An Evening in The Park

As I headed outside of my house in an attempt to be with nature, it took a long walk to truly be without the buildings, powerlines, houses, etc. I headed out to see something beautiful which is exactly what I found. After walking about a mile and a half, past the chaos of Main Street, I finally found a place of solace with trees, plants, and open grass. The small park on the end of Main Street, although still somewhat close to the hustle and bustle of town life, was a small getaway in its own right.

As I sat down underneath a giant tree, I made an active effort to put my phone down and observe the things around me. The first thing I noticed was the sounds I was hearing. The spring has brought beautiful sounds of birds to life and when looking up at the sky, I saw birds soaring from tree to tree and robins looking for worms in the grass. The grass itself was cold and fresh, as it had rained the day before. The sky was blue and nearly cloudless as if everything bad had been cried out by the clouds the day before. The breeze was light, causing the leaves to sway in the wind and create a light whooshing sound. It was, by almost anyone’s definition, a perfect spring day.

I decided that to take a different approach to view the nature around me, I would lie down underneath the big tree to see what I would find. When studying the tree closely, I began to notice just how unique it was. Instead of leaves, the tree was composed of thousands of tiny white flowers that made up the mass of a huge tree. There were hundreds of little clusters of flowers, about six in each cluster that made up what would normally be leaves. The flowers were tiny and delicate, something I found surprising. I felt amazed that something so little could withstand the ruthlessness of nature. Wind, rain, storms, and blazing sun all seem like they could destroy the tiny flowers. After looking down at the ground underneath the trees, my feelings had proven to be correct, as there were tiny petals dusted across the grass. Although they are flowers, I was surprised by their lack of scent. They were simply a visual sight to enjoy.

After observing the tree for quite some time, I began to notice something else peeking through the sky. The moon was coming out for the night and although it was slight, since it was still early, it looked beautiful next to the white flower tree. In the shape of a waxing crescent, it was a typical moon, but not unable to be appreciated.

One of the final things I noticed since it was also in my view was a pine tree that seemed to be something out of a cartoon. Instead of sticking out, the branches drooped downward, as if the weight of the needles was too much for the branch to bear. The overall downward slope of the tree gave an ominous feel, much different than the delicate tree that stood beside it. It felt as though the trees came from two different worlds, one a more forgiving place than the other, however beautiful in their own ways. By stopping and looking more closely at nature through a different lens, there is much to observe that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

[![Tree Image](/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2024/04/Tree-Image-pdf-234×300.jpg){.alignnone}](/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2024/04/Tree-Image-pdf-234×300.jpg)

Growing and Learning with Code

My learning in this course so far as exposed me to the depths of english literature, books, novels, and how the digitalization of books has changed how I personally view literature. In the beginning of the semester, we read and discussed *Broad Band* by Claire L. Evans, which tells the untold stories of women who broke barriers and were early programming pioneers. Learning about their contributions to computing, programming, and the internet was knowledge I wasn’t fully aware of.

After our discussions about Broad Band, we started to experiment with GitBash and our Visual Studio Code. I was confused with where the course was going. It felt as though there was a shift in the course, and suddenly we were no longer talking about the women who created these programs, we were actually doing it ourselves. I struggled to understand what the connection was between the english discipline and something as complex as coding. This was a really big switch for me. Growing up I was someone who found a lot of comfort in my daily reading and writing. I never found coding or programming of any sort to be of any real interest. In my head at the time, there was no connection between the two, and I decided to keep it that way up until I attended college.

I was very disinterested in coding and programming because I didn’t really understand it. At one point, my parents enrolled me to take a coding class it felt like I was being pushed into a space I was not quite ready for, because I had no knowledge on how these skills related to what I wanted to do in the future. I found myself questioning the relationship between english and coding, how it would directly benefit my future as an english major and wondering why it mattered for someone like me to learn about this.

When we opened up our GitBash and started creating folders and files, I realized that this was not as complicated as I thought I was. I was being stubborn and unwilling to open my abilities to something new. By enrolling in this class, I realized that my skills are neither above nor below anyone else in the classroom. Realistically, we are all in the same boat!

This class helped me realize that there is a deeper meaning in what we are doing. The history goes back further than I could have imagined. I also realized that I am not alone in this process. 7 years ago, I was completely unaware on how serious the digital world was getting. I have so much more to learn about the connection between english and coding. Coding is a language within itself and requires a different level of writing to understand. There will be a lot of things I will struggle to understand, but these are just small bumps in the road.

Unexpected Surprises in this Class…

Hello!

I guess I’ll start off by saying sorry for the delay in this post.

When I first saw this class being offered, I assumed from the title alone that this class would be about the ways in which human minds have begun to change due to the introduction of new forms of reading and different ways of taking in information. Probably due to my Education major, I expected to have conversations about the ways in which reading in different formats can change our comprehension, which of course connects back to education and the implementation of text in a classroom (especially ELA!). Upon realizing that my assumption was not entirely correct, and that we would be focusing on different aspects of not only regular but digital literacy and how we can use it to better understand and interpret texts, I was in equal parts fascinated, excited, and terrified.

I have never been very literate when it comes to technology, despite being part of the first generation to really grow up with it. I was in late middle school when I received an iPod Touch for Christmas, which was really my first exposure to this new era of technology. I suppose some of this is due to the fact that my parents seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake, as it appears after a quick engine search that the first iPod Touch was released when I was only seven years old. I definitely recall my parents having flip phones until the late 2000s, and I grew up playing games on a clunky old computer. All of this to say I always felt a couple years behind when it comes to digital literacy/understanding computers.

This is exactly why I found the subject material of this class to be so exciting and daunting at the same time. I couldn’t wait to develop some skills and knowledge of computers: how they work, why they work, why and how they were invented, etc.

When people ask me what classes I am taking this semester, I even find myself referring to this course as a “basic computers class” rather than an “English class,” while I of course, find both to be true.

I am especially excited to be familiarizing myself with terms such as “metareading” and “digital scholarly editing,” and seeing how these can be applied when looking at a text such as *Walden.* I am excited to be moving forward in this study, and I now understand why *Walden* is the perfect subject of study for this class, with several editions and constant edits being made by the original author.

This study, and I suppose then, this class as a whole, has changed the way I see text: it feels more fluid now, less concrete. I can understand that a “book” can be an amalgamation of ideas which span the stories of countless people. Text feels much more alive now, something which feels counterintuitive when considering the metacritical and hyperanalytical ways in which we are viewing it for the purposes of this class.

I am so looking forward to continuing these studies in the class and moving forward, and I cannot wait to see what else we can uncover together.

Thank you!

Griffin’s super cool (and definitely not late) Introspective thoughts

Believe it or not, I figured out how to get one of these things open! All by myself too, sort of. I’ve been trouble-shooting for the last 30 or 40 minutes, pretty sure I was just using the wrong command for what I was trying to do, but we’re here, I got the file open, that’s what matters.

So, here we are, writing a blog post, getting all introspective and stuff. How have I changed in the last month or two? Well, I guess I will start off by saying that I have always had a lot of hobbies. I love trying new things and developing new skills, and I especially love learning. However, this has started to become a double edged sword as I’ve gotten older. I really don’t have the time anymore to engage in any of my hobbies frequently enough to dive any deeper, learn any more, or get any better. I love playing guitar, for example, but I’m lucky if I’ve got it in me I’ll pick it up and practice for maybe 20-30 minutes once a week. That is hardly enough for me to even mantain the skills I acquired when I had more time. I wish I could just do my hobbies full time, but I’m sure everybody wishes that.

My point is, Computer science and programming has always been a passive interest of mine. I’ve never really given it the time necessary to develop any skills, but it’s something I find incredibly interesting. The first time I got the oppurtunity to dive a little deeper was when I was taking a few online classes during the COVID lockdowns at a community college. Unfortunately the lockdown rocked my mental health pretty good, and so I didn’t retain much of anything. I don’t think I even passed the class. I did take a game design class which involved doing some work in Unity, which was super fun, but I didn’t get too much further in that one either.

So, until taking this class, my interest in computer science was only able to manifest itself in the odd youtube video I’d watch about making DOOM run on an array of lemons, or creating a semi-functional version of Microsoft Paint in Minecraft. All I’d learned from my brush with actually engaging in computer science was that I’d definitely need to dedicate more time than I had been able if I stood any chance of understanding and retaining any of it.

After the first few weeks of this class I was already hooked. Getting the command line open for the first time, making directories and all that, boy it felt neat! Unfortunately after missing several weeks of this semester due to illness, I found myself pretty behind, and I’m still playing catch up. Hell, this blog post is already gonna be at least 3 days late, assuming I manage to finish it today. I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but then again, I did manage to open this file. Pretty sure I even did it correctly, so I must be doing something right, right?

So, where am I going from here? Well for one, I’d love to catch up with the rest of the class. It feels like for every step I take forward, everyone else is taking two. I’m sure most of the class is struggling in their own way, this kind of material isn’t easy, but that two and a half weeks of class I missed certainly didn’t help me, that’s for sure.

Becoming Confident with My Computer

One of the most important understandings that this course has brought to me so far is the fact that I am not inherently “bad with technology.” Throughout my years in secondary school, I thought of my lack of understanding or profieciency with computers was something I should just accept as a weakness of mine. Obviously I strived for improvement, but I always, to some degree, thought of it as an area in which I would perpetually be one step behind my peers.

This outlook has changed since beginning this class. I now know that I am capable of learning how to use technology to my advantage, instead of viewing it as some entirely foreign concept at best, and my enemy at worst. This was not an immediate transition. I ran into diffuclties quite early on in the course when I could not download the apps necessary to do the classwork on (such as this very program). Overcoming that obstacle, and learning more about my device during the process, allowed me to feel like I had more control over my computer, and more autonomy in my usage of it.

I would not go so far as to say that I understand computers perfectly; it is akin to learning a new language, a process which involves much time and practice. I do, however, believe that I have made more progress than I originally believed myself to be capable of before taking this class, and I know that my development will only continue as the semester continues.

In terms of material, I found the portion we have read so far of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet particularly interesting. The perspective offered about women’s role in the development of computers so early on is one that was entirely new to me. I did not expect women to be so central to the history of the machines as we know them today because, oftentimes, we think of coding, math, and engenieering as male dominated fields. It was very interesting to learn that this was not always the case; women filled the role of a “computer” before the machines that term refers to today was introduced, and also were the main players in navigating how to use the intricate machines in a way that is helpful to humankind.

The World of Online Text and Computer Literacy

With every english class I take as a college student, I make an effort to connect myself to the content and find a way in which the material might contribute to my abilities as both a writer and a future educator. This class has challenged me in a lot of ways I’ve never experienced in a classoom before, and has adapted me with a new mindset and set of skills that I was hesistant to embrace at first. I’ve always viewed myself as someone who thrives with writing and reading on paper. I grew up fully immersed in books, using words on a page to express my happiness, sadness, and confusion as a young girl. I found myself invested in the characters and storylines I read about, and used literature as a way to find new perspectives, and ways to view the world around me. This made a class about books and computers completely foreign to me.

How could I take the concepts I was so familiar with on pen and paper and translate them virtually! My first few weeks learning about the terminal window and Visual Studio code was a tough transition, and faced me with an expected challenge. I had to work harder to understand the virtual aspect of literature and I truly believe the effort I put into understanding the code made a real difference in my connection to the course.

Learning skills like transcription and TEI taught me the importance and care that goes into decoding older works and the significance that technology can hold when gaining acess to an authors message/purpose. This question of technologys purpose in a world of literature resonated with me most deeply when taking this course. What qualities make something a book? How does online literature and creations like AI alter the world of literature?

Class discussions surrounding these questions led me to determine that the every changing nature of our world and the prevalence of technology within it give computers and the metaverse a well deserved spot within the realm of reading and writing. This is something I thought I’d never say!I feel that these reflective questions that guided class also allowed me to expand my ability to respectfully disagree with others, and have a productive conversation!

While I still connect and feel the ability to interact best with physical copies of text, I feel that this class has allowed me to establish a new relationship to my computer. This newfounded computer literacy has made it easier for me to read and annotate text online, and showed me how important it is to examine the history that exists online in the world of literature.

Following this idea of progressing communication skills, the comments we left on Walden showed me a new form of online annotation and classmate colloboration that I enjoyed! The world of online forums and their international ability to discuss varying works is such a priviledge! I feel lucky to have learned more about that through ENGL 340.

Overall this class has taught me a lot about communication, and the relationship between technology and literature that I am excited to dive deeper into.

A Class that Opens New Perspectives- Eve Angelo

While taking Literature and Literary Study in the Digital Age, I’ve learned a lot about my computer, and defining what objects are in the new digital age. I’ve never been interested much in technology; It always seemed too complicated and overwhelming to even start learning. While taking this class, I’ve learned a lot about my own personal device, and how to make command lines and codes. Growing up, I’ve always observed my brothers play on their fancy computers and do things I’ve never been able to do. Now that I’ve taken this class, I can finally understand the things they discuss and relate to them. When it comes to defining objects in the digital age, it’s difficult to make one definition with all these new resources coming to light. For example, we discussed in class “what is a book?” At first, I was adamant on saying a book is simply words on paper glued together with a cover. Now looking back, I can see how that would be incorrect. With the rise of technology -and its accessibility to people- books have adapted to this as well, and have started to become digital. Audio books, e-books and kindle readers have expanded this definition of what a book can be. Books don’t need to be paper and glue; As long as it shares a story to others, its all the same.

Understanding Computers: From Mystical to Manageable

## Before Starting this Class

I was markedly ‘anti-computer’ in my scholarship before. I would pay more for a physical copy of a book instead of a computer copy, I would take all of my notes by hand, and I would write out essays in a notebook before typing them up. I really thought that it was better – for learning, and also just personal preference. I was really comfortable in the aspect of my identity that said “I’m not good with computers.” And this wasn’t really for lack of trying – I tried to be tech-savvy and to be ‘modern’ in my use of technology, and it just didn’t really work for me – I always got tripped up and frustrated and would return to my comfort zone of paper and pen.

## The Process

However, just through the first few weeks of this class, I have gained so much comfortability in using a computer in different ways than I ever had before. If you had told me last fall that I could use code to make my computer do things for me, I would not have believed you, and probably would have laughed. Even just understanding the file system of a computer was a huge step for me, let alone navigating it through GitBash. I was so surprised when my script to open up, name, and edit a markdown journal file actually worked – it just never seemed like something I’d be able to do. I think a lot of this had to do with how it was framed – I had always considered computers to be something like magic – something that is to be used as much as you can, but outside of my capacity for understanding. Understanding how computing in the modern sense came to be really helped, and so did a systematic breakdown and intuitive flow through information. This all made it seem possible to undersand, and much less mysterious and magical.

## The Results

This increase in knowledge and skill in regards to computers has really changed the way I am living my day-to-day life. I had always used a bound paper planner – on that I used a ruler to draw, since no planners I could find worked for how I was using it. This took so much time and effort – and this isn’t to bash paper planners, because I still use it some and I still really love the process that went into it – but it was restrictive because of the time it took. Since starting this class, I have been really able and willing to transfer my planner organization onto a notion page and use it to keep track of deadlines and tasks and events, and it’s so much quicker and easier than copying things over by hand. I have also started – not only in this class, where it’s an assignment – to take notes on my laptop and actually be able to focus while doing so. I don’t lament having to read or write on my computer anymore – and I think that’s just a byproduct of actually understanding what’s happening when I’m using it.

Technology: A Class that Changed My View

This course changed my perspective on computers and how they could be used. I registered for this course not knwoing what to expect, but I am glad that I chose this course. In the past, I used my computer to do my school work and play videogames. But now I see it’s more than simply a tool. It’s like a key to understanding human behavior.

Thinking back on everything that I’ve learned in the Digital Humanities course so far, it’s been interesting. In this course, the books that are assigned for us to read are “Broad Band” by Claire L. Evans, “The Book” by Amaranth Borsuk, and Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”. I had no idea how much women had contributed to computing history until I read “Broad Band”. Learning about their job is important for me since it provides a new perspective that is often ignored. “The Book” showed how books have evolved throughout time. It helped me realize how technology and literature are connected. Using Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” in the course has helped me think more about the relationship between books and computers, especially because Thoreau discusses technology in the book.

I’ve learned a few basics regarding the computer side of language and literature and I am looking forward to learning more. Exploring the file system and learning the command line is very different and actually pretty fun. I never expected to be interested in learning how files are arranged, yet here I am. Navigating the file system and using the command line is like discovering something completely new on my computer that I never really knew existed. Learning to use computer tools for literary study has increased my knowledge of technology in general. I am a big fan of computers and I have always felt that computers are very benefical to use now and will most defintely be in the future. I’ve even started using what I’ve learned in this course with my other courses to make my life easier. This class sparked my interest in how computers may be used for literary analysis, which is something I had not considered previously.

Also, the course taught me how to use Terminal on my MacBook. I’ll be honest, Terminal used to scare me when it was first introduced to me. My first opinion on Terminal was that I was very confused. Seeing all different commands and trying to understand everything before being taught, I felt like I had no chance to gain anything from this course. Now, it feels like a powerful tool in my hands that I am learning more of day by day. Learning to command my computer through Terminal has not only increased my confidence but has also allowed me to use my MacBook in a new way.

Thinking about this Digital Humanities course reminded me of when I wanted to be a computer science major when I was in High School. My father suggested me to pursue my career with this major but it never worked out. I always had like a passion for computers, especially when I started learning what a graphics card is, what a motherboard is, CPU, GPU, etc. Even though I ended up taking a different major, this class just reminded me of that time. It’s like a connection between the technology I was into back then and the literature I’m into now. Back then I wanted to learn how to build computers and learn programming. This course is a great opportunity to combine my previous interest in computers with my current interest in literature.

In summary, this course changed my view on technology and literature. It is not just about what is in the books, but also how we use technology to comprehend them. This Digital Humanities course has given me new ideas and increased my confidence in the technology side of things.

How I Learned To Like A Computer Class

I remember the first computer class that I took my freshman year of high school. It had a unique name that I can’t recall because it didn’t solely involve computers, but physics, woodworking and welding. It was a required course, like home economics, intended to teach us valuable life skills. I was, for the first time in my school career, completely out of my element. I got by alright with the building, primarily due to my childhood experiences following Lego direction booklets (if you’ve ever attempted to follow a Lego build, you know that can be much harder than it looks). When it came to the computers though, I was completely and utterly lost. It was like attempting to read a language where you can’t even recognize the letters. As I recall, I got by because of my best friend at the time, who is, appropriately, now going to school for mechanical engineering. When the year was over, I vowed never to take a computer-related class ever again.

Yet here I am in Literature Study in the Digital Age, learning how to use the terminal, write commands, understand markup and XML/TEI. Like the class’s name says, we’re in a digital age and it’s valuable to know computers. So I’m trying to learn.

One part of the class that I’ve really enjoyed so far is learning about the history of computers and literature. *Broad Band* in particular is a fascinating read because it shows the extent to which women were involved in the history of the computer and were the earliest users. I think reading it actually helped me become more confident in my ability to navigate the class. This actually connects to the Social Psychology class that I’m taking as we’re learning about the ways in which stereotypes create self-fulfilling prophecies, where people start to believe and act out the stereotypes that others put on us. There is a stereotype that women aren’t good with computers and that computer science is a men’s field. However, *Broad Band* directly contradicts that idea which I think has made me feel better about my abilities in this class.

I’ve also enjoyed learning about all the hidden features in my computer that I didn’t know existed, such as the terminal. For example, I had no idea that you could create and organize files using the command line. Additionally, the fact that plain-text files are almost endlessly transferable across computer systems is very cool and it’s changed my perspective on specific word processing systems and companies such as Apple or Microsoft. It’s opened my eyes and made me more curious about the limits imposed by some tech companies.

To wrap this up, I no longer hold a grudge against computer-focused classes (though I still despise Lego directions) and I think I’ve learned a lot of valuable tools and knowledge in this class so far. I’m excited to see what the next part of the semester brings.