Using the DWRL: Instructions and Policies

Open Lab

Open lab offers the staff and ADs a chance to work and play collaboratively in a DWRL classroom. It will be held some Friday afternoons; the ADs will announce, via email, when it is on. Though it is probably not the place to work on your dissertation, craft an important e-mail, or read quietly (Of course you are welcome to try. Open lab is, after all, open.), we envision open lab as a place for:

  • informal orientation, collaboration
  • play, tinkering
  • film screenings
  • sharing tips, tricks, tools
  • demonstrating new software
  • testing out A/V equipment
  • sharing discoveries
  • crowdsource advice
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • working on certification
  • working for your project group
  • experimenting with games and immersive environments

Open lab is also a good way for individuals who have an interest in technology, digital literacies, and new media to get involved with the lab before they have access to DWRL classrooms. In other words, open lab is not restricted to DWRL staff members.

Open is good, but so is activity. So for each Open Lab, there will be a (very loosely planned) activity. We might pull out the DWRL photo/video lights and do an impromptu lighting demo/workshop. We might screen a movie. We might mess around with audio software. We might talk about how to use Web-based platforms to roll out the Learning Record.

Policy for Meeting with Students in PAR 102

Parlin 102 is a quiet workspace for DWRL instructors and students. It cannot be used for office hours or group meetings. You may meet with a student when it is necessary to work with them on something that specifically requires DWRL software, applications, or equipment. Specialists may meet with students or instructors needing instruction in that specialist's skill. These meetings should be brief and quiet. You may not use PAR 102 for student conferences, office hours (whether proctoring or not), or project group meetings. If this policy is abused, we will return to our former policy of absolutely no meeting with students under any circumstance. If you notice someone abusing this policy please email the Program Coordinator, Will Burdette at or if you would like to submit an anonymous complaint email When using the anonymous email address, your sender information will be deleted before the report is sent.

Please keep in mind that abuse of this policy is taken into consideration when making future DWRL staffing decisions.

Printer Policy for DWRL Labs and Classrooms

Proctors & students may:

  • Print DWRL materials only
  • Print one copy of any document
  • Print up to 20 pages

Proctors & students may not:

  • Print materials for any other class
  • Print personal materials
  • Print multiple copies
  • Print over 20 pages

Instructions for Resetting Passwords/12th Class Day

Although UT maintains a database containing students' usernames and passwords, the DWRL maintains its own separate password authentication database as a way to maintain security and contain our resources in a verifiable way. Therefore, we require that students set up their passwords after the 12th class day of each semester. New instructors teaching in the DWRL for the first time will also need to set up their passwords, but will only need to do so once.

Once 12th class day rosters have been frozen, your students will need to set up their passwords in the next two weeks in order to continue using the lab computers. Fred will turn off the guest login after two weeks, and any password changes that need to take place after that point must be done individually through Fred. If new instructors have not changed their passwords either, you will need to do so as well.

Directions for Resetting One's Password*

  1. Brief your students on the procedure before you begin
  2. Let your students know that they will be using their EIDs for their username, but we do not have their EID passwords. Their accounts currently have the default password of "d3F0lt" (dee-three-capital eff-zero-ell-tee without the quotes).
  3. Have your students choose passwords before they go through the process of setting up their accounts. Recommend that they use their EID passwords since our database is secure.
  4. Inform students of the printing policy and remind them of their ability to use PAR 102.
  5. On a Lab machine, point your students to, then to the link to the 12th class day password change at the top of the main body of the page. The intranet is only available from within the Labs. Students may not access the page from home or other computer labs.
  6. Have your students click on the link for the actual password change, and click ok (twice) for the encrypted certificate setup.
  7. Students should then fill in the form with their EID, their current password (d3F0lt), and their own new password, then click "Change password."
  8. From there, your students should log out of the machines and log back in with their new username and password. Inform your students that they are no longer to use the DWRL default account.

The two-week-deadline following the 12th class day is firm, so please make time in class between now and then for this procedure. Absent students should be pointed to PAR102 and a proctor for execution of this procedure should you not wish to take up additional class time in the future.


The procedure is quite easy, but sometimes some issues arise which are easy to correct.

If some all or all of your class is unable to change their passwords or login after completing the procedure, your UNIQUE number may have been missed or the crosslisting of your class may have escaped our data gathering. Simply file a support ticket with all UNIQUE numbers for your course and plan to execute the password change procedure the next class day after receiving the "all clear" from support.

If you have less than three students who have issues with the password procedure, please send them to FAC 17a to get their passwords fixed by the Systems Analyst. Additionally, please file a support ticket to notify the Systems Analyst they are coming. This will ensure that you will receive notification once the students have completed the procedure.

If you miss the two-week deadline after the 12th class day, your students may get locked out of the system. Please file a support ticket to arrange a time for the Systems Analyst to come to your class and walk everyone through the procedure.

If you have any questions, please file a support ticket.

*All DWRL instructors will receive these directions via email the week before the 12th class day as a reminder.

Fair Use & Creative Commons

The DWRL is committed to the free and open exchange of digital information. Because of this commitment, we support the use of creative commons licenses and a robust public domain while maintaining respect for others' intellectual property. Unfortunately, intellectual property law is often confusing and vague. As members of the DWRL, however, you are expected to adhere to high ethical standards when using multimedia.

Public Domain Media

Copyrights are automatically granted when an expression is fixed in a medium, whether that be pen on paper, an audio or video recording, sculpting clay, or the like. This means that even when a work doesn't have a copyright symbol (©) attached, it is most probably copyrighted. However, US copyright law balances the rights of the author with the rights of the public. One of the ways copyright law does this is placing limits on how long a work can be copyrighted. Once this copyright expires, the work is said to be in the public domain.

Any media created before 1923 is in the public domain. This media can be used for any purpose, whether commercial or noncommercial. Also, copyright extends for the life of the author plus 70 years, or if it has a corporate author, 120 years after the creation date or 95 years after the publication date, whichever is earlier. If a work is outside of these dates, it is considered in the public domain.

Keep in mind that while the above applies to most media, it is a simplified version of copyright. There are special circumstances for media created between 1923 and 1977, as well as media first published outside of the United States. For a more comprehensive look at copyright limits and public domain, see Cornell University's Copyright Term and the Public Domain or Public Domain Sherpa.

Creative Commons Media

When the copyright is still active, the author retains certain rights. Among these are the right to produce copies of a work, to create derivative works, to publicly perform a work, and to disseminate the work via broadcast media or the Internet. Creative Commons licenses waive some of these rights while retaining others. Rather than an alternative to copyrights, creative commons licenses work within copyrights to make media available to others.

What this means for you is that creative commons licensed media is often available for use in multimedia projects. For example, this document is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license. This means that all of the content may be used by others, as long as they attribute the DWRL as the author, and the new work is for a noncommercial purpose. The "ShareAlike" part means that the new work must also be published under the same license.

There are currently six different Creative Commons licenses, each reserving and waiving different rights. For more information, visit the Creative Commons website.

Fair Use

While we encourage you to use public domain and creative commons media, as using these types of media contributes to a robust pool of public media, you will often need to use copyrighted material for your blog posts, podcasts, videos, or the like. Just because a work is copyrighted doesn't mean you can't use it. Copyright law allows for the fair use of copyrighted works as well.

The simplest way is to get permission from the author. Sometimes sending a brief email can easily get you permission to use a copyrighted work, especially since the majority of your uses will be pedagogical. In these cases, it's best to get the author's permission in writing.

However, copyright law allows you to use copyrighted work without the author's permission, provided that use is considered fair use. Fair use is outlined in Section 107 of the US Code, and is determined by four factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
While these four factors are used to determine if copyright infringement has occurred, you should use them as guiding principles when including others' intellectual property in your works. Most of your uses will be pedagogical, but keep in mind that nonprofit educational use isn't the only requirement for fair use. Be sure that the purpose of your use is transformative.

A transformative purpose means that you are using the work for a different purpose from the original. As an example, say you create a lesson plan on the DWRL's lesson plan site. When you upload an image, you do a quick Google image search and find a picture of students at a computer. Most likely, the use of this image would not qualify as transformative, as the stock image is being used for the same purpose as the original: as illustration of a general task. However, were you to take the same stock image and do an analysis of gender stereotypes in stock imagery, then the purpose is transformed, as the new purpose is one of criticism and scholarship.

Further, when using someone else's copyrighted work, be sure you only use a portion of the work that is relevant to your purpose. Were you to create a video analyzing the rhetorical use of hand gestures in a recorded speech, you should use only the portions where hand gestures are significant, and not the whole speech.

The above is merely scratching the surface of fair use in multimedia. For more information, you may want to visit Stanford University's Copyright and Fair Use center or American University's Center for Social Media.


The resources below are excellent places to find creative commons media for use in multimedia projects. As with all media, be sure to check the license restrictions on any of the files you wish to use.




  • YouTube (you must click the CC tab in the editor to search for Creative Commons videos)
  • SpinXpress


Instructions for Posting a Lesson Plan


The DWRL's Lesson Plan Library is the most visible means for the Lab to showcase the exciting and innovative classroom practices of our instructors. Although it is certainly intended in part as a useful resource for your fellow Lab instructors, the site also garners a steady stream of visitors from institutions all over the country. As such, the plans you post to the site should be directed toward a broad audience and may be a rich resource for showcasing your pedagogical work when you enter the job market.

Content Suggestions

Given the broad audience for the site, it is important that you try to post plans that are widely adaptable or will remain relevant beyond this academic year. So, for example, while you may have a plan that is a great pairing with this year's First Year Forum text, the plan will be irrelevant in one or two semesters unless you compose/explain it in such a way that it could be adapted beyond that specific text.

In terms of technology, we do prefer that you post plans that engage with some form of technology, but if you have an innovative, exciting, or just plain useful plan that does not require classroom computers, we welcome this as well. Again, given our broad audience, we want to incorporate plans that can be adapted in classrooms that may not have all the benefits of Lab classrooms (such as your fellow literature or rhetoric instructors working in regular classrooms).

Our hope is that the site will be helpful to instructors teaching all kinds of writing courses in a range of technologically enabled classrooms.

**You are welcome to post plans that you have not yet been able to use in class (if, for example, your due date falls early in the semester). We simply ask that once you have implemented the plan, you return to the site and either update the plan with notes on your experience or comment on it to reflect how it turned out.


While titles might seem like an innocuous aspect of your post (and therefore unworthy of an explanation), keep in mind that for users browsing quickly through the site, the title is the most important aspect of your plan. While it may be tempting to be pithy with your title, this does not serve the broader goals of the site (usability and functionality). So, for example, titling a post something like "Putting Words in their Place" tells the reader very little about what the plan is - either in terms of content, software, or pedagogical outcome. Whereas "Collocating and Word Choice Using Madlibs," though perhaps still somewhat vague (unless you already know about "collocating"), gives a much clearer picture of what the plan might entail/attempt to do.


The image you select to accompany your plan is a key facet of the user experience and entails some attention to detail. While it may seem logical to use a screen shot of the particular program you engage with in the plan itself, keep in mind that these can often result in bland images. It may be useful to think of the primary image you select as illustrative rather than representative. What sort of image might draw attention to your plan in a positive way? For example, Dustin Stewart's plan "Mapping Poetic Word Choice to Discover Literary Themes" is (as the title suggests) about poetry and mind-mapping. While the plan includes an image of the actual mind-map as an additional resource for the activity, this is a less engaging image than the main image depicting a scattering of magnetic poetry. Given that we have a number of mind-mapping exercises posted to the site, it's helpful to select an image that will distinguish your post from the rest. There is plenty of space in the body of the plan to incorporate any screen shots that you might deem useful to your readers. However, because the primary image you will be using on the site is for illustration (rather than analysis), it's very important that you use images available under creative commons. The images on the site do not automatically fall under the doctrine of fair use simply because this is an educational site. For more explanation of these issues, please see the Creative Commons & Fair Use section of the DWRL handbook. Admittedly, sometimes it may be difficult to select an image that really illustrates your plan in an inviting way, in which case it's acceptable to just find a cool image that seems to fit thematically (as is the case for this "Step-by-step Guide to Blogging Close Readings").

For the primary image, you will need to download the image file to your desktop and then upload it to the Lesson Plan Library directly. Please re-name the file to something recognizable and/or descriptive. So, for example, if you pulled Flickr user magicfairy's image of a unicorn, re-title the file: "magicfairy-unicorn.jpg" (rather than "mfunicorn7382.jpg").

You are required to include an image credit for the primary image (though this is good practice for all images). As such, please be attentive to the context from which you pull the image and be considerate to the creator. At the very least, you should provide a link to the source for the original image.


The Lesson Plan Library has several pre-set tagging vocabularies (taxonomies) that allow for more effective browsing of the available plans (based on content, type of assignment, timeline, etc). If you feel that any vocabulary terms should be added to the current options, please contact an AD with your suggestions. To select more than one item in a given vocabulary (often several terms may apply), simply hold down the command/control key while selecting terms with the mouse.

In addition, the plans are also tagged with a user-generated vocabulary (folksonomy), which is the broader tagging system of the site. Please take a moment to browse the tags already in use, and tag your own plan with as many applicable tags as possible. Keep in mind that this may entail repeating terms from the pre-set vocabulary (such as invention, revision, etc.) as this will make your plan more browsable.

Teaser/Brief Assignment Overview

This is the section of your plan that will appear on the front page and give visitors a quick glimpse of your plan's content. You have a limited number of characters in which to describe your plan (325), so please strive to make the overview both inviting and direct. Give readers a clear sense of what the plan entails without going into unnecessary details (there will be plenty of space for this in the "full assignment description"). You may want to touch on the tools used for the plan, the pedagogical goals, and/or the ideas explored.

To Create a Plan:

  1. Go to:
  2. Login (your default username is your last name – you can change this after logging in for the first time)
  3. Select "Add Content" (in the top left)
  4. Title your post – keeping in mind that more descriptive, straightforward titles are more useful
  5. Include your name (and possibly link to your instructor page/Twitter feed/etc.)
  6. Locate an image
    1. Find an image available via Creative Commons using either an advanced Google image search (making sure to filter for "labeled for reuse") or the advanced search on Flickr. Keep in mind that horizontal images will work best - as the site automatically does some reformatting with the default display.
    2. Download the image (by right-clicking and selecting "save image as")
    3. Re-name the file to something recognizable
  7. (if necessary) Re-size the image to 500 pixel maximum width or height as the site will not upload larger images
  8. Upload your image to the Lesson Plan
  9. Fill in the alternative text box with a description of the image (this information will be used by screen readers and software for the visually impaired)
  10. Replace the title value with whatever you think the image should say when a user scrolls over it (e.g., the image credit)
  11. Include an image credit with link back to original image (if you pulled it from the internet) and acknowledgment of the image author
  12. Write your brief overview
    1. keep in mind that you have a limited number of characters (325)
    2. be as inviting and direct as possible
  13. Select appropriate terms from each of the required vocabularies. Hold down the control/apple key to select multiple options, and please select any and all that apply.
  14. Explain any additional pedagogical goals of the assignment (either in full sentences or a bulleted list)
  15. Include a list of all required materials (software and hardware)
  16. Explain the plan more fully (the full assignment description is the place to expand on pedagogical goals, theoretical framework driving the plan, important aspects of implementation, etc.)
  17. Offer suggestions on how other instructors might best prepare themselves for the plan
  18. Include student instructions (feel free to copy and paste the exact instructions given to your students – just be sure to scrub the formatting using the white eraser button in the WYSIWYG)
  19. Include any suggestions for evaluation, any feedback you received, and any additional resources that other instructors might find helpful
  20. Tag your plan with the user-generated terms you deem appropriate (such as "free software," "Novamind," "Invention," etc.)
  21. Include a brief course description – preferably a shortened version of your full description from the catalog – that explains the type of class to any unfamiliar audience
  22. Preview before posting to ensure your post looks right
  23. Save your plan. You MUST notify an AD that you have completed it/that it is ready, in order to complete the publication process.

As always, don't hesitate to ask one of the ADs if you have questions or concerns.

Instructions for Posting to Blogging Pedagogy

Blogging Pedagogy is the Lab's widely read blog that evolved out of a "Pedagogy" project group in the early 2000s. Material from the original site dates back to 2005, and the blog is a rich resource for advice and reflections on the intersections of pedagogy and technology. Again, the audience for the site goes well beyond the walls of UT, and we encourage broad discussion of classroom practices and technological concerns.

While you have the option of creating a blog post or lesson plan as part of your semester's requirements, BP may be used as an appropriate platform for initiating a "Digital Dialogue" as part of the DWRL's Certificate program, and you are welcome to post beyond the semester's two artifact requirement.

Content Suggestions

Broadly speaking, the post should relate to digital technology and incorporate an observation on classroom instruction. Any of the following might serve as a fruitful starting point, but just a few of the "Digital Dialogue" topics from the Certificate program include: collaborative strategies in the classroom; remediated texts & mash-ups; genres and hybridity; online and offline identities; multimedia assessment; mixing digital and non-digital assignments; privacy issues; access to technology (Digital Divide); and accessibility. (Please see the full list for more ideas.)

Additionally, you are welcome to reflect on a particular lesson plan (of your own, or someone else's plan that you have implemented), but your post should link to and expand on the lesson plan. More robust feedback from the students or other instructors about how the lesson plan was implemented could be included here.


As with the Lesson Plans, your Blogging Pedagogy post must include at least one image that will be featured on the front page of the site. Again, be sure to use images available under Creative Commons unless your post offers some analysis of the image in question.

For the primary image, you will need to download the image file to your desktop and then upload it to the Blogging Pedagogy site directly. Please re-name the file to something recognizable and/or descriptive. So, for example, if you pulled Flickr user magicfairy's image of a unicorn, re-title the file: "magicfairy-unicorn.jpg" (rather than "mfunicorn7382.jpg").

You are required to include an image credit for the primary image (though this is good practice for all images). As such, please be attentive to the context from which you pull the image and be considerate to the creator. At the very least, you should provide a link to the source for the original image.

To Create a Post:

  1. Go to:
  2. Login (your default username is your first and last name)
  3. Select "Content” > “Add content” > “Blog entry” from the menu at the top of the screen.
  4. Title your post
  5. Fill out the “Title” and “Author” fields
  6. Locate an image.
    1. Find an image available via Creative Commons using either an advanced Google image search (making sure to filter for "labeled for reuse") or the advanced search on Flickr.
    2. Download the image.
    3. Re-name the file to something recognizable.
  7. Upload your image to the Blogging Pedagogy Site (the site will automatically re-size the image to fit within the parameters of a maximum of 500 pixels.
  8. Include an image credit with link back to original image (if you pulled it from the Internet) and acknowledgment of the image author.
  9. Write your post. (If you copy and paste from Word or some other word processor, use the eraser icon above the site’s “Body” field to remove any formatting from your text after you paste it in—otherwise, it will display inconsistently and wonkily.)
  10. IAdd tags to your post. Note that the site already has an extensive tag vocabulary (you can see the full list by clicking the “Tags” tab near the top-right corner of the site). Please don’t create redundant tags, and please don’t use “pedagogy” as a tag—that’s already implied in the name of the site. Only add new tags if your post addresses a topic that’s genuinely new to the site.
  11. Preview before posting to ensure your post looks right.
  12. Save your post. It will then go into a queue—posts get released once or twice a week over the course of the academic year.

FERPA & Sharing Student Work

Many DWRL instructors use their Drupal course pages, as well as many other online applications, during the course of the semester. While these websites can be extremely useful for instructors and students, there are certain kinds of information that cannot be posted on the internet. While many sites seem secure because they have security settings (i.e., Drupal course pages can require students to log in, etc.), they are not.

Why does this matter? FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. This includes items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student's identity easily traceable. Most importantly, FERPA applies to student work and student grades, which may not be disclosed to anyone besides the student without her/his express, written permission. This applies to using student work as an example in class or online. This also requires instructors to protect this information when returning assignments or posting grades.

Since UT is a school that receives federal funds, FERPA applies to the University of Texas. Your failure to comply with these standards could result in serious consequences such as job termination. To fully understand FERPA, please read

How to Securely Submit Papers

The DWRL provides several methods for students to submit their work to you. These methods also give you the ability to return work to your students through a secure channel. Some methods are not secure and will result in FERPA-protected data being visible to the general public. The only approved methods of storing or handing back graded or commented work are either Blackboard or the DWRL Teacher Folders. Any time you post, send, or receive student information via the internet without using one of these two systems, that student information may become publically available (even though it might not seem like it). The instructors' sites and other web-based methods are not approved because they are not FERPA compliant.

Using the Teacher Folder

The DWRL maintains a file depository for you and your student's use. These folders, called "Teacher Folders," are your best bet for the following uses:

  • Personal research backup
  • Student paper turn in
  • Student materials distribution
  • Collaborative student space
  • Large file storage
  • Student web development space
  • Working file storage
  • Work group space

Teacher folders are available from any lab computer or via VPN, or SSH/SFTP remotely.

How much room do I get?

Enough, but the whole file system is 1.8 Terabytes in whole. Please do try to be a good neighbor to your fellow teachers and keep your files tidy.

Where do things go?

"Private": This is where your private folders go. No one is able to access this folder besides you. Put your private folders here.

"Public_html": This is where you would host a web page should you choose to forgo Drupal and create a manual web page with the editor of your choice. The address of this page will be: where USERNAME is your DWRL login name.

"Student_html": This is where you can have your students post web pages under the Lab's server space. The address those pages are available from is: (where USERNAME is your DWRL login name, and FOLDER_UNDER_STUDENT_HTML is the folder within the student_html folder).

Submitting an assignment

To submit assignments while working in the Lab: after the 12th class day and the completion of the password change procedure, your student will be able to save files to your teacher folder. On the Mac side of the lab computers, look in the DWRL Applications folder for the Teacher Folder Opener. The prompt will ask for a username and password, which should be the same as what the students use to log onto the computer after the 12th class day.

For the Windows side, there is an icon labeled "Teacher Folders" on the Desktop. Once a student has double-clicked on this folder, a pop-up requesting his or her login and password will appear.

In your teacher folders, you will have at least two folders, "private" and "public html." It is suggested that you create more folders, one or more for each class or task for which you will have students submit to the teacher folder. See Fred for assistance in creating sub-folders.

To access the teacher folders from home (both students and instructors), simply go to BevoWare and download the appropriate application for either Mac or Windows. BevoWare is available free with EID through Information Technology Services

For Macs, download Fetch 5.3 (found in the "Utilities" section)

For PC users, download SSH Secure Shell 3.2.9 for Windows XP or later (found in the "Utilities" section)

For more detailed instructions on the Mac side see Accessing teacher folders at home from a Mac

For more detailed instructions on the Windows side see Accessing teacher folders at home from a PC for instructions or this video tutorial.

Generally, you can access the DWRL teacher folders with any ssh/sftp client on TCP/IP port 1701 and transfer files from the teacher's folder. Private folders are protected from all but the owner, and it is recommended that you create additional folders for student use in order to better organize and manage your course documents.

Permissions: The file servers have a basic Unix file permission system governing how files are owned and accessed. When you look at the permissions for a file, you will note they have Read/Write/Execute permissions for "owner," "group," and finally "everyone." If you create a folder but don't grant "everyone" write permission, they will not be able to write, but if you grant read, they can read but not write.

Using the Transfer Folder

The transfer volume is a temporary storehouse of files you wish to transfer from one DWRL computer to another. For example, if you wished to transfer a document you worked on in an FAC classroom and wanted to print it out at the Parlin 6 computer lab later that day, you could save it to the Transfer volume so that it is accessible in both places. Similarly, if you have a Mac file and need to access it on a PC, you can save it to and open it from the Transfer volume on either platform. Remember that this volume is intended for same-day transfer of files, and as such, the transfer volume is emptied on a weekly basis. Please note that items in the transfer volume are deleted once a week.

To access the Transfer folder on the Mac side, locate the Transfer Folder Opener in the DWRL Applications folder. It will prompt you for a username (should already be populated) and a password.

For the Windows side, there is an icon labeled "Transfer Folder" on the Desktop. Once a student has double-clicked on this folder, a pop-up requesting his or her login and password will appear.