Students connect with Ukraine

Dr. James Daly and his students in the EDST Social Education Program are working eye-to-eye, literally, with Ukrainian students via Skype on the Visualization of the Ukrainian Diaspora project.

The objective of this project is to create a website containing an abundant amount of information pertaining to the Ukrainian Diaspora. Daly’s definition of Ukrainian Diaspora is, “the spread of Ukrainians around the world.” Four waves occurred during Ukrainian immigration to the U.S., beginning with the first wave in 1877 and the last wave starting in the 1990s. The four waves, alongside other facts, are displayed on the website the students are creating.

Students gain hands-on experience working with a Ukranian university over the internet. Photo courtesy of Dr. James Daly.

With the help of the Ukrainian students at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, the Seton Hall team was able to obtain enough information to create a website using the technology in the Digital Humanities Program. Daly became aware of this program over the summer and then began his mid-summer training for his students in the fall.

“I am truly amazed at the work ethic of my students,” Daly said. “They took their own personal time to work with the Ukrainian students, teaching them this new technology on how to store images, pictures and texts on the template as well as creating an interactive map for the website.”

The students helped transcribe audiotapes using Google Translate for the Ukrainian students. This helped them understand and then replicate their findings onto the website in their personal language and writing. The website portrays an informational dual aspect for both the English and Ukrainian languages.

“What I found most valuable about this project was getting to work with Ukrainian students and learn from them as we researched the Ukrainian Diaspora,” said Alison McCarthy, one of Daly’s students. “Through creating this site and tracking the immigration of Ukrainians, I learned much more about Ukrainian history and immigration as a whole. Being able to produce a web-based document and then go onto share it with Ukrainian students was interesting and fun to do. It was very rewarding to see my hard work come together on a website that others can use to learn about Ukrainian immigration.”

Although this new technology had a positive outcome and benefitted the project, the students faced some difficulties.

“The challenge we first faced was learning the Visual Eyes software,” said Jake Etienne, another student of Daly’s. “None of us were familiar to it at all and we had to create a project off of it, plus show foreign students how to use it. Luckily, Veronica from Space 154 helped us immensely in addition to us helping each other.”

The Ukrainians lacked connection to and comfort in their heritage after dispersion. The students saw that, when groups move to a new country, they like to keep their old heritage. Through the efforts of this website and the communication with the Ukrainian university, the students have created a foundation for educating and bringing awareness to this historic event.

Christina McDonald-Vitale can be reached at christina.mcdonaldvitale@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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