Please post your reflections on the project below.
Consider some (or none) of the following: What did you learn during this project? How did the collaboration enhance and complicate your reading of the novel? What effect did working with another class with a different perspective have on your reading of the novel? Was this a valuable experience for you? What kind of aha!/light bulb moments did you have while reading this book? How did you overcome the technological hiccups the groups faced to make this a valuable experience for yourself?

Jacy Marmaduke, UNL
Collaborating with others on this project allowed me to analyze the text in new ways that I might not have considered individually. It's easy to overlook significant aspects of a work, particularly regarding the way it was crafted, when you're too wrapped up in the reading process -- and it was easy to get wrapped up in Star of the Sea. Forcing us to work with each other and focus in on particular elements gave us more control as readers. I was able to enjoy the twists and turns of the novel while maintaining my capability of evaluating the narrative, and thus, I was able to not just experience the book but learn from it.

Ashley Franey, CC
This collaboration has been a very interesting project from the day it was assigned. It seemed daunting at first when all of the elements were described. The think pieces were a valuable part because they made me keep up to date with the reading, and they also made me think critically while I was reading. The online posts were good because they got the gist of what other people were thinking or discussing, but more information or a few paragraphs to them would be more helpful. I liked the point of the wiki, to make us realize more from a different perspective that wasn’t brought up in class. The significant part that didn’t work was the actual face to face collaboration. Trying to set up a Skype session was way too difficult with so many people. I think groups on both campuses didn’t reach out and try to connect as hard as they could have. There should be more planning ahead and time if Skype was to work.

I really enjoyed this book!! I wanted to keep reading and know the ending that I had to force myself to stop every ten chapters. It kept the reading more interesting and stopping to think/ ask questions or hypothesize what is actually happening. If this book is not used in the future, then something just as fascinating should be studied.

Ellen Mueller, CC
I liked the idea of the collaboration between both universities, but it seemed that this project never worked out. When this project started, it was a pretty large endeavor, and I don’t think we had enough time to complete everything adequately. I would have loved to Skype with UNL, but the timing of the project did not work out. I think the lack of Skype coordination and a longer coordination (only two weeks for a project that should have taken at least two months) made the project more effort than I what I learned from the project. The concept of having writers and readers work together is excellent, but it’s just too difficult to coordinate the schedules of ten students at two universities.
Nevertheless, I think Star of the Sea was an excellent novel on which to base a collaborative project. There are so many elements and points of discussion both on the craft of the novel and from a literary analysis perspective. The idea is excellent, and the logic behind it is understandable, but I am just disappointed that it didn’t work out.

My suggestion for next year is to introduce the project at an earlier date, and instead of introducing it all at once, introduce it in chunks, or find a way to make the expectations more clear from the beginning. Maybe instead of using large groups, give each student one partner from the other class. This will make the Skype dates much easier, and it will also provide for opportunities of closer discussion. I would say groups of two or three at most, not eight to ten.

I know this was out of our control, but I would also recommend finding an author that is willing to Skype with the students. This is nobody’s fault, but I was looking forward to talking with Joseph O’Conner on a more personal level, and this did not happen.
This project has a lot of space to grow, and I am excited to see how it develops after a few years.

Jenny Morrow, CC:
I liked the concept of the project but it ultimately didn't work out the way I had hoped it would. Our group's Skype session with UNL was awkward because neither group had much of an idea of what we needed to talk about during the session. I also thought that having everything assigned at the same time was really overwhelming and stressful when I looked at all the components of what we had to do. Though it was helpful to see what the students at UNL thought, I didn't like the format of the Wiki board because it was hard to know what was new and everything seemed to be squished together. I did like having one main theme to focus on, because I didn't have to be bogged down with so much of the novel's complexity all at once. Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the project, but I think there are still areas that need reevaluation and fixing.

Kayla Nesler, CC:
I felt that the collaboration between UNL and Concordia was a good idea in theory but it was very difficult for eight or more people from each college to find a time to meet. Also, communication between the groups was often difficult to maintain and I know there was some frustrations from both classes about this. I liked writing the think pieces because it let me explore my ideas as I was reading, but I feel that posting only a paragraph onto the Wiki cite was challenging. I had a difficult time choosing which paragraph to post and then adding a little intro and summary of what I wrote about in the rest of the paper. I don’t feel that by posting only a paragraph that I really did justice to what I wrote about in my think pieces. I think one of the coolest things about this project was that Joseph O’Connor agreed to answer our questions. Often when studying literature we can’t be sure if a miscellaneous element was something the author intended or simply happened across while they wrote. This answers are especially interesting because this novel is so intricate and full of information.

Katie Gurtis, UNL:
The collaborative project, began with good intentions, but never seemed to get off the ground the way it should have. As a group, my group had a hard time appointing a leader to plan out dates/ensure that deadlines would be met. Too much independence and not enough substance. On the other hand, wotking with Marie especially gave us a chance to look at the novel from a literary perspective. Looking at the rights of women, elements or racism, and of course the politcal commentary about the famine. With their experience, and our combined skill in craft analysis I think we were able to generate some interesting discussion about The Star of the Sea. Google Docs was invaluable to us because it allowed us to see what the other group was doing with their document, as we editted ours. Also, the ability to edit text instantly made group cooperation a lot easier! All in all, I'd say this project helped expand our knowledge greatly.

Chaise Murphy, UNL:
This project truly provided some imaginative insights--especially in the dialogue with Joseph O'Connor. That being said, I feel like I missed a significant amount of the insight from the Concordia students with the failure of the Skype meeting. My suggestion I made in class on swapping professors for a lecture would be a concrete way to inform both classes on the proceedings in the other class beyond the (somewhat) empty paragraphs on the wiki page. I do enjoy the master document concept as a nice, final connection between the two classes; unfortunately it did not realize its full potential this semester. For me, this failed to be a valuable experience, but I know through the failings of this semester, the professors learned a few things not to do next year and that made this a worthwhile experience.

Bridget Vacha, UNL:
The idea of this collaboration project was rather interesting, and it was unique. I agree with many of the people that it was upsetting how we couldn't have it work how we wanted it to. I would have loved to learn more from their literary point of view, but because schedules conflicted, we weren't able to learn how they drew conclusions that they made in some of their wiki paragraphs. I think it would be interesting to see a collaboration not just on this project, but almost as the entire class. Instead of being squished into a few weeks of rushed deadlines and trying to find time to skype when all of us are entirely far too busy. If the collaboration project lasted throughout the semester, we could be learning what Concordia was learning about post-modernism and literary terms and they could get a good insight on how we learned on how the craft is put together. Maybe even having a skype guest teacher (for example, having Duncan spend one of our class periods on skype teaching us about what Concordia is learning with Star of the Sea, and vice versa) I enjoyed how O'Connor himself got involved, but I wish we were able to skype with him. I understand things happen, but having a collaboration with another school and with the author would be rather interesting to see worked out. I would love to hear about how this project would work in the future, if things end up working out and making the project much more insightful for both classes.

Libby Evans, UNL:
I unfortunately didn’t find it too beneficial. I considered the purpose of it to be to work with the other class and learn things from them, but then that part of the project fell through and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn what their class discussed regarding Star of the Sea. But, it was interesting to see their responses and questions on the wiki, so I suppose that was beneficial. As far as the actual project goes, I didn’t learn much only because the only insight I received was that from my own classmates. As I read their responses on the wiki, it opened my eyes more to what was going on in the story. After reading their responses, it was easy to read the next section from Star of the Sea and notice things as a writer and as a reader. I found their insights very fascinating and beneficial. The importance of this project was to gain insight on how readers view this novel and the story it is telling versus how a writer views the novel and how the author creates his effects and literary techniques. Obviously, we were unable to create a written collaboration document, but by using their responses on the wiki we gained enough insight into how they read the novel. The wiki was definitely a beneficial aspect of this collaboration.

Ethan Nichols, UNL
The wiki project had me look at other perspectives of the same story I was reading. When writing up the master document, I had to take these perspectives and combine them to create an overlapping idea. This was practicing a thought process of how writers should think toward other pieces of fiction. Seeing other perspectives unveiled a lot more about the book than I would have gotten if I had just read it alone without any other influences. The wiki was a big source of insight that expanded the novel into more of a conversation than simply reading a book. The value of this project was being able to give and receive ideas so us writers can see the possibilities for our own writing.

Sarah Widger, UNL
I learned how collaborating with your classmates and another course, can add new and unique perspectives concerning one topic. One of the things I enjoy hearing was what others took away from the same chapters and passages that I read and loved myself. Many times what my classmates had to say about the same subject ended up being very different opinions than my own. This brings the text off the page and into the real world of the reader, rather than just dwelling in the mind of the reader. My favorite portion of this collaboration was getting the opportunity to hear Dr. Duncan from Concordia had to say concerning Star of the Sea. This course has a direct focus of the writer and it was nice to get another perspective view. Duncan came from a view that involves the world as a whole more historically, she comes from a background on Post modernism so it was interesting to look at this novel in terms of the time period in which O’Connor published and wrote the novel. Whereas our class has focused on what the author is doing on the page to evoke certain elements of the story such as setting, characterization, and theme.

Brandon Stewart, UNL
The O’Connor project was very interesting to me. I feel that I learned a lot about how one should analyze a story. Probably the biggest thing I learned was how to collaborate and share my ideas with others. It helped me understand the story from different perspectives. Something I had not noticed was brought to my attention. I also thought it was interesting to see how these people noticed these different aspects. I liked hearing about the stories, seeing a story from multiple perspectives make it so much better I greatly enjoyed talking about this story especially when we were writing the master document. There is a great amount of value in this project. Communicating with others and sharing ideas is probably the best way to better understand a piece of writing. Our group really didn’t have difficulty getting organized and meeting. At first it was a bit monotonous but then we found a better way of communicating by using the Facebook page. We had also managed to meet with the Concordia group. There we discussed how we were going to go about doing this project. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of an emphasis on the Skype meeting; it really made the project interesting. I feel that if this project is to be done again students should have more time to meet. The students should also be more organized from the start. If everyone started communicating with the other group right away then there should be no problem in carrying out the project the way it was originally.

Luke McLaughlin, UNL
To me, this project was a great idea. I think that a collaboration between two colleges is pretty cool. Especially because both classes were reading the same book but in different ways. I thought the idea of this was really cool but the actual project itself was kind of hard to equally distribute between all members of the groups. There were only two pages to work with and it was done fairly quickly. I would have liked to skype with Concordia so we could have interacted with them a little more. I was thinking next year groups could be split up and give pre recorded presentations on topics to show to the other schools to expand on the interaction a little bit more. I took a lot out of this despite the flaws, so I think that this should not be the only attempt at a collaboration. I would call it a sucess, but it can only get better each year it is practiced.