Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tallies and work

Forgive the format of these blog posts, but I've found that stream-of-conscious writing works best for me to detail my thesis work. To begin for today:

I often joke that in the past few months I've developed running tallies for things that I've considered innumerable times. To date, the list includes:
-Rewrites to my thesis
-Times I've asked myself, "Is a Masters degree really worth it?"
-Throwing my computer out the window and quitting my job
-Eloping rather than dealing with the intricacies of planning a wedding

and, my latest addition:
-How many Starbucks iced coffees have I bought so far this semester?

That new addition to the list scares me the most. 


As for my thesis work, last night I started reading through some of the sources I've compiled thus far, and I found myself feeling disheartened. A few that I thought would be spot-on proved to be disappointing, and I'm hoping that I have more luck today. What worries me more than anything is that I'm going to spend a lot of time doing research, only to prove to myself that my thesis isn't valid. Sometimes I wonder why I let myself wander so far from my literary roots.

Other times, however, I am heartened by my ability to tie the literature I am passionate about to methodologies that may help teachers, and I do genuinely believe in the validity of my work. I'm excited by the potential to go to OER18 and possibly present my work, and in those moments I find the strength to move on.


I have my research split into three piles-- "Education," "Digital Humanities," and "Literature." I've been sorting my sources into these three piles as best I can, to pretend I have some semblance of order, even though some of my research crosses boundaries. First, I read through my "Education" binder and found one dud article, one kinda-outdated-but-maybe(?)-helpful article, and one great article. I used the Works Cited article to find about more sources I may be able to use. I'll look them up on my train ride tomorrow. 

The education sources have been great ways to learn about how teachers have worked in introduce technology to their classrooms, although in reading through these sources I find more mention to tools, rather than blatant mention of the digital humanities-- which makes sense, coming from an education standpoint. For this reason, I'm glad for my wealth of DH sources.

I found similar success with my DH sources, in reading through the articles I found more sources to check out and, even better, I found examples of DH projects which, in my opinion, will be powerful arguments for the cross-disciplinary nature of DH.

The thought occurred to me that I might use more advanced DH work as a way to either start or end my thesis, to show readers why digital tools are important. On the one hand, using and Voyant is much different than using a text analysis program, but on the other hand, you have to start somewhere. By making students aware of what can be done with digital tools, you are showing them potential doors they might consider going through in the future.  

1 comment:

  1. The tally list is reasonable... especially the coffee item.

    I for one like this short bit of updates, it gives a sense of motion, of progress.

    My hunch is, from seeing some of the earlier lists, is you might be a bit broad on references. You will need a few for general coverage, rationale for education, but the more you can go deeper to readings that are closer to your project (which is still forming) the better.

    I'm thinking maybe the DH label is a bit of a trap ? If you define your scope as something like "digital tools to aid the understanding of literature" (though more concisely), it matters not if a tool or group of them is DH.

    Maybe you have gotten to that point already! Again, I suggest larger categories of tools. And you do not have to try to cover all possible tools, you can make a case why "annotation tools" is a worthy category, especially thinking about cross discipline focus.


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