As our project comes to an end, I’d like to use this post to review and reflect upon the website that Joe and I created.
One of the main goals for this project was to present both sides of the issue of immigration: the problems that the immigrants have and the problems that the locals have. The problems that the immigrants have were shown in the interviews, where each immigrant was asked what the Kirksville area could do to make life better. However, in the Story Map, I hoped to expose some of the difficulties that locals have had concerning the language and the cultural differences. In addition, the story map was also used to give a geographical perspective of both Northeast Missouri and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We incorporated the themes of “Hope, Hinderance, and Help” in the narratives. Since we did not have the time to write out transcriptions for each interviewee, we created journalistic narratives to give an accessible background to viewers who are not able to listen to the full interview. We split each narrative up into four parts: Introduction and Experiences, Hope, Hindrance, and Help. We ended up added the first section after realizing that our interviewees had a lot of interesting things to say that didn’t necessarily fall into the other three categories.
Originally, we had planned to create a video to present our website and give a little bit of background on the DRC. However, Video Pad and other movie-making tools did not cooperate well with our types of computers. Therefore, we resorted to creating a powerpoint that the website visitor can click through in order to learn about the situation in the DRC. We also used a powerpoint to explain the Diversity Visa. Since learning about a very legal aspect of immigration can be overwhelming, I broke it up into slides and added transitions. I also tried to involve the viewer by presenting some information in a second person format. For example: Would you qualify for the Diversity lottery?
As for the language settings on the website, I felt uncomfortable turning in the website with only half of it translated into French. As a result, I decided to disable the translation plug-in for now. In the future, I hope to take extra time to create more quality translations that I can publish throughout the entire website. This way, a French speaker will not be confused when only the titles and not the content are translated into French.
After completing this project, I feel much more thankful. As Truman is a very liberal campus, students often focus on all the things that are wrong in the United States. However, we often forget to acknowledge that some of the rights and services we have here are beneficial, like freedom of speech and free primary and secondary education. I am also inspired to improve my interview skills by incorporating better reactions and following up with more insightful questions.
Overall, I feel like this was a good first oral history project. However, I feel that I can improve the skills I’ve gained by continuing to keep up this website and use other digital tools in the future.