Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reflecting on the webinar.

Ah, the webinar. The culmination of our semester. For me, it was a last chance to prove that our ideas actually meant something and were interesting to others.

Our turnout was great, and everyone had insightful ideas and questions (except for the trolls, which I think I will have to throw into Mount Doom). The only thing I wish was that I had been able to say more. The chat stream along with the video and the private vs. public messages, it got a little crazy and it was difficult to keep up! However, I felt like I was at least able to air out a couple of my ideas, which was gratifying, since I haven't had a ton of feedback social-proof wise throughout this semester. The most significant part about the questions that came up about my thesis was that I had to apply it. Usually, it feels like you're handing someone a plate of raw fish, which some people politely accept, and others sort of give you a funny look. But when people actually ask about your ideas and how they apply in the real world, it's like they take that plate, eat what's on it, and tell you what kind of spices you could have used to make it better. It's surprising, and it makes you rethink everything you put out there. (Sorry for the crazy analogy, I'm a little hungry).

All in all, I thought the webinar was a success!

Monday, June 11, 2012


The day I turned in my final paper, I was walking quickly to the Humanities building. It was so hot outside. Perhaps it was the heat of my panic?  My eyes were burning too, probably from the lack of sleep. I frantically pushed the button for the elevator. Then I realized I had punched the 'down' button instead of the 'up'.  Shoot. So I started jogging up the stairs with laptop and 16 sheets of precious paper in hand. My legs were burning from a previous workout, but I had to hurry. Finally, I reached the fourth floor and strode into Dr.Burton's office, where Greg and MaKenna were calmly seated. I tried to echo their relaxed manner, instead of acting out the part of the whirling dervish that I usually portray.

This is a bit how I've felt all semester. A little bit out of control (which is ironic, considering that that has been my topic of focus for most of the semester), a little bit crazy and always hurrying on to the next thing. I have learned so much, not only about digital media and literature and people, but about myself. Just to let ya'll know, I have NEVER been a class clown, or even that outspoken, in ANY class. I sit there, take my notes, do my work. But in this one, I have felt it has been easier to get out of my comfort zone, on the internet with this blog, in the classroom, collaborating with my classmates, in everyday life, talking to people about my ideas. I feel like I have poured my self into this class.

However, because I have been putting so much of myself into what I have been doing, I can't take a critical look at my writing, on this blog and in my paper, without taking a critical look at myself. I have realized a few things:

1. I cannot depend on just my own knowledge. I have to be able to let people help me. I've realized that there are a lot of talented people out there, and they can help you in areas where you're lacking.
2. I have more personality than I thought I did, because it leaks everywhere. My writing is not complete unless it has something that is me. Which I need to learn to control, especially when writing a research paper.
3. I have important ideas! I think solid thoughts and I should communicate them, not let them sit in my head.
I feel like that's something the Dr. Burton emphasized that really rang a bell with me. No, not everyone will read, nor want to read my research paper, but ideas should be shared and expanded on. That's the beautiful thing about our digital age, we are discovering new ways to quickly spread ideas in an aesthetically pleasing way. There is so much to be experimented with and studied when it comes to the transfer of ideas, and I feel like I could play a part in it, at least in some small way, by sharing my own ideas.

I'm a big kid now: Learning Outcomes

1.  Learn and Follow the BYU-Idaho Learning Model
I really enjoyed utilizing this learning model this semester. I feel like I spent a lot of time preparing for each class. There wasn't a day that went by where I haven't thought about how whatever I'm doing could relate to this class. Teaching one another was definitely my most favorite part. I love idea-sharing and working with others and having them help me improve my ideas.
2. Write Substantially and Publicly About Literature
I'm going to be honest. I feel like I have written monsters of text this semester, probably more than I did all of fall and winter semesters combined. I have known from the beginning that I have a hard time developing coherent and clear ideas, especially when I let my personality outshine them. However, this class has helped me to step outside of the muddle I'm usually in and look at my writing more objectively. Making sure my writing applied to a "real audience" was new ground for me, and it was difficult for me sometimes to make sure it could be understood and respected by my audience.
3. Develop Research Skills
I loved this. I love playing with internet tools and looking at new ways of presenting information and making ideas engaging and personal. I felt like I have learned so much about utilizing different tools to make research quicker, easier and deeper than I could have ever accomplished before.
4. Perfect Ideas Socially
Like I said previously, I love working with others. I firmly believe in the idea that other's strengths can cover your weaknesses, and I am not afraid to admit that I am not good at something and someone could do better. Perhaps this is one of those times when someone could have done better, because I feel like I sent out feelers, searching for social proof, and got no return. Perhaps I was going through the wrong routes, or I just didn't contact enough people. If I had to go back and take this class again, this is where I would try to improve the most.
5. Gain Digital Literacy
When I started out with my idea as the Internet as a monster out of control, like in Frankenstein. I felt determined that I could paint this picture of an awful creature that has no discipline of any kind.  I should have paid more attention to the text itself, I suppose, because the monster was not just an evil, uncontrollable ball of chaos. It has the ability to create beautiful and wonderful and useful things. This is something else that I enjoyed in this class, was learning to be literate in tools that could help me be creative and connect with others, after consuming, of course.
6. Address Changes to Literary Study
Hey! I know stuff! But seriously. I feel like I can have a well-informed discussion about how literary study is changing due to digital media, anyday. Bring it on! Just the past weekend I had a long discussion with a good friend on the subject. There is a lot that is shifting and changing in the digital and education spheres, but I have my own, informed opinions that I can continue to develop as these worlds do.

I tried. I don't think I have ever put so much effort into a class in my life. This may sound dramatic, but it was seriously on my mind all the time, and it was so exciting for me to look at literature and digital tools in a new way. I have grown in thought. I haven't always been the girl with the opinion. I like to think before I speak, and make sure I'm going into something with a full-fledged idea. This class has given me the ability to do that better than I could have imagined.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It is finished.

Well, everyone, it's done. Here is the culmination of my efforts. Blood, sweat, tears and more than a few PB&J's went into this, so I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labors. Here it be.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rough Draft

Sam Jenkins

Professor Burton

English 295


“…a resistless, and almost frantic, impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit (Shelley, 34).”

My eyes were burning, my head was spinning slightly. Should I just go to bed? No, this needs to be done. It has to look good. You can do it, Sam. I’m hungry, but I can’t eat. Redo a few more shots. Cut the music five more times. Wonder why I put so much effort into this.

Such is the state I found myself in while creating my video, “Creation Clash”. The point of this video was to be a clear, concise, creative presentation of my idea for my research paper. But, the creative part of it got a little out of hand. Looking back at it now, I probably was identical to Victor Frankenstein. I took the body parts of various ideas and fused them together, feverishly, obsessively working on a grueling project that (minimally) taxed my health. The video itself turned out a fairly monsterous mess, in terms of how much confusion and frustration it brought to those who watched it.

However, this experience could be considered a microcosm of my subject. Just as I created a video that turned out in a way I hadn’t wanted, so we could see that the Internet itself is a creation out of control. Put in the terms of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, I will be exploring the concept of the Internet as a monster.

The Analogy

Oh, the memories.

As I am working in the wee hours of the morning on my research paper, this memory came to my mind that I wanted to share:

When I was probably in kindergarten, my parents had a computer in their bedroom, their first home office. It was a tan, ugly, big block of plastic that squatted on my parent's desk. I had to do a diagram of the solar system for my class one night, this probably being the first of many projects that my dad lost precious sleep over. To get inspiration for each of the planets, my dad fired up the old tan beast and sat me on his lap as we listened to the clanging, ringing sounds that signaled dial-up was doing its thing.

I recall being amazed as my dad showed me pictures and information on the planets, more I could dream possible. You could see the beautiful blue color of Neptune right on the screen, without having to search through a book to find the right page. The possibilities seemed endless. Now, as I sit with my slim computer on my lap, knowing a bit more about this strange world we call the internet,  I feel that the possibilities are as endless as ever. The internet exists independent from any singular person's control, but there is so much we can do to affect it.
This is my little sister Olivia. This picture just embodies childhood, when pants can equal a scabbard, and there seems to be more mysterious and wonderful things.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Clear as mud.

As I seek to wrangle the first draft of my research paper, I decided to do a little clarification. I really, truly, with all my heart, liver, and spleen hope that this clears things up. Let me know what you think?