The end of the semester has finally arrived and I’m impressed that I made it. The spring 2018 semester has by far been the most trying, yet I can say with confidence that I am leaving with so much more knowledge than I had in the beginning. I know this is on the digital history blog, and I know this technically counts as “sucking up” but I have never learned more in a class than HIST 428. I did not take computer/tech classes in high school and I took one computer applications class in college. I felt incredibly unprepared to take this course but in the end, I am so glad I entered the class that way.
I put so much of my effort and energy into building a website, branding myself, cleaning my digital identity, managing my time, researching, using new internet applications, and applying these methods to my other classes. The skills that I learned in this class will apply to more life situations in the future than my other history courses.
In regards to my group project, I’m pretty happy with the final outcome. While the project did cause some animosity among group members and put the majority of the group on edge, the project did get completed; it just did not follow through accordingly with the originally proposed contract. I think the main issue is I went into the project thinking that we were going to be able to do all of these things to make this awesome web page with a lot of awesome widgets and awesome videos. Those awesome things did not happen but I still believe that we as a group did create something pretty awesome. To go through the contract I will first discuss what we did do, then move to what we didn’t do, and after a look into what I wish we had done or didn’t do in the first place.
We did look into 40 markers like we said that we would. However, this being the basis of the project made this objective one of the most trying. Originally the research was supposed to be done by Rachel and myself and we would get all of the necessary information in. Not an easy feat, but doable when given substantial time to do so. But, the research was split up among all group members with different schedules and opposite task management skills from other students in the group. The basic info on the markers did not change (aside from the interviews) which pretty much reflected off of the model that other groups had used in past projects. We also did complete a timeline, map, and sourcebook–there were just some minor changes in ownership along the way.
We did not make a video on the intro page. I really wish that we had done that because I think it would’ve personalized our page more. A lot of websites do it to show how they work. Since there is a lot of components to this page, I would’ve really liked to have seen that added in. We also never got to do any interviews–another disappointment but I don’t think it took anything serious away from the project. I was supposed to work on that but I was worried that I would not get the help that I needed to pursue it since most of the work completed by the group was last-minute. In regards to the map, it was also decided to not use ArcGIS story map because it did not seem that user-friendly. I had really pushed for that, and once I got stumped, it was frustrating to have to go back and start making a google my maps. However, making the map turned out fine and actually look better than I expected (we had also mentioned that we might change the map on our contract). We never made 2 timelines. I am glad we did not do that because it seemed kind of silly to have two. Maybe if we documented the years that certain monuments went up we could have graphed it or something similar? But having an interactive component like a timeline and inputting information like that seemed like a waste once we started making that timeline for the research events.
Finally the part of the project that should’ve been done every week but wasn’t was consistent project blog posts. There were always changes along the way that should have been documented by all group members. I know that I was not consistent with my posts, but I was very vocal with the group. I would have set aside a time slot every week to work on my blog posts if I could do this project over again. I would forget about the blog posts each week or be working on something else related to the project or other classes. I also would’ve done the map, timeline, and sourcebook after finishing each marker research post. Going through all of them for each widget was messy and time-consuming. I would have come up with a better way of keeping track of the markers that I had finished to avoid confusion in the editing stages.
Speaking on the deadlines for the project, I met each one (except now that I see that this post was due Sunday…). So aside from this blog post, I got my work in when I was supposed to and I’m pretty impressed with that given my class load this semester.
And finally, upon reflection of how I feel my overall contribution was, I feel pretty good about it. I was happy that Rachel took the lead on delegating because I was the leader of two other group projects, but I felt like I did my part, got my stuff in, and provided help when needed. I also firmly believe that my role in taking the photos for the site was critical and time-consuming. It’s not that we wouldn’t have a project without my photos, but it certainly didn’t hurt to have them.
This project was overall a fun and challenging experience that I’m fairly proud to put on my resume. I had an active role in the creation of the page and I feel good about taking co-ownership of the final product.