Evolutions in Literacy
Evolutions in Literacy
As an English major, most of my classes have been set up in “traditional” styles where students read a piece, discuss the piece, and eventually write about the piece. Or sometimes discussion is left out entirely. Though I love to read, sometimes I feel as though English classes don’t challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone and push my “creativity” as I’m just trying to write an essay I know will make a good grade or discuss just so I can get participation points. I sometimes leave class feeling as though English is incredibly mundane.
Enter English 150. This class completely changed my perspective. I was able to feel as though I was learning a new type of literacy—one that centers around technology, one that fosters a sense of teamwork among classmates, and one that challenged what I knew about myself. I had not ever taken a class like this in my time. I loved getting to find that I was able to come up with interesting and (what I consider) creative ideas through the e-poem and learn to “how to read” different mediums. Here is my evolution.
Reflecting makes me realize that I've never gotten to explore my creativity so much in an class, regardless of subject #ilit
— Laura Brady (@bradyle_) April 19, 2016
Origin: Poetry Essay
DRAFT: This was something “typical”, as far as English class assignments I have done in the past. However, I enjoyed getting to pick my poem and view it from a particular lens. Viewing it from the lens of metaphysical poetry challenged me to analyze the poem more deeply as compared to just an overall view.
REVISIONS: I was concerned to have my peers review my essay, as I am an extremely structured person and the more organic flow of the essay made me question constantly if I was doing things correctly. However, I got some good tips from my peers about how to better organize my essay, which were extremely helpful.
FINAL DRAFT: I must say that I feel really proud of my essay. I felt as though I took a poem outside of my comfort zone and learned to view it in a different way when learning to look through the lens. The lens I chose to do allowed me to learn more about the metaphysical poetry genre, as well as learning about what defines a genre. I also felt this poetry essay allowed me to let loose of the typical confines I was used to and it definitely made me feel more comfortable in my writing skills.
Interested to research vids for Batter my heart three-persond God by Donne. Strong, alliterative verbs would be powerful with sound. #ilit
— Laura Brady (@bradyle_) January 26, 2016
DRAFT: Hearing about Camtasia terrified me. I consider myself to be very detail oriented, but I know I am incredibly impatient. I considered doing the Donne poem, as you can tell by my tweet. But I didn’t feel as though I could put images to the words, it felt kind of strange since it was such an old poem and I had analyzed it and saw so much corporeal and erotic imagery. So began my new search. I searched high and low to find the perfect poem, wondering if I should focus on a poem that captured a serene and calm day in nature or if I should do a more somber poem. As you can tell from my choice, I chose to focus on a melodramatic piece. However, my biggest concern was putting the pieces together after finding all of them and deciding how to arrange them just so. I felt like I had a freedom I had not ever felt in a class before though, as though I was able to conceptualize in my own head what composed a poem, whether it be literal or symbolic images, and not what would be the “correct answer”. It took a while to add the images I wanted all together, but I felt like it captured just what I would want it to and I felt a deep connection to my work.
WALKTHROUGH: I was really excited to do the walkthrough, as it allowed me to try to rationalize some of my thoughts for the poem and see if others connected to it as well. Additionally, it caused me to reflect on what was effective and what could have changed to become more effective. I found this to be enjoyable because I was able to collaborate with my peers on what they thought of certain images.
REVISIONS: After reading through some comments and thinking on my own, I got rid of certain images I didn’t feel fit the mood and theme I was going for. I also created a larger scale when making the video as a whole, which made the entire product look much nicer. I was really most proud of this after it finished. In a way, it was really satisfying to know that I stuck through with a piece from beginning to end and made both small and larger changes to make a better product. I feel really proud of myself for not doubting my creativity and letting myself enjoy a project like this.
CITATION: This presented a unique conundrum, as I had far too many images to do individual citations for. Therefore, I created almost another walkthrough that had me analyze 5 or so of the most compelling pieces in my work and why I included them and their own citations. I included one final shot at the very end which showed all of my other citations. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about each individual piece and see it as separate from just something that relied on my other images. This was an interesting process to explore citations, why we use them, and what they mean when they are separated as well as included in a larger product as a whole.
Shifting and Adapting: No Country for Old Men
WALKTHROUGH: I was extremely excited to read Cormac McCarthy and watch the Cohen brother’s adaptation because I loved his novel The Road and the adaptation of it on film. I was intrigued to see how the two would differ, and I was particularly interested in character development when creating the draft. As you can tell by my tweet, I was extremely intrigued in how little details played out in the movie also. I researched a lot for the project and was pretty pleased with how it came out, considering it took me a lot of focus to time the pieces just right. It also was helpful to have a background in Camtasia, as this project was much quicker for me.
Transitional Challenges: Watchmen
When buying books for the class, my brother and sister both agreed that Watchmen is one of the coolest books they had ever read, but they didn’t tell me it was a graphic novel.. But to be completely honest, I had a difficult time with Watchmen. As I said in class, I struggled to figure out if I should focus more on the text or the images. And when I felt I neglected the pictures, I worried I missed something massive. I do attribute this a lot to my lack of previous experience with comic books and poor vision though. Though I may have had a difficult time, I do have an incredible respect for Watchmen because it’s such a compelling piece that can tell a story through words, but also beautifully intricate pictures and scenes. I loved the theme of solitude that kind of carried throughout the piece and the incredible importance color played. I think during the summer I’m going to reread it now that I have a better idea of how it functions and when I will have time to sift through the layers.
Symbiosis: Thriving On Each Other
It would not be possible to evolve as a student without great collaboration from professors as well as peers. I loved getting to reflect on other people’s pieces and learn the ways they evolved and use it to shape my own growth as a student. I particularly was drawn to Madison's e-poem, it really just felt so profoundly beautiful. I had not ever felt that so strongly when I read the poem individually, but the e-poetry gave a great spark. Furthermore, it gave me a great chance to read into how I read a poem versus how someone else may, and see what different views everyone may have. I really also enjoyed watching people reflect on Watchmen and No Country For Old Men, as everybody has different tastes. The collaboration alongside my peers definitely helped push me to achieve my best work.
Evolution…but still learning
I learned so much through the process of this class. I learned to let myself go and explore beyond the typical boundaries of an English class. I enjoyed learning about different mediums—books, movies, adaptations, and even scholarly sources—and how they engage with one another yet must be considered as individual pieces of art on their own. I was so excited to learn about my sense of creativity since I’ve always just accepted that I’m not this way. This class totally challenged this idea about myself. I am proud of the work I put out, and I can’t wait to explore how this impacts other English classes I take as well as how I will teach in the future. I consider myself evolved, though I will never stop evolving.