Having spent the past semester reflecting on past events, it seems only fitting that we conclude our participation in the Century America Project in the same fashion.
In reflection, therefore, what must be immediately addressed is the extent to which my research-partner and I ultimately deviated from the parameters which we had set for building our website. Plans to incorporate an interactive map of our community or a timeline of important events occurring therein eventually proved to be somewhat overly-optimistic, given our joint lack of experience with digital architecture. In the case of the timeline, we did include the caveat that the timeline was only “a prospective” addition to the site.
In terms of the proposed pages which would comprise the site, our contract is largely congruent with the current state of the site, though we ultimately determined, after advisement from Dr. Pearson, to combine the proposed “Chester Ronning” page into that for the Camrose Lutheran College. Likewise, the idea of a “Daughters of Empire” page was eventually folded into the broader category of “Women’s Contributions”. Finally, the “Our Experiences” page proposed in the contract was dropped all together, as we came to feel that a page describing the process of building the website was of lesser importance and therefore an unnecessary allocation of time and energy that could be better utilized on other developing other aspects of the site.
As for how closely the content of those pages that were eventually included accords with our contract proposals, the overlap appears, in my estimation, to be fairly close for the most part. The only major exception would be that the page for “The Military Experience” currently contains little information concerning the specific units mentioned in the contract (other than a brief reference to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) or to recruitment drives. This particular deviation resulted from the realization that the topic of recruiting fitted better within the “Propaganda and Attitudes Towards the War” page than “The Military Experience”, which ultimately became became devoted specifically to the story of Sgt. Harry Connor as the emblematic Camrose soldier.
Concerning the experience of participating in this project, in brief, I’d happily do it all over again if the opportunity presented itself. The topic of study is both fascinating and important to understand in light of how so much of what we take for granted in modern social and geopolitical arrangements proceeds directly from the Great War and its aftermath. Additionally, the digital and archival course-work, while perhaps somewhat intimidating for the neophyte, was both extremely useful experience as a scholar and also a lot of fun. Finally, it must be said that the teleconference aspect of the course was excellent. Drs. Pearson and McClurken, ably assisted by Leah Tams, married academic professionalism with humor in a highly-effective manner, and in terms of the websites that the students eventually produced, I think that the results speak for themselves.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank Drs. Ellen Pearson and Jeff McClurken, Leah Tams, my research partner, Summer Roasting and our fellow student-participants in this program for an immeasurably enriching experience.