While taking an Independent Study in 2012 it became very apparent that our campus had no way of dealing with students who were interested in digital scholarship (that is, if you weren’t already enrolled as a Computer Science major). That structure for controlling a digital identity became an increasing anxiety for me because I was trying something new, and I wanted to be able to have access to the things I needed–to play, to break, and to learn. A way to circumvent this lack of digital space was by using a WordPress site provided by Chuck Rybak, Creative Writing/English Literature Professor and the faculty member running the Independent Study, who wanted students to learn how to talk about their soft skills like, critical thinking, analytical writing, communication skills but within the context of technology.
One of the first things I started working on was a House of Leaves timeline using Tiki-Toki. Because this wasn’t just a project where I was writing about the cult-novel, the way I was interpreting the narrative became shaped spatially, and temporally when framed by the use of a timeline. This also gave me an opportunity to completely fail because House of Leaves is not about actual dates, or literal history. At all. It is more about frames than time, but the patterns that arose based off of the narrative frames (ie. Johnny Truant, Zampano, The Navidson Record, the Pelafina Letters, the editors, the readers) allowed me to talk about the passing of time. The point is: having the opportunity to explore the book differently shaped how I could analyze a text using technology.
Our final project for this Independent Study was to collect all of the skills we’d learned over the semester and create a “project suite.” They are still on the UWGB Commons Site, and are entirely embarrassing when held up against the things that I know now; but I need them there because it’s a skills reference point for me, and reminds me that up until two years ago I was trying to learn how to code using Code Academy.
These “self-directed” classes shaped how the next two years of my academic career would pan out–and gave me the skills I needed to get a job that I love. I took three Digital Humanities/Initiatives Independent Study classes, got an LTE position as an Information Processing Consultant (DH Consultant). This is when I started managing the Commons Site–using it as a Learning Management System, a curation site for other digital initiatives projects, and a way for students to start using WordPress so that they could have tangible skills when they graduate.
Because of this LTE position, and some major support from UWGB Faculty, I was then hired to work in Academic Technology Services, working with learning technology, Adult Degree Program students, and traditional students. I am a humanist working in the technology field, and I am able to better help people because of my work in humanities.