HASTAC Reflections: Year One

HASTAC Reflections: Year One

I decided to do a bit of a “first-year reflection” style post here, in summation of my two semesters spent as a HASTAC Scholar and one semester spent as a SUNY New Paltz DASH Lab intern. In short, I’ve learned a lot, still have a far way to go, and am constantly amazed at how much info, technology, and programs are out there– along with the dedicated people that use them. 

Fall 2017

  • My very first HASTAC blog post and involvement in the cohort. 

My Comp I students utilizing Hawksites as a digital platform for online persona creation. 

The assignment was to create a New Paltz equivalent of a WordPress blog, put up content, and write a paper summarizing the process. My intent was for them to examine what changes when taking text and putting it into a space that a wider audience could view, and gearing them up for practicing writing in a technical or professional sense. Their given situation was to create a site for a job, either fictionalized or real. Some struggled with finding a given path, but others went right into immediate job prospects. Jobs ranged from political science internships, daycare positions, and culinary careers.

To prepare for the assignment, we spent some class time reviewing what aesthetic decisions (fonts, colors, image placement) go into crafting a site that fits your personal message or “persona.” A good analogy for getting to this would be Pinterest boards or mood boards, objects and things that make up a larger theme or idea! This sort of thinking went into working with Wordclouds as well. We also spent a full class learning Hawksites, navigating through creating accounts and getting started with basics. 

Teaching in a computer lab benefited this part of the stage greatly. I also found it helpful to have one day of full workshopping, where students worked individually on their projects. This was a challenging project with lots of small moving parts. Generally, my students felt happy with their finished products and enjoyed the challenge of writing and composing in a new context. 

  • Getting through one of the most academically rigorous semester I’ve experienced so far, along with teaching and working weekends. This one was a toughie and taught me that sometimes there isn’t enough time or energy or proper headspace to do everything at once. 

Spring 2018

  • Beginning my journey as a DASH Lab Fellow.
  • Teaching my first DASH Lab orientation to faculty and students based around Omeka.net.
  • Helping out with the launch of the “I am/ We are” podcast series with the DASH Lab, DASH Club, and DASH Board.
  • Learning how to navigate new to me digital tools: programs like Audacity, SketchUp, and ArcGIS as well as skills like small scale coding, sound editing, and video essays. The other interns in the DASHLab space were fantastic individuals with a wide range of skillsets, and I will miss them terribly (they all graduated!). My faculty advisor Melissa Rock, a professor in the Geography, Asian Studies, and WGS Studies at New Paltz, was likewise amazing. 
  • Learning how much more there is to learn in the DASH Lab space. 
  • Having my Composition II students attend a sound booth and Audacity training session then an images/video copyright library training session. These were steps in having students work on a video essay assignment. The video essays were created using WeVideo, and were based off of students’ much longer 6-8 page multi-source research essays. Primarily, we looked at information getting transformed through medium. How does medium affect message? What tools afford different styles of persuasion? What tools are easier or more difficult to work with? 

The most difficult parts of the assignment were the initial slump of working with audio recording and editing, finding properly copyrighted images, then using WeVideo to put all the parts together. Some students had a difficult time navigating how to cite material in MLA. 

While many felt that the project was cumbersome while they were doing it, at the end of the semester most found the video essay to be a favorite Composition II assignment. I wish I had a bit more time to teach video essays, but the semester moved at a quick pace! There was also no specified computer room space to teach in this semester. 

  • Brainstorming, organizing, and participating in my first Twitter chat (Pedagogy Project 2.0) with some other talented HASTAC Scholars and our peer mentor Kalle Westerling. Here are some reflections from that chat, written by Kylie Korsnack!

Fall 2018-Spring 2019 semester goals as a HASTAC Scholar:

  • Attend the HASTAC 2019: “Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education” conference in Vancouver. Also, getting my feelers out for other academic conferences. Another shout out to those that already offered suggestions via Twitter.
  • Become a bit more active on Twitter.
  • Expand the DASH Lab and DASH Club. 
  • Learn, read, explore, interact, and make more connections to the DH world. Also…To keep in mind that there is always room to grow and that resting is sometimes okay too. 

How was everyone else’s first year? Second year? Other amounts of years?