So Digital History is over. This class was completely unexpected for me yet also challenging. I do not know what I was expecting but looking back, I am surprised with everything that I did. I am proud of what I and Nathaniel have accomplished and even though Ally could not stay until the end she worked just as hard as Nathaniel and I to make sure we had a good website. There was a time in the middle of the semester that I thought this class was a really bad idea and that I would rather write a paper on my topic than wait for server space but then we got an email from Dr. Pearson that read “I took charge…” I literally laughed out loud because something had gone right and things were going to go right from now on. My game was going in the right direction (it turned out to be awesome), the server space was amazing (so much space for so much fun), my website was coming together. In the end, this class was taught me to be patient and to have fun along the way.
That being said looking at our contract, we did not stick to what we wrote as I thought we would have. We did not include a lot of the information we had mentioned that we would such as a timeline JS on our site, comparing the different conservation efforts, including newspaper headlines and various media perceptions of the conservation efforts we were discussing. In retrospective I would have looked at the contract more to ensure that our group was keeping our word in what we said we would do. I do believe that we stuck with the general idea of what we said our website would entail but not everything was included. Our website is simple and clean-cut which was one of the main goals we wanted in our site.
I enjoyed researching the Trails Systems Acts. I learned who can and cannot make a trail, how much the Appalachian Trail was worth to the US ($5 million!) and that the United States really does care about forests and nature. Now when I go hiking or camping or simply driving home I will know that the trees along the mountains were saved for a reason; they were saved for the enjoyment of all. This class has shown me that history, although traditionally in a book, can also be online. As students we are taught to be cautious on the internet; that people lie on the internet all the time and therefore we are only to trust certain sites. But after conducting researching and creating my own site I can now say that the internet still lies but that there is now a little but of truth out there as well. I have enjoyed this class immensely and hope that it will continue to be offered at UNC-Asheville.
I would like to thank Dr. Pearson and Dr. Cameron for having the idea to put two completely different classes together and making something great out of them. I would also like to thank Nathaniel for working with me and creating such a good website.
MY GAME IS FINISHED! My amazing group has finished the interactive component (aka: game) and it looks amazingly amazing! I played it and found a bug but it was fixed within 5 minutes or less. The game is so much fun. At certain intervals the game will stop and ask you a question about either the NC Trail Legislation Act or the National Trail Legislation Act. The questions (either multiple choice or true or false) which will give you points if you get them correct or will take away points and the number of hits if you get the question wrong. This game is so much fun and I am looking forward to sharing this with everyone!
So I didn’t send my CSCI group my questions because I was super busy with studying for a test and trying to get my life together but I did contact them and told them what was going on and they said that everyone was busy and that they didn’t mind that I didn’t have it on time. I began delving into my topic today and realized, after around 1.5 hours of research, that I was trying to research the wrong thing. I am now on the right track and continuing the research and will email my CSCI group between 40-50 questions and answers tomorrow. Back to the grind.
I ran into one of my group members yesterday in the cafeteria and he told me that they were almost finished with my interactive component. I was shocked and asked if he was joking (it was April Fools Day) and he said no he wasn’t so I began eagerly awaiting for Thursday to come. We met with our CSCI groups today and OH MY GOSH!!!! My group’s interactive component (aka: game) exceeded my expectations. It looks amazing!!!! They have created a boat so that the perspective is from the back of the boat and the user is steering the boat down the river. The goal of the game is to answer as many questions as possible and get to the end of the river. The questions will be provided by me and will be based on my research in special collections. Seeing the game in person and how far my group has come in a week makes me more excited for this project! I cannot wait for the finished project and to play the game in its entirety.
Last week seems so long ago but I feel as if I accomplished a lot. On Thursday we met with our groups with the CSCI class. My group had on started on the interactive component of the website (they were working on another project for their class over spring break) but they showed me they planned on accomplishing looked really good. We agreed that meeting at an alternate time outside of class was not necessary so we started a Google Doc so they could keep me updated on the project and I could keep them updated on things on my end. After my classes on Thursday, I went to Special Collections to scan the documents that I needed and email them to myself and although that was time-consuming I now have everything I need for my part of the website saved to me computer so that I can continue researching from my laptop and not be confined to the hours of special collections. I plan on having around 50 multiple choice questions varying in difficulty delivered to my CSCI group on my topic by Saturday so that they can look over them and ensure that they can place them in the program. I am excited by this and even though there was nothing for me to look at at the moment my group and I seem to have everything worked out. This program is going to be awesome!
This class is one of my harder classes mainly because (as you can see) updating my blog is not something I am used to. I know that is not an excuse but it is something that I struggle with. This post is going to be longer than normal because it is an update of all that I and my group have done for our project.
My group ran into a road block earlier with this project; we found the Carolina Mountain Club’s (CMC) website and although that should not have been a problem, it was. My group had planned on discussing everything we could about the CMC from their history, members, and conservation efforts to their weekly hikes, current members and how to join, and what projects they were currently working on to help preserve the natural area around us. We decided to focus instead on the organizations that work with the CMC including the Sierra Club. We changed out plan again because the path we were headed down was unclear with an unknown result.
We decided to change our project to focus on the conservation efforts of the CMC and the organizations that helped the CMC reach their goals. Finally we settled on focusing our project on three conservation efforts that each of us liked (for example: I am researching the legislation for turning the Joyce Kilmar area into a wilderness education area and Ally is focusing on the conservation efforts of the hemlocks) and speaking to the organizations that helped in the effort but focusing our main attention on the efforts themselves. We will also be incorporating the currents conservation efforts of the CMC and why they have chosen those subjects.
We discussed our site and how we wanted to make it interactive and what we could do to hold people’s interest on our site. Ally mentioned that Dr. Pearson would like us to have a page on our site mentioning the history of the CMC with a link to the website. We would also create a link to the page discussing in further detail the current conversation efforts of the CMC. Finally, we discussed the possible games we might want to include on the site. We have some good ideas but we will not know for sure if they can be accomplished until we meet with the computer science teams tomorrow.
That being said, I am excited to work with Dr. Cameron’s students tomorrow but at the same time I am nervous. I do not fully understand what the students are capable of and what their skill levels are so coming up with ideas for our site has been touch-and-go. I am also nervous because I feel that our group does not have a clear understanding of what we want from our site. That is something we will have to figure out as we go along.
This post is way too long so I will end it here. Have a great night!
I completed the Google maps assignment and the Timeline JS assignment and even though I struggled more with the Timeline JS assignment I really enjoyed it. Both of these programs can be used on the Carolina Mountain Club project to display the changing of the landscape, the area(s) around the point(s) of interest, etc. They could be used to display pictures of a certain area to show how those areas have changed. Specifically using Timeline JS would be more beneficial for my group because it would allow us to show a visual of what is going on not just with the Carolina Mountain Club specifically but around the country with the dealings of national parks and how to preserve them but at the same time modernize the areas around them. I think that Timeline JS will be more beneficial to my group but I look forward to using them both.
I know this post is late and it looks really bad on my part but this class is a first for me and will take some getting used to. I decided to take this class because I am a history major and I thought this class was new and different and would allow me to mix the old (going to the library to do research) with the new (posting my thoughts about my research on the web). This idea intrigued me since I will be a librarian and in this day and age I need to be fluent not only in the “language” of historians and librarians but also in the “language” of computers and the digital age. So far the class has been an interesting one.
The first thing the class was assigned to do was browse the websites associated with digital history. We were told to look at the site for Century America along with several other sites associated with digital history. The Central America site was informative and really fun to look at. It had interactive features (which I think are key in a website – especially beyond the normal clicking around to get to different pages) my favorite of which was the interactive timeline which gave the user the ability to take a look at what was going on, not just in America, but in the world as well at that time. The Century America, along with the other sites, are simple and clean in design. There is no fuss, no adds, no distractions (although the bright red background of the French Revolution site was definitely over the top) to bring the attention of the viewer anywhere else but the information that was being presented.
We were split into research groups and taken to the Special Collections room in the library where we chose a topic to research. My groups decided to research on the Carolina Mountain Club from which we can branch out and research the environmental issues surrounding Asheville. This topic did not come to mind as my first choice but as my group dug deeper in to the documents that Special Collections had the topic we chose become more and more exciting.
I am excited for this class and where it will take me; hopefully into the brave new world of technology but at the same time keeping me grounded in the subject that I love.