Let me start by explaining that the reason I added this class was to get more comfortable with computers. It’s the 21st century and everything is rapidly becoming digitized, including my major. This is something I never saw coming to be honest, but when I saw this class on the course list I knew the knowledge I would gain from this class will prove useful in the future. Now that we have come to the end of the semester I can tell you all that I have learned how to make a chart using excel, how to build/manage a website, and a number of other cultural aspects pertaining to Digital Humanities that I never would have been aware of otherwise.
The most interesting cultural phenomenon that I have learned about in this class is the brutally misogynistic practices of digital culture. We saw examples of this in our class reading from week ten. Women in this industry have been attacked by anonymous people over the internet for years because of their beliefs on women in tech. People have even threatened women,like Anita Sarkeesian, lives over the internet because of their feminist ideas. This makes me think that middle schools and high schools should have mandatory coding or DH classes to help introduce a more diverse population into the DH community.
Another section of the class I really enjoyed was learning about crowd sourcing and the democratization of information. I’ve always been told by teachers and professors that Wikipedia is a completely untrustworthy source of information, but in all of my time on the internet Wikipedia almost always proved to be a good source for getting general information on a topic. Generally speaking, Wikipedia can be useful for quick information, but only outside of the confines of academia. When it comes to academics however, Wikipedia is understandably flawed. People who are not actual historians are writing these pages and are trusted to regulate themselves for accuracy. When this happens it creates a false recording of history which is then presented to the eyes of million of people across the globe as truth. A great example of this is on the Baker Skateboards page on Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker_Skateboards ). Here you will find a page that two of my high school friends edited years ago, and still remains as incorrectly documented history on Wikipedia.
The most impressive thing that I learned from this class is how to build and manage a website. We did this by relying on WordPress as a tool to present information. WordPress allows us to choose every aspect of our website without ever learn how to write a single line of code. Before entering this class I never would have know that this was possible to do! When working on the final project, my partner and I were blown away with how simple it actually can be to make a website with WordPress. We are able to change the format, design, pictures and dozens of other aspects with just a few clicks. Granted, we did hit a few bumps in the roads, but with the help of professor Smith these obstacles were overcome quickly. The reason I believe this is the most important thing taught in this class is that I can put “skills in building/managing websites” on my resume which is a greatly sought after skill.
At the end of the day, I can say that I learned a lot from this course. Not only did this class help me be more comfortable with my computer, which is why I signed up for this class in the first place, but I gained skills that will help me through our ever more increasingly technology driven world. After taking this class I really wish that there was more of a push in public schools to get kids thinking about and interacting with Digital Humanities. We are continuing to move towards a digital world, and by familiarizing people with today’s technology we can all be better prepared for tomorrow.