The picture of my desk above illustrates the main issue that we had for the blog during the summer of 2017.
When we all met for our summer meeting, the main problem we had was that we either couldn’t access our Google Drive to get our information or couldn’t connect to the wifi. So to get around not being able to connect to the wifi, Laura suggested that she could get the data from her laptop since Prof. Quizon couldn’t access the drive. However, another problem came up. The laptops we use for this blog is either our personal computers or the laptops the school provides. To log into the laptop the school provides, you need to log into your student email and to do that, you need to have wifi access. But for some odd reason, Laura’s laptop could not recognize the campus wifi.
After finally being able to connect to the wifi and getting all the data we needed, we all discussed issues that came up at that point.
One of the main issues, besides connecting to the internet and getting our data, was how to code some of our data into the excel because all our data was qualitative data. What we decided to do and how we did in detail it is on a different post but it all came down to figuring out how to categorize something into something else.
The second issue, which is something more personal to me than what it is for the others, is how being an alumni affects the productivity of the blog and internship. One of the main issues is just getting onto the blog because we all use our student emails to log in. Not being a student anymore complicates things. The quick fix was to switch to my personal email and then relinquish admin rights after I hand over to the next group.
The final issue touches the first issue but in more detail. It had to do with how to categorize something that doesn’t have a category. For example, how would you categorize learning a language from a hymn or song? Would you say the person can speak and recognize it but not understand it? This issue was brought up by Stephen when he realized that some students who took the survey said they can sing and recognize a language but not actually read or understand it.
The easiest and fastest way we decided to address this problem is just to make a special category for these cases since it only affected about five or six entires. After going through all our issues and trying to figure out a way around them, we all had pizza and left to enjoy the July weather.
Initially, we were going to use Google’s spreadsheet because we could all edit it in one place, but we encountered a few problems. Some of the data in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet when opened in the Google spreadsheet would overlap into other columns, making it hard to read. Additionally, there would be the occasion where data that was present in the Excel sheet was missing in Google’s spreadsheet. As another point, we all had the same version (2013) of Microsoft Excel pre-downloaded on our laptops which made Microsoft Excel compatibility easy. It was unanimously decided that we use Microsoft Excel to input data. However, we also decided to use Google Drive to save and share our data on a cloud. Google Drive also updated us via email anytime one of us contributed to our shared folder.
We created three folders in google docs to organize our saved spreadsheets and other files. These three were ‘1st DH Raw Data’, ‘2nd DH Raw Data’, and ‘DH Meeting Docs’. The third folder held our meeting minutes, or what our discussions were when we met and what goals we discussed to have done before we next met. Both the first and second raw data folders had sub folders of ‘checked’ and ‘unchecked’, where the previously naming convention came in handy. Additionally, both raw data set folders had their respective index card scanned copies were saved there. In doing this, we kept all files organized well and were able to share files efficiently. Although we all saved the most recent files to our desktops and to a shared USB drive for backup, Google Drive assured that our updated and previous files were in one place that we could all access from any computer.
All data we entered had to not only be divided evenly among the team, but it also needed to be checked to make sure that the information is correct and who had last saved the data. We agreed to use an author naming convention by using our initials. In the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, we designated four additional columns for this purpose, and two more columns were added to communicate on the spreadsheet itself. Columns D,E, R, S, T, and U were used for the following: D was ‘Entered by CQ/MP/AB/EH’, E was ‘Date Entered’, R was ‘Comments’, S was ‘Checked by CQ/MP/AB/EH’, T was ‘Date Checked’, and U was ‘Additional Notes’. The ‘Comments’ column was used to communicate changes to data. Say I had entered a name wrong as ‘McThomas’, but Michelle caught the mistake, and would write in that row under column R ‘MP-AB fixed last name to MacThomas’. This tells us that Michelle is writing to Anastasia (me) that she fixed the error in the last name I made. If we had a question or were not sure of a data entry or part of one, we would write in column R as well. For example, if Ellie had a question about a missing name, she could write in the ‘Comments’ column ‘Which participant is this?’ or simply state ‘No name given’.
The initial convention was used not only to show who input and checked the data, but also who had last saved the data. To give an example, if I was the first to put in data, I would label the newly saved excel sheet ‘AB Raw Data Set 1’. If Ellie was the next to input her data and check mine, the new excel sheet would be titled and saved as ‘AB-EH Raw Data Set 1’. Then, if Michelle were to do the same, the file would be saved as ‘AB-EH-MP Raw Data Set 1’. This naming method would continue until all data is input and checked.
Overall, this system of using our initials to know who last saved, checked, and input data worked very well. It was a simple, clear way to know among the team who had last saved the most recent data and who was communicating with who within the spreadsheet, especially between meetings.