of including:

  • create a landing page with site publisher as a placeholder (which most people find limiting, but it sets the idea of keeping the top of the domain for a landing page)
  • using file manager to modify the placeholder (upload an image)
  • setting up subdomains, differences between putting apps in directories vs subdomains
  • installing a Wordpress blog in a subdomain / directory
  • installing one of my WP landing page themes in place of that first landing page
  • setting up email accounts and email forwarders
  • setting up domain redirects
  • uploading a static HTML site in a subdomain / directory
  • exploring other apps (can use some suggestions), I like showing Yourls, Omeka, Limesurvey, Vanilla Forums, Grav ??

Whaddya think?

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I’m interested in many of these topics and would like to participate if I have the time. I attended the Spring 2018 DoOO workshop for admins at Reclaim, so I think a lot of this would be a helpful refresher for me. I’m at Colgate University and we only have a handful of domain-ers and I know of a handful more coming to our door this summer/fall…as the support person for them, I’d be really interested in suggestions for onboarding people to their Domains accounts, like how to navigate their cPanel and have them not be so overwhelmed by all the apps there. Also how to set up some different SPLOTs, like a syndicated mother blog, activity bank and other example course sites through WP.

Thanks Christine,

I’m seeing this as a mostly asynchronous experience, where people can go at their own pace, but a weekly live/archived video session too. I’m wondering too about bring a part of the discussion inside this community space so people use it more as needed for support and brainstorming.

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These all look like great topics! Other stuff I like to sometimes cover with folks new to domains:

  • When you upload the static HTML site via File Manager, maybe circle back later and point out how to use the zip and expand buttons. The zip as a way to archive and download their own stuff later. The unzip as a way to spotlight that some apps not even in Installatron might work on their domains, just by downloading from Github and expanding into a subdomain’s folder. Personally, I like Shaarli as super-simple example.

  • Using the File Manager to view (and to lightly edit) files. Even if folks never touch a configuration file, I think it’s cool for folks to know they have that power.

  • Show the Domain Management area of a popular registrar (I like and show how to point nameservers to Reclaim’s ns1 & ns2. And explain the addon domain stuff.

  • Specific to WordPress, I like to show folks how to add custom CSS in the WordPress admin area. If we have time, I’ll show folks how to search for and steal snippets of CSS (we usually change the a:link a:visited and a:hover behavior of their theme).

  • Also specific to WordPress, I like to show folks how to go back after install and set their auto backup schedule (I generally recommend day-week-month). I find this gives folks some comfort that they can break stuff but roll back and never lose more than a day’s work.

Lastly, just speaking for myself, I’d avoid Omeka right out of the shoot. YOURLs rocks - very easy and folks nearly always have experience with URL shorteners. Zenphoto can be a good one to show. Believe it or not, we had a fun afternoon here goofing around with phpFreeChat. Setting it up for use during a single event, and then blowing it away to leave no trace, was compelling for some folks to see. Younger folks liked its old school look and feel. It was a silly few hours with some retro tech that was familiar (e.g., Slack) open and self-hosted.

What you have sounds awesome. Hope this is helpful.

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This is a pretty timely topic, I was thinking about the possibility of Reclaim running some kind of open “course” (god I hate that word) in the Fall on stuff like this. Of course we’d have a ton of fun with it and it would probably be broadcasted from another dimension via Reclaim Video :). But it could be fun to host some kind of semi-structured thing that faculty could point students in and/or participate themselves to get up to speed on some of the basics that far too many assume folks already do or should know with this stuff. I’d love to follow along and participate where possible. Keep us updated!


Thanks for these awesome ideas, Tim. I’m planning on using a site based on the DS106 Assignment Bank theme that we use for activities in The Ontario Extend modules and adding a category for Domain Camp. I’m thinking with a few topics defined per week, people like you might create new ones to add these ideas. I do really want to show some building out static sites with file manager; I find it’s key to having an understanding where all your stuff lives.

I’m wavering on how deep to go in WordPress, that alone is it’s own camp.

Also I’m planning on using this community as a place to announce and discuss the activities, I don’t think enough people leverage the expertise here.

Hoping to blog this out soon


Thanks Tim, I think it definitely could be iterated on. I’d like to make more use of the community site for discussion, maybe this category or can I make a new one for Domain Camp?

I’m a bit hesitant to create too many categories here at the danger of spreading the conversations too thin. However if you imagine structured conversations happening as part of the camp I’m not against it. But otherwise it might make just as much sense for those conversations to be embedded in the existing areas and the general category here rather than having one specifically for the camp.

Thanks Tim, I agree. The real goal is to get more folks to use the existing parts of the community site and the Newbies Corner is an ideal place

Hi cogdog. I have found this thread and am looking forward to the DoOO Summer Campus #SummerExtend!

I’ve been using a wordpress blog on my own domain at Reclaim Hosting for a couple years and didn’t know of Newbies Corner until I heard CogDog barking today.

I’m becoming more interested in building flat pages, linked with semantic tags, for several reasons: including moving beyond wordpress and the simplicity of archiving HTML or XML. Looking forward to hearing and telling stories around the campfire.

Best Regards


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Camp opens tomorrow!