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  • 00:11

    TRACY PERKINS: My name's Tracy Perkins.I'm an assistant professor at Howard Universityin the Department of Sociology and Criminology.And today I'll be talking about how to makeyour own academic website.Why create your own academic website?I think there's a couple compelling reasons for this.One, for grad students is, you may nothave any presence on your departmental website

  • 00:32

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: in the first place, or it might be small.Second of all, when you have your own websiteyou can update it as much as you like.You don't have to wait for whatever the campusprocess for doing that is.Your own academic website is much more customizable.You can use it for a lot of different things.And finally, there's room for a lot more content.

  • 00:52

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: Having your own academic website that'soff your university framework alsogives you a place to collect your entire digital footprint,a central landing place for anyonethat wants to learn more about your work.So you can link to any social media sitesor professional sites that you use that are work appropriate.

  • 01:13

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: You can have it be just a very basic website with the AboutMe section, the CV, perhaps a list of publications,or you can include all kinds of other content.You could have a blog, for example.You could include videos or audio of interviewsor presentations you give or campus events

  • 01:33

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: that you organize.You can include photos of things going on in your researchor on your campus.You can also share a lot of the behind the scenes of your workthat people who are interested in your final scholarly outputmay be interested also in your process of getting there.

  • 01:53

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: You can also share aspects of your workthat don't fit into your regular scholarly production--perhaps your syllabi, perhaps classroom activities, thingslike that.My own academic website has evolved over time.Right now it incorporates an about section, justmy basic professional profile, a blog

  • 02:16

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: in which I write about a variety of things,but it tends to be mostly what I'mdoing in the classroom and new publications and thingslike that, a section on my research,a section on my teaching.You can see that I have pages for eachof my past and present courses and some resourcesfor my students.

  • 02:37

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: Because I also do digital scholarship in additionto my regular print work, I've included a sectionon my digital projects here, a section on my speaking,my consulting, and my CV.And then as you can see, I've included some basic features

  • 02:58

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: on the right.Any viewer can put their email address into subscribe to my blog.Every time I post something it will show up in their inbox.There's a section that guides viewers to my most recent blogposts, to the categories in which my blog posts appear,to some of the top pages and posts.

  • 03:19

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: Towards the bottom I've also included some links outto other aspects of my online work and subscription options.So, how to get started?The main thing that I tell peoplewhen they ask me about creating their own websiteis that you really don't have to be techsavvy to make one these days.You don't have to know how to code.You really just need to be able to follow directions.

  • 03:42

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: There are a variety of different web platforms out therethat let you essentially drag and drophow you want your website to look,and they take care of all of the coding behind the scenes.A few other things to think aboutas you're getting started--first, you do need to choose which of these,kind of prefab website platforms to use.

  • 04:05

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: You'll also need a URL.Some of these platforms, their free versionswill include the URL you choose and then a dot WordPressdot com at the end.I prefer to not have that kind of content in my URL.The URL is sort of the calling card of your site.So mine, for example, is simply you'll need to find a URL that's not already

  • 04:29

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: been purchased by somebody else, purchase it.Most web platforms will give you an arrayof options of the kind of look that you want.And again, they've prepackaged a variety of options for youto choose from.In WordPress these are called themes.So one of the early things you do,is you go to their themes page and you browse,

  • 04:51

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: and you pick a couple that you like the look of.And then once you choose your theme,your website comes programmed to embody it.One of the key things I like to tell peopleabout who are starting websites for the first time,is that our website can be built out in private.So you've just got to make sure you find out

  • 05:11

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: where the box to check is that lists your website as private,as not viewable to the public, and not viewableto people who have its URL, if that'show you want to set it up.And then you can spend all the time youlike writing sample blog posts, populating it with content,seeing how it feels, and making adjustments.

  • 05:33

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: And when you've got it to a point where you'recomfortable with how it looks, with the kind of contentthat you're putting on it, then you can simply uncheck that boxand introduce your website to the world.Finally, when you're setting up your website,spend a little extra time making surethat other people can use it.So most academics aren't also designers.

  • 05:54

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: We typically write things for journals or presses,where somebody else does all the layout and design work.And when you create your own website, some of that workis done for you in, for example, the WordPress theme,but you still have to set up your menus and a little bitof how your users are going to navigate that site.

  • 06:16

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: So it's a good idea to get things, you know,how you think they should be, and thenhave a few friends come over and watch them click aroundthe site.See where they get hung up on, if they get stuck someplace,or perhaps give them a task to find this kind of contentand watch how they navigate the site.Discuss it with them and edit appropriately

  • 06:39

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: to make your website as user-friendly as possible,so people can very quickly find what they're looking for.If you're thinking about creatinga blog on your website, you may betempted to commit to blogging every Tuesday or every dayor twice a week on some kind of schedule.And a lot of bloggers do that, and it's

  • 07:01

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: a way to, kind of generate more interest in your site,get repeat visitors who are sort of lookingfor what your Tuesday weekly post is going to be about.I caution academics to not commit to that right away.You can always get into the routine of regular bloggingif you decide you really like it and you have

  • 07:23

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: space for it in your work life.But you really don't have to blog all the timeto still have a blog.I try to remember that my blog is working for me,I'm not working for my blog.I'll say two things as we wrap up this video.One is to reach out to other academic bloggers.One of the pleasures of blogging is

  • 07:46

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: finding other people with shared interests, one of whichcan be blogging or websites or digital work in general.For example, at the American Sociological Association'sannual conference, there's an informal bloggersgathering usually, and that's something I enjoy going to.Also, be open to all the possibilitiesof your new website.

  • 08:07

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: There are so many different thingsyou can do when you have your own digital platformthat you really can't do in the more constrained worldof academic publishing and journal articles,for example or academic books.So, I like to think of my website as a placewhere I can explore new ideas, share my work,

  • 08:31

    TRACY PERKINS [continued]: and develop things that might later become larger projects,that grow out of that, kind of creative space.I hope you have as much fun as I've been having.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Publishing your research, Communicating and disseminating research

Keywords: academic achievement; blogs; website management

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Tracy Perkins discusses creating an academic website for sharing and publishing research.

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Sharing and Publishing Research: Skills for Success

Tracy Perkins discusses creating an academic website for sharing and publishing research.

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