E-portfolio showcase

I was able to catch the very end of the e-portfolio presentations, with just enough time to present mine. To be fair, I thought the presentations would go until 1, but I’m still glad I came (the jimmy johns, chips and juice was nice). I wish I would have been able to come sooner to see everyone’s portfolio’s, because from what I have seen in this blog, I can’t believe how cool some of them are. I’m very impressed by those who wrote their own code, and even those who designed their site really well through any of the other host sites. I will definitely learn from some of the creative designs and will most likely try to improve mine in the future (or change it all together).

I especially like some of the designs that include a really simple homepage (a large photo background, with name and a small introduction as the only writing). I hope to simplify mine more in the future and possibly try out a similar layout.

History Paper Struggles

So I’m in the midst of writing my final paper for my History 202 class.  To give you a little background on the class, its called “Doing History” and it is required for all History Majors.  First of all, I don’t even know why I’m a history major, it just sort of happened.  Secondly, this class has probably been the busiest  I’ve taken at Michigan.  Its not that the content doesn’t interest me, in fact, that is the best part about it.  Its just that there is way too much work required for a 200 level course.  While the blogging for this class is all about reflection, the blogging for that class pretty much consists of writing mini-essays every night.  Nonetheless, I am now tasked with writing an 8-page paper on the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and how President George H.W. Bush managed to keep the U.S.-China diplomatic relationship strong despite strong opposition from Congress.  I’ve been searching through old primary documents for hours and to be honest, I’m sick of it.  My rough draft is due tomorrow, and I’ve already written five pages.  The biggest issue I’m having is that I think my thesis may be too broad for what the prompt is asking for.  I know no one reading this can actually help me with that, but I’ve been crammed in this 3rd floor stack for hours and I just needed to vent about this somehow without annoying everyone else crammed in the stacks next to me.  I’m probably going to submit what I have pretty soon so that I can get feedback as soon as possible.  Hopefully my professor is happy with what I have and tells me to just keep going.  If not, I’m not really sure what I’m gonna do but I don’t know how much longer I can stare at the same paper.

More Eportfolio Thoughts

Unfortunately I unable to make it to the showcase today, so I didn’t get a chance to present my portfolio or see anyone else’s presentations; however, I’ve been clicking through a bunch of the portfolios and it got me thinking about the whole process again.  First off, I just wanna say that some of these portfolios really blew me away.  In the beginning of the year, in my Why I Write essay, I wrote about how I thought it was interesting that a group of students can be given the same prompt and they will all write something different.  I always knew that everyone’s eportfolios were going to be different because this is much more of an open-ended assignment, and each student obviously chose to express himself or herself in a uniquely creative way.  I knew all that going into it, but I’m still taken back with how different each portfolio is.  Each one is really unique in its own way.

I ‘ve said it a bunch of times before but I had never done anything like an eportfolio before this class.  It was brand new to me, and I was very nervous as to what my final result was going to look like.  In the end, I am really happy with what I was able to accomplish with such little experience.  After looking at some other blogs, however, it makes me want to make certain changes and improvements, maybe add some different types of media or technology.  I know its only natural to want to make my work better after seeing some of the awesome things other students did, so its not something I’m upset about.  It actually makes me excited to go back and tweak things and for the Capstone portfolio.  Like the prompt for this portfolio said, this time around it was basically a rough draft.  I am definitely pleased with what my portfolio looks like, but it is definitely still a rough draft and I look forward to polishing it over time.

My Lover’s Ghost

I was eighteen when Italian swept me off my feet. I was a first-semester college freshman, wide-eyed and impressionable.

Italian found me, I like to say. It happened at freshman orientation where I sat inattentively in a circle with people called “peer advisors” and selected my fall classes. I only considered Italian because of Dane – the blue eyed, tan skinned enchanter of my orientation group – the one who happened to sit at my right and tell me, “You should take Italian. My mom speaks it, and maybe I can help you.” Dane was a god, the lover I sought whose words were the Gospel to me, and I needed no further convincing. Italian found me then.

I soon forgot Dane when a four-day-a-week Italian 101 course followed, one whose liveliness blindsided me, consumed me unexpectedly with its charm and its gift giving.

The class was everything to me. I don’t know; there was something magical about it. An Italian man called Gugu operated some thirty of us in 1460 Mason Hall, shouting in foreign tongues in his orange pants and leather shoes and demanding responses. Our assignments were playful. Often, they required our performance of these embarrassingly unsophisticated mock conversations at the front of the class. Other times they were these group discussions prompted by “talk about your favorite season” or “tell us about your friends,” all of which rendered hilariously pathetic attempts at the Italian accent. There was laughter often, infectious spirit, and such magic in that.

Soon, in Italian, I met my people. I met Paul, my first-ever oral exam partner with whom I’ve since spent innumerable hours of football Saturdays. I met Kara and Andreina, the two classmates with whom I continued the Italian voyage that became a passion over four semesters; with whom I spent Sunday nights buried in verb tenses and vocabulary; with whom I later took on six weeks in Italy, the six most magical weeks of my so-far existence.

And Italy was a dream. Purely fantastic. I know no better way to describe it. It was approaching fluency practicing the language with locals at the bar. It was hitchhiking home from the clubs and ending up trapped in the abode of cocaine dealers. It was the stone streets and the history and the willingness to be lost in both.

I recall all of this in retrospect – a notion that, overthought, sometimes defeats me. I now can recall Italian only in the past tense, in the form of its ghost, and thus I choose to recall it seldom. Italian left me like it found me. Like all love affairs that begin in high speed, Italian and mine ended in a sudden death.

But I prefer not to think about the reasons we may have parted or that there was even a severance at all. I like to think we neither approached nor abandoned one another. I like to think that all of it was coincidence, a series of spontaneous interactions that linked us for a time – brief but magical – before some forces provoked our inevitable diffusion.

That was Italian, brief but magical. It was Mason Hall and the orange pants. It was playfulness and effortless immersion. It was the luck of the draw, and I won the jackpot.

So to Italian, to our spontaneous affair and to the gifts it gave me, I will remain forever grateful. It’s better this way; it preserves the magic.



True Web Writing

Okay, this is a little late in the game, but in counting up my gamified points I just realized that I never did the blog post about uploading an artifact as true web writing. In retrospect, it may be better that I waited until now to do this post, because now that my portfolio is complete I have a wide range of examples of how I present my writing online. Here are three that you can find in my e-portfolio.

1.Linking to another HTML doc – Why I Write

When I finally got the styling right, embedding my Why I Write essay directly into another HTML document and linking to it actually turned out pretty nicely. I decreased the margins and increased the font for easier readability. This website gave me some inspiration.

2. Linking to a PDF – Repurposing An Argument

This method was super important because it preserved the formatting of this essay, which had pictures, different fonts, and a bibliography that would have been very time consuming to recreate using CSS. One downside of linking directly to the PDF was that the navigation bar disappears, but it still opens in a new tab, so in the end not much damage is done.

3. Combining PDFs and HTML – Repurposing Drafts

Not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of myself when I got this to look decent. I used a StartBoostrap template originally as a one-column portfolio, but where the pictures would normally go, I embedded PDFs of my repurposing drafts. On the side bar, I included a short description of each draft by just writing text in the HTML. This was the solution that made the most sense for this artifact.

As you can see, different methods of displaying my writing online worked better in different scenarios. Using them introduced me to the degree that appearance affects the content of web writing, something I took into consideration when crafting the rest of my e-portfolio.

E-portfolio wooooo

eportfolio pic

Working on my e-portfolio has been a roller coaster ride of HTML success and failure. But now, after presenting it at the showcase today and finishing the Gateway class, I can definitely say it been my most rewarding experience in this course.

For one, it taught me so much about HTML and CSS, and how powerful each of them are. I learned concepts that I didn’t really grasp when just going over tutorials. Secondly, it forced me to review my projects for this class both individually and as a whole, the later of which I rarely get to do for writing classes. It was interesting to see my progression as a writer – the changes in style and tone – but also my progression of ideas. In this class I found myself experimenting a great deal with how I write, and I think this is reflected in the contents and creation of my portfolio, especially through the drafts of my work. At the same time, I feel as though at the end of the semester I have found aspects of my writing that work and those that don’t. I’ve begun to develop certain styles and methods of approaching ideas, which is exciting.

Though it was a huge learning experience, developing a finished product for this portfolio was hard work. Obviously there were coding issues (shout out to my roommate for helping me through a number of these), but also issues of placement (the order and structuring of my artifacts) and reflection. I really had to spend time thinking about my takeaways from my work, and this could be tedious at times.

In the end I am proud of my final e-portfolio product I will probably continue to play with the code as a way of keeping my newly developed HTML skills refined. I also plan on revising the artifacts even after the semester ends, because I really want it to showcase my best work.

I Have an E-Portfolio?

E-Portfolio Tag Image

It’s actually beyond me how I managed to pull off what I have in the last few days. Because I have an exam tonight, I won’t be able to make it to the showcase event. I did a lot over this week, but not enough to be ready for Physics 135, which maybe nobody ever is. That’s possible. But I have created an entire website portfolio that functions as a look inside my writing as well as a look inside the mind of the reader. I think that’s a pretty impressive feat for one semester if I may say so myself. We should all be really impressed with ourselves, even if our sites aren’t what we imagined.

Mine definitely is not what I imagined at first, but it is really close to that vision. Of course there are things that I wish I could have done differently throughout the process, the main thing being to not procrastinate as much, but in the end I have an awesome collection of my work and I can’t be mad because it’s not perfect.

A couple things that I don’t much like about my e-portfolio are the home page and the fact that I didn’t get as much of my own poetry on it as I was hoping. I messed with the home page so many times and it never came out quite right. I tried different layouts and different colors and different set ups of the text, but nothing looked the way I had imagined. I’ll probably end up tweaking it a bit later. As far as the poetry part goes, I’m still working on it. I’m no Walt Whitman, but I enjoy doing it. The problem with that is that I never got to the point where I felt the pieces were publishable. I have some decent pieces lying around, but I guess I just didn’t feel good enough about them to put them on the portfolio.

I do love some things about my e-portfolio, though! I love the fact that it’s a little bit different from a lot of the others who have been done for professional use. I really wanted my creative side to come through in this portfolio and I believe it has. I also am glad that I could finally figure out the colors. I spent a really long time (which was dumb) working just on switching in and out colors to see what looked the best. The black base with the few vibrant color accents is what I was going for. The last thing that I’ve decided to embrace about my e-portfolio is the song on the home page. I know it seems really tacky and like I’m throwing it back to middle school with the Myspace thing, but I’m really not. I assure you the intentions are rhetorical. My thought really carefully about which song to choose and I think the one I’ve got on there is a perfect representation of everything I mean to do with the e-portfolio. It’s got the right tone and the right music and even the words portray the self-reflection and self-discovery aspect of what I want the reader to get out from this. It’s okay if you hate the music on the homepage idea. Generally you either love it or hate it, but I can’t make everyone like my choices, so I’m just going to go with the one that works for me.

Anyway, here’s the link! It seems rather serious now that I’m here at the bottom of this post, but it’s really just for fun. I made everything on it purely out of enjoyment and I hope you don’t feel anything less while browsing around it.

Portfolio Complete

I completed my e-portfolio! I am so proud and it looks so much better than I thought it would!


WordPress was a lot of fun to work with in the end and not that difficult. I do think that the WIX sites looked a lot better visually although, and if I were doing this project over I would have definitely used WIX. But I am still really proud of the portfolio that I now have finished.

I think my portfolio is visually appealing with a lot of photos of both me and my family which give a good balance of who I am as an individual and who my family is. This was the most difficult part because I did not want to simply have a portfolio that didn’t represent me at all and rather just showed how awesome my family was. In order to do this, I made a little bit lengthy front page with a lot of information about me so that the reader who get an idea right away about who I am as a person before they begin to read about my family.

My favorite part about the e-portfolio are the music links which are really special to me because I LOVE music. Music is my life and accompanies me throughout all my daily activities and incorporating music on my e-portfolio only seemed natural. I think the music will help the reader get a better idea of the portfolio and a better context overall.

I cannot wait to show my family, because I am so proud of the work I have completed and the growth I have achieved this semester through this course.


All Done!

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 2.29.53 AMI’ve realized, low and behold, that I actually really enjoy blogging. Creating my e-portfolio became a slight obsession of mine. I would plan to spend an hour here and there tweaking things, but one hour often turned into four…or six. I fully intend to maintain this blog of mine after this course is over. I’ve realized that it is the perfect outlet for whatever I may want to express at any given moment.

Although WordPress was incredibly tedious (I had no background experience), I’ve come to find out how much it really offers. Although I am not totally satisfied with some of the visual aspects of my blog, I have come to terms with it. I think that the blog itself has become that essay I spend forever on and am constantly wanting to revise. It’s never perfect. But the beautiful thing about blogs is their dynamic nature — they’re meant to be constantly changed and improved upon.

So getting to the point here, my E-Portfolio is themed around documentation and the nostalgia that comes along with it. Much of Writing 220 required me to look back into my past to find inspiration I did not know existed. For me, documentation (whether it’s through video, photography, or writing) helps me make sense of my past, the path I’ve chosen to take, and I will choose to take it in the future. The tangible nature of these forms of documentation juxtaposes a more figurative and abstract style of writing that I have chosen to use for most of the blog. Also, I have to mention that I really enjoyed bringing in these forms of documentation. It allowed me to incorporate topics such as film, photography, and music, all of which I am extremely enthusiastic about.

The title “Out of the Blue,” along with the subtitle, which is a quote from my current journal (yes I write in a journal sometimes, NOT A DIARY) are explained in the two posts that are included in the slideshow on the homepage. I wanted to include a lot of visuals, and the slideshow allowed me to do so dynamically.

Overall, my blog is the embodiment of my realization that the decisions we have made in the past (whether they led us astray or not) have formed a path that is individual to us in a beautiful way, no matter how non-linear this path may be. We don’t have to make all of the right decisions to pave the “right” path. We have to make mistakes along the way and leave room to just explore for the sake of exploring. We have to want to solve the mystery behind our own path and documentation helps us translate these abstract concepts into more attainable and coherent realities.

Enough with all of that. Here is my E-Portfolio/Blog! Hope you find it interesting!




Gateway Portfolio

Well, after a lot of hours spent huddling over my computer and fumbling through the Wix editing interface, I can say I’m done.  My final portfolio was really a unique opportunity to redisplay myself and my work for the semester in a way that demonstrated a common theme.

Throughout the introduction of my portfolio, I present myself as someone who is empathetic.  Empathy is the process of shared feeling beyond understand.  I am constantly reframing situations and my actions through the eyes of others recognizing that individually perceived truth is merely a single perspective in a spectrum of opinion.  For better for worse, my actions are calculated, constantly taking into account my surroundings.

But who I am lead me to take some unique chances in the MIW gateway course.  For both my repurposing and remediating pieces, I chose to imagine what Tinky Winky, the Teletubby who was famously snubbed as being a homosexual, would be doing today.  I imagined him having the attitude of a self righteous and proud actor, whose television lodged in his stomach was now a wide screen due to his large weight gain.  Sitting in a living room as a home entertainment system, I wrote about Tinky Winky realized he wasn’t a improv performer, but more a screen people were looking through.  I know what you’re thinking- yes this is ridiculous, but my interpretation and analysis, stemming from empathy, allowed me to gain real world conclusions from this fictitious case study.

I applied both economic and psychological analysis, along with accounts from past child actors.  My paper gave light to the power of reputation has on well-being, which seemingly transitioned into my E True Hollywood story video of this character.  Overall, all my assignments were inspired by this trait of being empathetic and shaped my semester into a very memorable experience.

My portfolio is organized by the categories: Identity, Discovery, Findings, and Inspiration.  Identity- who I am.  Discovery- what I was trying to learn through class assignments.  Findings- what I learned about this class and myself in general.  Inspiration- what and who in this world inspires to keep searching and challenging myself.

Hope you enjoy my website: http://ryhayes.wix.com/portfoliowriting220