Blog #1 for ENG F314

While first reading the syllabus that was assigned to my online English class it took me a second to really figure out the website. Not so much because it was confusing or difficult to navigate, but mainly because it is different from Blackboard Learn. It is a modern looking page with five light bulbs hanging as the background picture which seems pretty symbolic of the new ideas we are trying to accomplish by enrolling in this type of English class. Within the context of this website it contained our syllabus, a crucial part to any college class. I learned three things during my read of the syllabus; that we will be using multiple programs (Google, Twitter, WordPress, etc.) throughout the year, that we are expected to put 9 hours of time into the class per week, and that final grades will be rounded up at 0.5 (sweet!).

While reading though, I did find myself stuttering as I was a touch confused in two aspects of this syllabus. What does the term “asynchronous” mean (as it was used repeatedly) and the second being the setup for these different programs we are using. I don’t think I have ever felt so simple as to when  I constantly switch back and forth from program to program and need to keep watching the YouTube videos for their introductions. It’s pretty humbling to say the least, but it is proving to be quite entertaining for anyone around to hear my outbursts. This blog isn’t all bad though because there has been one “ah-ha” moment…when I figured out what asynchronous means! “Asynchronous- (of two or more objects or events) not existing or happening at the same time”.

Throughout the course I am sure that we will be covering a multitude of topics that could range anywhere on the spectrum, but two that I hope to see is any sort of sports related writing assignment and possibly one “hot topic” such as; our recent election, gun control, marijuana legalization, or anything that is constantly in the news but not many people want to discuss it calmly. I would like to see the sports topic for my own personal enjoyment as I love talking about all aspects of sports whether it is professional teams or the effect team and individual sports can have on a child. The “hot topic” is something I feel is good for classes to discuss because it takes practice and time to figure out the right methods for discussing these sort of topics without getting personally attached to individual ideas. I think it is good for a class to be able to explore their opinion on a matter and be able to work through their thoughts on paper while being calm and not have this escalate into a heated moment (which tends to happen in a normal discussion). Plus I think its fun to read others’ opinions on the matter and read their rationale behind it.

When this course is all said and done I think three goals that I will keep in mind are; to achieve an “A” in the course, become more comfortable with differing types of online formats, and to be able to write a cover letter for myself that I am comfortable with. These goals are personal to me because I feel they will help me in my professional life as well as my academic life. Hopefully by the end of this course I will have achieved all three and can walk away with more knowledge that I entered the class with.

Reflection

I believe that my biggest decision in writing for this class is actually the way I write. I’ve been told in other classes that my writing style is very fluid and conversation like. This has allowed my writings to be simple to read for classes such as that needed for English. But, extraordinarily difficult for my technical writing intensive classes such as engineering lab write ups. That is why when I started doing my analysis and research for this class I wanted to do a hybrid writing style.

Originally I was looking to improve my technical writing skills when I started this class. But upon hours of reading and research academic articles filled with monotonous text and laboring over the meaning of dry and dull sentences I realized that people don’t like to read this. At least no normal person unless they like eating tree bark; and so I started writing with a little bit of both. Just enough for the people to get cold concise and credible information but in a way that allowed them to understand it without referencing the Rosetta Stone.

After receiving comments from my piers I think that my gamble payed off. What I received was mostly acceptance and likability. That is one of the main reasons I kept with this going into the final project. Because I feel that most people going to the university want to be engaged and really get into what they are reading. And so having the factual and concise information mixed in with my easy going explanations really put into context what my project was intended to be.

Lastly I feel since I was doing this assignment for a more social setting I was successful. However, if this was going to be for anything academic then I would be better suited to separate my commentary from the text and have it as a side note. This being said during my first project I did meddle in this with my story. Having completely written it out first I did end essay annotations. Although the annotations weren’t written in a true academic format I feel that if I had done some tampering I could have made it more refined.

Overall I think this class helped me as a whole with becoming a better writer. The involvement of everyone in the class and the comments that showed thorough effort to analyze our work really gave weight to what each one of us was doing. To note alongside that is the fact that our work actually meant something. What I mean is with our projects being posted in the library people will be able to see this and learn something from it. It won’t just go in the trash as a “grade” and that is what really stood out from me in this class.

6 Reflection

In my combination of the three stories regarding the use of Bow-and-Arrows in the terms of fiction and justice, I let subtle associations slip through requiring the reader to think critically about all four stories together to fully understand. This could have hurt the communication of associations, but overall I believe the targeted audience would mostly make the connections. My favorite connection I made was that of helping those in need, I’m my story, Gaillus helped a young girl in the woods, by fending off her attacker. Later near the end of his life, She granted him the thanks he was never recognized for in the past, by naming her child after him. This shows, that in time, the good we do will be recognized in time. Maybe not with grand things such as parades or feasts, but something as humble and honorable as having a child named after you, by someone who knows all the good that was done. I believe that it also may have been difficult for a more modern focused audience to see the importance behind having a child named after you. In the time of swords, and shields the naming of a child was just as honorable as being knighted by the queen. While this didn’t have the rights to land and slaves/servants. It was quite honorable for one to offer this to you. Most people focused on today would not understand this importance, thus this was a low point in this decision.

Self Reflection

In terms of my actual writing itself I can’t really say my style or voice has changed much. However one major thing that I did come to realize over the course of this class was that it is infinitely easier to write up an essay or paper if I look up the information myself. In the past when I wrote for my class I would be given the sources I needed to use and my only significant input was how I chose to interpret it. Having to look up my own sources and determine their validity helped me gain a deeper understanding of how to write an accurate paper, and how to judge the accuracy of something I’m reading.

Beyond that I also realized that having people I can “bounce” off of helps me focus my thoughts. In our final group project I would tell my group members what I was planning to write and they’d give me feedback that helped me fine tune.

Overall I can say that I’ve grown as a writer (at least in an academic sense) and will be able to ensure a proper tone and focus in my future writing.

Blog Post 6

one of the choices I made was with doing the comic for my portion of the group project about whales.  some of the consequences of the choice of doing the comic may be that it may not be as easy to read to some or may not be as interesting  to look at.  this choice could have been affected by a different audience by, that i had chosen an easy to understand and read comic so everyone of all ages can understand, one way that it could have been affected is that if it was focused towards an older audience they may have found it to be to demeaning or belittling them, as if they could not understand a larger vocabulary.  but overall i was happy with the product of my portion of the project (along with the whole project i was happy with) i was happy with the word choice i used, i would rather use a word choice that everyone of all ages can understand rather than one that only certain age groups will know.

Reflection – Media and Storytelling

Using new methods of writing certainly created a different final product than I’ve ever made before. I’ve done a lot of writing in my life so far, but all of it was either for academic purposes, or for novels that I work on in my free time. I’ve never really had the chance to add hyperlinks, footnotes, annotations, and even pictures into the mix, so this semester was definitely an exploration of different ways of writing than I’m used to.

Often with my writing, I’m the one who’s adding details into a story or topic through verbiage and rhetorical devices, so it wasn’t all that odd to do a retelling of a collective story for our first big assignment. Having to do it in so few of words was a challenge, as I’m an author that likes spending time to work over scenes, but that wasn’t anything compared to using annotations. Having to explain what I’ve written in a story was certainly interesting, and often I found myself struggling to find references to outside factors when it came to The Hero’s Journey and classic epics.

Rewriting a story to encompass every aspect of a collective story was a fun exercise in meaning and symbolism, but explaining those aspect was difficult. Footnotes, short little tidbits of information at the bottom of a page, became awkwardly formal compared to the silly little story I wrote, but apparently it worked fairly well. You never really know what works until you try it and put it in front of an audience, of course, which was another crucial lesson I learned in this class, and not just when it comes to footnotes.

Using pictures and comics to accurately convey a message of a piece I’d written was fresh air compared to writing blocks of text. At first, I doubted that a comic would fit well into an academic writing course, but as the semester went on, I realized that collective stories are all about the evolution of storytelling and the media used in such stories. How better to convey the evolution of media than through something that isn’t technically literature? It also helps to connect to an audience that is more commonly wrapped up in television and more visual forms of media today, such as teens and young adults.

Although it can alienate more traditional audiences that prefer reading, I found that the visual style of storytelling fit well within our classroom of mostly young adults, and the crowd that may commonly visit a museum (where everything is essentially visual media; exhibits). If I were to do the same assignment from scratch for a more academic, professional audience, I would definitely have to make sure visual media was acceptable for the venue provided, and that it fit the theme of the assignment. Comics and pictures certainly don’t fit into every subject, but definitely add a new perspective.

When it comes to new forms of writing, I’ve learned that it’s important to know your audience and what they will find interesting or acceptable for an assignment or piece of writing. Not all audiences will be so accepting of every type of annotation, be it in footnotes or in pictures, and not all assignments work like the ones we’ve done in class this semester. Even so, I’m thankful for the chance to try out new forms of media, and will certainly try to implement them into future works when applicable.

Reflection

The main choice I made in this class was to stick with the scary topic. I made this decision simply because people do not always like to look at the scary, yet I do. I find that the scary is often forgotten and even ignored when in reality, it should not be. I think this decision was good and bad. I was able to write a “scary” story and by receiving feedback on it; I learned that I am not all that good at writing scary stories. If I were to have taken a different path and write something that was good with no bad intentions, it may have turned out better. I will never know though, because I did not take that path. Yet, everyone is their own worst critic. If I were to have created a story that was all flowers and roses like the princess stories, I could have possibly made more connections with people. This would have changed the audience that was reading the story and the public project. People who are interested in the scary and sad stories, stop to read it while people who are not, continue walking till something happy comes along. The audience completely changes if I change the baseline of the story, that I created.

Every decision I made in this class had feedback which helped me stick with the decision I made originally. I enjoyed that we were able to make our own decisions and be guided by the feedback given by fellow students and our teacher.

This class did not just help me look at all the possible outcomes, but it helped my writing. I have learned how to make better connections among stories and even how to create new connections among several stories allowing for better connections with the audience. I have greatly enjoyed this class and even towards the end, I began to come out of my shell.