Coming into this course was one of the first times I truly had no idea what to expect, but I was undoubtedly excited to see what was in store. Truthfully, the main basis for my decision to take this class was because I needed an English class for my major, it seemed particularly attractive being a Monday/Wednesday class, and Dr. Schacht had a high “RateMyProfessor.com” rating. I would liken my relationship with computing to my relationship with mathematics. In middle school and high school, I was never the biggest fan of math classes, simply because I found them to be the most difficult. Whenever I could not figure out a problem I would get unnecessarily stressed out. However, on the same token, whenever I did do well in my trigonometry, algebra, AP calculus classes, etc., it was an amazing feeling that made me want to keep learning and do more math problems. This is the same way I feel about computers. I don’t know how to do a lot of things with my computer, and previous to this class, I often didn’t try to learn, because it would stress me out when I inevitably couldn’t figure something out. But whenever something works for me in ENGL 340 and I’m on the right track, it makes me excited and eager to explore more new apps, networks, features, tricks, etc.
The extent of my knowledge and capability with computing prior to this class was essentially just using the basic social media applications that most people have on their phones, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. As for the applications I had installed on my laptop prior to this class, I only had two other than those that are pre-installed: Spotify and Grammarly. As for coding, the earliest and only previous experience I had with it before taking this class was the copy and pasting of HTML code I would do to create the theme of my Tumblr in middle school.
Now, it is only the fifth week of this class and I feel that I have learned so much and am still learning new things every day, specifically with the software applications Atom and VirtualBox. Before using Atom in this class, I had not only never heard of it before, but I had never really coded before, let alone know the differences between languages we’ve used in class like markdown and HTML. Another topic that I never thought much about before this class is the relationship between computing and the humanities. I always subconsciously considered the two mutually exclusive, and never really considered how each contributes to the other. I find it very interesting and new that this is the first English class I’ve taken at Geneseo where I’ve used my laptop for more than just to take notes, write papers, or look something up. Our work in class along with our reading of Gleick’s The Information has made the relationship between the humanities and computing much more apparent to me. I’ve learned that the digital aspect of “digital humanities” allows us to expand the power, accessibility, and speed of the things that are already being done in the humanities, such as preserving the past, analyzing texts, communication, etc. Computing is a prominent contributor to the preservation and the progression of the humanities, and I am eager to continue to learn and expand my knowledge of the digital humanities in this class.