My Capstone Project: Online Privacy Unlocked

Woohoo! I am so excited to announce that I have completed my Capstone project! It explores why protecting one’s online privacy matters through a series of articles and a guide that instructs readers on how to change privacy settings on a few sites from tech companies in the news recently (Facebook, Google, and Amazon). I have truly enjoyed working on this project and becoming more informed myself on this topic. I hope that readers also feel more aware after utilizing this site as a foundation! 

I would like to thank the class for their peer reviews on this project and Shelley for being a phenomenal instructor (as always!). Without further ado, I present to you Online Privacy Unlocked:

Reformatting a Non-Fiction Text

For one of my Information classes, I had to read part of a book called The Wisdom of the Crowds, by James Surowiecki. The material was interesting, but unfortunately it was so dense that I had a lot of trouble reading through the assigned pages. The print was small, and the sections of the chapters were simply divided into “I”, “II”, “III”, “IV”, and so on. To make this book better,  I would first label each section of the chapter with a captivating title that is related to the section idea. A larger font would also help people stay focused on the chapter.

Who Can You Trust? Me (Finally)

Originally, my plan was to repurpose a research essay on User Experience Design. This probably would have resulted in a more professional portfolio mood, and a more formal Why I Write piece. Yet, when it came time to repurpose the piece, I realized I had no enthusiasm to repurpose it. Personally, I felt the piece should just stay the way it was. So I decided to shift gears and focus on another piece I had written for a class outside of my major. It was an essay I had written about Buddhist goddesses for a Buddhism class in the Asian Languages and Cultures department. I had really enjoyed that class, so I thought my repurposing experience would go much better. And it did. As a result, my Why I Write piece became unconventional, and my portfolio as a whole was more genuine.

I think if I had stuck with my original plan, I would have ended up with a much more formal and professional portfolio. Although my portfolio is still not completely informal, I can imagine how much more refined it could be. For example, my Why I Write would probably be more concrete, despite it not coming across as authentic.

How much do you trust yourself in your assessment about why you write and why?

I (somewhat) trust myself in my assessment about why I write now. I have always thought I needed to have a single answer to this question, and I tried to bring this confused state of mind to my paper. When I started this assignment, I thought I had the answer whenever I remembered something monumental that happened with my writing. Yet, after a while that answer didn’t feel like the right one. In the end, I just decided to trust my instinct and write a Why I Write that does not focus on a single “perfect” reason, but rather many imperfect ones which may or may not become my permanent motives. It took a while to trust myself with this choice, but I think I made the right decision in structuring the piece this way.

Portfolio Categories – Sanika Babtiwale


  1. Idea/Concept
  2. Prose
  3. Composition/Environment
  4. Voice


The idea/concept aspect of my website is unique because I took a different approach in my repurposing and “Why I Write” pieces. I believe my repurposing piece was an especially strong concept, since it showcased my ability to creatively write about a topic that is rarely talked about. I hope my prose will go hand in hand with the idea/concept because I want to make all of my ideas as clear as possible to the reader. My writing style should influence the composition/environment because I want my site to be accessible and simple to navigate. I am not planning to establish a specific flow that the user will have to follow on the site. I am hoping that my site is easy to use but I also want it to be interesting to the user. I am most worried about the presentation of my voice on the site. I think I have brought out my voice to the user, but it might be too subtle for the reader to be aware of. I do not know how much a reader pays attention to a more dynamic voice, so I think that is something to explore. I would also like to investigate how appealing my site is to users. I think the style suits my pieces and personality, but I wonder whether others will feel the same.

Reading vs. Writing

What I do as a reader: I read to see myself.

What I do as a writer: I write with my own preferences in mind. I steer away from teen angst and make my characters more independent and relevant to the characters I would like to see in books. In fact, my repurposing piece mirrored the type of works I wanted to see in real life. The goddesses were all strong, confident individuals who were good friends with each other and challenged each other’s ideas.

Mixed Feelings

I had to read The Catcher in the Rye in 10th grade, and I didn’t like it. It’s regarded as a classic, but the teen angst theme did not make me feel genuinely interested in the plot. I couldn’t relate to Holden at all, and this is the case with many of the young adult books I find in the library. The writing style made me slightly cringe, such as “shoot the bull,” “snowing,” etc. I understand that it was probably colloquial language back then, but it just seemed too overemphasized.

Why I Write Analysis

I first looked at two unknown writers’ essays that seemed to take place in different circumstances. Tanushree Baidya wrote her statement sometime after the election, and she started off by saying how fear has negatively impacted her writing in the time after. She decided to go for a walk and described the beauty of a victory garden near her house. At the end, she said her purpose of writing is to explore, and to keep pushing through despite any fear. This piece did not go through time, but rather emphasized one moment that she felt strongly about. The other writer, E. CE Miller, wrote a brief essay that was mostly short sentences. She also did not go into much detail about why she was interested in writing. Miller instead emphasized how various plot details compelled her to write. She gave her reason for writing as being curious.

I read Katherine Stathulis and Shaylyn Austin’s pieces from the MiW portfolios. Both essays refer to past experiences that were crucial to their writing experiences. The writers were quite honest, but went about portraying that mood in different ways. Stathulis talked about an event and a personality trait that have made her realize why she writes. At the end, she addressed the reader directly, telling them that the skill of writing will never fade away no matter what profession. Austin’s piece flows, describing the growing importance of writing in her life with each moment. She also talked about how writing is her preferred mode of communication. Unlike the unknown writers, the MiW students took a reflective approach to the question, which seemed almost journey-like.

Sanika Babtiwale: Boilerplate

I found this boilerplate quote from my Minor in Writing application:

“Unlike assignments involving numerical calculations, writing for any class allows me to feel a wide range of emotions, even when it is simply an essay on good user experience for Introduction to Information Studies.”

Apparently, my emotions run high when I write, while I don’t feel anything when I do my statistics homework (pretty sure I’m really frustrated with the problems instead). I think what I was trying to say here was I engage with assignments involving writing better than those that require quantitative skills.

Here are some quotes from my recent application to the School of Information:

“In high school, I became fascinated by communication and how it is utilized to present a specific message to the public.”

I wonder what “specific message” I was thinking about when I wrote this. One of the first writing techniques I learned about was “show not tell.” Clearly I did not follow that method here and ended up with a generic sentence that doesn’t reveal anything to the reader.

“If I am accepted to join the BSI community, I will strive to be proactive in my information courses and work with others to make technology and its tools more user-friendly and beneficial for all.”

How do I plan to take more initiative? Will I raise my hand in class more? Or contribute additional ideas in group projects? I also can’t believe that I used “user-friendly” and “beneficial” in the same sentence because they both imply a positive technology interaction for someone.

Remediation Ideas – Sanika Babtiwale

Hi everyone,

My repurposing piece was a discussion circle of Buddhist goddesses in a script form. Since one of this piece’s functions is to be read aloud, I am thinking of adapting it to a podcast format. I would like to make this piece more expressive by doing a table-read because I think people will be able to grasp the emotions I have evoked in my script. When I first thought of this idea, I remembered how people would listen to the radio for plays, stories, etc. being read aloud before the T.V. came about. I want to recreate that feeling through my script, and since goddesses are thought of as mystical, I feel this is the perfect medium.

Another idea I have is to translate my work into a poem or diary entry. I could describe the goddesses’ personalities in a haiku format, but I think the ideas from the script would be lost in this platform. For the diary entry, I would discuss the conversation in the script from each of the goddesses’ point of view, but I think that would be redundant.

I am still on the lookout for other ideas, so please let me know if there is another medium I should consider!


Repurposing (Sanika Babtiwale)

Hi everyone! As a writer, many of my pieces in college have been research papers. Although I have written a few short stories and personal narratives, I didn’t really get the chance to work on those styles as much. For this repurposing assignment, it is my goal to take one of my academic works and transform it into something more relaxed yet enlightening.

In my ASIAN 255 class, I wrote a paper about goddesses in Mahayana Buddhism. I mainly discussed the origin stories of these divine beings and their personalities. This piece required research on some traditional stories, so there are several excerpts from them as well as quotes from academic sources. While the paper flows well and has a strong introduction and conclusion, I don’t think anyone would really read it for pleasure.

I plan to change this piece significantly. Since the original was non-fiction and explored a variety of primary and secondary sources, I would like to lose this structure completely. I have wondered about how the goddesses would interact with each other, and so I have been thinking of writing a discussion circle dialogue. It could be a scene from a play, where the goddesses meet up at a coffee shop or someone’s home and have an interesting conversation. As these goddesses have been present for centuries, I wanted them to talk about something from the future which they don’t understand. Since there are a lot of jokes centered around “today’s generation,” I was considering making this the main topic of discussion.

I would like to repurpose the paper in this format because I want to make it more fun to read. I will probably have to add more goddesses that we learned about in the class so this dialogue can be more diverse, but I still intend to retain all of the beings’ characteristics. I hope this piece can become an entertaining twist on complaining about young people in the present while still remaining informative about historical goddesses in Buddhism.