Readings for Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin Project

Here are some relevant readings for my project:

Oral Argument: This document is a transcription of the arguments both sides presented in Fisher.

Recent News Articles: It would be helpful to read some of the journalism out there to get a sample of what they are doing and how I am trying to expand their scope. Here are some sources: SCOTUS Blog or The New York Times.

When Affirmative Action Was White: This is great book that got me interested in affirmative action. Here’s an introduction to the book and affirmative action.

Politics from the political scientist

Here were my three project ideas that I proposed to Ray:

  • Living in Poverty: Perspectives on Socioeconomic Status. For this project, I want to look at socioeconomic status through various disciplines: sociology (inter-group relations), political science (agency), psychology (cognitive development), and so forth. I would also like to frame this with personal experience (anecdotes) by going on a “spending diet,” restricting myself from normal luxuries and to a tight budget.
  • The Politics of English Grammar. I would like to make this multi-modal with a digital article. I am thinking of doing an article in the format of a presentation, like seen on Forbes or other major news sites, where there are large pictures to the left with text related to the pictures on the right.
  • Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin: Why Race Should Be a Factor in Admissions. I would like to do this possibly in a blog format that presents Texas’s history and concentration of minorities; takes a position on the case, its briefs, and oral arguments; and then establish why race-based admissions are important in terms of diversity looking at multiple disciplines and the precedent in Grutter v. Bollinger.

The obvious link between my three project ideas is politics/political theory. I am interested in how we function as a society and the institutions that affect our well-being, and after looking at my projects more closely, I realized that there was an area that I was specifically looking at within the frame of politics/political theory: social inequality. Each of my projects looks at minorities or groups within society that have marginalized agency and how they relate to social inequalities in America.

Putting the E-Portfolio to Use

This summer, I applied for multiple internships and went on a variety of interviews. As usual, the focus was on previous job experience and skills that were relevant to the position. But I was shocked by the comprehensive review of my application from my interviewers.

I wanted to stand out and give my resume a more personal touch, so I decided to include my e-portfolio as a part of my resume. I included the e-portfolio at the top of resume with its URL and a QR code. I was unsure if QR codes were effective in the business world, but I was willing to take a shot at it.

In the interview for the internship that I accepted, one of the interviews pulled out his phone during the interview. He asked about my writing style and technique and then scanned the QR code from resume for the e-portfolio. He looked around my e-portfolio on his phone while asking questions about the pieces of writing. He said that the e-portfolio was a great way to contextualize my writing experience and helped them, the two interviewers, understand if my style was suitable for their professional business working environment.

This experience emphasized the practical value of the e-portfolio, and I was ecstatic that I was able to benefit in my job-hunt from something that I did in the classroom. Has anyone else had such successes?

The E-Porfolio Experience

Well, my e-portfolio is finished. It wasn’t as fun as I wanted it to be. I enjoyed my previous website-building experience, but this time wasn’t the same. I couldn’t find a theme on Weebly or WordPress that I was committed to. I finally chose one to finish the product. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. This is something that I will change for my next e-portfolio.

I also want to embedd the documents next time (which I was unable to due unless I upgraded to a Pro account on Weebly). I think it would look nicer. Unless it is required, I also want to have less drafts and more final drafts of writing, so I can present diverse polished works to my audience. I think for this time it was suitable since we obviously do not have four semesters of writing to pull from.

Other than that, I was happy with the theme that I chose, Opposites Attract. This theme is not explicit, but it is definitely present in each section. You just have to look for it. I do often lose people in thinking that nuance is sufficient thematically, so it will be interesting to see what people think.

As a writer, I think I showcased my interests and writing ability well. I include three external pieces in my e-portfolio that I think will tie in nicely, one on the Electoral College and two on affirmative action. However, I think I should revise them for the next e-portfolio, which I did not do thoroughly for this one.

Lastly, as this course comes to a close, I feel that I have been given a better understanding of new media and how to use it. I mean that, too, and not in a brown-nosing way. Without this course, I would have never been able to make a website, and I certainly would have never blogged. I feel like I will build upon these experiences over the coming years. I see myself creating a blog on grammar and syntax over the next couple of months to catalog my knowledge and build my writing portfolio.

Re-Mediation Reflection

Looking back at this whole website-making process, I cannot tell you how much fun I had making the website for my re-mediation project. I was able to shape the website to every whim and thought-out detail I had, which was refreshing. I have also never worked with this type of media before, which made the project exciting.

It wasn’t easy reaching the final result of my project, however, because I went through multiple revisions of what to include and take out. In the end, I was happy with the final product, but I still feel like I could have said more. I think I might update this and use it as one of my main examples in the capstone e-portfolio.

I want to know what you guys think also. If you have time, check it out:

E-Portfolio Indecisiveness

I’m having a hard time choosing a layout for my e-portfolio. For my re-mediation project, I found a layout that suited my project and personality easily. I’m having no such luck with my e-portfolio. I keep changing my platform. Weebly is not striking a chord with me this time. WordPress is too bloggy. Google Sites is too childish looking. I’m frustrated.

I envision my portfolio as a professional website that still has a certain level of uniqueness. What I am finding in reality is that the “unique” layouts look unprofessional and the professional ones look, well, drab.

I think I need to step away from it for a while and come back.

Compliments of Nasrul Ekram, Flickr

On a different note, I have already settled (well, let’s be honest, I’ve settled for now) on an organization for my e-portfolio: analyzing writing, politically motivated writing, and professional experience. My initial and last essay for this class will be in the first category whereas my projects in the middle will be in the second. The final section will just showcase my experience professionally and with student organizations.

I want to use my e-portfolio to fulfill the requirements of the class and be functional for future internship and job applications. I have realized that this functionality has made me hypercritical of my blogs. The sarcastic and  self-deprecating tone sounds unprofessional, which is prevalent in my blogs. I think I might edit some of my blogs to sound more conducive to a professional theme.

So that’s where I am at: a standstill. However, I know what I need to do.


Re-Mediation, the Dichotomy

As I’m fixing my re-mediation project, I keep getting side-tracked. There is so much I want to do aesthetically that it’s inhibiting my ability to produce content. It’s become an obsession, no joke.

I start writing, and then the same question pops in my head: Would someone get bored reading this? Being myself, an impatient, I-only-care-about-the-information-I-need type of person, I  assume yes before I finish asking the question. Instead of focusing on the text, I turn to the bells and whistles.

What can I do to entice people to stay on the site? Superficial?  Definitely. But I can’t help it.

I wish I was one of those noble writers who slapped their writing on a page and wanted the writing to speak for itself.

Compliments of Andy Mangold, Flickr

It just sounds better to be that way, revered in a higher regard. Do I really want to be that way, though? No, that’s not me. Not me at all. I mean, c’mon, I’m not pettifogging.

I am going to focus on the text more for now, however, because it is far from perfect. It will be interesting to see the end result nonetheless. Will design and interactivity take the upper-hand, or will my website be content-rich that lives up to its purpose?

The Nescient Electorate

Perhaps, I’ve been writing too much on the Electoral College lately, but I’m tired of all the unfounded Facebook posts on presidential candidates for next year’s election. I’m sorry, but whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, don’t bash a candidate until you’ve researched the facts, and that doesn’t mean quoting an anchor from CNN or Fox News.

Personally, I don’t have any attachment to either of the parties. I find myself in the middle (with a majority of the American public). There are arguments on both sides that I agree with, which probably enables me to keep an analytical view of the candidates.

For those of you who are staunchly Democratic or Republican, along with any voter next year, there are a couple of things you should do before (1) making rash statements and (2) aligning yourself fully to a party.

Naturally, we tend to find specific news sources and utilize them heavily in forming our opinions; however, it is important to get a well-rounded feel for a candidate, and this is not as taxing as it may seem. During lulls in your day or commercial breaks of your favorite TV program, here are some ways to get to know the candidates better:

  • Research what their platform means: Sure, improving the economy sounds like a great idea, but how do they plan to effectively do so? What is their plan of action? Has it been effective before or elsewhere?
  • Research what experiences do they have relevant to the
    Compliments of Seth Anderson, Flickr

    issues at hand: John Doe might be a congressman from such and such state, but what has he done while in office? Has he reached across the aisle to do what’s best for the country? What bills has he introduced or co-sponsored? (Check out Open Congress to search for  recent legislation sponsorship by senators and congressmen.)

  • Find clips on the candidates talking about the issues, like at debates or town halls: Sometimes, how they express their plan and the issues can be as important as their stance itself . (Mediaite and Youtube are good resources for clips.)
  • Email or call the candidates’ office:  Ask them how the candidate has dealt with the issue before or what experience do they have with it.

We are responsible for electing the leaders of our states and our country, who are responsible for uniting us as a nation and guiding our development. Our choice matters. It affects our future and cannot be erased. That’s why we need to familiarize ourselves with the candidates and support  candidates who have displayed and continue to display what is best for the country, not for personal gain.

So next time you head to the polls, be confident in who you’re trying to elect.

Storyboard Voice-Over?

Joseph Elliott’s Storyboard

I have uploaded my storyboard for the re-mediation project above. There is a voice-over to my PowerPoint presentation. I’m sorry for the background noise, though. The radiator in our house coupled with my average laptop microphone did not produce a perfectly sounding recording.

My storyboard has a simple theme, but I want to compile as much information as possible to do the Electoral College justice. I do not want an “in-your-face” argument for the institution. I think that is unwarranted and unhelpful. The layout is so that each page in some way segues into the other, but they will be connected by a navigation bar at the top, not directly linked to one another.

Anyway, let me know what you think!

Showcasing Myself

After looking at e-Portfolios from college students across the country, I knew where I wanted to take mine. White backgrounds with simple, elegant text and a picture at the top (starkly mundane in black and white more often than not) are the default in a lot of e-Portfolios. They look aesthetically clean and eye-pleasing, but after you see this repeatedly, it starts to look like you’ve been sucked into an episodic rendition of 1984.

I don’t want my e-Portfolio to be predictable, but I don’t want it to be overwhelming either, especially for who I intend it to be made for, future employers or admission counselors. I want to have a warm, earth-tone background, inviting a viewer to explore the site further.

Compliments of Steve-h, Flickr

This is crucial because my text—the writing itself, I mean—will not mirror this feeling. I want it to be formal and professional. The marriage between the design and writing will hopefully make me stand out while preserving my professionalism and employability.

With writing in mind, I want my pieces to be a subsection of the website. I do not want links or PDFs as the modes of access. At the top of the website, there will be a horizontal bar with broad categories that have a dropdown bar for my specific pieces or employment materials. In the “Writings” section, I want a carousel of images (an image loop) that displays the different themes or concepts of my writings in a visually artistic way.

I also want to incorporate various forms of technology, like YouTube videos, widgets, and a survey/feedback section. The last incorporation I think would make my e-Portfolio stand out to such an extent for two reasons. One, people like to give their input—it’s human nature—and their input can actually be helpful in the evolution of my e-Portfolio. Two, it shows that even though the e-Portfolio is about me, I am still cognizant of my place in our world. I embrace collaboration and feedback, and I hope a survey/feedback section would give subtle hints to these beliefs.

Putting it all together, I want my e-Portfolio to be intriguing and multi-dimensional. The writing is a part of it for sure, but it is not the only part. Presentation and a well-rounded use of technology matter, which is why I want to use a well-known site builder like Weebly or WordPress for my project. It shows that I am a serious writer, but I am also thinking about the full experience I am giving to a reader.




Professional sections: