If you are reading this, that means I (and probably you) somehow survived the week. This week was by far the hardest one to date. The week started with an educational lesson on coding and HTML/CSS. I went back and fourth between w3schools and Codeacademy to help me through the process. Both of these websites had pros and cons. I loved how interactive Codeacademy was, but also liked how clearly outlined the processes for HTML were written in w3schools. Overall, I found both of the websites very useful and user friendly and frequently visited them throughout the week as I faced my most difficult challenges in digital studies to date. I decided to work on the module textual analysis. I was drawn to this module initially because of my love for reading and it sounded pretty straightforward and interesting. Textual analysis is the process of taking a piece of text and slicing it into manageable pieces that we can easily draw conclusions from. To try my hand at textual analysis, I took two pieces of text, one that I was familiar with and one I was not, and used Volant tools, and online textual analysis platform to analyze and draw conclusions between the two. Seemed simple enough, right? Well, it was! I decided to analyze on of my favorite books, “The Fault in Our Stars,” and a book I have never read before but heard great reviews of, “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl.” Volant tools made it super easy to upload my pieces of text and analyze them. After I copied and pasted the links to each novel on Voyant tools, the platform quickly separated the text into things like average words per sentence, vocabulary density, and the most frequently appeared words in the novel. I could also do a word search for a specific type of word to see how many times it appeared in each text. From these types of summary details, I could gather clues and information and try to piece together similarities or differences that I saw and draw conclusions.
This module allowed me to learn how text analysis is done. When analyzing text, you can use words and phrases of authors, film writers, or journalists to draw conclusions for specific trends, writing styles, or plot and thematic elements. This could be helpful when a reader is struggling with a piece of text that they aren’t understanding due to hard or confusing language or writing style. By being able to focus on the main elements of a piece of text, it can separate the confusing stuff from the more easily understandable stuff and allow you to work with what you do know to draw conclusions.
The next part of this week was to use HTML and make a website for my analysis. Again, sounds easy enough right? Yeah, not so much…
Putting together my website was a very time consuming process, that required a lot of trial and error. This was my first time doing anything like this before, but I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do after completing the lessons on Codeacademy. I thought that I could just jump in and design my website based off of what I knew, and so I did. By doing so, I quickly became aware of how I had no idea what I was doing. Like I said, this week was very time consuming and required a lot of trial and error. I probably watched videos of how to code 50 times on repeat, I googled a lot of questions that I had, relied on my classmates for answers, and code academy and w3schools are now my top 2 most frequently visited browsers. Through using HTML and CSS, I had to try and delete and retry many different codes until I found the one I wanted for my website. It wasn’t easy, and at times was seriously frustrating, but by the end, I had a website I am proud of that contains my analysis for the week.
Although this week was stressful, I learn so much. While working with HTML, one thing I noticed was how even though I didn’t really understand what I was doing, seeing the final product was an eye opening thing for me. The things I coded for in HTML for my website, were the types of things that I see all over the internet today. Since I now understand the time, attention, and detail it takes to make a website I now have a better appreciation and understanding for what I am seeing on the internet. In the past, I had never really put much thought into how websites are made or why every website looks different and serves different purposes. But now I do. HTML allows for people to create specific websites that best showcase the information they are putting out onto the web. It is an important way that we can share or store data efficiently. This week has expanded my knowledge of digital platforms. For this class, I’ve worked a lot with blog posts and have become pretty sufficient in writing, posting, and using subdomains. Now, I feel confident to add HTML and website created to my digital portfolio. Obviously I am just a beginner, but I feel interested to continue learning and seeing what I can create in this area.