Looking back at the course now, I’m glad that I took it. I was able to experience things that I would not have otherwise been able to see or experience. From 3D printers, to ancient (er well really old) Euclidian texts, I was able to expose myself to a new area of study. Through this class, I’ve been able to find a new appreciation for technology. I’ve even come to almost cherish my computer… Almost.

I remember looking at the different databases covering events in recent history (i.e. 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Occupy Movement) and being inspired to create a Vancouver 2010 Volunteer experience database (www.bluejacketmemories.ca). I realized that history is not just for the professors or students of higher education, but rather for everyone. I’ve come to realize the value of citizen histories and the individual stories that add value to historical events. Reading a textbook about an event is one thing. It is still another to be able receive information first-hand and being able to vicariously share their experience.

This course has also exposed me to new resources, both online and on-campus, that I will be able to use throughout my academic career (which is only at the beginning). I remember passing by the Rare Book Room and collections in the basement of the Dana Porter Library, only imagining what cool and awesome artifacts lay there. Now I know that there are not only valuable documents and archives, but also valuable equipment (i.e. the Book-to-Net Scanner) that are located there. I also now know about the N-Gram Viewer, a valuable tool when it comes to textual analysis. I have a feeling that the N-Gram Viewer will be a very useful resource, not only for history courses, but for any other social science or humanities course.

I’ve also come to appreciate working online and programming. Working on my final project sparked an interest in web design that I didn’t know I had. The successes, and more importantly, the failures that I encountered while putting this project together were, dare I say, fun. I remember at the beginning of the term, I was quite skeptical about working with computers and the internet. Now, I find that the things that once turned me off about working with computers (tedious work, configuration, technical crap), are some of the things I most enjoy about working online.

More importantly, I’ve come to learn more about myself. I realized that I’m more resourceful than I originally gave myself credit for. While working on my final project, I used various tools and found work-around solutions for problems that I encountered (despite having to call the GoDaddy helpline 5 times).  I’ve also come to realize that a site is never truly “complete” as there will always be something new to add, something different to modify, or something that you just want to try to see how it looks on the site. I think one of the most valuable parts of working on this project was coming to the realization that nothing is ever perfect, nor should it be. There should always be something to improve upon. 

After reading my original blog post, I find that my view on digital history has changed. Originally, I thought of Digital History as something far-fetched and ‘out there’. It was one of those specialty courses with no actual practical application to the real world. After taking the course however, I found that this was further from the truth. Many of the skills that I learned in the class are actually applicable to the real world.

 Now I feel confident moving forward on my quest to become a “digital person”… Almost.