To start, the project I would like to continue would be the podcast week. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it at the start of the semester, but when the week came I was a little more anxious. I believe it was week 5, blog post 5, in my podcast I discussed 3 themes or topics that stood out to me so far in our class discussions. I thought I should talk about my takeaways to make me more engaged with our content and to help review. For this reason, I would try to do it again and consider 3 more topics for each podcast. One of my main takeaways from our readings, is honestly the relationship between Native Americans and African Americans. I had no idea how Native Americans played a role within the topic of slavery, and our book did a good job sharing their point of view. I probably would have talked about this in a podcast.
The tool we used for podcasting was Audacity. It wasn’t too bad to get the hang of it. I recorded my voice first and edited music at the beginning and end of the podcast. I liked the music I chose; in my opinion, it wasn’t too much or too soft and didn’t take long to find on a free music website. I did some tweeks with the music like fading in and out as well. Then I wrote my script beforehand and read it off. If I remember correctly, I think I took 2 takes. My only real concern with the podcast was I stumbled on one of my words, but I really didn’t want to record it again or edit it out. Turns out, I was fine without fixing it. Another side note, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react listening to my own voice, but it was actually bearable! I thought I was calm and changed my tone throughout that it sounded pretty decent!
My other top favorite weeks were artifact museum labels and using Flourish (which was for 2 weeks). I have a greater appreciation of museums and the difficulty it takes to cram 60 to 90 words for a museum label. My medallion artifact had a ton of background information with it. I think I was successful with what to include in the label such as the creators, location, year, physical description, purpose and an outcome. In addition with Flourish, I really liked the variety of diagrams they had. I was able to customize the plots to make it visually appealing and the website was easy to manage. I could very well use this in the future!
The most challenging week may have been last week, week 10. The reason for this was because I didn’t know what my research question should be and how to study it. I had a hard time finding large datasets with the given links. So I continued with my 1820 dataset from the first time we used Flourish. I picked some columns to study. I noticed, however, I couldn’t do too many because it was becoming increasingly difficult to understand the plots. Once I had the relationship I wanted to study, my next challenge was picking a diagram format. Most of them gave no real insight. I finally picked a percentage column chart, even then I had to do a couple changes and discussed some of the issues I struggled with in the last blog. For example, misleading information and overlapping values. You are probably wondering, “But you said Flourish was one of your favorites earlier?” Yes, although for that specific project, it was hard figuring out what to do. First time we used Flourish was easier, and it worked out well with the map diagram.
I can’t think of a week I did not like looking back at all the blogs and activities. I would have to say most or all of them were about analyzing. Week 2 blog was about a research question and how we would use primary sources to figure out our question. Week 3 I analyzed a text and image based on a topic, mine was about abolition, and posted the details onto Omeka. Week 4, we compared 2 historical project websites. Week 6 was about historical mapping with Flourish. Week 8 was quite literally text analysis; I did mine on anti-slavery with Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. Week 9 was data analysis. I am sure you get the idea that most were about analyzing, but it was interesting because they were aspects I have not had the time to think about before.
After taking this class, I have realized that digital history and how we share it will always be a current problem. Also, the various ways we can share digital history. Having our digital history class online was better than I expected, I really liked the balance between reading our books and the technical activities/blogs. The tools and skills we learned can apply to other courses, like researching topics on a database and visualizing with diagrams.
I looked back at my blog post 1, introduction, and my mindset going into online courses was worrisome. I said something about students being less motivated and engaged with the online transition. I surprised myself with this class, in particular. I was more engaged than I thought I would be, getting ahead with the blogs and readings and tried to participate in each discussion. If this class was in person, I have a feeling I would have been less engaged in class discussions and maybe the readings too. I typically do not like speaking up for discussions. This class was an escape from my other math and physics classes and it could have played a factor as well in my participation. So overall, the online aspect of this class worked out well for me.
As for the tools and skills I will carry with me after this class, I will be careful how I find primary sources for research and remember there are so many different ways to visualize. I want to continue to have an open-mindset and to be empathetic. I had some awful history classes before, not only in grade school but in college (unfortunately) but this was a great class to remind me that history isn’t something that I should brush off. It is important to be reminded and to keep learning history. Thank you for a great semester!
One thought on “Final Blog Post”
I really enjoyed reading about how you would like to continue the podcast—I remember how informative your podcast was and the discussion of key historical themes. If you were to continue this type of project, I think your idea of focusing on three themes each time is a good plan—the rule of three is always strong! As for audacity, it is one of the best, free tools for editing audio. I’m glad that you found this process to be useful and even fun! I know I enjoyed listening to everyone’s podcasts and felt that it was a fun break from the norm of typing blog posts.
I also appreciated all of your additional reflections about the course as well as some challenges you faced along the way, like week 10. Sometimes it is difficult to approach sources/data *with* a research question in mind, because you then try to align the data to match the question. Instead, it is helpful to let the research guide your question or what you can learn from it. I know that’s probably not useful at the end of the semester, but maybe you can use this approach in future classes. I also agree the Flourish can be finicky—there are definitely pros and cons.
I liked how you summarized this class into a simple category: analysis. My hope was to make this as experienced-based, interactive, and immersive as possible in a digital realm. I am also glad that you looked back to your first blog to measure how much you accomplished this semester, and you should be very proud of your portfolio of work and skills! Thank you for all of your contributions this semester, you brought such a profound perspective to this course and I really appreciated that. I wish you the best of luck on all of your future endeavors!