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Reflection

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This semester has proved to be interesting and I admit I did learn a lot about creating your own presence on the web. I signed up for this class last semester after taking Dr. McClurken’s Digital History class. (Which by the way if you are a history major you should definitely look into taking :D ) I would say this class kind of inspired me to take a new look at how history can be presented. I know I had long grown frustrated that there aren’t that many valuable history sources¬†available¬†online. They are usually hidden behind subscriptions and things which aren’t easily accessed by people not affiliated with a University. So when we were asked to create a website on Mary Ball Washington one of the things we had to consider was making it easily accessible to anyone doing research. Or anyone who is interested in our president’s mother.

So after that class I decided it might be useful to learn more about such things. A friend had taken the class in the spring and I always heard her talking about it and she said it was a really good class. Though she warned me to be prepared that it wasn’t like any other class I have taken. However, now that the semester is done I have to disagree with that statement, because I had already gone through a class that was not like anything I had taken. :D However this class did provide a lot of useful tools which I will continue to use next semester, and possibly after. This relates directly to my digital story, which was about my 485 research on the Mafia. In the beginning of the semester I had suspected that there would no be that many posts on the Mafia in the fall because I wasn’t actually writing the paper till the spring. So next semester will be more intensive in that respect. Also there will be more research to come!

However, I did use this class to experiment a lot with blog formating and just figuring out a writing style for the internet. While I didn’t have a Mafia post¬†every week, I tried to write at least one original post, along with whatever assignment was due that week, every week. I think I succeeded in doing that, and you guys were also able to learn a bit more about who I am. (I hope!)

As for the class assignments, I liked them. I will probably use the video commentary in the future when I talk about other Mafia films. It is an interesting way to¬†analyze¬†something. However the one assignment I struggled with was the Google Maps project. The reason being that every place I¬†affiliate¬†myself with is simply not on¬†Google¬†street view. I know Jim Groom made a comment that you must live under a rock for this to happen. But I assure you I did not! I simply lived on base (where they can’t be) or overseas. Even places where I went on vacation were so obscure they weren’t on¬†street view. Same goes for where my relatives live. I will probably make up for this assignment in a post sharing random family stories (ones I wanted to share with Google street view!) through pictures or video. So yeah, that bit was frustrating. My¬†roommate¬†and I spent 6 hours brain storming ideas and checking if they would work one Saturday, only to have them all fall apart.

However I still learned a lot, and I enjoyed this class. If nothing else, this class taught me (like Digital History) that the internet is not unconquerable. It just takes time and patience, and also an open mind, to familiarize yourself with the vast amount of tools provided. All so that you can use them to create your own Digital Story.

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