Do you remember?

An interesting title for a reflection post, I know. It’s the song I am currently listening to though. It is kind of fitting, for before sitting down to write this blog post I did spend a few minutes reflecting and reviewing the contract that my group members and I wrote at the beginning of the semester (how long ago it seems!) I would like to first congratulate all of the groups on the completion of their projects, I know we all worked really hard this semester and everyone deserves some recognition for that.

In regards to our contract, I remember feeling at the beginning of the semester our group having all these fantastic ideas of what we could accomplish. The goals that actually made it into the contract I still had a few concerns at – the volume of the work we had set ourselves seemed (in January) to be almost insurmountable. I settled down to a tough semester. And in all honesty, in addition to my other classes, it was a tough semester. Not just with the amount of work from our James Monroe Papers project and other class workloads, but with working a job as well. Overall, though, I really feel that we adhered to our contract and fulfilled all the requirements we set ourselves at the beginning of the semester.

In regards to milestones, for the most part we were able to stick to our due dates. One that I know that we ended up tweaking was the due dates of the summaries and transcriptions. Instead of splitting up each year among the four of us, we split it up differently and thus completed them all at the same time, versus completing 1795 first then 1796. All other milestones were completed on time. We had a few loose ends to fix and tweak the weekend prior to our major due date, the 20th; however the bulk of our site was completed by our own due date, the 16th.

In regards to the overall goals of our website, we wanted to: 1) make available in an easy-to-access format the letters of James Monroe to the Secretary of State 2) create transcriptions and summaries to assist in the readability of the aforementioned letters 3) provide context of Monroe’s letters through research, exhibits, an interactive map and an interactive timeline. I believe that we accomplished all of these goals. Our website is aethestically pleasing, easy to navigate and includes a ton of information regarding Monroe’s letters including the letters themselves – which was the focus. I think that an informative and valuable digital archive has been added to an ever-growing cumulation of history available online for the use of the wider community, not just a limited academic one.

A note about group work, there are ups and downs in every group. We were no exception. One thing that I have learned though is that it is absolutely essential to have good communication with every group member and to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. This provides for a more effective and desirable group climate!

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