The portfolio really shows my growth in terms of my organization and execution of projects. In the satire video is where I think I did the best job of showing my skills in organizing and executing. In the satire video I was forced to work with other people, balance schedules, and find times where we could meet and have productive work. By being in a situation where I needed to seriously manage my time I found that I was forced to then be more process-oriented and efficient. This not only improved my time management skills, but my writing skills as well.
This course did wonders for improving my writing process. My old process was without form and structure to it, and mainly consisted of me writing without direction and frequently editing. In the end I was usually happy with my work, but that time that it took was usually unsatisfactory; and as time went on I saw that writing like that often caused time conflicts. These conflicts ended in me either turning in work late, being unhappy with my product but having to still turn it in, or missing out on other homework that I had to complete. As the year went on I learned to write in a more time condusive way, while still being able to have the same creativity and flavor that I enjoy having in my writings.
This started with me learning to make good and useful outlines, instead of the vague, skeleton outlines that I had become accustomed to making. My previous outlines were usually made hastily and quickly, because I thought that teachers just wanted to see them, and the sooner I get done with them the sooner I can get to writing. This led to many times having to scrap the outlines and make something up differently because I didn’t like the direction my original outline took. But, by practicing and learning to make real, solid outlines I was able to actually cut down my writing time, and make my work not only better, but easier to finish and start. I believe that this is most evident in my narrative, because in that project in particular I was very happy with the outline I created, and it set me up for a fairly easy flowing written narrative that I translated into an audio file for class.
The portfolio shows my growth from the beginning to the end of the year. As the year progressed, and we had more readings and videos that we learned from, my knowledge of what rhetoric was, and what a good rhetorical piece of literature was grew. In my analysis of “Dear White People” I think I had some of the most profound and interesting realizations of rhetoric and argumentations. It was not until my second viewing of “Dear White People” that I truly began to grasp the satire that was being employed to help the rhetorical argument. Initially I viewed DWP as a quite offensive and crude movie that lashed out, but upon viewing the movie with a cooler head I began to see what I was initially missing.
This portfolio serves to show the reflection and thought that I put into each piece that I turned in. Before I began each of my pieces that involved research, I made sure that all the evidence and research that I would need to do had already been completed. One point of growth that I experienced was that instead of researching on the fly, while writing or composing, I made sure to look at my outline and consider what I would need to know in order to complete the assignment. In the research paper I did on social media advertising and the role that athletes can play in it, I did hours of research into the amount of money they could make, the tactics athletes could employ, the effectiveness of the strategy, and countless other topics to ensure that I was adequately prepared to write on such a topic.
Critical reading was employed while reading the required material so that I could get a better feel for what was going to be discussed in class, or that I was going to be responsible for on the next assignment. My research, like I said, was mainly focused on preparing me to make true, powerful statements on my topic.
Multimedia has allowed me to access works from other more experienced writers in order to analyze and see how they compose, and then work that into my writings as well. I saw that with each writer there is a different flavor or flare that they employ, which inspired me to try and find a way in which my writing was unique and emphasize it in what I wrote. The readings we did on rhetorical analysis not only improved my knowledge of rhetoric, but it also gave me a new way of reading. Instead of reading for the content on the page I was taught by the various authors we studied to read deeper than the words on the page to find the true deeper meaning. Whether it was through looking into the “signs”, or acknowledging that everything in a frame is there for a reason, I learned to see and catch little nuances that I never would’ve normally seen. This led to me being able to better understand the writings, better compose my own writings, and in general just enjoy writing more.
The research portions of this year helped develop an admittedly lacking ability to conduct and use research efficiently. Just as with my outlines, I figured out that the more work I put into my paper before I started writing the better I ended up doing. By researching before I needed to know something I not only saved myself time, but gave myself the ability to work in what I had researched in a more powerful way; as opposed to just slapping it onto the paper so that I could fill a requirement.
I am most proud of my analysis of “Dear White People” as well as the video that I made with Harry and Audrey. The analysis was the first time that I wrote a paper truly efficiently. It started with a great outline, and proceeded from there. In addition to the outline I was very proud of the research I did in order to put the paper together. Instead of waiting to need a reference or a moment to help out the point I made, I sat down and watched the movie and simultaneously took notes so that I could have the references right next to me whether or not I would need them. This allowed for me to have a smooth writing process that was specifically dedicated to writing, as opposed to having to take breaks so that I could find these evidence points to support my claim, then return back to writing. This not only made my writing a quicker process, but it also allowed for my thoughts to be linear and better organized because I was doing it all at one time.
In the video project I was again very happy with my organization skills. I had a great group, who was willing to work with one another and meet at irregular times to get the work done, but also we meshed well and each contributed ideas that worked well off of one another’s. The division of labor between the three of us was very conducive to our creativity, I was able to come up with the script and the themes of the video, Audrey was able to analyze what we were doing and put it into words on the paper, and Harry was able to direct and edit the movie in a way that best conveyed our satirical message. We all helped one another out, and nothing was done alone, but all of us had a moment when we were the head of the group and could put our own touches on it to make the project more unique.
Thank you for a great year Dr. McLaughlin. I enjoyed the course more than I thought I would have to begin with, and I think my writing shows how much I have grown from start to finish. Thank you again for a great year!