The Provost of SUNY Geneseo, Dr. Paul Schacht, came to Rachel’s and mine presentation on our COLPAC Digital work on our school’s GREAT Day (Geneseo Recognizes Excellence and Talent), a school wide presentation day. He will be teaching a COPLAC Digital course next semester, and wanted feedback on everything, from the difficulty of the course, to how well the digital conferencing tools worked, to the ratio of student pairs who video conferences from the same room versus students who video conferenced from different rooms. He was so interested in the details of the course, that Rachel and I spent half an hour talking to him about our experience after everyone else had left the room. We spent so long talking to him because there was so much to say about our COPLAC Digital experience from the very beginning to the end.
As soon as I heard about this course, I desperately wanted to participate. As the professors know, I was so eager to get into the course, that I was super active in the search for my partner, even volunteering to go it alone if another partner couldn’t be found. However, I could not have been happier when I found out Rachel was my partner, I was absolutely elated. Not only was I fortunate enough to work with someone smart and ambitious with similar interests to mine, but I was fortunate enough to work with someone I was already friends with. The partnership that Rachel and I had was the highlight of this course for me, simply because it was entirely stress free and complementary. We had very similar expectations of work division, face-to-face meeting times, and overall collaboration. Furthermore, we could always depend on each other to move the project forward, which was something I truly appreciated.
When developing our website, this natural collaborative chemistry came to our advantage. Because we had very similar ideas about how the website should look, we didn’t have to spend valuable time compromising and arguing over what content we wanted featured. We were able to get straight to work on background research and identifying the names and contact information of the legislators we needed to contact. This was particularly useful since the semester (tragically) flew by faster than we thought, and not having to scramble at the very end made us produce a more complete website.
However, it wasn’t all easy. The biggest challenge I ran into was definitely trying to make sense of all the different groups and grievances that were presented in the various websites we found. Because there is virtually no literature, peer reviews or otherwise, published on Upstate New York secession, we had to guide ourselves through the project. The novelty that came with charting a topic came with edits and re-edits, constantly moving content and adding and removing subpages. We were aided greatly by the feedback we got from our classmates to feature opposition voices, just to show another side of the argument and to make our website seem more complete.
The skills I learned in this class will stay with me as I prepare myself for graduate school and for the future world. Having designed and led my own research project, I feel more confident being able to say I can conduct the independent research that is required of me in my future studies, and the technological skills I learned will prove infinitely helpful as I embark on my future career.