Reflection Paper

April 25th, 2012

The Historic Buildings of the University of Mary Washington will be an integral site in the advertisement of the University of Mary Washington campus. I feel this way because our group adhered to our original goal of creating a site that would ascertain the historical significance of each building. The importance and impact of the site is evidenced by the volume of interest from students and university departments to use the site and include it in other university materials. Along with accomplishing the main goal, our group was able to include significant visual aspects that make our site more interesting (pictures and the interactive map). For the most part, the group as an entity adhered to the deadlines of the contract. Individually, certain group members did not adhere to their deadlines. Our group expected this which is why we allotted extra time in the deadlines for any delays. However, some deadlines needed to be met in order to allow Sam and Kay to load the information accordingly. I think the research aspect of the project was the hardest to adhere to deadlines because none of the researchers realized how difficult it would be to find information of the people the buildings were named for. The map was past deadline but that was because Kayle had to depend on DTLT to upload the map. The website creators achieved the desired effect and look of the site. I think the website it effective and adds a new dimension to the University that the Admissions department has not fully tapped into yet.

The process of working in a group and working on a website was not easy. I would like to first say that you should never put five girls together in a group. Our group had issues with communicating and forming cliques. I believe that the issue of communication was due to differing personalities and differing schedules. These issues are best represented by the disagreement over which members’ pictures to use and who was to edit the site. Originally I was supposed to take pictures and edit Cam’s research. However, disagreement led to the use of Kay’s pictures and editing done by all group members sporadically. While it might seem that the researchers had little to with the construction of the site, this is not true. All of the researchers loaded their drafts to the website and edited them as well. Also, I needed to understand the inner-workings of the site so that I did not mess up any aspects of the site when editing or changing things. I found that creating the site was easy for the most part. The only issues I encountered were editing text with pictures included in the pages. I enjoyed researching the namesakes of the buildings and founding out the interesting facts about the buildings. A part of the process the group neglected to think about was publicity. Since our focus was on the University, publicity was easy because we could utilize university resources to publicize our site. The best part of the whole process was receiving the e-mail from the Director of Web Communications praising our site for its breadth of information and application of digital humanities.

Creativity Day Symposium

April 18th, 2012

Overall, I thought our group’s presentation of the symposium went very smoothly. I do have to credit myself for this because I made our outline. I was excited to see that so many people had questions about our site and our choices for the site. It was especially exciting when a student came up to us after class and asked for our website name. I think having the website under the wikipedia page is a great bonus. When some one asks us how to get to our site, it is a lot easier to say “go to wikipedia and search UMW’ than spitting out a URL.

This week I am going to work on emailing the Freelance Star newspaper and the Bullet to see if they would be interested in featuring an article about our site in either of their papers. Also, I am going to look into getting in touch with admissions to see if they would be interested in pitching our site to prospective students or if we could give them literature to put in admissions packets.

Impact of Digital History on Historians and on the Practice of History

April 8th, 2012

Reading 1

-Experimental History in the Classroom by Martha Hodes

This was an interesting article because I had no clue what experimental history was, but realized that I might like it very much. From what I gather in the article, experimental history is a mesh of creative writing and traditional historical research. While textbooks and scholarly works in the history field are often boring, experimental history offers a reinvigoration of life into the books that are suppoed to teach us about the world. I think that this practice would take a lot of cross-curriculum training and I am not so sure that the average history major could take a course in experimental history and be sucessful at it. I think that for it to work, it would be necessary to have a creative writing background.

Reading Two

-Digital History Reader: Teaching Resources for U.S. and European History by E. Thomas Ewing and Robert P. Stevens

I believe I have encountered the Digital History Reader many times while I was in high school. The article describes a sort of site/database/collection of primary sources that aim to answer specific questions about history and the intertwiming topics within the study. When I took AP U.S. History, my teacher spent a lot of time having us look at a collection of primary sources and developing a question from those sources. She also did the reverse, which was mirrored off of the AP exam. This way of looking at primary sources greatly helped me hone my skills of analyzing primary sources and their contextual meaning as well as their historical value. I think this source should be utilized in all classrooms because those skills I learned in my class, I feel that I have lost them because most primary sources are handed to students in lower level history courses. Until students reach their HIST 485 course they don’t really have to look at primary sources and asses them they way the digital reader helps to asses sources.

Reading Three

-Clio and th Bloggers by Anthony Grafton

I have always wondered why blogging would be appealing to historians and people involved in the history profession. This article somewhat answered that question for me. I understand that the community of historians has been dwindling and is well-isolated, but that still did not answer the question. Anthony Grafton helped by relating that historians are looking for an outlet to voice their opinions, concerns, and general thoughts. The general thoughts part of this statement confuses me. Some historians make their blogs professional and a space that contributes to the academic world, but Mr. Grafton says that some bloggers include their personal issues in their posts. I wonder how credible a blog can be if scholarly thoughts are muddled by personal thoughts. I do like the author’s comments on the blog called the “Invisible Adjunct”. I think blogging is a great way to address the issues historians have with their profession especially in terms of getting jobs and pushing students to go to graduate school.

Update 4/08/12

April 8th, 2012

Our group is making great strides with our site. As far as I know, Kay and Same have been uploading pictures and research to the website. Kay finished the history section about UMW. I have gotten the flyers approved to put up on campus. All I need to do now is get them copied and find places to put them. I don’t have access to any of the residecen halls on campus so if anyone would like to take a few to post in their residence halls that would be awesome. Kayle is waiting ever so patiently for Tim to put the map on the website and once he does that she can put the pin points on all the buildings. Once we have the map I think we will be very close to being finished. Hopefully we will have it up before Creativity Day.

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