Voices of Migration Course Site

An Oral History Collective

Page 2 of 11

Reviewing Classmates’ Projects

My reviews for the ‘Latino Migration in the Central Savannah River Area’ and ‘Merging Cultures: The Congo in Kirksville’ may be found below. Each of my reviews is based on the final website project rubric, outlined in the Voices of Migration project guidelines. If a project did not meet anyone of the rubric categories, I left that category out of my review.

Review of Latino Migration in the Central Savannah River Area

Context: I think the ‘About the Project’ page is excellent. It provides context for users to base their impressions on the who, what, where, why, and how of the project. I love the digital mapping tool for your page on the CSRA; however, time permitting, perhaps you could insert a little more information about the area (population demographics, main sources of economic revenue, etc.). Another suggestion would be to add in a context page exploring why there are migrants in the CSRA in the first place (economic factors, historic migration, etc.). Finally, I think there could be a more effective integration of the digital tools with the rest of the context. Currently, I feel that the digital tools are a little disjointed but  a slight rearrangement would be a quick solution.

Oral Histories: From the narrative about Angelica, it seems that the oral history interview was a success! Perhaps it was not posted yet, but I could not find the actual oral history digital file to listen to.

Narratives: I think the narrative on Angelica’s story is fantastic. Her story is told in a compelling, interesting, and thought-provoking manner.  Excellent work!

Website Design: I think the website design is effective and easy to navigate. Further, I think the heading photograph sets the tone of the project well.

Language and Editing: I think the language/writing style used in the project website is appropriate and effective for conveying the desired tone.

Overall, once the missing pieces are put into place, you will have created a thoughtful, well-developed, and complete final project. I look forward to seeing your finished  work!

Review of Merging Cultures: The Congo in Kirksville

Context: I think the ‘About This Project’ tab provides sufficient background information on the project. This information can be used to give users a foundation on which to base their experiences while navigating through the site. I love the context given on the actual geographical locations both in the Congo and in Missouri. This really inserts Kirksville into the project and gives it an added layer aside from the oral histories. Finally, the digital tools are well integrated into the  site and make your project more engaging. Wonderful context!

Oral Histories: I think the oral histories are well conducted. I believe they cover a wide range of discussion topics and points of view. Nice interviews!

Narratives: I am sure this is already being worked on, but there needs to be an added narrative for each oral history. Based on the work already produced and the context obtained, I have no doubt that the narratives will be rich, complete, and effective at delivering the desired tone.

Digital Recordings: To me, you have conducted solid interviews. Nice work.

Resources and Documentation: Present and accounted for.

Website Design: I think you have designed an easy to navigate and effective website. From the digital tools to the organization, I was never once confused while searching through the site. Further, I think the photo gallery is an excellent addition to the project. It adds a personal and visual dimension that I believe other projects are missing.

Language and Editing: Solid language and editing. I found the word choice to be effective at delivering the desired tone.

Overall, I think you have crafted an excellent website with some well-developed content. Once you add in some oral history narratives, you will have a complete and polished final project. Great work!

Project Site Reviews

Merging Cultures- Truman University

All throughout your project site your writing was very clear and eloquent. I also like how you had the You do also provide the necessary background information about the project, to inform the viewers. I do think it would be beneficial to add some images to the “About the Researchers” section in order to add a face to your name. Throughout the website, the design is clear and intuitive. I do suggest you have all your audio and pictures for the oral histories formatted the same to create some consistency.

Latino Migration in the Central Savannah River Area- USCA

In your about section you provide a wonderful description of what COPLAC does, However, I think it would be helpful to address what COPLAC is.  You have also developed Angelica’s narrative very well, you do not yet have an audio for her oral history yet though.

The Interviews

My interviews took place last weekend. With each interview, they got better, but I now feel very guilty now for ever thinking that interviewing people was easy.

 

Bobette:

On Saturday afternoon, Bobette and I met at the library on Truman’s campus. Despite it being a Saturday, there were quite a few people in the library (welcome to college), so we decided to move to Baldwin Hall, where it was significantly quieter and we could speak loudly without disturbing people.

I had met Bobette before at Kirksville community coordination meetings, so we weren’t complete strangers. Yet, I think we were both a little nervous going into the interviews; interviews aren’t the same as a casual chat. One problem was the conversational aspect. In a conversation, each person shares his or her views or experiences on a subject. They can bounce off of each other, compliment each other, and share stories. An interview is different in that the focus is on one person. I tried my best not to talk too much about myself since the emphasis was Bobette. Yet, it felt much more rigid, and after the interview, I did a lot more talking.

Another issue was the pressure that came with an interview. As an interviewee, what you are saying is the main point of the interview, so if you say something wrong, it feels as though everyone will be focused on it. As an interviewer, your job to make the interviewee as comfortable as possible while also coaxing interesting information from them.

Finally, one thing that is hard to convey through an audio recording is the negotiation of meaning. Since communication takes place through both verbal and nonverbal communication, the facial expressions were an important part that didn’t always get conveyed. Throughout the interview, we did stop a couple of times in order to collect our thoughts and to make sure that we were on the same page. Then, I would restart and ask the question again. It actually made things a bit smoother since there was more time to put together our thoughts and knowing that we could stop it gave us a little less pressure.

The whole time, I was self conscious of my reactions. I couldn’t say “That’s cool,” after every line, but that’s what I ended up saying for a lot of them. Reactions are difficult, especially on audio, because you need to show that you really are interested in what the other person is saying, but you shouldn’t take any bias.

 

Interview 2: Ossok

 

This was probably the smoothest interview. After English classes in Milan on Sunday, Ossok stopped by for the interview. We had talked before in English classes about  the differences between his and my country, so in a way the content of our interview was not new. What was new was that I was no longer playing the role of English teacher, but as an interviewer. As an English teacher, you have to give your students plenty of input, which means that you talk a lot and when your student doesn’t understand (which, Ossok usually understood because his language level was so high), you form a simpler sentence or you draw a picture. In an interview at even his English level, there was definitely negotiation for meaning, but the roles were reversed. Ossok was the one talking; I was the one listening.

 

Interview 3: Servais

 

I was ecstatic to find out that Servais was home from Iowa and that I could interview him. He was very into the idea of the project. I went to visit him at his home on Monday after our class, and after elaborating on the project (I had given him a general idea a few months ago, when I asked for the interview), he insisted that I film him after he shaved the next day. However, none of the other interviews on our website were filmed (not everyone wanted to be filmed), so I explained to him that I would prefer if we did audio. I came back to his house the next day, when the rest of his family was at work or school, so that it was quieter when we did the interview. He was very passionate about talking about the suffering in DRC and hoped that the US could help solve the political situation.
After listening to part of the first recording, he wanted to record again. We ended up creating three separate recordings. Each one had better English, but each one was slightly different.

 

After doing these interviews, I thought about Ellen Degeneres. Yes, Ellen. And here you think, “Well, that came out of nowhere,” but really, she does the same things I was trying to do. She helps to share the stories of hundreds of really cool people. She is an excellent interviewer. Peoplon her show always seem to be relaxed and viewers tend to learn a lot about them. I want my interviewees to be relaxed, but I also want to learn a lot about them.

 

This project has showed me that I need a lot more practice. Listening to the recordings (after a little bit of editing), I realised that they weren’t as bad as I thought, but I could still use practice.

Review on Other Websites

Las Voces de las Américas

Context:
You have a very good description of the course and of COPLAC. I think it might also bebeneficial to say a little about yourselves, including your college, your role as students, and the time period that this is taking place. I also think that some digital tools or links would add to the aesthetic of your website.

Oral Histories:
Still in progress. Side note: I felt very relieved when I heard that you found people to interview. I can’t wait to hear their stories!

Narratives:
Still in progress. Just make sure to incorporate them well with the oral histories.

Digital Recordings:
Still in progress.

Resources and Documentation:
Still need a page of background information and the sources.

Website Design:
Looks very nice, and the website can be translated! However, when you click on “About the  Authors,” nothing shows up. It might be useful to add some more information on that page. Even though there are other pages that take you to your descriptions, I think the user would like some sort of information on any page that they can click on.

Language and Editing:
The Spanish rocks!!! It makes your website very accessible to all people who are involved in the situation that you are covering. It might look more professional to use third person on your content page.

Overall, I know your website is still in progress, but what is already posted looks good. The large picture really draws the viewer in, and the Spanish is a wonderful asset to many people. If you keep formatting the website as you are now, it will look wonderful when you have included all the information.

 

Exploring Greek Migration to the Berkshires

Context:
You have a wonderful description! It is very professional due to your use of third person and your added details. Yet, you also are able to draw people in with your use of links and easy language. It is a good length and a good introduction to your website.

Oral Histories:
Don’t forget to insert the link to your transcription. Could you add that link so that when  the user opens it, it won’t stop the audio or close the page? I look forward to hearing the  interviews of your other interviewees.

Narratives:
Could you add a picture to go along with the narratives? I would like to see what your  interviewees look like. I appreciate the story-like narrative and the description of the atmosphere. It makes it more like a story rather than a research project, which encourages the viewer to continue reading.

Digital recordings:
It might hold the viewer’s attention more if you split up your interview by theme. For example: a clip on her childhood, a clip on her quotes about community and the church, etc. Audacity is a good tool to use to edit out these clips.

Resources and Documentation:
Still in progress. Don’t forget to include background and social information about their community. This would be a good area to include digital tools.

Website Design:
Your menus and the sidebar make your website easy to navigate. However, I thinkpictures would be a good way to enhance the look.

Language and Editing:
I found only a few punctuation errors. Also, be sure to cite everything for the information you post in the future.

Overall, your website looks very nice and you seem to be going in the right direction. You have a good balance between conversational and professional. Make sure to include research and citations on your website.

Website reviews

Las Voces de Las Americas

Off to a good start! It’d be cool to find ways to make the information interactive, once you have it up. Sound bites from interviews interspersed throughout the site would be useful, since the word voces/voices is so central to your theme—make sure to integrate those conversations as much as possible!

Latino Migration in the Central Savannah River Area

I liked the idea of an ArcGIS map to get to know the area; however, when I clicked on different points, it merely said “Point,” and no background info was given. It would be helpful to fix this. More pages with more info about the people and the area may be helpful as well. What are important aspects for us to know?

Story Maps

Joe and I were able to meet yesterday, and I felt that even though we only did a little bit, we made pretty good progress. Our website officially has an “About” page and a page for the interviews. In fact, Joe was able to upload some of his interviews that he’s already had. I’m still waiting to record mine, but I’m excited to see what it will look like when we have them all uploaded.

To add to that, I received confirmation from the student at Job Corps in Iowa saying that he will be home this weekend to interview with me. I don’t know what time, yet, but hopefully our plans so far will remain secured.

On another page, I realized that for my intentions with the story map, it would be more useful to use StoryMapJS instead of ArcGIS. While ArcGIS gives the user access to go where he or she pleases and to read the information in any order, StoryMapJS creates a more structured slideshow. ArcGIS is still my go-to site for the language map, since the information is less specific and the order doesn’t matter. However, for the map of places that are important for the Congolese population, I found it useful to begin with DRC and then take the user on a trip around Kirksville and then to Milan. Chronologically, the immigrants began in DRC and then travelled to this area. Plus, it’s much easier to show details specific places with StoryMapJS. When I make my language map, the marked areas will be much larger, so it won’t be necessary to pinpoint specific towns or streets.

In the next few days, I plan to edit the Story Map and to move forward with my language map on ArcGIS. I also still need to do more in-depth research on the Diversity Visa. Until later!

Interviews

I was finally able to get my first and second interview done. I actually had a really great time doing it. I drove to Lewiston and set up camp at the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. I was able to interview Fatuma who runs the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. Hearing her story was so interesting because she was among the very first wave of immigrants to Lewiston, so she was here for everything: the letter from the mayor, the rallies held, and started this nonprofit. I can’t wait to be able to share her story.

My second interview was with a young lady who has only been in the country for about two years. One of the more interesting things she said was that she believes the different communities need more interaction with each other. There are many shops that carry ethnic food and goods that have been set up by the new immigrants to Maine. She told me that the white residents rarely visit those shops and vice versa and it would help the community to work together if there was more cross-cultural interaction. Since I was in town I decided to check one out and get some lunch there. It was definitely a different atmosphere from grocery stores that I am used to, but the chicken and rice I got was mighty delicious.

Interviews

I was finally able to get my first and second interview done. I actually had a really great time doing it. I drove to Lewiston and set up camp at the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. I was able to interview Fatuma who runs the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. Hearing her story was so interesting because she was among the very first wave of immigrants to Lewiston, so she was here for everything: the letter from the mayor, the rallies held, and started this nonprofit. I can’t wait to be able to share her story.

My second interview was with a young lady who has only been in the country for about two years. One of the more interesting things she said was that she believes the different communities need more interaction with each other. There are many shops that carry ethnic food and goods that have been set up by the new immigrants to Maine. She told me that the white residents rarely visit those shops and vice versa and it would help the community to work together if there was more cross-cultural interaction. Since I was in town I decided to check one out and get some lunch there. It was definitely a different atmosphere from grocery stores that I am used to, but the chicken and rice I got was mighty delicious.

WordPress Progression

This blog post is dedicated to providing an update on the project website. My partner and I are using WordPress as a medium for our migration narrative. While still in the process of completion, we are conveying this narrative by the actual uploaded text,  the ‘physical’ layout of the website, and specifically chosen digital tools.

While the actual text is still being work-shopped, the website’s layout is nearing completion/finalization. The largest contribution of the website design to conveying the narrative is through its user-friendliness. I want the website to be so easy to navigate that it does not hinder the message from the interviewees. Through dropdown menus, the content is neatly organized and, with the menu and sidebar, information can be located through multiple means of navigation. However, I am not finished with the website design and my plans for improvement can be found in the last paragraph of this post.

Regarding the digital tools, both the ARC GIS Story Map and JS Timeline are being utilized. Ryan is working with the story map digital tool, so I will leave that update for him to explain. I intend to use the timeline tool for a visualization of the Greek migration context. Like most aspects of the project, manipulating this digital tool is taking longer than expected. I am confident that I will have it completed and uploaded on the website by the middle of this week. It is my hope that this particular digital tool will further convey our narrative by providing another mode of representation for the audience’s engagement.

Without surprise, the WordPress website still needs improvement. For one, the actual digital tools need to be completed and uploaded onto the website. In addition, after receiving feedback during last Thursday’s class, I have another rounds of edits to make the site more logical and user-friendly (rearranging some categories, adding different heading titles and a Greek community resources page, etc.). Thank you for checking in and I will be back next week with more updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website Progress

Mo and I have been working on our website, choosing colors and themes, coming up with the basic design and layout that we want for the final product. We also have been working on a timeline through Knightlab, and a story map through ArcGIS. We plan to incorporate both of these tools into our website in order to provide visual context for the narratives that we collect. We have not made many changes since we showed the class our progress this past Thursday, but you should all be able to see some updates in the coming days! I am really looking forward to adding narratives to our website in the next few days, and to seeing how everyone else’s sites develop!

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