Hey there! You haven’t heard from me in some weeks. That’s because I’ve been tuned into Candidly, our guest contributors blog series, since its launch in November. We first heard from Lisa, our library director, on Digital Learning joining the library and then from Thomas, my neighbor and colleague, on how he ended up at Davidson.
Keeping in line with the spirit of Candidly and candid conversations— I’m going to try to get frank here in talking about something that actually really bothered me as a student.
The Life of Course
Projects Assignments Anything Websites After the Course Has Ended
What has always kind of left me in awe and sadness is the amount of work we would do as students— writing papers, assignments, 100s of research paper pages printed, posters made, PowerPoints and slides shared, all of it— what happens to it? Where does it go? Does it have meaning beyond “its grade? Why did we do it? What can we do with it?
I’ve had friends tell me that they wanted to burn their notebooks after a class. (Heck, I’ve wanted to do that with some courses that remain dark blurs for me). On one hand, I get that they were exhausted from working. On the other, I worry about what learning means if what we get from it is a miserable state of wanting to trash our books at the end as opposed to a joyous state where we want to cherish our notes, ask for our exams back, share the work, and keep nurturing it.
When will an assignment stop being just that— “an assignment”? Are they non-disposables, as I’ve heard, or something to be tossed out when the class is over?
Anyways, all these questions are larger than I am going to delve into my last day of work until 2020 (yep peeps! I’m out until January 2020. It’s my last day of work for the decade). What I will delve into here are the possibilities of what a course
project assignment website could mean, the life it could take, how it could grow and live— long after you’ve completed the course, turned it in, and gotten a grade for it.
Turned in, graded on it, done?
The answer to that question is up to us.
Seriously, the choice is ours. I think what’s at stake is what did, what does, and what could this digital project mean for my WRI 101 course, or __________________ (fill in the blank with course).
I think figuring this out involves asking some questions like, why did I take this course? why am I here? why did I labor? what does this mean? And how would I like to preserve, nurture, alter, erase, or work with it now that I’ve created it?
On some level, it probably involves clarity on something like who am I, what am I doing here in this world, what is life and where does course fit in, you know just some basic questions of life but we won’t get into that.
Anyways, once you’ve thought through these questions, some of my ideas on what could happen to your course site may aid you as you think of next steps. Here’s how it could go.
Leave it alone, love
You built it; you put your blood, sweat, and tears into it, and now you just let it be. If the moment arises, you’ll share it then. If not, it’s housed in your treasure chest of learning at Davidson. If you don’t buy your domain after you graduate, well, it goes down as a once-upon-a-time memory + whatever skills you walked away with (or you pay $30 bucks and get to keep it! Sweet deal. Talk to our team if wondering.)
Keep working on it! Maybe this is going to turn into your lifetime labor of love, an ongoing series of posts, make it up to your top-level domain, or keep growing into a full-blown, elaborate, beautiful digital garden whose seeds were just beginning to be planted through this course. Perhaps you see a long road ahead with this digital project. Keep going. Make time for it and build. Maybe you want to consider how to attract visitors or get feedback. Round 2. Revisions. It’s a draft in the way life’s a draft- you keep going.
Will you take bits and pieces and make a new domain? Will you transfer certain parts onto your other social media accounts or experiment with a Github site? Will you turn the website into a video, a song or repurpose in some other way that carries more meaning for you? The possibilities really are endless. What can’t you do with a website after it’s done— even if the site “failed” or you don’t like it— maybe you turn that into a space where you offer criticisms for growth and begin to document all the things you think could be better. Or maybe you purposefully and intentionally— dare I say— choose to delete it.
This option is kind of a fun one because there’s no timeline or routine. You want your website, you like it, care for it, don’t want to delete, but also definitely aren’t into working on it in any regular fashion. It’s a scattered, ongoing thing. You know, like a side hobby. Something you revisit when you want or when it feels right. Just enjoy with it! You keep and dust it off when it feels right in your heart to return to it. Maybe a new article is out that makes your website’s information need an updating, or maybe you want to test out a cool plugin, so you figure you’ll do it on this site. You know it’s there for whenever the magic of the world brings you back to it.
Whatever the life, know that you have a choice. We all have a choice. We always do (at least when it comes to our websites we made for a course). The rest of life— meh?
Until the second decade of the 21st century,