I think the WIki turned out really well. I wish it could be more astheticly pleasing but I guess being a Wiki it must be pretty cut and dry. I think it would be neat if we would have had a page of video links maybe really interesting ones about different aspects of Victorian life. If I could change one thing about the Wiki it would be the home page. Although it’s neatly organized it still seems complicated and not attractive. I do think the organization of our Wiki is a definite strong point. The different pages with the periodicals and authors listed alphabetically would be helpful if I was a user searching for something specific. The extra links page would be helpful as well. Overall, I’m very happy with the way the Wiki turned out and am proud to have been a part of its creation.
The editing stages of the Wiki were not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. The two peer introductions I was assigned were well written. However, it was difficult to do major editing on periodicals, stories and authors I know nothing about. As for editing and doing my own work, sometimes there were rough patches. For instance, two sources had different information on the editors of my periodical so I had to find several more sources to discount the incorrect information. I enjoyed learning the TEI coding. That part of editing was interesting to me. It was however tedious to get the footnotes to work correctly. The periodical links were not difficult to edit. We each were assigned two of the periodicals that were included on the site and we just had to double-check the information. That portion of the editing was simple. Overall, the editing was not nearly as strenuous as I had anticipated.
The wiki seems to really be coming together in this last week. It is a relief to have everything on the wiki, but being part of the continuity group, I am starting to feel the pressure of making sure everything is up to par. We have divided different tasks to each group member, and we are each responsible for our decided sections. My main concern is dealing with all the links–I am still technologically stupid so I hope that they are all in working order. After all the headaches, I am really glad to have this project to show for our work. It was an innovative assignment and I can’t think of anything else that would have been as creative or left me with such an accomplished feeling.
In reviewing the process of how the wiki was constructed, the most confusing and frustrating part of the project for students was the structural format of the web page. Considering this was a first time experiment for the class as a whole, it presented fundamental “start-up” challenges that would be polished through a second crack at the wiki. As a whole, our class did a great job of effectively communicating our individual wants for the wiki in order to create a “group mind” on the how the page was to be formatted and linked. In the future, rather than using email to communicate between group partners and class peers, I would suggest creating a class forum. In using our student email accounts, notifications and deadlines where lost and left students confused. In using an online forum, students could post questions and problems on a question board and also pass email through one source. This would help students be certain of their responsibilities and deadlines. On the forum, there would be a roster and a contact information page to make communication easier. Any helpful common research links, instructions for linking, deadlines, and or general MLA formatting information could be posted on the forum. Overall, our class did a good job of syncing each individuals information in a timely and organized manner. But, I do think a forum would reduce frustration and confusion for future students creating a class wiki.
Our collective brainchild is coming to life! Soon, all in search of information on Victorian short stories will have a beautiful resource. How exciting is that?! Pretty darn, I’d say. While working on pulling the author pages together tonight, I felt a few emotions. Most of them were good. Firstly, I was amazed at how quickly everyone in the class has picked up using links and coding to create the pages that we have on the site. As I created the links between the author and story pages, I felt like a technology whiz. In all actuality, I’m sure my actions are quite simple within the realm of all things technical, but it felt advanced to me at least.
The thing that I love best about our wiki, aside from the wonderful information and personal insight provided by my fellow class members and myself, is the connectability of it all. I’ll clarify, because I’m pretty sure that “connectability” isn’t even a word (Yikes, I’m an English major). I like that I can click on links throughout the stories and they can send me to more information and pages that we have created – just like a real site! I guess I’m just astounded at how legitimate it all is.
While reflecting on this entire process, I’ve been thinking about how this experience has made me more marketable as a future employee. Creating a wiki site from scratch is no easy task. From the organization and delegation of tasks to editing and placing links, these skills can be used in a variety of vocations. The world is online these days, so having experience creating an online platform for information is extremely valuable. I suppose we have Professor Chang to thank for giving us this experience. Thanks, Professor Chang. Now, about those doughnuts for the launch party……
Well, the semester is wrapping up and I have finished editing the short story pages for the wiki. This took a while, of course with stories varying in length, but it is finished. Mainly at this point, I am not too fond of having my picture taken for the site. Not all of us are photogenic and the last thing I want is a picture of me up on a website that I don’t find to be a picture I even feel comfortable with having. I rarely make myself up for class and I’m not going to start tomorrow. I even put both fists up yesterday after the proposal was made, after Professor Chang asked for opinions. I don’t think any decision was really made, but chances are I’m going to show up to class tomorrow with a camera being flashed everywhere…not cool.
Aside from that, it’s been interesting to see how many of us have been able to put up footnotes successfully with the html coding, while others, including myself, have not. At this point, which I felt this might happen, is why I proposed we not try to do anything too fancy that we weren’t positive would work for everyone. I feel for the Continuity team because this is something I think they’re going to end up dealing with, and it could have been prevented.
Nonetheless, I am very proud of what our class has accomplished. This class began as a class that would need to be adapted many times and I feel we have all made it through successfully. The wiki site is functional. Though we may not have all the fancy do-dads, the content is there. The content is why this site is important in the first place. Looking around, I have been very impressed with how we have all pulled our individual work together to form this site. You all should look if you haven’t! It really is something. I honestly am grateful I chose this project for my capstone class versus a long research paper. I have learned more in this class about practical skills that I will need in the future and that is definitely more important than a headache and a 10 page paper that you may or may not be proud of. So for everyone in the class, we did a great job, you all. Let’s drink to that!
When I decided to be part of the wiki images group I didn’t realize that I would be continuing my research of the Victorian 19th century. Searching for the images of authors, editors of periodicals, covers of periodicals, and various imagery that relates to the stories is proving to be a challenge. The pictures from this time period are as elusive as their authors and the history of the tales.
My group has been using Google documents to communicate our findings between us. I didn’t realize how ingenious the invention of the googledoc was until I realized how many different tool there are within the googledoc interface. You can upload and download pdfs, and jpeg images. You can communicate with one another in the chat forum on the side of the page, which really helps when everyone has conflicting schedules and can’t meet. I would recommend this helpful tool in other group projects, especially large ones that fall at the end of a busy semester.
The wiki image group is not finished quite yet. We’re still delving deep into the google inter-webs, hoping to find that rare picture that will enhance our burgeoning wiki page.
This week, and last, I spent a lot of time working on html, an experience I’ve never dealt with before. Listening in class to classmates, a lot of people are having a really hard time. Pages and titles are getting switched with other pages and titles, and people’s work is disappearing. I’m thrilled that this isn’t happening to me and my work. HTML templates were sent out to the class by classmates, and another classmate showed us how to copy other websites html’s. This made a scary experience much simpler and I’m excited to see how the wiki is turning out. A lot of the stuff I’m doing now is just nitpicky- it’s kind of relaxing to have most of it done. Now I’m waiting to be able to work on the Continuity group- the work for this group begins after all the other editors are done.
So, this week I’ve been trying to fix minor things. You would think it wouldn’t take that long, but you’d be wrong. I feel like every time I log onto the wiki, I find something else that needs to be changed, edited, deleted or added. Things just keep popping up. For some reason, some things don’t seem to be sticking either. I added breaks in between all of my sections, but for some reason they keep getting deleted. I log back on and all of a sudden there are no breaks. Today, I finally loaded the PDF of my short story onto the wiki. It took me a while to figure out how to do it. Mostly, the reason for this is that my short story was not one file, but six different ones (one for each page). I had to sit down and figure out how to combine them all into one. Once I did that, I it was fairly easy. I should have done it sooner.
The wiki page has been coming together very nicely. I was surprised when I actually posted the more finalized version of the introduction. I think we can finally see what the page is supposed to look like. I know in the beginning I was very confused and unsure of what the final product would be. As a class, we have come together and I think we’ve finally figured out each of our responsibilities for the page. I’m excited about the final product. After editing my introduction, I was so overwhelmed. I felt like it was too long and gave too many details about the story. The HTML coding has to be one of the more stressful parts of this entire project. The footnote coding was not that bad, but it definitely gave me a headache. I think we did just enough coding to almost understand it without being too overwhelmed. If we had to create the entire page in codes I’m sure the class would have had way more problems.
I also enjoy working in groups editing the work of our peers. I think it will be good to show the final product as something that we worked on collectively and separately. We show that we have conducted a lot of research and taken the time to learn more about Victorian Short Fiction authors. I know in my story I learned about panoramas and different scientific phenomenon that I never imagined would be relevant when starting this project.