Self Evaluation- Brian McDermott

I had originally decided to take this course so I could fulfil a CLE requirement for my major. I started looking at some of the course descriptions in this class’s CLE area and none of them interested as much as this class’s did. I knew of this area because I live so close and have been to Appalachia many times. I was not too familiar with Appalachia’s history and the people that live there. I thought it would be good to learn more about the area I go to school in.

Apart from regional stereotypes, I heard little about Appalachia and the films and readings were able to open my eyes to the history and life of Appalachia. Of the two reading, I enjoyed High Mountains Rising the most. I liked the history it presented. The reading was more enjoyable and seemed to go quicker. The other reading was boring and slow. The Last Mountain was the film and part of the course that really stood out to me. I was never really aware of this kind of mining process. I was amazed at how destructive it was. I almost could not believe entire mountains could be destroyed. The affects mountain top removal coal mining has on the people living close by are terrible and I wonder how this practice is still legal.

Presenting our thoughts and opinions through blog posts was a great way to do weekly assignments. Not only could I get my ideas across and finish the assignment, I was able to see what my classmates were saying on the same topic. I enjoyed seeing their ideas on the blog on a weekly basis. I now look forward to seeing where they did their final projects on. Hopefully they will be places I am not familiar with and I am able to learn a lot.

The knowledge I gained in this course will stay with me forever. I now know more about the place I attend school and the people that live in the surrounding area. I love history and Appalachia is full of it. I knew stereotypes are not always true and this class confirmed this. This class also taught me why Appalachia has certain stereotypes. Appalachian Studies makes me want to explore and learn about other places I am not too familiar with within our own country.

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