Spring 2018 Course

A COPLAC Digital Distance Learning Course

Author: schumm (page 1 of 2)

Defense of Contract

In regards to Sophia’s and my project contract we stuck to it completely. In the description of our site we talk about the different tabs that we were planning on using such as historical context. We created every page that we had discussed and even more. Also in our contract is a section about the technology that we had planned on using. We included Timeline.js, StoryMap.js, and audio files, which we used all three. Everything in our layout of the site was done with a few add ons. We knew that if it was going to go into the contract then it had to be done.

When we set our milestones we knew that we had to be specific and space things out in an effective way. Sophia and I each had something to be completed each week so that the workload was not on one person. We went back and forth on who did what types of tasks. One week I would be doing research while Sophia worked on formatting a page and the next week the roles would be reversed. I actually came up with the idea to use different colors to highlight Sophia’s and my names so that it would be easier to navigate so we wouldn’t end up forgetting something. This was also really effective because it made sure that we weren’t rushing and allowed us to get big chunks of the website done every week. We did have to change the contract once due to spring break. We moved the weeks work to the next week doubling the next weeks work. Luckily, we were able to complete all four tasks with no problems.

In our contract we had all the specific tasks complete by April 9 so that we had the remaining time to copy edit and to make major changes if needed. I think that this was a smart idea because if we still had pages that needed to go up we would have been adding that on to revision. It is also good because it lowered stress levels which is always nice. I think that overall we exceeded our goals as per the contract because we were able to add pages that we hadn’t talked about before. We also added some technical elements to the site such as a sidebar in order to make the interaction with the website much easier. We worked really well together to get the site completed because we knew how we wanted it to look and function.

Reading Reaction 4

This week has been really quiet due to making comments on other groups websites while waiting on their suggestions. I decided to revisit the article “Why don’t archives digitize everything?” For me personally I think that everything should be digitized and saved because that’s just how I am. Every magazine, assignment, basically any piece of paper, I try to save. Even if it is never going to be looked at again I want to keep it. While I do end up recycling most of these things part of me wonders whether or not future generations would want to see a math test from third grade. Yes, I know it’s a tad crazy but I’m all about preservation of just about everything.

The first point that the article makes is that digitization is really expensive and time consuming. I found a website that sells these types of products and found that a thing called the ‘Preservation Pencil,’ which directs moisture, is $2000. This product doesn’t digitize, it is about preserving the paper and it is that expensive. To buy digitization products, you have to be a member of NARA (National Archives and Records Administration.) If money wasn’t a factor as to why more things aren’t digitized I would gladly spend all my time doing it because I love it. At UMW, we have a digital collection, but I have not spent time there. I know that one person works with the records so I assume that it is a small collection. There is also a digital archives class at UMW, which I regret not taking because I think that it would have been really interesting.

To manage a digital archive you have to be extremely tech savvy. You have to have a computer with a large hard drive and know all the ins and outs of the format changes that each piece of content brings. The article mentions that these formats are constantly changing, which is difficult to deal with when the process costs so much. Hopefully, the costs go down due to how digital our society has become. It makes sense to me that as tech takes over digitization of records would be a normal thing so the costs go down due to such high demand. At least that is what I’m crossing my fingers will happen.

Reading Reaction 3

This week, I revisited the essay “Politics on Children’s Literature” by Belinda Louie. This was interesting to go back to as we near the end of the semester because we have talked more about the different ways that books could be censored. In the essay, she talks about what goes into children’s literature and all of the people who interact with it. There are the authors, parents, kids, teachers, publishers, and the general public. Every person who fits into one of these categories has a different perspective as to what is appropriate and how to properly deal with books that aren’t. The thing that had surprised me the most was how often kids self-regulate when it comes to the content they intake. Louie claims that kids “choose books that are pleasant.” Young children don’t like to read or hear things that are upsetting so they make sure to avoid any possible run-ins with uncomfortable topics. When a teacher picks out a required reading with these situations, kids are taken out of their comfort zone, which in turn makes the parents upset.

Looking back on all the books that I have read, there is one book that probably would have had a more negative reaction had I been in a larger school. In fifth grade, my class read Call it Courage  by Armstrong Sperry. Reflecting on it now, the book was riddled with problems that I can’t wait to discuss. Firstly, the book had some scary themes for it being a children’s book. The main character was bullied by his whole island for being traumatized after seeing his mom die. He runs away to an island where he is being chased by cannibals. I remember when I was reading this, most of my class didn’t exactly know what cannibals were. I knew though, and reading the book was kind of frightening. I know that my parents didn’t know what the book was about even though I don’t think they would have objected had they known. I’m assuming that most of the parents didn’t know the themes of the book because I don’t remember anyone ever complaining other than a few of the kids who understood what cannibalism was.

Another problem with the book, that as kids we had no way of grasping, was the cultural issues brought up in the book. The book is set on a real island in the pacific ocean. I know that a lot of students in the class had assumed that the real island had cannibals on it. Also, the author was a white male born in the United States. Because the book was written in 1940, I can’t expect it to have kept up with modern ideas of cultural awareness. It does show a lot about those who chose to have the book read to ten-year-olds.

There are a lot of people who interact with the books that are given to children to read. I think that because kids are known to self regulate, I think that it would be better to allow them to choose what they want to read, not just at home, but have some more input at school as well.

Interview Protocol follow-up

We’ve gotten an interview response! Sadye responded to our emailed interview questions and gave us some unique insight as to what actually happened in the school. She told us about how To Kill A Mockingbird was taught in the school and what students reactions were to it. Based on her account, students knew the school’s reason for making the book required and understood the themes that were being taught. She said that some of the themes were racism, greed, and they looked at how children were portrayed in historical contexts.

She explained how she started the petition, which was just a word document. I had always thought there were steps you had to go through to make a petition, but it’s a lot easier than I thought. She told us how many people signed it and the general response to her going around school asking for signatures.

We also asked her about the petition getting taken away because we found differing news reports. Most of the articles said that the principal took it away while one said that the principal asked her not to do it during school. I had expected the version with the most news coverage to be correct but it wasn’t. She said that the principal took it away during school hours and told her to get signatures in another place. He had actually informed her that there was a protest going on where she could get more people to sign. While the version that multiple news told wasn’t technically wrong, they left out a lot of information that could affect how a person views the principal.

Sadye told us all about the protest and how she felt being there. She mentioned that the atmosphere wasn’t exactly what she had thought it would be. People were angrier than she expected and “it was a little more aggressive than I had hoped.” She had wanted to have more conversation and didn’t feel anger was conducive to that.

Her answers were really well written, which is always nice. She gave us a lot of information that we wouldn’t have gotten by just reading news articles because as I have found, they aren’t always accurate. I think that after this interview, I would like to push a bit harder to get Charles Knitter’s response. He said he would work on it last week but we have no yet received his answers. I think that because he is an adult, his perspective would be different than Sadye’s, which would round out our website a bit more.

Interview

A few weeks ago, Sophia sent Charles Knitter our interview questions in an email in the hopes that we get more information about the protest that he had organized. While we have not yet gotten a response, we are still hopeful that he will respond some time soon. On Saturday, the girl who started the petition, Sayde, wrote us back saying that she is 18 and can answer our questions. Sophia sent her our questions on Sunday and we are hoping to get a quick response. These were the questions we sent her:

  1. Did you grow up in Accomack County and have you always gone to school there? If not, when did you start attending school there and where did you go before?
  2. Did you read To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn for a class? If so, how did the discussion go?
    1. How where they taught? 
    2. What were some of the themes you analyzed in the texts?
    3. Did you ever hear of any other student complaining about being uncomfortable?
  1. Why did you decide to start a petition?
  2. How did you start the petition?
  3. How many people signed it?
  4. In news articles, it said that your petition was taken away by the school, did that happen?
    1. If so, how did the school find out and take it away?
    2. What did you do after the school banned your petition?
  1. How did you come to be a part of the protest?
    1. What was the atmosphere like at the protest?
    2. How many signatures did you get total, from passing the petition around and at the protest?

We decided to ask her about the protest because she was in attendance and we would like to have some information on it just in case Charles does not get back to us.

Both of these interviews are really important to our project. Partly because we have to have some sort of interview for the class, but also because their input would help to shape how we present the case.

Progress Report 3

This week we finally got a response from Accomack County Public Schools in relation to the initial complaint filed against To Kill A Mockingbird. During our Wednesday meeting, Sophia, after multiple e-mails and calls, was able to get through to someone. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give us the document due to “confidentiality agreements.”

Sad face
Creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/67776729@N06/6417063815

We were really hoping to get a hold of the complaint because it would have been really useful in building our website. Luckily, we have audio from the first board meeting where the complainant made her argument as to why the book should be banned.

Also this week, I was able to format and put my research onto the historical context page of our site. I struggled with deciding what information was relevant and had an even harder time trying to write up the page in a way that made sense. Sophia and I are currently working on the Harper Lee page and should have that up by Monday, March 19.

Next week I will be working on the protest page. Hopefully, I won’t have as many problems with writing it as we already have a lot of information on it. The interview with Charles Knitter is supposed to go on that page but he has not responded yet. If he hasn’t gotten back to us by then we will add that to the page whenever we get his reply.  We also haven’t heard back from the girl who started the petition. She replied to Sophia asking for an interview so Sophia emailed her to make sure she is of age because in the case that she isn’t we would have to get permission from a parent to interview her. Having sent out five interview requests we had expected to not get many responses. Two of five isn’t a bad number but if we don’t get any responses then we will not have any interview to document on our website or write as the second part of the interview blog post which is due next week.

While we wait, we will continue to work on our website, building up each page until we feel as though they not only have good information, but are aesthetically pleasing. We have set our color scheme but we just have to make sure that each page has the same format as to have a cohesive website.

Interview Protocol

Found on Creative Commons.
http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Job-Employment-Business-Recruitment-Interview-1714370

Sophia and I have gotten an interview with Charles Knitter, the creator of the protest against banning To Kill A Mockingbird.  We found him on Facebook and sent him a message asking whether he would be okay with us interviewing him. He responded really quickly saying that he would like to help us with our project by allowing us to interview him. Sophia sent him some questions over e-mail because he is four hours away and we think that a phone interview would be more difficult due to having to record it where there might be technical problems.

We sent him many questions about his experience such as:

  • Did you grow up in Accomack County and if not how long have you lived there?
  • How did you first hear about the To Kill A Mockingbird case?
  • What sparked your interest in the challenge or brought it to your attention? Do you have any children in the school system or work in the schools?
  • Why did you decide to hold a protest?
    • What was the goal of the protest?
    • How did you choose who was going to speak at the protest?
    • How do you think the protest went?
  • What can you tell me about the petition that a student created in the school?
  • We noticed that you learned about the mess up in policy after the protest and that it was upsetting. Can you explain your understanding of the policy and what the mistake was?
  • What is your personal experience with To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

We hope to get a response from him because his perspective is really interesting. He is not a teacher nor a student but he felt so strongly about this case that he wanted to get involved. He went through the trouble of organizing this event and getting historians to speak at it. We would like to know why he decided to take these actions and whether he felt that they had an effect on the book being placed back on the shelves.

We have also messaged the historian he had speak at the event and the student that started the petition. Hopefully, they respond because we think that what they have to say is really important in understanding what really happened.  Sophia has also called the school to try to access the initial complaint so that we can find exactly the wording that was placed in the complaint and Marie Rothstein Williams’ (parent who complained) contact information so we can get an interview from her.

Progress Report #2

Found on Creative Commons from http://www.picserver.org/p/progress.html

Sophia and I are making really great progress in trying to get our website completed. We finished our contract this past week which is a great help in making sure that everything gets completed. We each have something due every week so that the work is evenly divided.

As of right now, we have a lot of research complete. I have done historical research in order to give a broader context for the time period when To Kill A Mockingbird was written and when the complaint was filed. We both have done research on the Accomack case and the policy changes that occurred afterwards. We have some information on the initial complaint but we are still waiting for the request form from the school.

We haven’t had much luck in getting responses from people involved in the case. We have reached out to five people with only one response. Three of the interview inquiries were sent on Facebook because we could not find any other contact information. We contacted the students who started a petition against the ban, a speaker at the protest, and the man who started the protest. The leader of the protest has responded and we have to discuss how we will get an interview. We sent e-mails to the two librarians at the school with no response as of this point.

We have picked a theme for our website and have created every page that we’re going to use.  We haven’t completed any of the pages yet but we are getting there. We have our color scheme picked out. It’s burgundy to match the cover of the novel.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks we will get a response from the school allowing us to access the initial complaint form. It would also be nice to get more responses from the people we reached out to, even if they don’t want to be interviewed. In this next week, our Harper Lee page should be up as Sophia is doing the research while I am going to edit it and format it onto the page.  

Survey of Technology

Taken form Creative Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Umw-seal.png

At the University of Mary Washington, we have a lot of tools at our disposal that we can use in order to make our site. On our campus, we have a building called the Hurley Convergence Center. The HCC is dedicated to the use of digital technology and has many resources available to students.

One of the main digital tools Sophia and I are going to be using is obviously WordPress. We can embed our other tools to our site in order to make the most of the different digital technologies that we have available.

We have talked about using Timeline.js so that we can show how quickly the Accomack county case went. A timeline would be a fun, interactive experience for the user to better understand what actually happened. Reading a list of chronology could be boring so we hope that this makes our site a bit more exciting.

We also are going to use StoryMap in order to showcase all of the place where To Kill A Mockingbird has been challenged. We may not be able to find all of them but having a sense of place would be interesting.

In making our site, we are looking to make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing so we played around with different colors and themes in order to make people want to look at our content. Sophia has had the most experience with WordPress so she has taught me a lot about how to get it to cooperate.

In our interview with the research librarian, Sophia used her cell phone recorder. We have at least one other interview to do so we have to figure out whether that person wants to talk over the phone or email.

Although I don’t know much about it, I know that our school has a Digital Knowledge center. They provide tutoring for help on digital project and offer workshops on tools. For example, they have an upcoming workshop on Augmented Reality tools. I believe that Sophia knows people there so if we do need help it is readily available.

These are the tools that I know we have at our disposal. A lot of these are going to be useful. There may be more that I don’t even know we have so that will be fun to discover more.

Survey of Technology

Taken form Creative Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Umw-seal.png

At the University of Mary Washington, we have a lot of tools at our disposal that we can use in order to make our site. On our campus, we have a building called the Hurley Convergence Center. The HCC is dedicated to the use of digital technology and has many resources available to students.

One of the main digital tools Sophia and I are going to be using is obviously WordPress. We can embed our other tools to our site in order to make the most of the different digital technologies that we have available.

We have talked about using Timeline.js so that we can show how quickly the Accomack county case went. A timeline would be a fun, interactive experience for the user to better understand what actually happened. Reading a list of chronology could be boring so we hope that this makes our site a bit more exciting.

We also are going to use StoryMap in order to showcase all of the place where To Kill A Mockingbird has been challenged. We may not be able to find all of them but having a sense of place would be interesting.

In making our site, we are looking to make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing so we played around with different colors and themes in order to make people want to look at our content. Sophia has had the most experience with WordPress so she has taught me a lot about how to get it to cooperate.

In our interview with the research librarian, Sophia used her cell phone recorder. We have at least one other interview to do so we have to figure out whether that person wants to talk over the phone or email.

Although I don’t know much about it, I know that our school has a Digital Knowledge center. They provide tutoring for help on digital project and offer workshops on tools. For example, they have an upcoming workshop on Augmented Reality tools. I believe that Sophia knows people there so if we do need help it is readily available.

These are the tools that I know we have at our disposal. A lot of these are going to be useful. There may be more that I don’t even know we have so that will be fun to discover more.

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