Final Course Reflection

Hello class Ricky here, I would like to begin this course reflection by giving a big thanks to all of you for providing the class with great discussions throughout the semester and keeping us all engaged in the new material that we learned about every week. I enjoyed learning more about digital platforms that are available nowadays to present information and engage with the public. I learned many new things from the readings and I found myself interested in digital analysis tools like Google n-gram that allow us to understand the past in such a convenient manner that makes it fun. I learned what a digital archive actually was and I had no idea how much they had changed the way research is conducted nowadays. I knew Audacity before taking this course but I still found it interesting that we talked about it. I enjoyed using Story maps and I think I’ll use more of it in the future as well.

I had an absolute blast writing blog posts for the course because I believe it creates an atmosphere of communication in which we can all talk to each other about the progress we have made in our projects and comment on what we like and what we would like to see. I would like to give a big thanks to professor T. Owens as well because he has done a terrific job with managing the class, and he is a great guy with a good understanding of how to properly run an online course. By no means did I find the course work easy I must say. I found the course to be pretty challenging but just challenging enough for me to persevere as a competent student. I feel like the knowledge I have learned throughout this semester has truly upgraded my capabilities in terms of how I do research and how I go about planning projects. It has been an honor and I am truly proud of the work I have done.

It is hard to believe the semester has come to an end. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as students, teachers, and academics. I hope you all enjoy the project I have to offer and farewell.

Digital History Project and Project Poster

Hi everyone it’s Ricky here, and I am very proud to present the class with my work. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been researching and finding information about our climate change, our natural world as it is today and I cannot believe the semester is coming to an end. I initially created a blog post with a print project proposal about the Netflix documentary: A Life on Our Planet. Initially, I thought I would end up writing a paper but further down the line, I realized my idea would make for a great visual presentation. My project features the details about the Chernobyl disaster because the documentary begins with David Attenborough walking through the abandoned wasteland that used to be a populated city. I developed an interest in this event as I asked myself questions about what went wrong on April 26, 1986. Although this became a big part of my project, I didn’t forget to focus on the greater picture of what the documentary is truly about.

In David Attenborough’s own words, he says that this documentary is his witness statement not only for what occurred in Chernobyl but for what has been occurring on our planet since humans have dramatically changed the circumstances of the wildlife on our planet. Since the first time I ever watched this documentary, I have been enthralled with the idea of working towards a better future for our planet. As I conducted my research, I realized that the efforts of a single person to change the world will lead to no progress. I ultimately learned that if you want something like global warming to be stopped, we must work together as a species to create real results in the form of a positive change for our planet.

This project is more than just a digital history learning experience and digital media representation. This project is a call to all humans to raise awareness about the real problems our world is facing today. I hope this project serves as an incentive for people to watch the documentary and sympathize with the information David Attenborough is sharing. As we can see in the documentary, David Attenborough is over 90 years old and he cares very much about the future of our world. This man was lucky enough to visit natural habitats all over the world and view the world from the perspective of a natural historian. This project is certainly about digital history, but it is also about raising the standards for our human society to act with a conscience for a better future. My project is pretty straightforward in terms of what I studied and the information that I displayed. One of my goals in creating this project was to stay on topic and to elaborate as much as I thought was necessary in order to convey my message to the audience.

I used ArcGIS for the first time to create this project and I found it to be quite interesting. I do not consider myself technologically gifted in terms of how I operate on the computer but I found myself able to navigate through the website and make use of the basic features that it has to offer. I found myself entertained because I love the subject I picked for my project. I think I made a good choice and I hope my classmates and professor enjoy what I am sharing. This has been a truly magnificent learning experience and project creation experience that will help me with my future projects. I believe my technological skills have also gotten better since the start of this course and I’ve learned that I love learning about the natural world. Without further ado, here is my poster and my project link.

My Story Project:

My Poster:

This is my project poster.

Project Reflection, Poster Presentation, and Course Reflections

Hi everybody! It’s hard to believe that the semester is already wrapping up. When I first set out to do this project, I thought that I would only discuss the findings that I procured from the primary source documents themselves. However, as the project progressed, I recognized that it wasn’t just these documents that needed explaining, but also the digital analytical tools that I was utilizing. Each tool presented its own benefits and drawbacks, and as I uncovered these aspects of the tools, I needed to redefine the scope of my project, to the point that a discussion of these tools, and how they impacted my findings and methodology, required explaining in their own section.

Paradoxically, my findings were both expected and unexpected. On the one hand, I did expect that the concept of “State Rights” would primarily be utilized in the South. However, I did not anticipate that the number of Northerners who used the term would be so few. Even after the Supreme Court released its decision on Dred Scott, which essentially extended slavery to the free states, Northern references to the term were outnumbered nearly 4:1 by Southern references.

The answer to why people invoked “State Rights” was less surprising to me. Being that the term was referenced most frequently during “flashpoint” years, when political controversy and federal action occurred, it became apparent that the term was used whenever federal action was deemed injurious to individuals, and not as a part of regular political philosophy. This would explain why references to the term appear overwhelmingly during years like 1832, 1834, and 1857, and why it would appear so rarely during the rest of the years that were examined.

As far as Americans’ understanding of what “State Rights” meant to them, it would seem that for many Southerners and Democrats, it was a shield against any federal action that was not expressly beneficial to them. For instance, during the Nullification Crisis, the tariff, which was mainly meant to benefit the factories of the North, was deemed unconstitutional, even though it was within the rights of the Congress to create such a law. For many Northerners and Whigs/Republicans, the concept of “State Rights” was seen as a tool used by Southerners to suppress political activity, especially activity originating in the North.

This class has been incredibly useful for learning about the tools and methodology that can be employed in history-making. Without this class, I might not have learned about tools like Google Ngram and Chronicling America until much later, and tools like these will help me make future projects run more efficiently. Additionally, reading articles and books on digital history and methodology have presented me with a different perspective on the nature of historical inquiry, and made me reconsider the kinds of questions that I should be asking.

It’s been great getting to know all of you throughout this semester, and I hope to see you in some of my future classes!

My project poster.

And here is a link to the current draft of my print project paper:

Final Project and Course Reflections

In setting out to create this digital resource, I wanted to create a map that could expand the material on the internet about American Indian boarding schools. From my own research, the materials mostly consist of digitized primary sources, a limited amount of monographs and academic articles, scattered news articles, and other materials here or there. I came up with the idea to do this last semester while researching boarding schools for research seminar, and it has been exciting to see this come to fruition. There are still many additions I will add to this project, however, as I come to find more and more out about American Indian boarding schools. My hope is to continue to grow this project — as it is more than a simple class project — it is a topic I’m extremely passionate about.

To me, this map helps the history of American Indian boarding schools to become more accessible to not only those who are interested already, but also to others who stumble upon them. This thought was driven home during our conversations in class this last week on opening and expanding scholarly conversations. It is important to create digital resources that not only give historical context to the materials, but also to create digital resources that are accessible themselves. Many people are not familiar with searching an online archive, but would still want to be engaged with history and I believe that this map is a doorway for that.

Project poster:

In this course, it has really opened my eyes to all of the different digital resources at our fingertips. Digital history is an expansive field and is ever-changing. In my professional position, I work with digital content, but this class has helped me deep dive into understanding it and thinking deeper about it — especially from the perspective of the audience rather than just from my own. I think this course has really taught me how to be a better public historian — and has given me a lot of tools to better myself and my practice.

How Historical Storytelling Works on YouTube: An Analysis Project Poster + Final Draft

Hi everyone! Here is my poster:

For my print project, it was very interesting to look back on some of the YouTube channels I’m familiar with a new and analytical perspective. I enjoyed analyzing the comment sections of the videos and sensing the audience’s reaction towards the content. I found that the “living history” and historical reenactment videos often bring a more intimate and personable experience to the audience, and that more people will share their stories of their own family history in the comment sections. The audience also responds very well to well researched history contents; the more historical details and references are given in the video, the more likely people will leave comments sharing their own historical knowledge and resources. I also learned a lot about YouTube as a platform from the project by reflecting on its roles in the development of history-related channels. Both “The YouTube Reader” and “YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture” gave fascinating accounts on the evolution of YouTube itself and how people gradually perceived it as a legitimate social media platform. From this analysis, I see great value in creating educational history content on YouTube and the potential impact these videos have on the wider public. 

I really enjoyed learning about digital history together with everyone in the class this semester! This course gave me so much insight into different digital platforms and tools to present and analyze history. After looking through everyone’s digital projects utilizing tools such as TimelineJS and Storymap, I feel very inspired to explore these tools deeper in the future! I learned a lot from the conversations we had in class over the semester. Many of them gave me new ideas and made me think more about my own project. I began to reflect on the importance of historical accuracy on entertainment platforms discussed in the Video Games Week, and I think back on what kind of historical content is being archived on YouTube from the discussion on what is accessible online from the Digital Archives Week. Overall, I think this class provided me with useful resources and information on how to reflect, analyze, and appreciate the processes that go into digital history in the future!

Here’s my final print project: