Hurley Convergence Center Project Reflection

It has been a long fourteen weeks constructing the Hurley Convergence Center project. We had our fair share of road blocks along the way, but that didn’t stop us as group from creating a website greater than we originally imagined. We ended up using just about every tool listed in our proposal except for Audacity and SoundCloud, but there is a reason for that. We decided to get some training in the Advanced Media Production Studio and eventually recorded all of the interviews with the HD cameras and high quality microphones provided. This helped our website appear more professional while also showing off one of the many resources available in the HCC at the cost of taking a bit longer with editing the footage.

We were able to meet most of the weekly milestones relatively early. The WordPress theme that we all agreed to use made mobile integration rather easy, so the rest of that week was focused on the timeline and the documents given to us by our interviewee, John Morello. We had a bit of trouble meeting Week 3/11’s milestone because of interviewees cancelling or rescheduling, but as you may have seen from our various blog posts and presentations, we ended up getting them all finished earlier than we expected anyway. We even completed an extra interview and recorded plenty of short walk-through videos for the resources of the HCC while we had the time.

We couldn’t have done this without working together and dividing up the work evenly among ourselves. Marissa did a wonderful job at contacting and scheduling meetings for the people we needed to interview or ask for some feedback on the current build of our website. Andrew did an amazing job putting together the pages of the website and a rather informative timeline. Jon did a great job creating the transcripts and always making sure the equipment worked in the Advanced Media Production Studio. My main jobs were editing the videos, being at every interview to make sure everything recorded well, and working with Andrew on the website. I have faith in my editing skills, so I believe the videos turned out really well.

I stand by the Hurley Convergence website that we created together. We were assigned to create a website documenting the history of the building, but we proposed an idea for a website that went even further than that, thanks to Kyle Allwine from Admissions. A website that not only told the story of how the building came to be, but one that appealed to students, faculty, staff, and possible university applicants by displaying the various resources available in the building that can be used by anyone. If the website by chance doesn’t have what you are looking or you just want even more information and possibly want to schedule a time with the tutors, we linked to the Convergence Center website that has everything else that you could possibly need. Even if you want to look at all of the files that we studied for yourself,  you can download them by following the links to the MEGA online storage on our website and learn everything about the building and its history.

When I first came into this class in January, I never thought the website that I was assigned to create with my group would turned out as great and mind blowing as it did. I have the resources in the HCC to thank for giving me the possibility to achieve what we did. I want to close off saying that I do hope that Admissions changes their minds about our website and decide to use it as an advertisement tool for the university in the future. If not, that is fine. I am sure plenty of faculty and staff associated with the HCC will recommend our site to students and it makes me happy knowing that students will be using it.

Presentation Prep

Tomorrow is the big day for our websites. My group spent the last few days making sure everything was fixed before the big presentation. We originally thought the edits would take a lot of time fixing, but we ended up finishing most of them Tuesday evening.

I honestly believe that the presentation tomorrow will be a piece of cake for all of us. Everyone in class was  assigned to give a presentation just about every week, so that experience will definitely make the final presentation that much easier. It’s almost like Professor McClurken planned this from the start.

I wish everybody luck and I can’t wait to see the final versions of the other websites

Final Project Update

This will probably be the last project update for the Convergence Center website. The videos are up, the front page is ready, it works well on mobile, so we are just about finished with everything. I believe there are a few transcripts left, but that will be done before the due date next Tuesday. The walk-throughs are around thirty seconds and informs whomever visits the site about the service or room that they decide to look at on the website.

We weren’t able to get in touch with Jerry Slezak about doing a walkthrough for the IT Help desk, so we decided to go with just an image instead and have a small description of the service as a backup.

We were able to get all of the files stored on the ExploreHCC MEGA account, so everything is currently backed up and ready to give over to whomever is going to manage our website in the future.

Now that we are near the end, I have the say that the website has turned out really well. I can’t really find the words to describe how happy I am with it, but  I hope people are able to leave the site informed on the history and potential of the building.

Week 12 Readings

For this week’s readings, I decide to read pieces on Blogs, Zotero, and Categorizing. There’s no particular reason why I  chose these other than I have some personal experience with  Zotero and blogs.

David Voelker’s piece on Blogs reminded me of what Professor McClurken does for our class. He has all of the readings and blog assignments listed ahead of time to give us all a chance to read them before the next class period to increase the probability of discussion. Voelker also talks about the convenience that blogs have for other things like grading keeping up with the students and from a student perspective, I agree. Most of my Digital Study courses that I’ve taken used Blogs as a hub for the students and professor to communicate with other. It’s a lot simpler than having to e-mail every student about something since there is a risk of said e-mail getting lost in the spam folder.

Daniel J. Cohen’s piece on Zotero basically talks about how everyone uses Zotero today. I’ve never heard of Zotero until I took a course with Professor Whalen. We used the tool to create a large bibliography for everyone in the class to help the arguments of our papers that were due at the end of the semester. I think it’s a great tool and use it for just about every paper now. It’s perfect for historians since you can save anything with just the click of a button if you have the browser plugin and if you want to find a large library of academic works or documents, you can even search for them on the Zotero website once you have made an account.

Edward A. Riedinger’s piece about categorizing various online databases like JSTOR to change the way we use the internet by making it a bit simpler and enhancing our experience. It sounds like a good idea and reminded me of the UMW ezproxy that has a list of all possible resources that you could access for academic sources. I’m not sure if there is a website out there that categorizes these resources, but it would be pretty useful for historians in long run to make all of the online databases easily searchable via a website that categorizes all of them.

Update #4

Hello once again everyone. As you know, I am one of the members of the Convergence Center group and I have some news for you. I have completely edited four of our seven interviews, but have only uploaded three of them to YouTube. The seventh interview will be going up either at the last minute or after the project is completed, so I’m more than half way finished with them. Once I have all of them up on YouTube, I will list the videos as public and add various annotations on the video and links in the description for our website and the interviewee’s website. The last few videos will be uploaded by the end of this week.

The reason why I have only uploaded three of the four interviews is because I  ran into a small problem while editing. The Cartland Berge interview was missing some footage, but luckily we caught that and downloaded a back-up before completing the editing process.

Other than that, everything is going fine. We decided to schedule a walkthrough to record all of the HCC’s resources and spaces that the students can access. We may have one or two more interviews to do, but we have finished all of the main ones who were involved in the building’s creation. Our main goal now is to focus on our website and make sure everything is nice and organized for our audience.

Text Mining + Group Update

The readings for this week were pretty interesting and they seem to involve some tools that I used in some other courses throughout my journey as Digital Studies Major. Nicholas Carr’s article, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, really stood out to me because of the brief mentions of electronic reading compared to physical reading. I’m taking a course right now called After Books with Professor Whalen and whenever we begin to read a new book, he asks everyone how did they obtain it and how will they be reading it. We’ve read four books so far and I’ve read 3 of them in an e-book format. I personally don’t feel any different reading a physical book compared to an e-book, but I do miss the feeling of holding an actual book. It’s just something about feeling the actual mass of a specific book instead of your e-reader for everything you read that is really satisfying.

Like we discussed in class today, I do feel like reading electronic text, be it e-books or articles online, actually helped improve my reading ability with the concept of skimming through text and picking out various keywords and such. This should be true for the majority of individuals living in this digital age because everyone speeds through text messages and articles in order to bring them up in future conversations or they just to learn more about an event that is happening in the world.


Now for a little update on our Convergence Center Project. We have our final interviews Wednesday morning and afternoon, so we will be able to talk about those during our presentation on Thursday. There is a possibility of working on our video walk-through on Friday of all of the resources, but we need to discuss it more with each other. After that we will put all of focus into the website and meet up with Kyle from admissions again to see what he thinks about our website so far.

Before the week is over I will be uploading the edited versions of the interviews to the Explore HCC YouTube account, so they can be put up on our website.

 

Digital Resume and Small Project Update

Wasn’t quite sure if I needed to make a blog post about this, but I ended up recreated my Digital Resume/Portfolio.

It’s a work in progress, but it has a few of the works that I am pretty proud of, like my interactive fiction games. I suggest that if you want to play one of them, play the Pokemon one because the Fire-Man game is a bit weird without knowing the context of the class that I created it for. I listed my Privacurity site as well, so you can visit and maybe learn how to keep yourself safe online.

Anyway, here’s the link: http://boscoe.net/

So far for the HCC Project, we’ve completed two interviews. We originally scheduled two for last Friday, but one of our interviewees cancelled. The President Hurley one went really well, but we had a little bit of trouble with the microphones. The interview with Hall Cheshire was better since we didn’t have any mic troubles and we got a lot of information from him. I’m currently working on the videos to upload to YouTube, so we can begin to embed them on our site and show them to the class for the next presentation. We have more interviews on Monday and Friday, but I’m not worried.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Digital Identity

Back in my Sophomore year, I made a rather early “rough draft” for my Digital Portfolio as part of my final grade for Into to Digital Studies. It doesn’t look that great right now, but I’m sure it will look a lot better once I sit down and work on it for a good amount of time and incorporate what I learned from the three websites that I looked at to learn about Digital Identity.

The first lesson that I learned involved advertising your work. Looking at the Professor McClurken’s site, I noticed that he has listed probably everything that he was involved with directly on the homepage and even the side menu. Doing this is rather important for your Digital Identity. Whenever someone stumbles across your name online and end up at your website, they can easily learn more about you and contributions online. It could even lead them to collaborate with you if they have similar interests and arguments as you.

However, in order for them to collaborate with you they need  some contact information. That is the second lesson I learned from browsing the websites. You don’t need to put your phone number, but your e-mail is a must and possibly your Twitter and Facebook if you don’t mind future colleagues looking at them. If you didn’t list any online contact information then how would one expand their Digital Identity?

To continue on the thought of social media being viewed by your boss, another lesson to keep in mind is linking to profiles that you want others to view and have your personal accounts private. It’s best to keep in mind that you shouldn’t post anything that could ruin the Digital Identity that you’ve already worked hard on while using those public accounts. One wrong post could ruin everything and there really isn’t a way to start over since once something is posted online, even if it is later deleted, it still can be found online.

If still don’t want to risk using your social media then one of the last lessons should cover that. When making your Digital Portfolio, you should include a short biography informing the viewer about yourself and how you contribute online. Not everyone that ends up on your site will know you, so why not tell them about you? A bio helps them learn about you and understand why you are involved in certain topics. For example, if I blog online about privacy issues and someone decides to check out my website, I would have a bio that mentions how I am in the Digital Studies field and how I’ve worked on projects involving privacy before.

One final lesson that I learned from viewing McClurken’s site, Fleshing Out the Digital Selves in Practice article, and the Controlling Your Public Appearance article. would be keeping your Digital Portfolio simple. You don’t want to startle or scare away potential followers by having crazy colors and a wacky background, unless your online identity is wacky and crazy. What you really want is to have the tone of your website match with the tone of your online persona. If they didn’t match, there would be confusion and possible negative feedback towards you and your works.

Project Update #2

Hello everyone! Today, I’m bringing you a small update for our Convergence Center project before the first big presentation. We ended up scheduling most of appointments for our interviewees for the week we return from Spring Break. We will be interviewing Hurley on Monday and quite a few people on the following Friday, so we will be quite busy. I’m not too worries since we all had training for the upcoming interviews.

We had some trouble with the test site that we were messing with. We needed a way to link pages and posts together and luckily, I remembered how to do that. I didn’t do it for all the pages because I wanted everyone in the group to be okay with it. They were, so we ended up finalizing our domain name after being unable to add-on to the actual UMW website. The name of our site will be explorehcc.umwhistory.com and if it works out in the end, whoever manages the UMW website can merge our site with existing Convergence Center one.

The last thing we ended up accomplishing  was gathering some files from John Morello to help expand our timeline. Since only one member from our group, Andrew Steele, was able to meet with him, I can’t really talk about the files, but I will do so in a future post once I see them for myself.

Wikipedia and Creative Commons

I was given the task to look at the Discussion and History tabs of a few Wikipedia pages, so I decided to look at the featured article about Myles Standish and a random article about Jacob van Ruisdael. Beginning with the Discussion tab, it was actually a lot better than I expected it to be. I was kind of expecting it to be in the same tier as the YouTube comments. Meaning, I thought the users were going to be pretty bad and not cooperative. Referring to the Standish page, they are mostly discussing facts about Standish and letting others know why they edited a piece of the article. Some users even had a discussion on how Standish’s first name is spelled because the article itself keeps going back and forth between “Myles” and “Miles”. In the Discussion tab for Ruisdael, there wasn’t that much, but the few users did discuss if a certain spelling for Ruisdael’s last name was helpful to the article. They ended up deciding that it wasn’t, so one user removed it. They were  also worried that they may mislead someone with the image listed on the page. Some may think it is an official painting of Ruisdael even though it is stated that no one knows what he looks like later in the article.

Looking the History tabs of both articles, there isn’t really anything that stands out to me personally. The Ruisdael article is slowly being worked on. It began in 2006 and since then, it was edited 44 more times by 20 users. Compared to Standish’s 98 edits by 42 users, it’s pretty small.

To conclude this section of the blog post, I have the say that the users of Wikipedia are actually pretty friendly and are willing to help each other out on various articles. The discussions show how much the contributors care about the articles they work on and how much they want to make it the perfect article for informing the reader of whatever topic they may be looking at. It makes me wish more online communities were more like Wikipedia’s. The History tab was also pretty interesting in the fact you can compare all of the edits together to see how the article evolved over the recent years. I like how it’s there for public viewing, so you don’t have to use an extra tool like the Wayback Machine to view the article in its early years.


 

For our future Convergence Center website, we probably wouldn’t use a Creative Commons License since we are most likely going to pass the finish product over to the university once we finish and they can decide whether or not they want a license. If I had to choose one though, it would be the ShareAlike license, so that each of us could still be credited for the foundation of the website.

Copyright isn’t much of a problem for our project, be we have to make sure that if we do a video trailer or walk-through, we need to use some CC music and not a copyrighted song to avoid the videos form being taken down. We also need to make sure that our interviewees sign off on a form saying that they agree on being  part of our project.