Final Portfolio Outcomes Essay
This semester, I took English 221: New Media Writing with Professor David Morgen. This course was different from other classes I have taken because it forced me to practice new forms of writing that I was not used to. I was able to do this through the various assignments assigned. At times, I found the assignments challenging and was unsure how they were improving my writing skills. It was not until I completed all the assignments and went through my work that I was able to realize that my skills and awareness of my writing process has grown this semester. The major assignments involved using the learning objectives for the class: rhetorical composition, critical thinking and reading resulting in writing, writing as a process, digital citizenship, and collaboration. Just by challenging myself to write in new ways, my writing skills were improving.
Each of the major assignments not only involved a different writing process but also allowed me to learn something about myself. The technology literacy narrative, was one of our first pieces of work in the class and included the most amount of writing. When writing the technology literacy narrative, I had to think back about the experiences I have had with technology in the past, in the present, and how I think it will affect me in the future. Before doing this, I had not really put much thought into the role technology has played in my life since an early age. I realized how young I was when I started using technology and how much it has taken over people’s lives today. All these steps were part of the writing process I had to go through when writing the technology literacy narrative. Moreover, writing the technology literacy narrative helped me decide what I wanted to analyze for my data visualization sketch.
For the data visualization sketch I decided to calculate the amount of technology I use in a day. Once I had my data, I had to put it together in a set on Tableau. Tableau was very challenging for me; with no previous experience with creating data sets and the website, it took me a while to put the data together. Because I had no idea how to use the website, I asked a classmate who knew how to work Tableau for help. Once, I was able to generate and analyze my data set while writing my post, I was able to grasp the great deal of time I spend using technology.
Furthermore, the sketches were distinct from one another. Some sketches such as the movie montage, 256 points, combo-photo, and the coding we did for the class involved more technological skills while others such as the assembly sketch, a human document, and visual note taking required more organizational thinking. I found that the ones that included technological skills were personally more difficult. This class made me realize that although I use technology on a day to day basis, I am not knowledgeable about many advanced technological uses. Moreover, in the website I built I tried to always be aware of my digital citizenship. In my writing, I always gave credit to outside information and images.
In the course, all the students in the class collaborated on a podcast series called Media Nouveau. This podcast allowed us to discuss different forms of new media. My group created three episodes all involving forms of video; one about Philip DeFranco, one about Tasty videos, and one about Casey Neistat. Developing these podcasts was a process; first the head producer came up with the topic of the episode, then we created an outline, and then we produced a script. Once we had the script completed, we recorded the episode. When coming up with ideas for each of the episodes we thought about forms of new media we love, felt others also enjoy, and that we would be excited to discuss. In order for our episode to be engaging we had to be passionate about what we were examining. Although my groups episodes were all related to forms of video, other episodes were not. One was about the social media application Snapchat and another discussed the digital news publication Vox. Media Nouveau consists of episodes of diverse genres.
The final group project in this class was the Equality of Opportunity Project. This was a class project where we looked at raw data presented on the role of colleges with regard to social mobility. The class built a website where we analyzed and tried to understand this data. Furthermore, as a class we divided ourselves into three groups. The first group looked at Emory University versus other elite colleges, the second group tried answering why some universities are more successful than others in promoting social mobility, and the third group investigated opportunity in the Southeast versus other regions in the United States. I was part of the first group and I helped collect personal narratives on why students chose to attend Emory. As a class, we felt that through personal narratives we could better understand the raw data. By analyzing the personal narratives, we found that the majority of people chose Emory because of the quality of majors and programs it had to offer and made less of a decision because of financial reasons. But, this information could be incorrect because compared to the number of students that go to Emory we were only able to collect a few personal narratives. Moreover, I felt that the raw data presented from the Equality of Opportunity Project was hard for us, as a class, to analyze and write about. There was such a large amount of data to examine in a short amount of time. If we had more resources and time I think we could have better been able to understand the data. Although it was a hard assignment, I think that the Equality of Opportunity Project was a good learning experience. It required for a large group of people to work together to achieve a common goal and being able to work well with others is an important quality to have.
Each of the major assignments improved my skills as a writer. They allowed me to practice new and different forms of writing and test myself. Moreover, these undertakings pushed me out of my comfort zone which is important for me as writer and is the only way I can grow and improve. Lastly, my writing and work in this class made realize that I am capable of doing things that I often do not think I could do.