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The End and A Reflection

This project was, in its entirety, something completely new and foreign to me. Having no experience in archival research, building websites, or with distance learning taking on this project proved to be a very daunting task. However it also a presented an opportunity to gain new experiences and learn new things, something that is still highly important to me. Overall it was an incredibly positive experience despite the fact that there were quite a few bumps in the road and my end result was very different from how I originally envisioned it. But that was all part of the learning process.

One of the biggest obstacles from the onset for me was the distance learning aspect of the course. I am a very shy and independent person by nature and face-to-face classes are helpful in bringing me out of my shell. With the new environment of an online distance learning course I found that I struggled to participate in the same way I would in a face-to-face class. However, I hope that if I have the opportunity to do a similar project in the future that I will have become comfortable enough from my experiences with this class to come out of my shell a bit more.

The best experience I had on this project was discovering how comfortable I was doing archival research even though I had never attempted anything like it before. Ultimately, this made it infinitely more disappointing when I discovered the distinct lack of materials pertaining to this time period that were available to me. As I mentioned during my presentation, I would like to continue my research on this subject because I truly believe that I just barely scratched the surface. With this experience under my belt and more time I think there is much more I can bring to the table if I can just dig for it. I am looking forward to the prospect.

The end result of my website was, at first, disappointing to me. It is only a fraction of what I envisioned. However, I have since realized that what I had originally envisioned was not in line with my skills or resources and what actually came out was really a pretty decent first attempt that I am proud of. It was very difficult for me to reconcile the scarcity of the material and I think that’s why it took so long for me to realize that my website would need much more narrative than I had originally planned. I kept thinking that I would happen upon a treasure trove of material that simply doesn’t exist. But by the end, given what I was able to find, I am proud of the product. The only disappointments I have are not having a timeline, not having recordings (and more material) for the Voices of the Great War section, and not having a section for the community members who fought in the war. I had a timeline completed and uploaded to my site for about an hour before I took it down. It simply did not fit in with the website the way I thought it would and compared to everything else on the site it appeared a little lame. So I took it down. As for the Voices of the Great War section, I had people who said they were willing to record for me but the plans fell through. I really wanted a variety of voices rather than just my own. I did not include a section for the war veterans simply because I could not find the information required to compile a complete list and I didn’t want to appear disrespectful by leaving anyone out. But these kinds of disappointments are par for the course with a project like this and I have learned a great deal from both my successes and my mistakes.

Even with all of the mistakes, obstacles, and dashed hopes this project was a phenomenal experience. I am proud to have been a part of it and I am proud of the work of my fellow students.