The Final Project!

Here is the link to my final project!

A HUGE thank you to Chelsea and Professor Brown for taking the time to edit my project. It helped significantly knowing the next steps I needed to take for the final draft. So thank you, again!

For the final digital platform reflection, I couldn’t work it into my project, so I’m going to be putting it below.

Also, due to the issues with formatting on Storify, my Works Cited at the end of my project could not be double spaced or indented. I have attached the Word Document of my Works Cited here, in the proper format.
ENGL4310 Works Cited

Along those lines, my block quotes could not be properly formatted on the project (I couldn’t indent them). But I allotted a different paragraph for them, to make them stand out.

Thank you, Susan, for a great semester, and I hope everyone has a great winter break!

~~~ Reunited in Poetry 2016 ~~~

Digital Platform Reflection

Starting my writing process on Storify was an interesting experience. For the first draft, I wanted to really get a sense of the platform and a sample of how the final product would look. I started writing directly on Storify, without the use of a Word Document. As I reached the second or third paragraph, I realized a few setbacks. One: I had no spellcheck. Two: I had no word count. Three: I could not indent. And four: I could not change the fonts.

Realizing this, I started writing on a Word Doc and decided to copy and paste each individual paragraph. Not because I wanted to, but because Storify is designed to set up separate paragraphs, rather than one long continuous post. Although tedious, this helped me in the end. I was trying to keep in mind the format of Storify as I wrote on a Word Doc, trying to break up my paragraphs in a way that fits with Storify’s format. It also helped me slow down. It made me examine the project piece by piece and try to make one part flow into the next as smoothly as possible.

In this way, the platform definitely influenced the way I was writing. I did not want the final product to look like a giant wall of text. I incorporated Gifs, images and tweets sporadically, which I would not have done on an average essay. I wanted to make the project interactive so I included links to articles and my own pseudonymous blog. Storify made the social media section and additional components the easiest to produce. I had access to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google, Tumblr, and other sites on the same page as my editing screen. I did not have to search through separate accounts and sites on other windows. It was right there in front of me. And there was no better way to explain the Pseudonyms and Social Media portion than simply showing the evidence. For this alone, I was happy I picked Storify.

Overall, I am more than happy with the way the project has turned out on Storify. No platform is without its challenges and I definitely had a few to work through. But I now have great comfort with this platform, and I hope I have the chance to use it again.

Final Post!

This has been an interesting course!

I really enjoyed the theoretical material that we looked at early on in the course — Of Writing Machines and Scholar-Gipsies is the one that has stuck with me the most.  (Here’s a video of the automaton, in case anyone is interested!) The work on PDFs was also unexpectedly fascinating. It’s definitely changed the way I think about literature, digital or otherwise. Other courses have talked a lot about how format and structural constraints change the way we think while we read — this one has made me think a lot about how they change the way we think while we produce.

For the eLit, I loved the Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries work, and I’m looking forward to going through their other things during the break.

I liked the first assignment a lot. It was fun to do, and it was a great way to be use some new tools and apply our new theories.

I also really loved being able to look at each other’s work! At first, it was definitely intimidating to know that our classmates would be looking at what we were doing, but it also made polishing the final product feel more important and useful. It was so cool to be able to see other people’s projects! Usually, even in seminar projects, we’re all a little isolated with our own essays and assignments.

I also think it would be good to reduce the number of presentations. They were interesting, and I loved seeing what everyone is working on. They do take a lot of time to prepare for and present, though, and I would have liked more class time to discuss the readings. I also would have liked a little more time to muck around with the early stages of the project before committing to something.

I love the flexibility that working in on digital platforms has provided (and will provide in the latter stages of our final project). Writing for and on digital platforms definitely come more naturally to me than working on static text, and it’s been great to be able to present academic material in that space and mode. It’s even been useful for other classes, because it’s exposed some limitations in the format that I don’t think I would have otherwise noticed.

The Grand Finale

What a semester! It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and late night writing, but at the end of the day I have really appreciated what we’ve learned in this course.

  1. Literature can take shape in many different forms. Like video games! I never considered a video game to be a type of literature that can be analyzed until this class.
  2. Different digital platforms afford different types of writing. I think this can be proven with our digital strategies – some worked more than others, but we didn’t know until we tried.
  3. XML is hard.
  4. Peer editing is something to be valued, not feared. We don’t have the opportunity to peer edit too often in our English classes. The collaborations were so helpful, especially when it came with added suggestions we may not have thought of ourselves.
  5. Digital writing is something we will be seeing more of. I will absolutely be putting this course/project on my resumé to show future employers that we took the time to master writing on a specific platform. It was great to start that preparation while we’re still in school, with the opportunity to really dive into different topics. This course will be benefitting us in the long run.
  6. Interactive literature and e-literature are incredible ways to hail readers. Pry was probably my favourite piece that we looked at. Texts do not have to be linear. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace, and there’s no reason literature can’t evolve as well.
  7. Butter/Suet sculptures are awesome and I wish there were more in the U of G archives.

I really have enjoyed our class time and discussions with everyone; this wouldn’t have been the same experience without you guys! This course was really eye-opening for me in terms of what is possible through digital writing. The world is our oyster! And it’s right at our fingertips.

Can’t wait to be reunited in the poetry class! Happy holidays everyone!!

Reflection on “Writing in the Digital Age”

One of the most useful things “Writing in the Digital Age” has taught me is how XML and HTML works. I have never worked with either markup language prior to this course, but I view it as a very powerful tool to understand. From my new knowledge of these markup languages, I now know how to manipulate some sites to my preference. For example, at the beginning of the course I struggled with indenting paragraphs on WordPress. I googled the code to insert into the HTML to force my posts to stay indented once published. (Of course as I say this I now cannot get these paragraphs to stay indented! I swear I got it to work when trying to have the subsequent lines of references stay indented haha). I would have never known how to do this if we didn’t learn about the markup language. I think this knowledge will prove to be valuable, especially if I decide to work in the publishing field. It was kind of fun. I enjoyed that little game we played with the Bob Dylan song. However, I would have liked to spend a little more time on markup languages just to really explore and grasp the concept more fully.

I also now realize how important and helpful peer editing and peer feedback are. I really found the lightning and projects presentations valuable, as they allowed me to see what my project looked like from another point of view. My peer’s comments and suggestions helped me work through issues I was struggling with, and pushed me to think further in order to take my project to the next level. Speaking of presentations, I really enjoyed the demos as it allowed me to get a quick, but quite thorough, understanding of how multiple platforms work, what they have to offer readers and writers, and what it means to write digitally. I thought it was very interesting to look at the writing space provided by each platform, and how it affects the writing process. I agree there may have been one presentation too many in such a short period of time, but I honestly don’t know which one I could have gone without.

I loved the interactive literature. These Waves of Girls was my personal favourite, even though at times I found the linking confusing. I found the content interesting, and I liked close reading how the backgrounds of the text connected to the text.

Lastly, I think the final project really helped me to understand how different digital writing is. I enjoyed creating my final project, even though at times I was very frustrated with it, but I think it proved to be important. I also now know I can write 3500 words of valuable information, and organize my thoughts on a digital medium in an effective manner.

Thank you to everyone for a great semester!

Week 11: Braid

Throughout this game, I found it interesting that Tim is usually the person who instigates violence. Most of the time, the goomba-like creatures wander around on their own until you get in their way, and most of the bunnies don’t attack you until you walk across their fields. The first boss doesn’t do anything until you start throwing chandeliers at it. Even after that, it stops and waits in the corner where it cannot be hurt until you draw it out with more chandeliers. It also felt strange, after a while, to be continually protecting the goombas just so that you could kill them in order to reach a target.

I think this works really well with the ending. You know how this kind of game works (kill the monsters, get the keys), and you get so involved with winning it that you don’t pay attention to what you’re actually doing in order to win. Likewise, Tim knows what the archetypical romance story works (beat your rivals, get the girl), and so he doesn’t notice the damage he’s causing.

It’s also interesting to think about how the game hails you. You play as Tim, but he’s also a separate person from you. In this particular game, there’s no alternative way to play the game — you can’t progress without trying to ‘rescue’ the princess, or without killing a lot of possibly innocent monsters, so you don’t have to feel responsible for Tim’s choices.

Not to open up a whole can of worms in regards to video games and violence, but I do think that a narrative of violent conquest is really common in most media (video games maybe especially, but not by any means exclusively) and Braid does a great job of critiquing that situation.

I absolutely did not manage to get the extra-secret-second-ending — to get it, you need to complete a puzzle that involves waiting in place for two hours, and that is too much of a time investment for me. For anyone who doesn’t mind extra-secret spoilers, though, there are always walkthroughs:

According to those, the bonus ending shows that Tim is actually a nuclear scientist and the princess is a split atom. I’m honestly not sure that this is an improvement on the first ending! It’s very clever, but I don’t think it’s as surprising or well-integrated into the form of the game as the first one is. I haven’t personally played through to the second ending, though — maybe it would feel as natural as the first one did if you experienced the game in the ‘correct’ manner. Did anyone actually manage to get that ending? What do you think about the difference in the two endings?


I came home after class and saw that my mom purchased a new cookbook and I thought it was pretty relevant to our discussion of Lara’s project. Now, my mom uses Pinterest and other sites to look up new recipes, but she still decided to purchase this cookbook today. I was wondering if it is a generational thing? Old habits die hard, as they say. Do you think the physicality of the cookbook bears some weight to a gravitation towards the cookbook versus a digital medium?


Borgman meets Fitzpatrick, pushing the DH field forward and collaboration

In Christine Borgman’s article, The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities, she argues that the digital humanities depend on the scholars themselves to push the field forward.

The argument is structured around the comparison between the budding field of digital humanities and the more established field of eScience. Unlike the humanities, digital scholarship has become the norm for science; over the past two decades eScience has transitioned from being an “emergent” to an “established” field. By assessing the progress and limitations of eScience, Borgman argues we can construct a digital future for the humanities.

Fusing two definitions together, Borgman comes to a more encompassing definition for digital humanities that frames the issues at stake. According to her, digital humanities can best be described as “a new set of practices, using new sets of technologies, to address research problems of the discipline” (Borgman).

Similar to Fitzpatrick’s article, Authorship, Borgman also believes that collaboration is important to writing and, more specific to her argument, to establishing digital humanities as a field. Similar to Fitzpatrick’s writing anxieties, Borgman recognizes that humanists value a sense of individualism to their work, problematically there still seems to be an idealization of a kind of “’lone scholar’ spending months or years alone in dusty archives, followed years later by the completion of a dissertation or monograph” (Borgman). She argues that collaboration, especially in fields such as computer science, will “attract more resources and more attention” (Borgman). Humanist projects like Orlando are a good example of this—it uses computer science skills such as coding to organize a large field of humanist research in a meaningful way while allowing that information to be easily accessible.

(1) Do you believe that it is the responsibility of scholars to establish the digital humanities? What responsibility might we take on as students?


(2) Furthermore, recall Fitzpatrick’s thoughts on collaboration:

“We need to think less about individual authorship and more about collaboration; we need to think less about originality and more about remix; we need to think less about ownership and more about sharing” (Fitzpatrick 28).

I’ve asked something similar before but since there’s been some overlap in the articles: To what extent do you believe that work in the humanities ought to be collaborative? Is it that the digital humanities ought to be collaborative while (nondigital) humanities might not benefit? Why/why not should the humanities focus on collaboration? There does seem to be a weird idealization of the “lone scholar”, I might argue that the some of the kind/nature of scholarly work in the humanities (such as forming arguments and expressing new ideas) is geared towards the individual.