Final Project Week Five Reflection

This week I focused on the presence of knitting in the media. I found several great stories of people doing impressive things with yarn; a doctor who knits hats for every baby he delivers, two women who started a program to help rehabilitate prisoners by teaching them to knit, several organizations that distribute knit items for charity, a woman who crocheted a fully functional innovative playground, an entire subculture of knit street art, and a group of human rights activists that organized the creation of a kilometer long scarf calling political attention to the thousands of unidentified bodies in unmarked graves in Peru.


Since this was the final stretch, there wasn’t much left to learn about the program and features or how to use it. I’ve been using this time primarily to stay on top of homework from other classes, but I’ve also begun to consider what I’ll be putting in my final report. When you get down too it, what were the benefits of using a wiki? Was it detrimental to my goal in any way? Did the forum suit the discourse in content and style? If asked about my experience, what would I tell others about using a wiki? I hope to be able to satisfactorily answer these questions, as well as any others that come up during our final face-to-face meeting on Tuesday.


Final Project Week Three Reflection

This week on my wiki I created reviews for several different yarns; Fun Fur, Homespun, Merino 5, MountainTop Chalet, Softee Chunky, and Super Saver. I would say that this week has definitely been easier that previous weeks, simply because much of the content written was my own opinion. With the tutorials I had to constantly check that the way I had learned to do a stitch matched up with how other tutorials taught it, which is a complicated task because every knitter is slightly different. I looked over multiple tutorials for each stitch that I wasn’t 100% sure about, in text, picture, and video format.

For me it was fun to think through exactly how the different types of yarn felt, how they handled, and what they would best be used for. I was especially excited to review MountainTop Chalet, as it is one of my all time favorite yarns. This is definitely a section of the wiki I plan to continue after the semester ends, as I’ll continue to knit and try out different (fancier!) yarns, such as Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Rowan Belle Organic Aran. Frankly I just love talking about yarn, but I don’t have a lot of knitter friends to talk about it with, so my wiki and Tumblr have been my primary outlets.

Throughout this last week I have continued to discover new little aspects of the WikiSpaces platform. I suspect that I will still be figuring out new things until this project ends at least. This week I fine-tuned my image manipulation skills, as I now know how to align multiple images on one side, and have ALL of the text next to the images. I also learned that, while anyone and everyone can “add” a new page by typing in a WikiWord and telling it to “link” to a page withing the wiki while editing, one must at least be logged in to WikiSpaces in order to make said page actually exist by hitting the edit button on that page. Honestly I don’t believe this will be much of an issue on my wiki because it seems to have adopted more of a call-and-response flow of information (though the “response” part is lacking to say the least), but for a more active wiki like our class wiki or one used by a business, this could be wuite the hinderance.

Final Project Week Two Reflection

This week in my final project I delved into tutorials and information on various stitches beyond the basics. In knitting I made tutorials for increasing and decreasing the number of stitches per row, ribbing, seed, and moss stitch, cables, and fair isle colorwork.  In crochet I covered increasing/decreasing (including the wave stitch pattern), the popcorn stitch, and granny squares. Of course this isn’t anywhere close to an extensive list of different knit an crochet stitches, but it was plenty for me to make a new page every day, which means that I have continued to meet (and even exceed) my goal of 4 pages per week.

On a good note, I’ve found that Anna Hamann’s suggestion for creating pages by writing the title and clicking “link” while editing to be very helpful. Not only has it made page creation less cumbersome (and I mean A LOT less cumbersome), it has also made it possible for others to create pages, and I have altered my WikiGuidelines to reflect this new information.

Over the past week I have become more proficient in manipulating images on the Wikispaces platform. That being said, if I were to choose a wiki host based on ease of use regarding images, I would not choose Wikispaces again. The process of inserting the images is simple, but manipulations afterward are… tricky? Yes, tricky sounds like the right word. It took some trial and error to figure out that, if I want the image to align on one side with the text appearing next to it as on Granny Squares or Cable Patterns, I have to insert the image ABOVE the text first, not below. If I insert it below and tell it to align right, the image will align right, but the text remains above the image. Also, in trying to go to the next line after an image, it will often realign the picture to the left without being prompted to do so.

Uploading an image from my computer resulted in some interesting complications as well. I used my own image on Crochet Increases and Decreases. After I uploaded and inserted the image, all text following it was “styled.” I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it made it very difficult to edit the text. If I tried to make a certain line a heading, then the next line would automatically be aligned center. I tried to “clear styles” but that had no effect. The only way I could find to work around it was to type out everything, then go back and change the appropriate lines into headings.

Another frustration I had was with the home page. When I first began, the home page title simply read “home”. This seemed unprofessional to me, and I tried to to change the title to “Home Page”.  This, however, created a new page with all my home page contented, and reverted the home to the general welcome the the wiki information. When I announced the creation of my wiki on Facebook, I linked it to the home page I actually liked and didn’t think about it further, but upon reading Daybook entry regarding the first week I found that that was ineffective, and have since copied my content to the actual homepage and deleted the extra home page.


Overall I’m finding that Wikispaces is awkward to use in many aspects. It isn’t so problematic as to necessitate changing to a different platform for this project, as I’ve already managed to find a way to work around many of the issues, but I don’t think I would vouch for it in the future.

Final Project Week One Reflection

This week I began my final project: A wiki focusing on the various aspects of knitting and crochet. My goal is to create a place where beginners can find helpful instructions and advice, and crafters of all experience levels  can discuss stitches, yarns, patterns, and media representation.

Because I had my wiki mostly set up before we began this project, I tried to make the most of the first week as an opportunity to explore the functions wikispaces, which is the wiki hosting platform I chose to use. Editing text is somewhat different from the methods used on our class wiki page. It works more similarly to Microsoft Word in that changes to the text such as creating headings or using italics or bulletpoints are done by highlighting the text and hitting the desired button, rather than using various symbol combinations (like =====heading===== and **bold**)

I was incredibly pleased with the ease with which I could incorporate pictures from Google Images (with links to the sources!) and Youtube videos. It was a little tricky figuring out which buttons did what at first (pictures are uploaded via the “files” button, and Youtube videos via the “widgets” button), but once I had figured out how to do it, it was easy to put that knowledge into practice. Next week I hope to learn to incorporate my own images, rather than Google Images, and other widgets besides Youtube videos (depending on whether or not other widgets would be helpful/appropriate).

There were several things that I found frustrating about wikispaces as well, the foremost being in the creation of new pages. While I have stuck to the convention of using CamalCase WikiWords for all pages, wikispaces doesn’t seem to have the function of creating a new wiki page whenever a new word is used. I have to manually start a new page, then go back to the page I used the WikiWord on and link the word to the page. Also, I have to do this, as the only way I’ve found that MIGHT make it so that others can create pages is to add people as members of the wiki.

As for my goal workload for the week and how it compares to what I actually did, I’d say I was mostly on track. I did have a couple sections that I meant to do yesterday that didn’t get done until today because my boyfriend’s family was in town. Beforehand I had believed they would simply arrive, pick him up, and leave, but they ended up staying the night and I got dragged along, so almost zero homeworks were done yesterday. Since no such complications should be popping up this week, I should be able to remain completely on track.

Week Seven Reflection

This week’s assignment was a little more challenging than last week’s. We are still working on wiki collaboration, but we’ve had a slight change in topic, going more in-depth in our research. Last week we focused on more superficial topics (such as how to get started and the different ways wikis are used), but this wee we dove into what exactly makes writing on wikis easy or difficult, wiki literacy, social determinism, and the digital culture divide. I made contributions to the pages DigitalCultureDivide and WhatMakesWikiWritingSoHard. Records of the specific changes I made can be found on my personal pages, under DigitalCultureDivideMS and WhatMakesWikiWritingSoHardMS. While this week was a little more challenging, it was still fairly easy in that we can still produce content based primarily on our own ideas and experiences, and therefor don’t have to do very much additional research in order to contribute.


I had the most difficulty with writing on DigitalCultureDivide because my initial content was written under the presupposition that divide was based on whether or not wikis could be deemed credible, and that the divide could be placed on a generational line, with older generations on one side and younger generations on the other. It was pointed out to me by JennaLong that this was inaccurate, and that it was more likely to be a matter of the inexperienced vs. the experienced. Re-writing the content to reflect that idea wasn’t very hard, but it took me a while to get to it because I believed that what I had written could “hang with” what Jenna had said. It was my experience that, aside from a few exceptions, being wiki-inexperienced was congruent with being at least a generation above me. The only adult I’d known to trust Wikipedia when I was in highschool and my first years of college was my mom, and even then it was a wary sort of trust.

(Little side-story here; my mom is a tutor, and at one point the girl she was tutoring had to do a research paper. The rules for her sources stated that she could only have one online source (which in this technological age, where many academic journals are publishing their material online, is a tad close-minded). My mom suggested starting with Wikipedia, intending to use it as a method of finding other sources, and the girl FREAKED OUT. Her teachers at school had convinced her that Wikipedia was pretty much evil and should never be used for research ever.)


Week Five Reflection

This week was… challenging, to put it lightly. We started a brand new topic, moving from blogs to Wikis. I thought it would be easy. I mean, I already knew how to navigate Wikipedia, and I had used a Wiki in the E-Rhetoric class last semester, so it couldn’t be much harder than that, right?

Well, not quite.

It turns out that Wikis are a part of a much more massive system than I had anticipated, and their much more varied and adaptable than the few purposes I was previously acquainted with. Basically, if you need to communicate with a group in any way, it’s possible to adapt a Wiki page to suit whatever your communication needs may be. Using a Wiki can be simple, but studying them is difficult, for the highly varied uses make the overall system a complex, or even baffling. Trying to grasp it was such an arduous task that I didn’t manage to post anything this week besides my Notes on Wikis.

I had the most trouble with some of the reading, especially Meatball Wiki and the c2 visitor’s page. With so many links and so little straightforward explanation, it was difficult for me to figure out simple things like the basic purpose of those Wikis. I think they’re for disseminating technological knowledge, but I’m not completely sure. Throughout the week I tried to simply read everything, even though I didn’t understand all of it, and try to get as much information that I DID understand out of the readings as I could. Luckily it was only the Wikis themselves that I had trouble understanding, and not the material explaining how Wikis work in general. The Wikis in Plain English video was incredibly helpful in understanding the basics for editing a Wiki and how Wikis are designed to be useful in many different situations. Brian Lamb’s article elaborated more on the social functions of Wikis and the public’s various objections, along with why those objections may or may not hold ground.

I don’t really know why this assignment gave me o much trouble. I’ve just got this general feeling of confusion floating around my head. I’m hopeful that some in-class discussion will help clear it up, or at least make specific questions more obvious to me so I can ask for clarification.

Week Three Reflection

This week’s assignment was enjoyable, but it wasn’t without some difficult aspects. I chose shaping discussion on blogs as my topic, which I considered interesting to research. It was challenging for me to find posts that best exemplified how discussion usually functions and how shaping it can be difficult for the blogger, especially while keeping such examples strictly to “blogs”. This is why I expanded my definition of a blog to include Facebook, which Rettberg also considers very similar since (as Halie pointed out) it is a frequently updated sites with entries in reverse chronological order. I think that this ties in well with what we’ve been learning in general; what is a blog and how do they work?

I definitely feel that more could have been said about this topic (though in all honesty, one could always say more on every topic. There is always more to be explored and investigated), but I consider the work I’ve done to be fairly adequate in giving the audience a concise explanation of the topic. If I were to do it again, I would spend more time delving into a wider variety of blogs to see how they personally handled discussion with the audience. How do they contribute to the discussion, other than providing the starting point? How do they deal with troublesome followers? What do they do when an all-out internet fight breaks out?

Over this past week, I’ve sort of been in “lurker” mode. I’ve only actually made three other posts, which admittedly had nothing to do with this weeks work. I have been watching what everyone else has been tweeting, and I’ve read several WordPress posts as well, but my focus has been directed mostly towards my other 4 classes, especially my 4000 level wildlife management class, so I haven’t been as active in the discussion as I would have hoped.

So, improvements to make for next week:

  • Try to manage homework better so I have more time for discussion
  • Investigate topics more thuroughly
  • Communicate more during the week via Twitter