When I signed up for this class I had no idea what it would be like or what we would be doing during the semester. I must say I’m glad I did decide to take it. It’s unlike any other class I’ve ever had, and I think I’m more proud of its results than my other classes. We didn’t end the semester with papers; we ended it with websites. I’ve always hated the nature of papers, in that you spend time and energy on them (well, some of us), and they’re mostly just going to be between you and your professor. But with a website, everyone with an internet connection can see your work, and I think it gives you more of a feeling of accomplishment.
Not only can a variety of people see your work, they can directly interact with you. We gave out flyers just this morning, and we’ve already got our first email response! Sure, the person is telling us that further research has proven wrong the previously believed date of the Rowe House, but that’s actually a good thing. We can easily fix the mistake because of the nature of the web, and that correct information will be spread. You can’t do that with a book: see a cookbook with a recipe calling for “salt and freshly ground black people.” Oops.
The teamwork is perhaps what made me most weary at the start. No one really likes teamwork, but a project like this would have been difficult to complete alone in the span of time that we had. This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on with a group, and I found that we worked well together. We got along, and we each pulled our own weight. I found that the most stressful part of the teamwork was right at the end. I pretty much had my stuff out of the way, but there was still a few days left before the deadline, and I had to wait for my group to finish the little things they needed to get done. Basically, I was left twiddling my thumbs, partly wanting to fix things myself, but realizing that it wasn’t my responsibility (unless it didn’t get done at all, which wasn’t a problem with my folks) and that I really needed to trust them and avoid being an obnoxious micromanager. My internship boss’s response to that: “welcome to my life.” Another grey-hair producing factor is that I had to go back and check to see if everybody did things the same way. Sure enough, we did things a little differently, such as how we cited sources. Communication is an important component for teamwork, and though I think my group did it well, we could have used a little more work.
Ultimately, I’ve very happy with our site. I’m still not overly found of the way Omeka looks or some of its limits, but we worked through those things and produced something really great. My biggest concern was possible navigation problems, but it didn’t end up being as troublesome as we thought it might be. At least, I hope not. That will be up to our visitors who are not familiar with the Omeka layout to decide, and I hope that they inform us if there are problems.
We didn’t end up having to drop any of our contract plans or even alter them much, if at all, and we met our deadlines on time. We had a great map group who got the job done on time and did it well. It almost seems too easy, actually. If only the real world were so simple.
To conclude, I looked through the other sites, and they all look great!