To be honest, it has been difficult for me to connect the digital work we have been doing throughout this course to the concepts of literature and “English” as a whole. While I have learned something entirely different from what I was expecting to in an English course, I was unable to see where our work connected to the concepts of English. Since moving to online learning, this connection has been made easier for me to see as my reliance and relationship with technology has changed so dramatically in the span of a couple of weeks.
Prior to distance learning, I couldn’t understand how the uses of Github, Voyant Tools, Visual Studio Code, and the other programs we have been using throughout the semester connected to my general concept of English and Literature. I was glad to be learning something I never imagined myself doing: coding (on a small level). At the beginning of the course, I reorganized my documents folder to better fit this course, and this is something that has aided me in all other aspects of my life. Now, after learning online for about four weeks, my understanding of this course has changed dramatically and how I view work in my other courses has changed as a result of this. I find myself constantly thinking how any of this would be possible without “English,” reading, and literature. Knowledge and information, as cited in Gleick’s novel, has been passed down for centuries through literature and language itself. At some point in time, the idea for the internet must have been drawn out and described upon paper, into some form of literature. With every new technological advancement, for example any of Tesla’s recent releases, will be reported on and written about for the rest of the world to know. Many of Tesla’s innovations have changed how many people view electrical power and will surely be something people read about and reference in years to come. None of this would be possible without “English.” In my work for other classes, I am more aware of my word choices, specifically the repetition of words in my papers. I have caught myself thinking about imputing my essays into VoyantTools to track the frequency of certain words and phrases, to then go back and revise. When revising my work, I have begun to use Review/Tracking/Track Changes in Microsoft Word to analyze my revisions and watch how my own understanding of my work can change as I revise. Like Thoreau, I change words, phrases, and grammar in my writing which then go onto to change the overall meaning of that sentence and finally can change the overall meaning of that work. Our work in terminal and VSC, has led me to prefer typing in plain text (although, I wish there was a spell check feature!) and the simple format it provides. I find myself becoming frustrated with formatting issues in other classes and am better able to understand why author’s and online writers choose to prefer plain text, instead of another program. Being able to spend more time, and the majority of my day on my laptop has been able to see how the coursework throughout this semester has affected my daily life and my own meaning of “English” and literature.
What I have realized is that this all relates back to communication as a whole. Literature was born from verbal communication, and communication has been strengthened by literature. Distanced based learning has taught me how vital communication is to learning, and how much I rely on in person communication to thrive. I have now adapted this need and have learned to work with my technology to best suit me, and I think that being in this course has better prepared me to do so. Ironically, I think that I took this course at the perfect moment and our current circumstances has taught me the real value in literature and “English.” Every day, we (the human race) use “English” to stay connected, and gain information about the state of the world. In doing this, we are a part of history, and this recording of history was made possible by the changed definition of communication and the innovations in “English.”