A Look at Revision

“Whatever… I’d rather just write a really, really good first draft and then I’ll barely have any more work to do…”

This is how I would categorize my thoughts on revision for a large portion of my life, and while maybe it worked in high school…not so much anymore. I’ve come to understand that there is always revision to be done, and more importantly revision is more than just “cleaning up” or “polishing”. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of this class, but I’ve definitely spent more time revising in Writing 220, and the nature of my revisions have been much more in depth. I haven’t been as afraid to completely rework and argument or add in a whole new idea. I’ve also learned how important it is not to get so attached to a draft.

A couple of things I’ve found extremely helpful about the revision process in Writing 220:

1. Self Reflective Comments – they really help in taking a step back from your own work and reading it in a different way. It’s nice to be able to leave the instructor notes, ask questions, defend why you made certain decisions, and acknowledge where you still need to strengthen an argument or clarify your ideas.

2. No Final Drafts – it’s a simple change in wording, but I honestly think that the use of “first draft” and “second draft” make a difference. When I turn in a final draft in a class I have this feeling that my work is done and it is what it is. Yet in this class there is no sense of “final”. Even the draft we turn in to be graded can still be revised and reworked.

3. Peer Workshops – maybe it’s simply because I’ve never peer reviewed a website or a video before, but I feel like the peer workshops in this class have a different feel to them. We focus less on minor grammatical or structural issues and more on the big picture.

I will admit, I don’t always find revising to be the most enjoyable part of writing. It’s hard, frustrating, and often a slow process. Yet when I look back at the entire progression from proposals to storyboarding to first and second drafts, it’s amazing to see how far an idea can come the more we revise it.

 

Cross-Cohort E-Portfolio Intro

I’m using this e-portfolio to attempt to present myself as a diverse writer. Not because I want to show off or anything like that, but because for a very long time I was the exact opposite of a diverse writer. I literally only liked to write academic papers with a formal tone and structure. I was good at it, and I thought this made me a good writer. Really, it made me a boring and stubborn writer.  So rather than only including these types of papers, I am attempting to do the exact opposite and include as large of a range of styles as I can. So far I have blog posts, a pamphlet, two creative non-fiction essays, and two academic essays (haven’t decided 100% on which ones). I’m trying to get a couple more styles in, possibly some writing I’ve done for the michigan advertising and marketing club.

My portfolio is also meant to be a bit more personal and reflective. This isn’t to say I couldn’t still show it in an interview or a professional context depending on the exact environment, but this is not my sole purpose. Therefore, you won’t find my resume anywhere and my about me section is a collection of personal pictures.

What I’m learning more and more about this portfolio as I keep working on it is that the way in which artifacts are presented and the structure of the website mean almost as much as the artifacts themselves. No matter how incredible the writing may be, if it’s hard to navigate through, if you constantly have to click the back button, or if you are forced to take circuitous routes to get places, it takes away from the writing itself. So, in order to avoid this issue I’m working to make my portfolio as structured and clear as possible. A couple of things I’ve done…

1) I have (or will have) all drafts, storyboards, bibliographies, etc as links that open in new tabs and  have all final drafts right on the site. This way, the most important things are right in front of the viewer, and anything else opens up in a new tab which they can quickly close rather than having to keep clicking through a drop down menu that says “draft 1, draft 2, final draft” or keep clicking the back button if the links take you to a new page

2) I’ve created the Repurposing/Remediating page as one tab so that the viewer has no choice but to read the repurposing first, and then when they get to the bottom there is a button that takes them to the remediating page.

I’m still thinking of other ways to make the e-portfolio as streamlined and organized as possible. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Heres the link: http://goddar05.wix.com/jamie-goddard

 

Web Writing Via HTML Embedding

When we originally viewed old minor in writing e-portfolios one of the first things that instantly stuck out to me were portfolios that forced me to download documents or open up lots of new links and tabs. Yet at the same time, nobody wants to see pages and pages of text pasted right on to a website. So, in order to find some sort of compromise I decided to explore “web writing” by embedding websites and pdfs right on to my site. It’s still a lot of text, but because the original formatting is present I don’t think it’s as overwhelming as an entire essay pasted right on to the site. The first thing I embedded was a PDF of my re-purposing project which is a blog post written for Consider Magazine. I first uploaded it as a link (in Wix – edit text, press link button, and click the document option) which opened it as a PDF in a new internet tab when you click the link. Then I copied this web address and embedded it onto the site (in Wix – add, apps, html, paste address). Viola – my blog post appears perfectly formatted right on the page! Although, I’m guessing there is a more efficient way to do this without going through the first step. I just did it this way because I originally wanted to try out the links so I already had it in that format.

Next up I decided to embed the minor in writing blog onto my site. I wasn’t sure how this would work out because I was afraid it would show up more like a screenshot than an interactive page. Thankfully, I was wrong, and with this same process (click add, apps, html, search for your name, and paste the minor in writing blog address to your work) it’s just like having another website right inside your own! Show’s how little I know about anything html related…

Feel free to check out my site, the two embedded pieces are on the  “Why I Write” page and the “Repurposing/Remediating” page. The site as a whole is obviously still a mess so hopefully you won’t explore too much!

http://goddar05.wix.com/jamie-goddard

 

 

 

Ah, Technology

In an unfortunate turn of events I woke up two days ago to find that the T, C, F, G, and V keys on my iPhone no longer work. After my failed attempt to convince my mom to buy me a new one, I’ve been slowly adapting to the life of autocorrect, in which just about every other word must be typed using the letters next to the broken keys. Surprisingly, the iPhone is pretty darn good at understanding that “hreay” means “great” and “xanr” means “can’t”.

Yet there are certain words that simply prove too much for this ingenious software algorithm. No matter how hard I try, and how many key variations I attempt, there is just no hope. So instead, after a couple minutes of looking like this:

I end up having to think about what I’m actually trying  to say, what exact message I’m trying to get across, and how I can phrase it in another way that will still do so.  Take the word “get” for example.  The surrounding keys that work make words like “hey” and “her” — actual words that won’t autocorrect. I’ve tried endless variations of other nearby keys, but there’s simply no hope. So this morning when I wanted to say, “get me one!” I was instead forced to choose between things like “I want one!” or “I’ll take one!”. There is absolutely no chance that my friend would care which one of these texts I sent her, but from my perspective I was forced to settle for a word or phrase that wasn’t exactly what I wanted – changing the tone and feel of the sentence all together.

Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Maybe there’s some metacognition going on here in my thinking about how I now have to think about how to phrase a text to best get my message across. Maybe I just completed a #techchallenge and a #stylechallenge and didn’t even know it.

Maybe I just need a new phone.

In The Midst of All Our Remediating Excitement…

My semester seems to be working in waves. A couple weeks ago I was swamped with tests and papers, right now I have an abundance of free time, and in another week or so I’ll be swamped once again. So last night, instead of preparing for my future work,  I obviously caught up on a couple of tv shows, scrolled through Facebook, and even cleaned my room. Then around 10 pm I sat on my bed and realized…I couldn’t think of anything to do. I’ve been a night owl for years so going to bed was out of the question. I scanned my room for ideas and my eyes fell on the The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, a book I had started over spring term and immediately abandoned at the start of the semester.

As I started to get back into it I remembered how nice it feels to engulf yourself in a story, get to know the characters, and flip the smooth pages of a paperback book — not a blog, not a website, not an animated video — but an actual, tangible, book. In the midst of all these exciting new tech challenges and discussions about digital rhetoric there is something to be said about stopping and remembering the feeling of sitting technology-free and just relaxing with a good book.

Not to mention, if you haven’t heard of The Art of Fielding I am here to tell you it’s amazing! I was a bit unsure about it when I originally read the back, but I’m about half way through now and I love it so far. It’s Harbach’s first novel and his style of writing is engaging and exciting. He jumps nicely from character to character, and will end a chapter with a cliffhanger about one character and then make you wait several chapters until you get to read about the topic again. It’s sort of similar to the TV show Friday Night Lights in the sense that it’s based around sports (baseball, not football) but really there is so much more too it regarding the characters and relationships.

Check it out if you’re interested:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Fielding-A-Novel/dp/0316126691

 

Digital Rhetoric with RSA Animate

After our class discussion on the digital rhetoric collaborative blog carnival pieces I couldn’t stop thinking about a video I had seen freshman year in my Sociology 102: Culture, Markets, and Globalization course. It turns out that the video I was thinking of is one of many produced through RSA Animate (click to check out some of their other videos if you’re interested!). The specific video I had seen in class presents the crisis of capitalism by David Harvey and thanks to Katie’s tech challenge (!!) I now know how to show you the video right here:

I absolutely love this video as an example of digital rhetoric. It combines audio, video, drawings, and text in a unique and entertaining way. It also reminded me of the sort of “disconnect” between academic essays and digital media we talked about in class. In my mind, this video is just as informative and effective as an academic paper. However, I wonder if a student wanted to turn in something like this to a history or polisci class what the professor would think. I wonder if one day we will reach the point where instead of requiring a paper, teachers will just give assignments in which the student can argue whatever is asked of them in any form of new media or traditional text form they desire.

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

I’m not sure how many people are familiar with the Australian event FODI but it seems absolutely incredible! I sort of stumbled upon it because I was reading this article: How economic growth has become anti-life (which is not exactly related to this class…or the rest of this post…but it’s a great article that everyone should check out!!). Anyways, the article ended with, “Vandana Shiva is a guest of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, this weekend”. The name of the festival was enough to spark my interest, so I clicked the link and now I’d do just about anything to be in Sydney this weekend.

As I was browsing through different topics and speakers I clicked on, “Stories Matter More Than Facts” a panel led by Kirby Ferguson, Evgeny Morozov, and Simran Sethi. The line in the description that really caught my attention was, “New digital tools are enabling a new breed of storytellers to breathe life into science and politics”. It seemed really applicable to our discussion of digital rhetoric, and to some of the remediating projects — especially the people who are turning more academic papers into videos or print advertisements. Now if only we could attend the panel to find out more..

 

Adobe InDesign #TechChallenge

For my remediating project I’m using Adobe InDesign to create a small booklet for high schoolers with information about different post-highschool options. The design will be similar to study abroad books I’m sure many of you are familiar with. It will have lots of images, quotes, and different sizes and styles of text, sort of similar to something like this. In order to learning how to produce the ideas I currently have in my head I figured a good place to start a tech challenge would be on the adobe site itself (https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/topics.html#dynamicpod_reference_1). InDesign is an Adobe product after all, so they must have some good resources!

The help site is organized by “getting started tutorials” and then specific tutorials on things like layout and design, text, styles, tables, color, and transparency to name just a few. I decided to start off watching a few getting started tutorials, which helped me through the very, very basics of things like opening a document, setting up how many pages I need, and setting the size. It seems ridiculous to have to learn how to do something so simple, especially because I’m so used to programs like Word and Powerpoint that I almost forgot that I had to learn how to use them at one point! I also learned a few nice tips such as how to re-order your pages at any time, which will be helpful for me since I haven’t decided on the order I want my topics to appear in the booklet.

I’m definitely going to continue watching these tutorials because I really like being able to follow along with exactly where to click rather than reading text of how to do something and then having to locate the buttons. I also want to check out the resources on Lynda.com, and then once I get a little bit better of a handle on the software I’ll check out the tech deck to ask specific questions in person.

E-Portfolio Updates

After a lot of conceptual thinking my portfolio is finally starting to take form! I’m using Wix and I’d first like to say that Wix is awesome (shout-out to Alyssa for introducing it to us all!). I picked a template and pretty much the only thing I actually kept from it was the top header. I love how you can delete and add things to the template as well as change the font, color, and style of literally everything. It’s really making me feel as if I’m not confined by the software and can produce whatever I want, which was one of my early fears about this project. One thing I’m still trying to figure out is the best way to organize the content within headings. For example, I have a writing 220 tab that has a drop down with why I write, repurposing, and remediating. However, I’m not sure if I want to have the parts of each (drafts, proposals, reflection, etc) as sub-drop down tabs, or buttons on the page, or links to googledrive, or download word docs. Little details like this really do impact the overall feel of the portfolio so I have some work to do in that sense. Here’s a sneak peak of the homepage, although I want to take a different headshot before the final

portfolio

 

 

Remediation Brainstorming

After struggling to find a topic and venue for my repurposing project I never thought I’d be sitting here with the exact opposite problem going in to the remediating project. There are so many different forms of media that seem like good ways to present my topic that now I’m having a hard time deciding on the best one! I’m hoping maybe one of you can help me out.

Here’s a little background…

My repurposing project was a blog post in Consider Magazine regarding the topic of going to college and how we make that choice. I argue that in my community it’s really not a choice at all, it’s become warped into this path that people blindly follow without stopping to think why exactly they are on it. Part of the issue is that as highschoolers it’s really all we are presented with — college pamphlets, college fairs, college advising, etc. Nobody asks us to sit down and critically think through why we want to go to college, instead it just “what comes next”. I believe that one way to change this could be to present students with just as much information on all types of post high school choices including travel programs, volunteering, arts and entertainment, the military, etc. so that they are pushed to critically think about what is the best choice and why. So, for my remediating project that is exactly what I’d like to do — present this information to high school students.

With that being said, I’ve narrowed down the possible media outlets to present the information to two choices

1. Create a fun, colorful pamphlet/booklet similar to books I’ve looked through on study abroad programs (something like this). They often have lots of images, quotes, and short details about the programs. I’d have a page or two for each different post-high school option. I would also make the book online to explore a new form of media (I remember in class we looked at a portfolio where the remediating project was an online magazine with arrows that actually flipped the pages…anyone remember what that was called!?)

2. Create a high school assembly presentation with a powerpoint. The same information would be provided but I would be speaking/presenting rather than putting the information in a pamphlet

So…any thoughts on which one seems like a better fit? Make more of an impact? Or have a different source of media you think could work? Any feedback is welcome! Thanks!