Over the course of this semester in Literature and Literary Study in the Digital Age with Dr. Schacht, I feel as through I was given a unique opportunity to not only learn more about the things I can do on my computer, but also to think about literature, books, authors, and English as a discipline through a different lens.
For starters, as we near the end of the semester, I feel as through I have learned more about what my computer can do and have been given tools to help me manage my computer more effectively. With the use of github and the command-line, I not only have an online space to upload and store files that may be taking up valuable space on my computer, but I also have a collaborative workspace that may come in handy in the future. Additionally, I’ve learned valuable skills about the markdown coding language and how the python coding language works. These skills are obviously in high demand in many fields in todays society, so having this basic understanding will surely only help me post undergraduate education.
While learning all of the new things I can do on my computer were interesting, I think the most valuable lesson I learned this semester is in regard to how I view literature and what tools myself and other people can use to further understand it.
I don’t think I ever fully realized the amount of work that goes into creating a work of literature. Obviously, I knew that in order to get published, authors go through an intensive revision process that often times takes several different attempts to get it just right. I don’t think I understood that those revisions can be as intensive and tedious as simply changing one word to a different one until the author is satisfied. This idea has given me a greater appreciation for all the novels that sit on my bookshelf and around my room.
Going off of this idea, I also have found an appreciation for how easy it is to track these changes using technology. Using Voyant Tools and the Fluid Text reader, I feel like I have been able to connect more deeply with literature. Being able to find specifics about a text in Voyant Tools and then to be able to track those changes over a series of manuscripts has only deepened my understanding of the pieces of literature that we have worked with this semester. On top of that, its just pretty darn cool to see all the revisions to a text and how a manuscript may have started versus how it was published.
Overall, I think there is a huge connection between English as a discipline and technology. I think before I use to think of English more as just reading and writing – now I think of it more as a way of communication, a diffusion of ideas, and how we get from one point to another with the impact of technology. English is about how we communicate and how ideas are shared through reading and writing, rather than just reading and writing. Technology plays a very unique role in this, as the more advanced we become with our computers and our phones, the more we can do to communicate. From talking drums to the first telephone created by Alexander Graham Bell to the ability to group facetime, ideas are spread at a fast rate through talking. On top of that, the invention of the printing press has enabled us to share ideas through writings at a much faster rate than ever before, and it has just gotten faster as time has gone on – the use of a printing press is not even required any more, blogs, such as this one, and other online sources give you the same way to communicate through writing.
The connection between English and technology is a great one. The more you can do with technology, the more english enables you to do, share, write, read, and communicate. We have a web of information at our fingertips to learn and improve. Without the diffusion of information that english enables and the use of technology enabling more people to access it, the world would most likely be very different than it is today. This course, learning all these skills, and being able to have access to the tools that have been shown to us has ultimately changed my view on both English and technology; it has opened my eyes to how english, as well as other disciplines, and technology have a connection to one another that leads to improvements and advancements in all fields.