End of Semester Reflection

While I may have taken Digital Methods in History on a whim, the technologies and methodologies I learned will stay with me for much longer than this semester. I originally took this class as a way to learn an avenue of history that I knew very little about. I would have considered myself technologically-challenged and old-school when it came to classes. To provide a better understanding of my technological experiences, the laptop I used for all of my class work could barely handle running Microsoft Word. With this class, however, I began a journey of understanding technology and the thus resulting relationship between the newer technologies and the older methodologies. Digital History was simply publishing essays and sources online through organizations such as JStor and other historical databases. Throughout the semester, I began to develop deeper layers to define Digital History and created a pool of technological methods that I can incorporate into my future classes. 

As someone with limited technological knowledge, I had quite a bit to catch up on in order to be on par with my peers in the class. One of the first obstacles I had to overcome was my technology itself. This class, in conjunction with my graduation, gave me the perfect reason to upgrade my computer to the new MacBook Pro. With this, I had the means to accomplish any problem I might come across in the class. The first few weeks were difficult for me as I had to read the readings carefully and work to fully understand what was being discussed.

As the semester continued, I began to feel more comfortable with the projects we were given. The projects were challenging, but still fun and possible for me to achieve. Certain projects, like the Time Mapper, and Omeka Archive assignments gave me tools that I plan to use in the future. The assignments allowed me to develop skills that would interconnect with previous methodologies of non-digital history. Digital History became a way to supplement the methodologies of history and create ways to visualize and analyze history that would previously have been unachievable. 

The biggest challenge came from the final project. For my project, I decided to relate my research to my HIST 499 research. This allowed my research to relate and saved me numerous amounts of hours in research. My project aimed to visualize the construction of school in Long Beach during the period of 1885-1927. This project presented many difficulties for both my professor and myself as it forced us to dive into html and javascript. I had no experience with javascript or even coding as a whole, so I felt extremely overwhelmed. However, through the help and support of my professor, we were able to find a different method to present my data and I learned a decent amount of coding at the same time. 

This class has given me a plethora of tools and opened an entire new way for me to look at history. While most classes provide content and historical theory, this class is different. The class provided me with a practical history, a history that could be implemented and used for all future classes. Due to this class, I have been given many different projects and assignments that I can use as a teacher. From having students create Omeka exhibits to map events on TimeMapper, the different projects present a way for history to be new and challenging, but also lucrative and engaging for students. 

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