My first semester in the Education Division of RRCHNM has been an interesting and educational experience. Since January, I’ve been lucky enough to work on the 100 Leaders project for National History Day and played a major role in adding up leader votes in different ways and then uploading them to the 100Leaders.org website. What made the project so interesting was that (after 100 days of voting) the results were far from what anyone at NHD or RRCHNM expected. Interestingly, once voting opened in November, social media voters from other countries started pouring in and these votes single handedly knocked down most of the famous western leaders that many people thought would steal the top ten. Instead of Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson as the most influential leaders, voting ended with Muhammad taking the number one spot, Mustafa Ataturk in second, followed by Jesus of Nazareth in third. On the 100 Leaders website, National History Day published a fascinating background story on the findings and how so many votes were cast from outside of the United States.
After working for weeks on the 100 Leaders website, I was also given the opportunity to work on the new Digital Humanities online certificate that will be offered by George Mason University through RRCHNM in Fall 2015. This exciting new project for the university and the center also comes with a lot of background work. Everyone in the Education division has been very hands on—from recording interviews from creators of digital humanities projects to transcribing those projects, to outlining assignments. I’ve had the opportunity to research a lot of the projects that new certificate students will be asked to complete. As a content provider, I’ve been on the lookout for different types of digital archives, content data bases for mapping and text mining, and open source/copyright free sites so students have the best tools available when learning what exists in the digital world.
Outside of working in the Ed division, the first year fellows and I have had the interesting opportunity of holding Clio II tutoring sessions every Monday between noon and 5pm. At our table in the center we offer help on the PhD required Clio II projects where all of us have been asked to create a digital history project and build our own websites from scratch. While I was the first year digital history fellow who came in with the least amount of knowledge in DH, being able to tutor on coding has not only helped with learning HTML, CSS, Java Script, etc, it’s given me a confidence that was severely lacking last semester. I’ve learned through helping others build websites and have become a pro at looking up answers for website building questions and can now quickly solve issues. Last semester I was nervous and lost. The Clio II help desk has helped me retain knowledge of coding and I’m excited that I no longer have to constantly lean of W3 schools for information. I’m finally retaining how to move an object from point A to point B on my computer screen.
While there is only a month left in my fellowship at RRCHNM I am thankful for how much I’ve learned this semester and look forward to how much more I can cram in my brain in the following months.