Collaboration on a contract

This was my first experience working on a contract; especially one that had to be written from scratch and that I was partially in charge of. Also, it was definitely my first time working with my peers on a project where we made all the decisions. For the past three years I have worked with other students under the strict (or sometimes not so strict) guidelines of professors to complete a project to be turned in. I feel like this has given me a taste of how to comprehend the entirety of a project before we really begin in order to be to hone the focus or to figure out exactly what needs to be done to complete the said project.

It makes me never want to do contract law. This has been a good learning experience. There were points when we as a group jumped ahead of ourselves and each of us in turn had to bring us back to the focus of actually writing the contract; then moving forward with certain aspects of discussion, ideas, etc. That’s part, I guess, of learning to work as a group and collaborate intelligently and respectfully together. Overall, it was an interesting experience to write a contract in which we now have the task of completing what we have set out to do. It looks like a busy rest of the semester, but hopefully fun and definitely enlightening.

Snow of course makes everything better (or not, depending on one’s perspective).

Posted by on February 10th, 2010 2 Comments

Musings from the snow

So I realize that this post may not entirely be related to digital history, but while stuck inside my apartment this weekend because of the snow, I was thinking about our James Monroe Papers project and what it was like to work in a small group almost completely independently from a class. Another class I am in is small-group communication and that actually pertains quite a bit to our digital history seminar because we are working in small groups. The norms we create from our past experiences and the roles we play affect how effective our group is in completing our assigned tasks and how well we work together.

Communication is key in a project like this, especially because it is up to us to complete our tasks and also to relay to each other struggles and difficulties as well as completed tasks. I know this seems kind of random, but the dynamics of a small group can have a huge impact on how easy it is to work with other people, complete a task and enjoy doing it. We all probably at some point are going to be required to work with others in our future jobs or further education, and it will affect our ability to do our jobs (either positively or negatively). As my comm professor says though, it’s good to be aware of who you are working with and what roles are you/they playing in the group. Just a thought.

Posted by on February 7th, 2010 1 Comment

Twitter may become “useful”

While looking at Emily Chang’s blog, I noticed an app called which allows you to search your friends tweets using keywords, see trending topics and toggle between a list, grid and map view. Unfortunately I was unable to see their permanent site due to current trademark infringement issues with another company; however the blurb sparked an interesting thought about this application – with a twist. I don’t know if something like this exists already, but what if there was a more advanced search option on a website that included a specific kind of exhibit. I’m intrigued especially because the website I will be helping to build will include a large number of letters that will be hard to break down into smaller categories that make sense to the uneducated reader (and by uneducated I mean the unfamiliar with Monroe). If something like ability could group together relevant letters based on a specific topic it would allow for the user of our website to group together letters perhaps in a different way than we’ve categorized them. They could then look at letters in a different context than we’ve provided. As I am throwing a dart in the proverbial dark right now because I have been unable to fully explore the website because it’s currently shut down; I found the idea interesting to throw around. Thoughts? Or am I way behind the times and something like this has already been created?

Posted by on January 27th, 2010 Comments Off on Twitter may become “useful”

Online Collaboration

One of the underlying themes of all these new tools that we are learning about is the fact that we are trying to put a certain type of information out for the wider community to have available to them. While I think and UMWBlogs and Gmail are all great tools to help a group stay on the same page while building a website; I think it’s important to find a way to use these tools for online collaboration past the point of creating the final project. A forum for ongoing discussion could be useful for tweaking a project in the future or help other people who are undertaking similar projects to understand better the process.

Also, the blogs that we are using now are important not only for us as we discuss issues and successes within our own groups and each other, but making these blogs (potentially) available after we build our website could help other students in the future avoid some of the issues we encountered over the course of the semester.

Posted by on January 20th, 2010 Comments Off on Online Collaboration

Some reflection on Week 1

Hey everyone, my name is MacKenzie Murphy and I’m from Williamsburg, Virginia. I think my love of history came from spending nine years working for Colonial Williamsburg. However, my interests lie primarily in European history. I completed my senior thesis last semester on German and Church history in the nineteenth century and it was actually a lot more fun to write that I orignially thought it would be, so that was exciting. Anyways, the reason I’m taking this class is because I think many of the skills and technologies we will be learning and experimenting with will be extremely useful not just in the field of history, but many other fields today – thus resulting hopefully in a job when I graduate in May.

I must admit I feel I’m in a little over my head due most likely to the introduction of various new websites and tools that I am not familiar with, however my hope is that I will become more comfortable with blogging technology and the various productive uses of the internet over the course of the semester. I think being able to actually build something ourselves versus just learning the theories behind the tools/technologies will be infinitely more useful.

Posted by on January 18th, 2010 1 Comment

First day of class

Learning about a whole new world in class…

Posted by on January 12th, 2010 Comments Off on First day of class

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Posted by on January 12th, 2010 1 Comment