A Reflection Letter
The purpose of the letter is to analyze and reflect on the “exhibit” of work I have accomplished throughout this semester.
Through this course, we have completed five major projects and numerous side-quests. The major projects include reflective writing pieces like the Literary Narrative, the Player Narrative; a game comparison analysis; and group projects that led to finished online media comprising of three podcast episodes and a game design project.
This website is an online means for displaying the exhibit, divided into sections that can be accessed from the tabs above. Under my “Home” tab, there will be links to this Final Reflection, as well as my contact information. Under “Posts”, you will be able to access smaller assignments including side quests and reflections I have done for all major projects, which are the last five tabs that can be directly accessed.
To access the course website, hit this link. https://eng101f20.davidmorgen.org/
The course of English 101: Play, Make, Write, Think has incorporated five designated outcomes: Rhetorical Composition, Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing, Collaboration, and Digital Identity. At the beginning of the semester, this was a surprising guideline for me. Going through a transition from my high school senior year, I am used to rigorous reading and writing curriculums, which would only compose two of the five learning outcomes included in this course.
The definition of Rhetorical composition listed on the course website is “compose texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes (Written, Aural, Nonverbal, Digital).” This first learning outcome labels the clear difference of this English class, which is putting an emphasis not only on writing but all sorts of writing in different forms and on different platforms. Through composing a variety of texts and using many composition technologies, this course requires and challenges me to demonstrate an understanding of whom I am writing to and where I am writing on and adjust to those certain different circumstances. Consequently, this is directly reflected through the composition of our five major assignments. To begin with, we have two narratives and one comparison essay, which can be considered “traditional” writing. In addition to that, we have done three episodes of podcasts that involves the construction of our voice transcripts, taking on completely different styles. Furthermore, we created a Twine game, which is an online adventure game built around text descriptions. In either of these two cases, we learned to write and adopt different conventions based on different targeted audiences. Focusing specifically on the assignment of the Twine Game project, we constructed a very traditional storyline on the shared Google document.
The game, “DMD’s revenge,” was a group project inspired by the story from an episode of a Japanese TV show, “Unnatural Deaths.” After hours of work, what we came up with was a concise summary of the plot, which was not a good fit for our intended genre. As a result, my main job was to revise the script plot transcribed by other group members and turn them into “a more game-like format, adding fun choices to the game that would increase playability, yet forcing the players to come back to the main plot eventually” (Twine Game Reflection). Eventually, we cut off many long, run-on sentences to leave space for our audiences, kept the text adventure game in a second-person perspective verbal manner that is more engageable. Simplifying a composition instead of complexifying one was a unique learning experience for me. Before this course, I held an intuitive practice to regularly make my essay look fancier by swapping out a word with a less-used alternative from the thesaurus. This was mentioned in my self-analysis, the Literacy Narrative, where I talked about writing for the grades and writing in complex sentence structures only “to demonstrate that I’ve listened in grammar lessons” (Literacy Narrative). Through completing this course, I have experienced writing in multiple styles that can either be comprehended as visual or aural modes under different circumstances appropriate for the occasion.
Writing comes in many different forms; one of them could be writing an intriguing story for a specific, targeted audience so they can understand an issue that I am trying to convey. Through the initiative of Rhetorical composition, we touched on the other four learning outcomes naturally. First and foremost, we read Andrea Lunsford’s “Rhetorical Situations” and “Reading Rhetorically” from Everyone’s an Author to understand the concepts of the intended audience and points of view, leading to critical thinking and reading resulting in writing. This includes critically considering the position of my audience, as well as what they want to read, hear, or see. This insight helped me throughout this semester, in and outside of schoolwork. For the game comparison essay and the podcast series, we wrote under the assumption that, as readers of the game comparison, our audience would read under the premise that they already have experienced the games and their contexts. As a result, I was able to write without having to provide much unnecessary repetitive information that would have required a lot more time and space. However, the game comparison essay and the scripts of our podcast series each demand different writing styles. In the game comparison essay, I wrote in an informative fashion analyzing the similarities and differences between “Gone Home” and “Gris,” two games that I thoroughly enjoyed as “a learning opportunity to empathize and relate to those who have undergone pain and fragmentation” (Game Comparison: Gone Home v. Gris). The two games both helped obtain an understanding of traumas and ideas to help with their recoveries, which are serious topics to be considered and derived from video games, comprised of digital, visual, aural, and nonverbal modes of expression.
In contrast, when writing for the podcast series, I would write sentences as if I was saying them in person, intentionally splitting longer run-on sentences into more succinct clauses. We had to consider the fact that aural information is processed by human brains very differently from visual images or words. When we read or process a piece of written information, our eyes have to be focused on the object, paying full attention. However, when we listen to a conversation, music, or a podcast, it is much more difficult to pay full attention for an extended time. Therefore, as a group, there were many attempts made during every one of our script rehearsals, cutting out lengthy, repetitive content to make the final podcasts more engaging for the audiences.
Group projects such as the podcast experience as well as our Twine Game lead to the next learning outcome, collaboration. Throughout these projects, I have often partnered with two to three other group members, where “we usually evenly split up the work, which means that no matter the role, we put a similar amount of input and ideas into the podcast (Plague Inc. Podcast Reflection). Since the pandemic, none of our group members were able to meet in person, some even living in different time zones. Nevertheless, we were able to build a proficient connection with each other, all engaging actively and finishing our work on time and efficiently, supporting each other academically and emotionally.
The online collaboration style that my group and I have established, as well as this English course, this whole experience taking my first college semester at home and online, ultimately leads to the outcome of digital identity. Nowadays, digital users from across the globe build up each of their own identities on the Internet with a network of contents they choose to display to the world. At the beginning of the course, we all created a personal website using wordpress.com, a place where we can distribute visual, textual, and audio content created from this course. Starting from the first side quest of creating a personal avatar for the website, we continued to complete weekly side quests including creating visualizations for our studying process, remaking movie scenes, and creating artworks through digital photo editing. I can proudly say that after these experiences, I became more adept in the era of digital citizenship and awareness.
Before taking this course, I was used to consecutive reading comprehension and writing analysis in a short term of time, which was my brief understanding of writing. Over this course, I have learned to truly reflect before I write, and revise after I write, which are two elements as important as the actual writing process. For example, the Literary Narrative and the Player Narrative got me contemplating about my childhood experiences as for how I developed certain writing and gaming behaviors. Without prior reflection practices, I would have never come to some conclusions that helped me understand myself better. Because of this class and the different perspectives, it offered me, I was inspired to build my rhetorical composition, critical thinking, and digital identity. Understanding my familiar ways of constructing a written piece and eager to experiment with different methods of composition, I have grown tremendously as a writer due to taking this class.
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