Welcome to the archive of the work I did for my English 101 class with Professor David Morgen (https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org/). Today, I wish to summarise my writing experiences, which I encountered over these four months.
Initially, when I was going through the General Educational Requirements before coming to college, I was extremely anxious about taking an English 101 class as English has always seemed quite daunting to me. English courses were designed in a pretty odd way at my high school. We had to memorise quotes from Shakespeare’s play and would only get good grades if we applied those quotes well in our answers. Personally, I did not enjoy doing that as I did not see any point behind learning what a particular character said. Henceforth, I was not looking forward to taking a similar higher level course in college. Even though, the course design was not at all similar to my high school, I was still a little worried as I did not want to write long mundane essays.
However, on my first day of class I realised that this class was not what I had thought it would be. This class did not involve writing long essays, instead it was all about reflection and blog posts. The use of new technology like using WordPress made the class even more exciting. Throughout the semester, I did not just write on one topic. Instead, I wrote about the emotions I felt throughout the week, about “What’s in my bag”, about why I chose to be Mario and many other things. Writing on topics, which are so different from one another took away the monotony from this class and made me enjoy writing as a piece of art.
Throughout, the semester we were also involved in multiple group projects, which improved my collaboration skills. We had to work together on two podcast episodes, create a kickstarter proposal for a new game, which solved one problem Emory student’s face, and play multiple games together. In each of these tasks, every student had to compromise his/her idea for the betterment of their team. For example, for my second podcast episode, I wanted to talk about Grand Theft Auto as a game, which showcases human behaviour had there been no laws to govern humans. Would we be barbaric and not care about anyone else but us? I thought that this would be an interesting issue to talk about as a lot of people would relate to what I had to say. However, my team mate wanted to do something out of the box and decided on talking about how the college admission’s process is a game, which does not purport the values it intends to promote. Personally, I liked my idea more but I thought that his idea was something, which could add a different dimension to this project and would improve our podcast series. Therefore, we decided to drop my idea and talk about his. This is something, which I learnt from these collaborative exercises. We should try to look beyond ourselves and focus on what is best for the team. However, deciding on the topic was not the only hurdle in front of us. We had to learn how to use Audacity- a software for voice recording- write a comprehensive script describing our argument, engage the audience and be creative with the voice-overs. Although it seems like a lot of work, in reality it was not that bad. My team mate and I were cordial and were ready to divide the work. The strategy, which we used to complete this project was division of labor and specialisation. We each did the work, we were best at. While recording our first podcast, we both realised that I was better at recording and editing voice notes on Audacity and he was better with the graphics. Similarly, we divided our script in such a way that the topics he was confident about and had a better knowledge of would be addressed by him and the topic, which I was confident about would be addressed by me. Like this, we divided our work into small fragments and joined each part of our work to create a wonderful podcast series. This learning outcome is something, which I am going to use in the future with all my writing and group assignments as it makes a difficult tasks seem easy.
For our final project, we had to create a Kickstarter proposal for a newly created game. In order to do that, we first had to list down the problems, which Emory student’s face in their day-to-day lives. Next, we had to design a game, which solves that problem and sell it to the audience. This project involved a lot of visual thinking and practicality since this was a real-life problem and not a fictional one. We had to imagine how our game looked and analyse if we had practical approach to the problem we were trying to solve. While creating this, we questioned our every decision and saw for ourselves that if such a game was out there, would we play that game and if not then we had to come up with a new solution because we felt that if we don’t play such a game ourselves then the majority of Emory students’ would also not play.
Both of the assignments had a lot to do with technology and digital citizenship as they were published on digital platforms. The use of Audacity, Photoshop, and other graphic designing apps made these assignments extremely interesting as it was something new, which I was learning and would be a very useful skillset to have. However, with technological freedom comes great responsibility and therefore, we were really careful about plagiarism and incorporating someone else’s work in our own work.
This class also helped me learn a lot about myself. While doing the podcast series, I learnt that I was not extremely fluent in front of the microphone and needed to practice my public-speaking abilities. I still had to spend more time focusing on the Aural learning outcome of this class. While playing Fiasco, which was a role-playing game I realised that I was gifted with a creative mind. I came up with interesting and amusing plans for my character. The way I twisted the story to my benefit taught me that I can think on my feet and tackle problems well.
Thanks to this class that I have developed as a writer, thinker, and a team-mate. The unique design of this class has broadened my mind and now I always have multiple perspectives on a single topic. My brainstorming abilities have improved tremendously and the skill sets, which I have acquired will help me in my future classes as well.
All in all, it was a great learning experience and I would definitely recommend this class to the rising first years.