Everyone has had different experiences in life and that effects how they experience and interact with the world. I was facebook messaging my friend from Germany and he was poking fun at my grammar (my English grammar mind you) and I just instinctively called him a ‘grammar Nazi’ without thinking. FYI if you ever go to Germany/interact with a German don’t call them a Nazi. They don’t like that. After a bit of apologizing, explaining, and google searching I was able to explain to him that I didn’t mean to offend him. That’s just what we call people who pick out others grammar mistakes in casual conversation here in America. He had been living in the US as a grad student for about 4 months at that point, I was honestly surprised he hadn’t heard it yet. But that’s not the point. The point is that he has grown up in a completely different culture where calling someone a Nazi is highly offensive, where as growing up in the US, calling someone a Nazi was an innocent joke. In this class I experienced this myself. Many parts of each project we have done thus far (including this one) could be written informally. I was surprised how hard that was for me. Before this class, everything I have ever written for school, has been formal. You probably noticed my first blog posts were much more formal then the last few. I had no idea how to write them informally. I couldn’t do it. I figured it out, eventually. But it was hard to break that habit. Just like when writing part 4 of each project, I want to go back to my 5 paragraph essay days. But that is a high school culture thing, and in college culture those are not what professors are looking for.
This learning outcome was a fun one. Probably my favorite. We got to watch a T-Swizzle music video and watch Kevin Hart in a super bowl commercial and if that does sound like a party I don’t know what does. We watched these videos and looked at a political cartoon and interpreted them as a class. We found the meaning behind the images like how the “Bad Blood” music video is about girl power (and a warning to not get on Ms. Swizzle’s bad side). We also had to pick a form of multi media to do for one of our projects. I picked the youtube videos put up by Tasty which is part of buzzfeed. These videos use video (duh), sound, and text to portray their message, which is how to make tasty (hehe) food. Making my copycat video was very frustrating but also pretty fun.. and yummy. To film I had rented a video camera and tripod from Milner and I had no idea how to use it. Being the least techy millennial I know, this was no good. First of all I had no idea that I needed my own SD card to use it. So after getting everything all set up , the tripod perfectly placed, and pressing record I finally figured that out. I tore apart my house trying to find one and I finally found one in my moms camera. But that one didn’t have any memory left. Then I found another one in our ‘random stuff’ drawer, also didn’t work. After about an hour and a half and a lot of angry grumbling I finally found one in our basement in an old cell phone. After that, filming went smoothly and I ended up with some chicken tetrazzini. Not bad. Editing was a nightmare. Computers don’t like me and I don’t like them. For instance, this laptop I’m typing on, I spend way too much on it and the touch pad doesn’t work any more. Like at all. *sigh*. Anyway, the software its self wasn’t too terribly hard. BUT every time I switched which computer I was working on, the video wouldn’t work anymore. But eventually with the help of my nerdy boyfriend, we figured it out and I was able to get it all done.
This outcome is very similar to the writing identity outcome. We had to use our previous knowledge (antecedent knowledge) and build off of that to gain new knowledge (uptake) in order to learn how to create different genres. My antecedent knowledge wasn’t put to the test in this course as much as my uptake was. For example, one of the first things we covered in this course was CHAT. I had never even heard of it before, so it was all entirely new information. However, I had used the rhetorical triangle before and that was kind of similar so I used that antecedent knowledge to begin to understand CHAT. Although having already learned about the rhetorical triangle before beginning this class was helpful, it wasn’t necessary to understand CHAT. BUT it was necessary that my uptake was good enough to understand CHAT because I would have to apply that new knowledge to create a CHAT analysis on each project.
CHAT this. CHAT that. CHAT. NEVER. LEAVES. It’s following me, I swear. When you enroll in English 101, you go over Cultural-Historical Activity Theory near the beginning of the semester and at first you are so confused like, “woah woah woah, hold the phone, this is a 101 course and I am being challenged, what?”, but by the end of the semester every time CHAT is mentioned and explained your going to be like, “holy poop lady we get it, can we move on?”. Mark my words, CHAT and it’s 7 components will haunt your nightmares. However, I have to give credit where credit is due, CHAT a pretty good way to think about the creation of a piece of literature. It definitely forces you to think critically about how and why it was created. BUT, I never personally found it useful in the creation of a genre. I always used my genre conventions when creating examples of the different genres and I never once looked at my CHAT analysis until I had to write about it in the part 4 essay. I think it’s helpful to analyze why a genre or piece of literature is the way that it is, but not so much when trying to create an example of the genre it’s self. The things that you need to know from the CHAT analysis to create an example of the genre are (at least from my experience) common sense. For example under production for blogs I wrote all of the tools you need to create a blog like internet and a device capable of connecting to the internet. But I didn’t need to do any critical thinking to figure that out. A CHAT analysis answers the question ‘why’ rather then ‘how’
When I came in to English 101, I was already rather proficient at finding, evaluating, and citing sources. My high school English classes really focused on these skills. I also had to write several papers for my history 111 course last semester and 3 speeches for communication 110 so I was already fairly familiar with Milner libraries resources, especially databases. However, we did learn about the purpose/focus of many of Milner’s databases and that was new information. We had to apply all of these skills when researching for our projects. I only however used primary sources and because those are always reliable (at least in the case of genre studies) I didn’t have to worry if I was getting accurate information. I also didn’t use any of Milner’s databases for my projects in this class, but that knowledge will come in handy for future classes. I did have to cite my sources in part 4 of each project. I ended up just using a citation generator (I think citation machine if I remember correctly). BUT after checking over the generator’s work, I found it made some silly mistakes. So am glad we went over MLA in class so it was fresh in my mind so I could catch those mistakes.
Writing Research Identity. This one still gets me. It’s a bit confusing. But from what I understand, it’s looking at yourself critically as a writer and understanding what you already and what you don’t and what you need to do to acquire those new skills. I’ll compare it to science, because that makes more sense to me. When Dr. McDreamy decides he wants to start researching Cancer, he will first need to reflect on what he already knows about the disease. Then he needs to expand his knowledge by asking questions about what he doesn’t know. He may be able to find the answers to many of his questions in the publishings of others, but he will also need to design and preform his own experiments because everything is not already known about cancer. We had to do very similar activities in English 101, but instead of cancer, we did it with genres. For example, for this project I reflected on what I knew about blogs first. My knowledge base was very small I really only knew that blogs were found on the internet and many of my favorite recipes were from blogs I had found on Pinterest. I looked at the project directions and found what I needed to know about blogs (5 conventions of a blog and how to make one) and I set out. I found a few sources that explained some of the conventions of a blog, but I also found blogs and did cross comparisons to find the conventions myself.
Completing the peer and self-assessment objective for English 101 was easily my least favorite part of the whole class. After finishing our second project, we had to assess both our own parts 1 and 2 as well as a partners. I don’t mind evaluating my own work at all but doing it for a partner is always, always, ALWAYS terrible. The balance between giving helpful criticism and being a jerk is a very fine line …especially if your partner didn’t put any effort in to their project… and let’s just say it was hard to find enough things to praise to balance out all of the changes I suggested. I didn’t (and still don’t) know my partner at all when we were assigned each other. I actually had to ask a friend to even confirm who she was. That made it even worse. This person doesn’t know me at but the one thing they do know about me is that I gave them a brutally honest peer review. On the other hand, reviewing myself was much easier. I could be as picky as I wanted towards my own writing without offending anyone and it was helpful. If we had done this before turning in our parts 1 and 2 I think I could have gotten a better grade. I was able to pick out some of the mistakes (both silly and understandable) that I hadn’t noticed before.
In order to do all of the projects (including this one) in this class, we had to become proficient at genre research. We had to learn how to find conventions of a genre and apply them in order to create different genres. The first project we did was on fairy tales. There was a lot of documents and research already out there on fairy tales, so I was able to use those to find different conventions and examples without having to dive in to examples of the genres and do the research myself. However, on the second and third projects, that was necessary. My second project was on the Tasty videos put together by buzzfeed and believe me, there is no academic work done on those. I scoured every corner of the internet, there is no where they could be hiding. Because there was no previous research done, I had to do it all myself. I watched tons of their videos, probably about 50 of them all together, found what they all had in common, and used those as my genre conventions I defined in part 1 of the project. All of this research was crucial when it came to making my own example of the project. I knew exactly what a Tasty video consisted of and I was easily able to put one together.