My Gateway in Retrospect

I, like mostly people, have grown to hate their Gateway projects. Specifically, I hate my eportfolio. Not only do I think that it’s boring to look at, but I also see a lack of cohesion between the pages that I didn’t see when I was constructing it.

My Capstone project is a lot different, since we no longer have to house our work on an eportfolio. My sole focus has been on creating my project on my project’s site, and it’s been fairly easy to keep it logically pieced together. By the way I’ve written it, and the explanatory nature of the content, many visually separate chunks of prose seem to be a part of the same train of thought.

But now I have to end it. The problem isn’t so much: what am I going to say in my conclusion? The problem is: how am I going to say it. I know that I want to leave my audience with a takeaway about what they should do now that they’ve gained all of this specific knowledge. However, as I’m attempting to write it, the prose reads in an almost completely different voice than the rest of my project. 

My voice elsewhere is very straight forward and to the point. It’s explanatory and matter-of-fact. But in the conclusion, I, for some reason, sound like I’m writing in a diary.

I decided to go back to my Gateway to see how I ended things there. The issue is that I didn’t end things. I didn’t have any sort of conclusion not only for my eportfolio, but also for the project itself. I used the platform merely as a place to plop my work down and explain it. 

For this project, I decided to focus on one of my favorite books, If on a winter’s night a traveler, by Italo Calvino. I was interested in the genre that it was written in, and I wanted to convince an audience of unfamiliar readers to dive into this somewhat intimidating postmodern work. As a result, I wrote an article analyzing the novel’s success.

For this project, I took the argument in my previous piece, The Case for Calvino, and translated it into a new medium, for the same audience. The medium I chose was Twitter.

Postmodernism can be confusing and dense, and I thought it would be more approachable and disgestable in this short format. Moreover, the discontinuity of Twitter allowed me to experiment with the many different thematic concerns of the genre.

I created a fictional author, Katherine Crosby, and tweeted her postmodern thoughts. I also tweeted pictures and links that Katherine found useful, interesting, and relevant, and I retweeted quotations from well-known postmodern authors that inspired her. Consequently, Katherine’s timeline presents a diverse picture of postmodernism.

This is so BORING and UNHELPFUL. At the time, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t answering the most important question of content creation: what does this matter?

We had to write about the making of the projects, and now I’m wondering, why didn’t I include this material in the introductions and conclusions of my works?

That way, people unfamiliar to the genre could be exposed to it without being too bogged down by some of the more confusing characteristics (like nonlinear plotlines, ect). With only 140 characters, I could show my audience what postmodernism was, without making them work too hard for the understanding.

This reflective work would have framed my projects in a more interesting light.

So now, for my conclusion in Capstone, I’m going to reflect back on the making of my project. What things have I noticed changing about my own habits the more I’ve learned about analytics? What kind of consumer have I become over the course of this project? Which bits of information have informed my perspective the most?

If I answer these questions, my conclusion will hopefully sound less like a diary and more like the rest of my project. Then, as I move towards revealing a truth that I’ve uncovered about my own habits as a consumer, the voice will become more explanatory -this is how it is- and less instructive -this is what you should do.

3 thoughts to “My Gateway in Retrospect”

  1. Hi Emily!
    This was really helpful for me to read because it’s very similar to what I’m struggling with in my project. I talk in my last blog post about how I am always horrible about conclusions, and its for reasons very similar to what you talk about here. I frequently change my voice and how I am addressing the audience once I get to the conclusion for no reason whatsoever. It is disorienting. I really like your plan to reflect more on making your project and let that guide the conclusion. After all, a conclusion really should just be a reflection of what you’ve already said, so thinking of it in this way will probably help make it flow more smoothly.
    Thanks for the idea and best of luck wrapping things up!

  2. Hey Emily,
    I’m also struggling with trying to balance different tones. Professionalism at the beginning, political rhetoric in my speeches, my own comments scattered throughout the middle, and trying to sound like I know what I’m doing at the end. Balancing these voice has proven to be very difficult, especially when I originally intended for it to have very limited voices, at all.

  3. Hey Emily,

    I definitely think ending a project as big as this one, where you’ve discussed multiple ideas and concepts and then need to wrap them up with a clear takeaway, is really hard! But having read the conclusion, I think you did a great job using your position of “authority” on the topic to explain what you learned when you went through the same process that they just went through. I think that’s actually a really useful way to frame an ending, and I definitely think that helps with some of the issues I’ve had in writing a conclusion where it’s difficult to think of what a reader would find satisfying. Thanks for this perspective!

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