Out of all the classes I have taken at the university so far, I think History of the Information Age had been my favorite. That may seem odd since 400 level classes have a reputation for being some of the hardest and most time-consuming courses at UMW, but this course has easily been one of the most enjoyable ones I have taken in a while. Granted, this was the first 400 level class I have taken at the university and I have had Dr. McClurken for a previous class (and will have him again in the fall!), so I may be more than a little biased.
Out of all the classes I have taken at the university, this one is definitely unique. I did not expect to be able to help write the syllabus or come up with the assignments. I knew coming into the class that the students would have some say in the types of assignments and activities we would do, but I had no idea that the class would basically be student-led. This was a welcome surprise that made the class both enjoyable and informative depending on who was discussion leader. Moreover, there was a lot of flexibility on how assignments and discussions could go. Personally, there were a few weeks when I was discussion leader that I knew very little on the topics we were discussing, yet everyone pitched in to make the experience less daunting!
Looking back on all the assignments we created, I think the Colorizing Old Photographs and Live Tweeting Historical Events were my favorite. I liked these two assignments the most for two very different reasons. The colorizing photographs assignment taught me a new digital skill that I have been quick to put to use for other assignments and classes. I taught myself how to use Pixlr in the week the assignment was given to use. Since then, I have used Pixlr to create the propaganda poster for this class, create thumbnails for archival purposes and YouTube videos, and just for my own amusement. It is a very useful medium to create in, and it is free! On the other hand, the live tweeting assignment taught me about limiting my words to tell a story. Any professor I have ever had has told me that I have an issue with going overboard when it comes to word requirements. I cannot help that I have too much to say on a topic! This assignment forced me to be very brief and very specific, which I think is a good exercise for any history major.
Other than assignments, I have enjoyed looking over everyone’s blog posts for the semester and how they shared their own knowledge in class discussions. It has been a fun class. I know I will cherish my experiences with everyone involved and contemplate communications and digital mediums as I start to take more communications-based classes in the fall.
Thanks for having me in this class, Dr. McClurken! I look forward to seeing more of you in the fall!