Introducing My E-Portfolio

When we first started this class my e-portfolio looked putrid. I had the completely wrong idea of what the e-portfolio was supposed to be and it was a mess. I had an array of pictures on the site that had nothing to do with writing. I treated my e-portfolio as if it was a personal “About-Me” website. There were pictures of donuts, photography, and random pictures of me from spring break and the site itself looked like a catastrophe. I had to figure out a way to fix it so I deleted my old site and started over from scratch. My new site is so much cleaner and has a lot more organization to it. I hope you enjoy it !

https://boscourt.wixsite.com/minorinwriting

It’s Finally Here

So here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… kinda, maybe, okay probably not but still, here it is. I’m happy with the way my portfolio turned out, I think it really exemplifies the work I’ve done this semester as the quality has definitely been on a steady upslope from the beginning to the end. I think that the quality of my work really began to improve when I realized what sections of writing I enjoyed working in most. The sections that allowed me to express myself and be as open as possible with my audience were the ones that I enjoyed the most, particularly the TedTalk. It allowed me to connect with my audience on a personal, face-to-face level. This “revelation”, if you will, helped me regain my confidence as a writer and I think that sustaining this confidence, even through times when I am struggling to produce good work is what I hope to work on most between now and the capstone. I think continuing to write through the times I struggle is going to be the best way to keep my confidence and to get through the times that I hit a block as quickly as possible. Additionally, another strength I have developed is a unique voice centered around speaking freely and conversationally. I know that that isn’t something I’ll be able to take with me as I pursue a career in law, but it is something I feel I am good at and something that I would like to continue to craft as I progress through the program. I hope you enjoy my site and can find my TedTalk beneficial! The link to my website is here.

https://jstropes0.wixsite.com/mysite

Dear Prospective Minor in Writing Applicants,

I was hesitant to apply to the Minor in Writing because, well, I didn’t really know what it was. It was introduced to me with an email forwarded from an older friend without any real explanation. As I searched the Sweetland Center’s website I understood the structure of the program, but I still had unanswered questions. How much freedom do I have to write what I want? Am I just going to be studying grammar and punctuation all day? What will the classes be like?

I wished I could have seen students’ work, their progression, their struggles. I wished that there was a glimpse into the program other than the descriptions of courses and historical syllabi.

Over the course my time in the Minor in Writing Gateway, I’ve developed an understanding for all of these questions. And so, I wanted to share my experiences to show you, the prospective applicants, my struggles and progression, my missteps and successes.

An accumulation of my experimentation can be found here, in my Gateway ePortfolio.

You’ll see a discovery of my writing process, how I learned to think again. You’ll see the progression of my voice and how I learned to highlight it throughout various genres. You’ll see how I developed a strong sense of different audiences, and how they might react to assorted techniques.

And hopefully, you’ll see how I plan on continuing to experiment and question my ideas from now, until my final Capstone course, and beyond.

Happy reading, prospective students. Send in that application; you won’t regret it.

Best,

Ashley

Analyzing Modes of Communication in Everyday Texts

While reading the Writer/Designer textbook I was challenged to pay particular attention to the unique ways in which information is been presented to me, in order to compare and contrast how different texts use modes to communicate ideas. Sitting in class, I looked at the different ways in which teachers display their lessons. Scrolling through Facebook, I looked at the different mediums in which I learned about the latest news from friends, family members, and even businesses. I even spent more time analyzing videos, fliers, and stickers on computers.

The first text that I noticed was chapter from my Writer/Designer that I had just finished reading. It is formatted as a textbook, with visual aids throughout the paragraphs. Throughout the chapter I noticed these modes being used:

  • Spatial
  • Linguistic
  • Visual

I’ve attached an example of a visual aid used within the chapter to describe the topic of multimodality. The spatial mode accounts for how the authors arranged the text, using a circular visual aid on the right, with accompanying text on the left. This decision makes me believe that the authors wanted to describe the aid first, giving insight on what it is depicting since a reader usually looks from the left to the right. The linguistic mode accounts for the author’s word choice that is relatively basic and informal, which is indicative of the broad audience of those attempting to better their writing skills in an educational manner. The visual mode accounts for the images chosen to represent information, which in this case is bright and colorful, looking to draw and retain the reader’s attention.

I continued to look at texts other than my textbook in the same manner. On a Facebook page called Jewlish, a media source for both modern and traditional Jewish recipes and food-related news, I watched a video on how to make Apple Challah because of the recent High Holiday, Rosh Hashanah. While watching the video, found at https://www.facebook.com/sojewlish/videos/856792114478285/ , I noticed these modes being used:

  • Spatial
  • Visual
  • Linguistic
  • Aural
  • Gestural

The spatial mode accounts for how the bowls, spoons, and ingredients are arranged throughout the video, in a visually appealing and neat manner. The visual mode accounts for the black background, gray table, and clear bowls that are used in order to not distract the viewer from the actual food. The linguistic mode is less prevalent with this medium and is only used to allow the viewer to read the ingredients and amount being used for the recipe. The aural mode accounts for the background music that is light and fun, as well as the exclusion of sounds that would be made if someone were actually cooking. The gestural mode, in this case, is the hand motions of the actor making the food uses throughout his cooking, that are precise and professional.

In an online flier for the Mass Meeting for an entrepreneurial club on campus, called InnovateUM, I noticed several modes being used, despite its simplicity:

  • Spatial
  • Visual
  • Linguistic

The spatial mode is seen with the arrangement of the words in order to draw attention to the club name and the reason for the flier, the mass meeting. I think this decision of arrangement is used because if the reader is interested in the club and going to the mass meeting, then they will read on to see the date, time, and place of the event. The visual mode accounts for the color choice, using maize and blue as a homage to the University of Michigan, and the choice of using a gear and lightbulb in order to represent innovation, the basis of the club. Although there are only a few words on the online flier, they fit into the linguistic mode and show a precise use of language.

Over the weekend I read a review article for a product, called SafeSound Personal Alarm, I was looking into buying. The alarm acts as a substitution for pepper spray in states that it is illegal to carry. The article gives a personal account from a user as well as facts on the product and can be read here. I noticed these modes throughout the reading:

  • Spatial
  • Visual
  • Linguistic

The author of the article, in my opinion, had little consideration for the spatial arrangement of the information. Text and pictures, as well as hyperlinks to other pages were crowded throughout the webpage, making it hard to read as there were many distractions. This was a problem for me with the visuals on the page too, which were important to include because they showed the product, but too large which also distracted me from other information. The linguistic aspect was a series of choices that led to a more informal tone, even when presenting facts, which I thought was important in order to appeal to the audience of mostly women looking to purchase a product to put their minds at ease from attackers.

While scrolling through Facebook and stalking friends of friends this weekend, I came across my a picture my sister’s friend from high school posted. It was of her and her husband on their wedding day. In the picture I noticed these modes at work:

  • Visual
  • Spatial
  • Gestural
  • Linguistic

As a picture, the visual mode is indicative of most of the information being presented. Even though she did not write, “I just got married,” that is the news that is brought to light. From a spatial and gestural perspectives, the arrangement of them as a couple and how they are interacting with each other, shows their love for each other. At first glance, I didn’t notice a linguistic aspect to the picture, but after further examination, I realized that the signage in the background gives key information of the place, Buffalo. In addition, the watermark in the bottom right corner shows the viewer who the photographer is.

Looking comparatively at each mode used to convey information, I noticed that there was much crossover between what the perceived genres are and the modes used. For example, every text includes visual, spatial, and linguistic modes regardless if it is a video, photograph, textbook, article, or flier. It was just the extent of the use of the mode that differed. The only modes that were unique were aural, that was only included in the video from Jewlish, and gestural, that was seen whenever people were physically involved such as the cook from Jewlish and the man and woman in their wedding photos. However often each mode appeared, they all gave further insight on the subject they were attempting to explain.

School’s Out!

So the end of the year is upon us and so is the end of fall semester. Here is my final e-portfolio for the writing 220 class. I hope anyone who looks at it enjoys it! let me know on here or on the site if you have any questions or want to know more!

This was a very fun project and it made me think about what I wanted to have on my site representing me. I chose to go with a few pictures but not too many. I also added a monthly content area on my home page that has a poem and a ted talk every month. I like poetry and ted talks, so I thought that was good content to have because it represents me and my interests. I am going to try and continue on with this site, update that monthly content, and tweak it here and there to be an online profile that a potential employer might look for.

As for the project in it’s current form, I wanted to keep it more focused on the class. At the same time I wanted the site to portray me to some extent. I don’t know if that comes across the greatest, but I think the style, theme, and other personal touches that I added help paint the picture of who I am.

Writing 220 was a great class, and I’m so happy to be off on the right foot in the minor! I hope you enjoy the portfolio!

e-portfolio

 

That’s All Folks

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This semester really flew by. Although I am counting down the days until my last exam, I can say with all honestly that I will miss this class. I have had a lot of fun expanding my writing skills with T and my fellow Fall 2014 fall cohort members. This intro class really pushed me out of my writing comfort zone and I’m glad for that.

When I started putting together my eportfolio, I felt very proud of all the writing and projects I have completed throughout the semester. I am glad that this minor allows us to display our works in such a public setting because it’s nice to get some recognition for all our hard work. I spent plenty of time working on this eportfolio, because I wanted it to be a solid representation of not only my work, but also myself as a person. I spent hours editing, reorganizing and rewording each page to create a final page that I am very proud.

Before concluding, I’d like to send out a special thanks to T herself for inspiring me as a writer and as a student in general. She has been one of my favorite professors at the university so far and I feel very lucky to have been in her class. Additionally, I’d like to thank my fellow minor in writing students, who I now consider my friends. I have really enjoyed getting to know you all through your writing and I hope we will encounter each other in future classes.

 

And with that I leave you the link to my eportfolio: http://megsb2.wix.com/megsb1 

I hope you have as much exploring my eportfolio as I did creating it. THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

 

How Much Can A Font Say About You?

As I continued to play around with different formatting options of my eportfolio I realized that I had probably spent three hours of my life merely choosing a font. It needed to be the right color, the right size, clear enough to be able to read but loopy enough to add some fun, spaced the right amount, and aligned correctly on the page. Now, I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but I never thought that I would be spending three hours deciding upon something as seemingly minuscule as a font.

The thing about this project though is that, to me, and to all of us who are trying to make these eportfolios into accurate representations of ourselves both as writers and as people, the font actually does matter. Every decision we make for our portfolios ranging from font, to the other pieces of writing we choose to include, is equally essential to our presentation. With these portfolios we attempt to paint a picture of our personalities, through various choices such color scheme, and images and for some of us, even music.

The first piece of myself that I chose to include as the consistent background of my eportfolio is a photo I took this past summer of my sister blowing bubbles in our back yard at our lake house. Maybe it was the sunscreen caked over the camera but for some reason, it turned out blurry. Yet, the blue skies, the green grass, the sparkling lake, and the bubbles make the photo absolutely idyllic. On my home page I tried to think of a few words that I could use to describe myself and that would relate to the photo. Three words instantly came to mind: Thinker, dreamer, writer. I then built my portfolio off of these elements of myself, allowing them to guide every content based and stylistic decision I made.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.32.17 PM

I am very proud of the final product, proud of the patience I had with myself while agonizing over fonts, and ultimately think that my final project is reflective of my initial vision for the portfolio, and more importantly, of me as a person.

http://sophiejo7.wix.com/sophie

Scroll On!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I originally came up with the idea to create a vertically scrolling e-portfolio to match the step by step format of my developmental essay. I really wanted my portfolio to start in one place and end in another. So this week I decided to go ahead and draft a vertically scrolling e-portfolio. It was certainly tedious to make, but I figured the only way I’d ever decide if I actually liked the idea was to just try it and see. Now that I’m so invested in it I could really use some outside feedback. Does you like it? Do you hate it? Is it a hassle? Please let me know!

There are a ton of work-in-progress elements that I still need to clean up. The last sections aren’t finished, and some of the buttons don’t work yet…but just ignore that if possible! The colors are also a hot mess. You can barely see many of the side buttons against the blues but I was too lazy to go through and change everything just yet. But, in terms of color, does starting with a light shade and having it get progressively darker until my capstone project section matches the header work? Or is it too bland/monotonous? Would you prefer sections to be different colors all together? Also, the reflective writing above each piece is a portion of my developmental essay. This is from the first draft, so the final portfolio will have the revised essay and some better transitions. Still, how do you feel about the developmental essay split up in this way? There is also no about me page. I personally don’t mind this because I hate about me pages and I’ve defined my audience as a more personal group — friends, family, classmates, and the Sweetland grader — so I won’t be using it for professional purposes. Still, do you think it should have an about me page? Lastly, does the site fit your internet page? I’m having trouble with how wide to make it…right now it fits my screen but I’m curious to see what it looks like on other people’s screens or one of the larger screens in class.

Wow…sorry for so many questions! Any and all feedback is welcome!

Here’s the link: http://goddar05.wix.com/capstone

Not sure exactly how this works but here is the “feedback” link that Blake suggested: http://bit.ly/1xvvxek

Capstone e-Portfolio Draft

Since I last posted about my capstone e-Portfolio, I’ve made major progress. I’ve created the actual site,  inserted text and images, and come up with a tentative theme. I’m really excited about the direction I’ve chosen for the site. Below is a description of the progress I’ve made, along with some questions I have. I’d love some constructive feedback!

I’ve decided to follow a travel theme. On the first page, the text reads:

“Welcome to LindaTell Airlines!

We’d like to take a moment to tell you a bit about today’s site.

First, you’ll notice two navigation bars. The top one is for site visitors who are traveling for pleasure.

The second is for those of you who are traveling for business—capstone evaluators—and can be accessed by selecting the three lines on the upper right.

LindaTell Airlines can take you to a diverse array of destinations, including the lush forests of non-fiction, the calming coasts of fiction, and the vibrant cities of multi-media. While you’re here, we encourage you to indulge your inner wanderlust.

To ensure full attention, please turn off all electronic devices at this time.

And remember, this is a non-smoking website. Tampering with the smoke detector in the restroom is prohibited.

Once again, thanks for choosing Linda Tell Airlines. We hope you enjoy your trip!”

The tabs are still split up as Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Multi-Media, as I wrote about in my last blog post (Mapping My Capstone Portfolio). Now, each page has a little blurb about each ‘destination.’ So for example, when you click on Non-Fiction, the text reads:

“Welcome to the lush forests of Non-fiction. Here you’ll notice nature in it’s truest form. There’s nothing artificial about Non-fiction, and that’s why travelers find it so appealing. So take a look around! You might just discover something new.”

I think that this theme will help me achieve a cohesive feel, and truly make the e-Portfolio an artifact in itself. I also think that this theme helps me convey the idea that I have created a diverse variety of genres. Each ‘location’ is a metaphor for each genre, which I hope will reinforce this idea of diversity.

I also think that the theme does a good job at explaining who I am as a writer — I’d like to think that I’m creative and quirky, two traits that I think usually shine through in my various artifacts.

Of course, this is just a draft of my e-portfolio, an outline of what is to come. But if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve created so far, the link is below:

https://lindatellcapstone.wordpress.com/

Please click around and let me know what you think in the comments below! Is the theme working? Is it achieving the goals that I’ve stated above? What needs work? What should I add/change? All input is appreciated!

I’m looking forward to completing this project and I think I’m on my way to creating something unique, fun, interesting, and of course, representative of me as a writer.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Storyboarding for the Non-Artist

The very idea of storyboarding, or coloring pictures of how I want a project to eventually look like, is super intimidating to me. For one: I do not draw. I am truly terrible at it and was always that kid who was unable to draw inside of the lines (literally). Secondly: I am a terrible planner. I have broad ideas of how I want things to go but when it comes to planning things in detail, which storyboarding entails, I really struggle. I am much more the type of person to start playing with Wix, try out a format, realize I don’t like it, try again, realize I hate it, and keep trying until I get a format that I truly love. Starting out by showing how I want things to end up seems ridiculous because of how confident I am that I will change my mind.

That being said, I did force myself to draw a storyboard for my ePortfolio of one potential layout that I think represents my personality, and presents my pieces in a creative yet accessible way. I used a premade format and inserted my own photo (one of my sister blowing bubbles at our lake house this summer), inserted new text, and new names for tabs, however it is still very much a work in progress. Here is my shot at it:

 

Drawing of ePortfolio StoryboardFirst shot at Wix version of ePortfolio

 

For my remediation project, my “storyboard” hardly resembles a storyboard in that I opted out of the picture drawing deciding that a thorough text based outline would be more efficient in conveying how I want my iMovie to look. I included a rough script of text that I want to be shown on slides and different photos and video clips that I want to accompany them.

Working off of my story board and actually beginning to use iMovie has presented a new challenge. I have loved working with iMovie thus far, but after playing with it for a while, inserting different movie, tv, and news clips and intense background music, the product that I came up with ended up looking more like a movie trailer than the ethics class presentation that I had initially intended for it to model. Going forward I think I am going to have to keep trying out different fonts, sounds, and images in order to ultimately decide who I want the audience of this movie to be.