What I’ve Learned in ENGL 340

Looking back on the course of this semester, I honestly think that I have learned more new and interesting things in this class than I have in any other class I am taking. Taking this class definitely required me to work outside of my comfort zone in a way I have yet to within the English major, and in doing so, I have gained a lot of new knowledge and skills that I am very thankful for. Three new things I have learned that I would like to speak specifically about are how to use Atom and Virtual Box, specifics about the topic of copyright, and the relationship between technology and the humanities.

Firstly, as I mentioned in my first blog post, I never knew much about computers prior to this class, other than my use of social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Now, I know how to work both Virtual Box and Atom to an extent I never thought that I would. Specifically, I learned how to work in WordPress in Virtual Box. I learned how to edit an earlier text post I made by going to plug ins, then install, then activate. Next, I went back to my timeline spreadsheet in google docs, and then I grabbed the code from “Embedded” in the timeline website and pasted it in word press. Finally, when I clicked publish my timeline that I previously created appeared on my WordPress page. Here, I learned how to combine four different web applications or softwares (google drive, timeline, virtual box, word press), and then I used atom to update my journal documenting my experience. This is just one of the many things I learned about Virtual Box, including the many commands in the terminal window.

However, not only did I learn a great deal about technology and certain software applications, I also learned about a topic I previously knew little about, which is the topic of copyright and copyright laws. Prior to this class, I did not know about the law that an artist’s copyright on their work lasts until seventy years after they have passed. I also think the class discussion we had about the topic was very interesting and raised many points I had not thought of before, like the fact that even Shakespeare’s most famous works borrowed ideas and plot points from earlier stories. This conversation taught me very much about literature and its legacy and how copyright deals with that relationship, and that information will stay with me for a while.

Lastly, I have learned a lot about the relationship between technology and the humanities in this class. I have learned much more about this since my first blog post through our reading of Walden and our use of The Reader’s Thoreau website. Thoreau’s writing and experience at Walden pond emphasized for me that technology and the humanities are not mutually exclusive, as although he went to the pond to experience freedom and solitude and to write and read freely, he also used many tools to build the small home that he lived in, highlighting that technology exists in almost everything that we do. Also, a private website like The Reader’s Thoreau is really helpful and interesting for a reader, because it brings people together by letting one share their thoughts on what they are reading, while also being able to read what others from all around the world have to say. Here, technology is allowing for a book that was published over 160 years ago live on in a digital form, and I think that is really important.

In short, this class has made me much more open and eager to explore the countless activities, sites, tools, etc., my computer has to offer, as I was previously very shut off to computing and technology. All in all, I learned a wide variety of information in this class that has changed me for the better, and will stay with me for the rest of my years at Geneseo and beyond.

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