Working backwards & Dr. Who
The first activity we did in this class was bibliography editing and when I first learned that was the plan, I had mixed feelings. At first I thought that it was going to be boring and almost like busy work. Because we’re in college, people should know how to cite sources in their sleep. However, that was not the case. When I saw some of the citations we were editing, I thought it was almost comical. The people at this school are all very intelligent students. So how could they mess up something as simple as a bibliography? I feel as though a lot of it can be attributed to our generation growing up in a world so dependent on technology. People, including me, get away with using citation generators in high school and it becomes a habit. However, I quickly changed that behavior once at Stonehill. I found that using citation generators feels like cheating, and it is. Even using the premade citations from databases feels wrong. Writing out your own citations feels more professional because it requires work. When you complete a proper citation, it’s very satisfying.
I found the citation checking very helpful as well. I enjoyed working backwards almost like a detective trying to find clues about where the first person found the source. Working backwards also allowed me to fine tune my citation skills because it makes you think about every detail individually and putting it together to make a respectable citation. The editing process also helped me realize how important a correct citation is; a flawed citation could send the reader down the wrong path and they may never find the exact source that was referenced. Overall, the process allowed me to refine my citation skills and understand how important these skills are. And in the end, I enjoyed the process.
I learned more about my research skills when cross checking information than I thought I was going to. The Ographies activity in particular allowed me to see how much I rely on databases to do the search for me. Databases are good when you are writing papers or trying to gather a lot of information. However, the Ographies required a short summary of the person, not an entire book collection. Thus, the research process was slightly different and really tested my skills. Trying to find reliable sources about ancient and early modern people proved difficult. Sometimes, there were so many sources that weeding through them to find trustworthy information tested my patience. But it paid off when I found a good source. Furthermore, I found that using public sites as a jumping off point was a good method. By exploring the sites referenced elsewhere, I was able to reveal new sites that didn’t come up in my initial search. Throughout this process, I learned that my dependence on databases was hindering my research skills. I found that I usually ended up settling on mediocre sources that the database spit out because I didn’t want to take the time to find another one. This process taught me that if I have a bit more patience and take the time, there are better sources out there and sometimes you even find a hidden gem. Overall, the process reiterated that my generation is sometimes too dependent on technology to do our work and that can thwart our learning by short-cutting the process.
Upon reflection, I believe I met the learning objectives for the unit. The second objective about how digital humanities contribute to cultural preservation really hit home for me. Previously, I spoke about how the internet sometimes hinders learning by providing short cuts, however, it can also provide an everlasting home for history. When we read the works earlier classes had published, and learned about the history of print, I learned that many works haven’t survived. The internet and projects like ours preserve early works in a way the original authors could never dream of. Learning transcribe these early works also provided great insight. The process of decoding the original text for transcription made you consider each word and really draw meaning from the text. It opened my eyes to the history and the beauty of the work we are doing. Additionally, by using sites like MoEML and linking them with our own it made me feel more connected to Marlowe and the people he associated with, almost like we were in an episode of Doctor Who.
Also, watching the video about how to write for new media again was very beneficial. Any study will tell you that repetition is the key to truly learning or remembering something. I find myself running the video through my head when working now and I hope that it will start to show more in my writing.
Finally, the last objective is to reflect metacognitively on learning styles in context. Subconsciously, I knew I had learned everything I have addressed, however, by reflecting on the learning and the process it brought everything to the front of my mind. I believe that now having everything I learned in the forefront of my mind will only allow me to build on it. In conclusion, the process of making this website has made me a more active learner and more eager for knowledge. Christopher Marlowe is a very mysterious figure and I want to learn more about him – I do not like not knowing things once I’m introduced to a subject. This will only drive me to work harder and make this project the best it can be so others can experience the same benefits.