“Hello world!” is a convention in computer programming education whereby a novice program tests the basic input/output flow of a language or environment by directing that program to “say hello.” For example, when learning to program single-line Perl, one might write the following at a terminal command line:

$ perl -e 'print "\nHello world!\n"'

And then receive the expected output:

Hello world!

Similarly, the “Hello world” post that comes with a fresh installation of WordPress is a way of confirming that everything is working correctly. By editing your new blog’s “Hello world” post, you initiate the conversation that you hope will happen. It’s ironic, in a way, that the moment your website or your software first says “hello” is also the point at which you start thinking about in terms of what you want it to really say. The shift from code to content is, in other words, also a way of saying goodbye.

In the case of this website, the “Hello” you’re reading is also the beginning of the end of the setting up phase for what’s going on here. This blog site, what I’m calling “The Mothership” for DGST 101, will perform several functions for students in this class or elsewhere. Hopefully, this site will be

  1. A hub for student blogs
  2. A source of information about the day-to-day activities in the class
  3. A collection of resources related to Digital Studies
  4. The place where students learn about and earn their Achievements for the class

So first things first: if you’re a student in this class, you should already be blogging in your domain. Now we need to start getting your content connected in to this hub! I know some of you are planning to post DGST101-related content under a designated category. Others are simply planning on having their primary blog be primarily for this class. Either way is fine, but to keep things consistent and easy, let’s all use the tag “dgst101” (note: not “#dgst101”) when you post things for this class. This way, the RSS feed for your posts will be available at “yourdomain.com/tag/dgst101/feed”.

Your first task, then, is to complete the steps to earn the “Own your domain” achievement. If you do this successfully, I’ll end up with a list of DGST 101 feeds that I’ll start aggregating here on the mothership. Let’s get started!

[“Hello, world” image by Flickr user oskay. CC BY 2.0]