A Vision Coming Through, Fern

Hello World….or at least ENG306,

This week was a really interesting one…..I think it was the first one where I really started getting my “feet wet” with the whole digital space that my project my take. For example, I made my project’s Twitter account and settled on a theme (for now) for my project. I also got more clarity on my research and intervention through our literature and revised my social media plans. I think I have gotten into a rhythm of sorts, so that problem is thankfully resolved that kept coming up in my previous blog posts.

Making a new Twitter account was something I thought about a lot over the course of this week. Sundi discussed with us in class how we should think through the reasons for wanting to use either a new project Twitter account or tweeting from our personal account. We talked about pros and cons of each, and I started having doubts about starting a whole new Twitter account for my project for fear that it may become a dead space after this class ends. Of course, I hope that’s not the case but it very well may be so, lest I develop the discipline, dedication, and commitment to keep it up (the interest I am sure will remain).

On Thursday in class, we had some time to workshop where we worked on building our prototype. After going through various themes on Studio Press, I thought it might be cool to do a “profile” themed website that brought Saint Valentine to life in a way that he— being brought back from the dead at least in my digital imagination here— narrates and details the evolution, legacy, and developments of his own holiday. I found a wonderful theme that really looks quite similar to my wireframe!

This development on Thursday then….inspired me to also change my Twitter account to be from the voice of St. Valentine. Tweeting regularly has been challenging, and this weekend I still have a lot more to learn. Especially CSS…which I am SO looking forward to!

My week in a bitmoji: Punching bag because this week seemed intense and sporadic and filled with challenges (literature review, tweeting regularly) as well as fruits (finding a theme, making a Twitter).

Until next time fellow readers,


Ballroom, Where are the Guests? (Fern)

Why Hello Once Again World, or at least ENG306,

It’s nice to be back on here after last week, which was my spring break away from class and Davidson. I visited a monastery and searched for St. Valentine in the books on saints as well as the liturgical calendar. I couldn’t find him on there…I am guessing he is too “old” of an saint now to still be commemorated; however, in the medieval times, St. Valentine was quite popularly remembered and shrines and such were dedicated to him. Connecting my post pre-spring break to this one, I had hoped to be more engaged in a rhythm and I think it was finally a success this week. I did manage to remain engaged consistently throughout the week, including today. Getting into the texts has been exciting, and I’m anticipating a fruitful and challenging weekend ahead as we prepare our literature reviews. Why, you ask? Well, precisely because the literature on my topic seems to be super scarce in general.

In class this week, we created an arena after reading an article on how students can break into the conversations already happening among scholars on our topic. The dilemma I am running into is that there doesn’t seem to be much a debate….well because there isn’t much chatter about this one holiday to begin. Sure, I have found some source but they are only but a handful and it has been more challenging than I expected figuring out how exactly they are speaking to each other (besides speaking about the same topic). Schmidt is my go-to scholar right now. He’s the expert on the field, I would say, aside from Oruch and Ansgar Kelley both of whom write more on the poet Chaucer and St. Valentine (and not the holiday’s modern “refashioning” as Schmidt has called it).

This week went by way quicker than I expected, and getting into the scholarship on my subject has been door-opening. I have also had some new leads this week by visiting a research librarian and meeting with a professor…..looking forward to what the next week brings.

A bitmoji to capture the week:

Bring a magnifying glass to my texts and trying to figure out how the scholars are all interacting with one another and where I may step in. I can’t say I had a smile that large on my face the whole week, but the process is both equally and simultaneously challenging and very helpful in learning about “authorship” and scholarship.

Until Next Time World but really ENG 306,


Bridging Last Week to This One, Fern

Why Hello (& Soon Goodbye) World or at least ENG306,

Margaret’s comment on my reflection post from two weeks ago inspired that new change to my heading above. This week, I submitted my first SSR and an annotated bibliography. I also met with Suzanne outside of class. Sundi was away from the class this week due to a conference, but she left us comments on our Social Media Plan through Hypothesi.s. I am about to head on my spring break, which is quite literally going to be a “break” for me from of all of my work as I go on a spiritual retreat. That said, doing this reflection right before I go couldn’t be more timely. Reflecting on my goals from last week, they were:

  1. Immerse. Stay in the Conversation. Don’t let more than 48 hours slip by without having engaged in something class related.
  2. Buy binders and get organized.
  3. Meet with Sundi and/or Suzanne to discuss my research and where it’s led me.
  4. Figure out what’s going on with me & AJ’s still possible collaboration (which I may take on as additional to my Valentine’s Day project).

Let’s take each one by one and see where it ended up (this is also in an effort to develop some sort of rhythmic cadence, taking after Sundi’s annotations on my Social Media and Networking Plan, between my posts. In one of my earliest posts, I talked about wanting to get into a flow or rhythm of immersion with this course. I also mentioned it last week. One way to bring about more harmony may be a simple solve: simply picking up each week’s reflections from where I left off last time. Okay, this is all besides the point so back to the point:

Where did I end up with these four goals, you ask?

#1) Immerse. Stay in the Conversation. Don’t let more than 48 hours slip by without having engaged in something class related.

On this one, I am barely making it. I definitely remained engaged Monday and Wednesday, also some on Friday (because I went to Suzanne’s office hours and had to prepare for it beforehand) and today (Sunday) I’m writing this post— so I guess technically I did manage to somehow squeeze in something course-related without missing the 48 hour mark. Granted I could have been much more intentional it seems a bit more just by chance that I remained engaged in the class after midweek session on Wednesday because of this post and some office hours and prep, I think it still counts. What a way to start. While I’ll be gone this whole week on a spiritual retreat, I thought about taking some reading on St. Valentine with me. I will be at a monastery and the two didn’t seem vastly a part. Nonetheless, the decision has been made for me to not take any of my “work” in the sense of Davidson-related. I may try to do some reading before I head out in the morning.

#2) Buy Binders and get organized.

Okay— bought binders: CHECK. Got organized with the binders: NO CHECK. I did go buy the binders early this morning, and I began organize my papers and files but never finished it. New goal: come around to doing it next weekend when I get back.

#3) Meet with Sundi and/or Suzanne to discuss my research and where it’s led.

I’m proud to say: CHECK! I didn’t meet with Sundi (out of town) but I did meet with Suzanne on Friday and we had quite a fruitful conversation after I was a feeling a bit stuck with how “original” my project really was going to be. After all, what made my research any different than the already Googlable articles from History.com and Smithsonian Magazine on the History of Valentine’s Day, except maybe some more details here or there. Well, maybe it’s not necessarily about making some original contribution in just the CONTENT, but rather in the FORM. These are both online articles. Hopefully my site will be more thorough, exhaustive, collating and presenting scholarly research as well as bringing to the fore the commercialized & globalized aspect of the holiday as it has spread to other countries in a way that doesn’t necessarily come with a wave of pessimism or artificiality. And I did engage with Sundi’s comments on my Social Media Networking Plan, so we could say I had some form of a one-on-one virtual meeting.

#4) Figure out me & AJ’s collab thing?

We talked it out, and it seems we are both pursuing our original research questions in this course. Maybe our mutual interest in existentialist questions about life were meant for another time, another place.

And that brings me to today— this week was about getting into the details of the debates and arguments: what is being said about Valentine’s day? Who is saying? Who are the scholars? How are they positioned to one another? All of it….has been fruitful. I found more books and articles, began reading and annotating, learning more. A good week of “the meat” of my digital project: just doing some good ol’ fashioned reading and writing and thinking. The key to probably any good (or honestly just not terrible) project.

For this next week, it’s spring break and while we don’t have class, I still want to do some research and reading before our next class the following Monday. So that’s my new goal: come back, finish getting organized (i.e. use the binders before they collect dust!) and do some more research. I also think we have an SSR due, so it would be nice if I did one or two more of those just as a good practice.

Goodbye (quite actually because I’m unplugging for the week) World but really just my ENG306 class,


Oh! And I almost forgot. I was inspired by one or two of my classmates’ posts to include a GIF/BITMOJI (my secret love and part-time side hobby) that captures my week in an image. Here it is:

Basically me this week, checking out books from the library trying to smile through it while also a bit stressed and puzzled about how to figure out the scholarly debates going on in a such a niche topic.

Fern Takes a Deep Dive into Research

Hello Again World (But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And That One Person Who Arrived Here Because You Have to Comment On A Classmate’s Post),

Last week, I talked about what it was like going through my first Design Thinking Workshop. This week we, as a class, began to take our dives into the meat of our digital research project. We refined and further elaborated on our initial project statements as well as drafted preliminary social media plans. Additionally, we sketched wireframes and workshopped our projects and wireframes with our peers. As the tone of the course became more serious with the fact that our research projects took center stage this week, I think my own seriousness also increased. I finally got “caught up” over the weekend with replying to comments on my website and going through all of the About Me posts (yep— that assignment from way long ago). I also just spent time getting more familiarized with the research in my own area of interest, Valentine’s Day, as well as becoming more familiarized with my peers’s project through reading all of their project proposals. It was a good week for me, getting into a flow or a rhythm of things. That’s something I know I have been trying to do since last week.

I’d like to step it up further this week. Some other things I have been intending to do: buy a binder where I collate and put all of my readings for the course. Have an additional binder where my research and project design materials go (this would be all my readings specifically related to Valentine’s Day and my Wireframe, etc.) Right now, they’re all sitting in a folder somewhere, a bit disorganized. I just have been meaning to go the store and haven’t made that trip yet. Furthermore, I really want to build in time to work on research and this course on either Thursday or Friday. The first half of the week is great, and then I usually don’t emerge into the conversation again until Saturday. That two-three day halt does some serious damage the steam I have going by Wednesday. I really think I need to keep “the pump” going after I have primed it (i.e. my brain and intellectual process) at least every other day. That means: MWF, Sat. & Sun. ideally. The Friday is kind of missing for me for now.

I learned that giving constructive criticism is a skill, and I was put to the test when we workshopped our project proposals in class. It was my personal goal to give good feedback, and I really had to think and focus— getting into the two projects I came across and being creative and honest about what I thought the projects’ strengths and limitations were. It was a rewarding exercise that made me more attentive and appreciative of anyone who gives feedback, and I think I am more inclined to be a better listener and recorder of any comments and advice I receive going forward (not that I wasn’t already…but even more so now).

This was also a bizarre week where I both got the gears set with trying to get access to the Davidson journals through a guest account & a strange twist where AJ & I may collaborate on a project. The latter is still unfolding, and the former was set up successfully! I’m all good to go and taking a deep dive into the research now.

My goals for the coming week:

  1. Immerse. Stay in the Conversation. Don’t let more than 48 hours slip by without having engaged in something class related.
  2. Buy binders and get organized.
  3. Meet with Sundi and/or Suzanne to discuss my research and where it’s led me.
  4. Figure out what’s going on with me & AJ’s still possible collaboration (which I may take on as additional to my Valentine’s Day project).

Until Next Time World,

(But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And That One Person Who Arrived Here Because You Have to Comment On A Classmate’s Post)


Fern’s First Design Thinking Workshop (Fern)

Hello World (But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And A Person Who Arrived Here Accidentally),

As I close out this week and begin the next one, I want to reflect on what it was like to do “design thinking” for the first time in class on Wednesday. I was a participant in my first Design Thinking Workshop. We’ve read a lot about Digital Humanities and the debates by now, learned about different designing tools and platforms, and are diving into our own digital research endeavors now. It struck how quantity was more important than quality for the workshop because I think this tendency comes almost a little to naturally to me and is almost my weakness. I can generate ideas rapid-fire style and I don’t quickly run out. Where I often miss out is sometimes my ideas aren’t the most well thought-out or practical. Depth isn’t my forté, but breadth is (is what I’m trying to say here). In that case, it seems that this exercise in “breadth” with coming up with as many ideas as I can to a given question or problem is almost like feeding the bad egg inside my system. I’m not sure what fruits it will harbor. I do get the point of the exercise: sometimes, when we think too much, we get so caught in having good or right ideas that we never give space to considering random, spontaneous, quick thought could actually be our “strike of a lightning bolt.” Now that I’ve kept all of my sticky notes from the Design Session (or most of them), I think what would be my step #2 is to go through and refine and comb them. We already did this partially during class, but I felt rushed and think sitting with my ideas more may be helpful. Perhaps, this will my own round two of the Design Thinking Workshop: Fern’s Design Mapping Workshop. I may sit down with all the sticky notes, my class notes, and an empty wall and map things out, like a true design thinker.

Going to my last process blog, I said I really wanted to figure out how to orient myself in the class space better & get into a rhythm. Well, the getting into rhythm became rather difficult because I became immersed in a work project for another commitment of mine and everything kind took a backseat for a week (besides doing the basics and going to class). However, I have become more intentional about my class space & note-taking. I think I’ve figured that out….and here’s to renewing my goal for getting into the rhythm of things, especially all the more timely because we are getting into the meat of our course: designing our digital research projects!

Until Next Time World,

(But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And That Person Who Arrived Here Accidentally)


Two Weeks into Digital Design, Says Ikra

Hello World (But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And A Person Who Arrived Here Accidentally),

So it is officially the end of TWO complete weeks in my course on Digital Design, and I think it’s time I stop and reflect on the PROCESS of it all, or maybe I’ll stick to a portion because everything would simply be too much for an already-scattered me. It’s definitely been a “getting my feet wet” kind of thing— new language, new tools, new peers and faces, a new discipline. A lot of NEW, FRESH material. I didn’t really know Digital Humes was a full blown-up thing at all until this week, really. I also didn’t know that words like “syndicator” or other digital buzz words are common lingo, and I didn’t know there were so many neat projects and people out there working on how to bring education, books, academia, and the whole nine yards into the World Wide Web.

As far my process in coming across all of these things. . .well, it feels a bit like cranking up an old car that isn’t running quite smooth yet. That is, I haven’t quite gotten into a rhythm for learning about Digital Design (i.e. this course & all it entails). I do my homework when I can; I got sick halfway through and couldn’t keep up with my peers’ About Me posts; I missed a day of class, and I haven’t figured out where/how I’m going to annotate my readings or what my project is going to be on. My process of reading— I generally like to read well and take notes on the side. I like that strategy so it goes fine. I may try shifting to Hypothes.is. But my process for going through the digital articles & sites— I’m never quite sure how to do it. Should I read everything A to Z like I would a book? Should I skim and skip around? Does it just depend and I figure it out on the fly?

This is particularly concerning for me perhaps when I explored one digital annotated book type-of thing called Thresholds, a ZINE! I wasn’t sure whether to read page by page, or scroll through.

I guess it’s even more particularly concerning for me because Nicholas Carr’s argument has haunted me ever since I read it a couple weeks ago. But that’s a conversation for another day.

The area where I may be struggling the most in all of this is what to do with class sessions…what’s my process there? I take notes, but I would like to figure out how to do better note-taking. I listen to my peers, but I would like to figure out how do I really value what they say besides seeing it as just their two cents on the matter (rather pessimistic way of saying it). My intent here is not to devalue conversations in the classroom. A contraire, I’m just not sure what to make of them besides what I already make of them. I already try my best to listen and hear what was said and write down important or relevant things, such a tool or a resource or an inspirational idea. But it just seems….not enough. I think I may try something different in these next coming weeks. So until the next time I sit down and get to processing, here are some goals I have for myself:

  1. Get into a rhythm of being engaged in a conversation about Digital Design (this means I would ideally like to do my readings on the same day-time each week). I just want it to have a flow and harmony to it, not just with MW 2:30-3:45 but also when I do my work outside of class.
  2. Take Better Class Notes/Figure Out How to Make Best Use of Classroom Time— will I stop taking notes all together and just try to be present the whole time? Or… will I take more notes so I can go back and remember the whole session? Or I am just complicating this whole thing? I do want some better cohesion of my note-taking and what it means for me to be present in class though, perhaps an orientation and reminder of what this course means to me and why I am taking it right before each session starts. We shall see…

Until Next Time World,

(But Most Likely No One Except Maybe Sundi, Suzanne, And That Person Who Arrived Here Accidentally)