Coming from a family of near-Luddites, the technology component of this course has been both very challenging and incredibly helpful. When it comes to building a website, though, I have a hard time being creative or imagining what types of tools are even appropriate to use, let alone how to use them. After surveying some available resources, I know I have more options, but it’s still difficult for me to visualize our end product as anything besides a relatively basic WordPress site. I imagine my confidence will build with time.
Technology on Campus
USAO’s campus seems to be adapting much more slowly to technological advancements in education than other universities. This is probably due to the fact that we are, A: in the middle of rural Oklahoma, B: dealing with a temperamental state government that funds public higher education very poorly, and C: have fewer than a thousand students total. A lot of the on-campus resources that would be useful for our project just aren’t there, but it makes sense because I can’t imagine how rarely they’d ever be used. So far, though, the only thing that might be a problem is the lack of audio recording equipment for interviews. I can use my phone, but I’d like to have better-quality recordings on the site.
Although there is no digital humanities lab or fancy equipment, we do have access to many online humanities databases that will prove especially helpful for the historical context section I’m putting together for the site, like the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Collection and the University of Oklahoma Digital Collections.
All we know so far about incorporating fancy features into our WordPress site is that we definitely want to include a detailed timeline from TimelineJS. I am also interested in adding some nice infographics from either Infogram or Venngage, both of which facilitate some pretty nice-looking graphics. I think this might be a nice tool for explaining certain elements of the Ellen Hopkins censorship case in ways that are readable and user-friendly. I will probably end up picking one site over the other once I gain more familiarity with both. I would also like to continue using Coggle to organize my thoughts about the different sections of the site because I really enjoyed its interactivity and ease of use.
So far, WordPress has been relatively easy for my technologically-incompetent brain to wrap itself around, but I looked around for some tutorials which have been helpful in demonstrating the different things I can do with the site. Learn.wordpress.com has sections about publishing content, personalizing themes, and (very helpful) definitions for WordPress lingo that I wasn’t familiar with.
Ultimately, this technology survey made the idea of building a website a lot less intimidating. A lot of these tools have very accessible tutorials and FAQ sections that will continue to be helpful down the road. I might still not get too fancy with my share of the website, but it’s nice knowing that I have the resources to make it what it needs to be so that it’s as reader-friendly and informative as I anticipate.