April 25, 2020

Reflection & Defense

John Forest

Over the last several months, I have had the privilege of working on the James Farmer project.  Our project started out without much direction, which our group took advantage of immediately.  We wanted to showcase Dr. James Farmer’s educational legacy at Mary Washington.  Although this semester has certainly had its challenges, I believe that we have come up with a final product that reflects the great ideas we had in the beginning of the semester.  

While I was reflecting on the project we have undertaken, there were many things our group did right.  One thing our group did well was make a timeline for things to be done, we gave many of our tasks more than enough time to be completed, and kept us on track throughout our project.  Even after we had to adjust our contract because of the quarantine order,  it was still manageable while ambitious.  The first stages of our project had the benefit of us meeting face to face twice a week, where we could collaborate with ease.  However, once we were forced to meet via Zoom, I personally found it more difficult.  Although this was certainly a challenge, our group came together in an amazing way, continuing to meet religiously twice a week for a large majority of the semester.  We used our time wisely during our meetings, and accomplished more than I would have suspected given the circumstances.  

I would argue that we have finished our project as we had contracted it.  Most aspects of the project received little change from the original contract.  We were able to make the exhibits that highlighted the different stages of James Farmer’s experiences on campus, including his time in the classroom and the expansive legacy he left behind.  We were also able to upload almost all of the Farmer related newspapers that we had planned.  Many photographs and classroom materials, were already on file at special collections, and thanks to some of the early work done by some of our group members, we were able to include them without much issue.  Even though we were not able to have the same amount of Oral history videos that we had intended in the beginning of the semester, we were still able to create four high quality videos.  

Overall, the mission critical items in our project were completed without incident, and I am personally overwhelmed with pride for the work that our group accomplished.  Through the struggles of COVID-19 and the following quarantine, we were still able to come up with a polished website that shows the educational legacy of Dr. Farmer at Mary Washington.

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