New territory! Uh-oh.

When I first visited this blog some time ago, I clicked on some of the posts that the Fall ’11 cohort made at the end of the semester. I went to check out the e-portfolios (now I feel weird saying this because it sounds like I am a silent stalker – maybe it’s just my Facebook paranoia kicking in) and I thought, “Wow, these are so impressive!” Each blog had a different theme going on. Each blog housed a different range of topics. I loved the layouts and, especially, the contents that I saw.

Over time, I forgot that sooner or later, I’d have to start working on my own e-portfolio – until the other day when we were told to take a look at the e-portfolios that the Fall ’11 cohort had produced. This time, while I looked through the blogs again, I couldn’t help but think, “How can I do this?” Cue alarm bells ringing in my head. Not good.

Photo credit to: chris.pirillo.com

Suddenly, I started worrying about anything and everything. How do I even make new sections in a WordPress blog? What if I can never make up my mind about which theme or layout to use (I always have this problem)? What if my site comes off looking, and worse yet, sounding, really unprofessional and uninteresting? Ugh, who would want to read it? And this was perhaps my biggest concern: How can I have the guts to post my ugly drafts?

I suppose it’s easy to get into a panicky mode when we’re faced with a new task. So I guess I just have to calm down and trust that I’ll get somewhere, somehow, with guidance from my instructor and peers. I think that, in many ways, starting my e-portfolio will be similar to forcing myself to sit down to write a bad first draft. And if there’s anything that our class readings so far have taught me, it is that it is okay to write bad drafts!

The thought of displaying my rough drafts doesn’t appeal to me very much, honestly, but I do see how it can add value to my work to show my progress. I have not given this much thought before, but, simply looking at the previous cohort’s posts of rough drafts and reflections, I think that the display of works in progress makes me feel more appreciative of the effort that the writer has put into a project. I guess, oddly enough, one of the aspects that I’m most concered about in starting the e-portfolio is also one that I think makes the e-portfolio really special and interesting.

What About You “Barney”

It’s easy to be Barney, especially as a writer. I wrote a whole paper about Why I Write, and I still don’t even know who I am as a writer. What do I sound like? Am I consistent in all of my writing? It’s hard to answer these questions because I often don’t listen. If I have a paper due at 11:55 pm, I get it done and never look at it again. I check for errors but I rarely analyze my writing as if I was the reader. I should because it would definitely help me grow as a writer. But like Barney and his flaws, I just don’t even listen.

After glancing over the fall cohort’s eportfolios, I’ve determined that my eportfolio will need to present me as a writer. It will need to go beyond simply Why I Write (although that’s part of me as a writer) and present material that explores who I am as a writer.

So that brings up a new question. What do I want to sound like? Unlike Barney, I can’t just ignore the truth (although it would be easier). As of right now, I think my eportfolio will center around this question. Maybe for a job application, I will want to show more of my research-based and argumentative style of writing. Or show blog posts for my friends. There are many different aspects of my writing that I want to show depending on my audience. Perhaps I should start there and look over all of my writing. Now that they have faded out of my memory maybe I can be the reader this time.

Am I Ready For This?

I am technologically inept, and I am comfortable admitting this much. This attitude often saves me from embarrassing myself when trying to keep up with others talking about specific aspects of this foreign subject. The idea that I will be creating my own e-portfolio is quite intimidating at this point. I have my own comfort zone, and this new media aspect is something that is constantly pushing me to use skills that I am not as confident in. Although, I have a fairly laid back personality, and rarely feel stress about much of anything, I could see how this constant uncomfortable feeling could grow on me. Yet, after reading a couple of the previous cohort’s reflection notes, and recalling what Anne Lamott said, an aura of calm suddenly hit me.

 

At this point, nobody is expecting me to be a professional with this type of work. I am not applying for a job as Webmaster of The New York Times, or much less any professional aspect. I need to have faith that with practice, I will soon be successful in this new media form and hopefully, it will become something that I am excited to partake in.

 

I always enjoy a challenge that pushes me into previously foreign areas of learning. However, knowing this, I realize that I still absolutely hate that initial time period where I am running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I also love to meet new people, yet I always get butterflies when walking into a room with zero familiar faces. When I walk out of that room, the majority of the time, I am smiling because I have met new people, but also because I recognize that there was not really anything to worry about in the first place.

 

When I think about my e-portfolio, I think about Lamott’s piece. I simply need to get something down, and maybe it will be incredibly awful, but I have a feeling that there will at least be some building blocks for future success. Failure is not eminent, as I often feel initially (except for the Scarlett and Gray). I need to trust my abilities, and Lamott, as well as the previous cohort, may have given me the necessary boost to avoid these unnecessary feelings.

Yikes!

After looking through e-portfolios of the fall 2012 students, I find myself a little overwhelmed. With blog post titles such as “Done Done Done Done Done,” “dddDDDoooOOOnnnNNNeeeEEE,” and “Halleluja,” I understand putting together the portfolio at the end of the semester will be stressful. The results, though, are quite impressive. It is evident that the students who finished the portfolio completed similar assignments my cohort and I continue to work on now. Many of them show their willingness to put up very rough drafts and blog posts. The typical writer would caution against publishing such personal writings and opening themselves up to scrutiny. This course has taught shown us all–through readings and our own writing–not to be afraid of making mistakes or publishing weak first drafts.

Fine, I won't judge a book. But can I judge a blog?

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We Have Not Yet Begun to Write!

In looking over some sample e-Portfolios from years past, I started to think about the writing I’ve done thus far this semester and at the university.  I considered not only how I’ve grown as a writer, but also the amount of work that goes into the process of converting a page full of brainstormed ideas into a written draft and ultimately a “final” copy.

I took into mind the profile formats of each person’s e-Porfolio in terms of the drop-down tabs categorizing each unit.  In doing this, I was amazed at how many links to their work were available and how much writing we still have to do in this class.  I did find it interesting, though, that an assignment that they too had to complete was that of “Why I Write.”

I am definitely looking forward to this project, but I don’t want to fool myself into thinking it’s going to be easy.  Just in the 5-10 minutes I spent viewing some of the portfolios, I got a sense that the hour count on this assignment is going to rack up quickly; but like I said in my “Why I Write” final draft, “with great struggle comes great reward.”

Read, Write, Blog… Portfolio?

Up until now, most things we’ve discussed in class and all the reading and writing exercises have seemed familiar to me. Despite my lack of knowledge on how to compose a precis or create an author’s note, these things were easily picked up when we applied them in the classroom/team setting. Even blogging has become almost natural and enjoyable as a pastime.

When I was younger, I’d started a Xanga account with the intention of blogging haphazardly and displaying some art and poems I’d worked on to the public. What I never though of it as was a portfolio of my work, something to update regularly and change over time as my writing style changed.

I’ve perhaps created one portfolio in my entire life, and that was for a leadership board in middle school. Now we have to create an entire portfolio of our writing online. Crap. Here’s to hoping some of my HTML and design experience comes in handy with this seemingly impossible project. I spent part of today trying to customize my WordPress Blog, and all I’ve managed so far is to create a large white text box, and simple image which is hidden underneath it. Methinks I need some more caffeine.

So I Guess That’s That.

Wow.

That would be one way to summarize my experience with building my e-portfolio. Although clearly that one word with three measly letters may not seem descriptive, I truly am at a loss for words. When we were first assigned the e-portfolio (not at the beginning of the class, but the actual assignment not too long ago), I remember feeling something like this…

  thinking to myself, “How on Earth am I going to do that?” The whole assignment
seemed overwhelming. In fact, this is how I felt for each assignment throughout
the
entire course. Except, I always somehow managed to exceed my expectations for
myself. I did not have any idea how to create a website, I did not even know that
the term “widget” was real. In times of real stress and panic, I kept thinking that
I was going to have to just turn in half done work. And, if any of you are like me,
that is, you are a perfectionist, I cannot turn in work that does not at least feel
above average.

But, once I finally let go of my stress and decided to start playing around with
Word Press, I found myself actually having fun. I also found myself creating
something that I was proud of and that was extremely rewarding. I knew from the start that I wanted my e-portfolio to reflect my individual personality outside of the classroom, my personal writing personality as well as my academic writing abilities. I decided to model my portfolio off of other professionals that I have met throughout various work experiences. I based my e-portfolio around the idea of how I would present myself in an interview. I wanted to present my best image to the world wide web, but I also wanted to make sure that who I really am showed through. The incorporation of the self-reflection pieces, “Why I Write” and “Writing in New Media” allowed for my creative thought process to be displayed.

I also incorporated my work from the online women’s magazine HerCampus. In addition to my academic work, these writing pieces demonstrate a different writing style. I think in any aspect of life it is important to be a versatile person. It is important to be able to adapt to different situations and that is something I also aim for with my writing. I want to be able to convey my ideas clearly through a variety of different styles as well as different mediums.

Link to my e-portfolio: DANA’S WORD PRESS

I can honestly say, although I am extremely excited to be done with this project, that I am proud of the work that I have done throughout the semester in this class and that my e-portfolio (hopefully!) displays this. Without the help of each individual in this class, I do not think that any of us could have produced the final products that we did. Feeding off of each others ideas has proved to be one of the most valuable aspects of my creativity. I enjoyed seeing what other people were doing and the interesting ways that their minds work. I hope that we can continue this process in the 400 level course next year.

So as a good bye to this blog (at least for now)…THIS IS HOW I FEEL

WAHOOO WE ARE DONE!!! 🙂

 

I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP

Because my portfolio IS FINALLY FINISHED. After trashing four designs, going back and forth a thousand times about how to best get my site to be a real site, countless cups of coffee, 21.5 straight hours (post design-nixing), and about 3000 lines of html and css, it is finally done. It looks like Alex beat me to the punch for using a zombie image to describe what I look, so I’ll go with this gem from Community instead.

Source: http://i806.photobucket.com/albums/yy346/underthelamppost/gifs/myemotions_troy.gif

But I’m finished. And it. Feels. Good.

I’ll just leave the link right here…

Like with most projects in this class, I really struggled to lift off the ground. My biggest breakthrough actually came when I completely messed up what I was working on. That screw-up became the foundational design for my portfolio and one of the few times I’ve been thankful for my clumsiness. I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am with this portfolio. It’s not what I wanted, it’s better. I’ve made sites before, but this is easily the one I’m most proud of. I feel like what I imagine new dads feel like (okay, maybe not that good, but I’m riding a pretty huge high right now).

If there’s anything I feel like I want to work on more, it’s the actual pieces of writing. But that’s always the case. I never feel like a paper is finished. I’m sure a few days from now, when I check my site out again, I’ll find glaring errors and nitpitcky little flaws alike, but for now, this is a success. My portfolio shows who I am as a writer, and also a little of who I am as a person. Coming off the coattails of what I thought was a complete failure (i.e. my remediation project), this is just…gah. It’s awesome. I love it. Or maybe I just love that it’s done. I don’t know, my eloquence is failing me tonight.

Exiting the gateway course, I’m just surprised at the amount of work we’re all capable of producing, and the fact that it’s quality is pretty impressive. This class has been an ultimately rewarding (though also thoroughly frustrating and exhausting) experience, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. I guess all that’s left to say is good luck with the rest of finals week, thanks for making the semester so enjoyable, and see you all (hopefully) in the capstone course!

dddDDDoooOOOnnnNNNeeeEEE!

One of the things that I really love about writing is that you get to have a completed, finished product. Sometimes the process can be cruel and grueling, but man, when you’re done, it’s awesome.

I am actually pretty darn happy with my finished ePortfolio. I didn’t really add that many outside extra pieces, but the tabs are there for when I do get around to archiving them (probably over break).  Despite the constraints of a template on WordPress, I was able to make it my own and do most of everything I wanted. I was especially happy with the headers that I was able to customize and add in my own photos. It was really important to me to have some of my own photos in there and with the help of the Knowledge Navigation Center, I was able to do that!

Some things that I still want to work on would be primarily aesthetics-focused. I really wanted to be able to change the font, which I couldn’t do without paying for. I also would like to play around with some other ways to present my work. I realize that this is still an online workspace and that super long posts aren’t exactly conducive to surfing the web, so I would probably eventually make more tabs and do shorter posts? I’m not really entirely sure yet.

I tried to make the theme of my Why I Write paper pretty much be the theme of my ePortfolio because it really is representative of where I am as a writer. Hopefully you will see the same arc across both of the pieces. I wanted to kind of make the theme the idea that we are all lifelong learners and students in our own ways. That’s what I’m going to take with me as I leave the gateway minor course. I’m going to be thinking about all of the things I could be archiving and remember to save my drafts as separate files every time. 🙂

I’ve liked everyone’s portfolios so far that I’ve seen and best of luck to everyone through our next couple of semesters! See you all in the blogosphere.

Oh, and a link to my e-portfolio: http://katiebrownportfolio.wordpress.com/

 

Things I Now Know About Myself: I am not a Computer Programmer

I’ve discovered that designing my e-portfolio is an absolutely terrific way to procrastinate productively.  I literally have six different sample e-portfolios going currently.  I could be doing homework, or….I could play on WordPress and Weebly.  I pick the latter.  Why do I have so many of these e-portfolios? I absolutely for the life of me cannot become a productive programmer.

Programming is just as complicated as I thought.  We tend to thing of writing just in formal languages through sentences and paragraphs to convey an argument.  We focus on diction, connotation, and sentence structure to complete a presentation for the piece. As writers, we choose to create our own forms of exploration with words.  Making a website is actually really similar in concept to writing.  How is the layout going to affect how people perceive a sight?  Colors, different Web 2.0 feeds, fonts, and design play into programmers form of exploration just as our choices play into our writing. Writing is something that is so comfortable for us.  All of my non-writing-loving friends don’t seem to grasp this.  I never understood how this didn’t make sense until…..well right now.

We write.  They program. The same way that we think writing is terrific, they seem to really like to program.  I am going to stick to writing I think and let them do their thing.  After thinking I went through the html code to create this masterpiece only to see literally jumbled up madness (I should have taken a screenshot…darn, I had the prophetic epiphany that I am not a computer programmer.  Though fun to mess around with, my effectiveness is quite minimal.

Needless to say, I am baking my friend Danek a batch of cookies this weekend and begging him for help.

I think that I am going to go with E-Portfolio version 4.0... <—click it. (I’ve got random commentary places to play with formatting.  emphasis on random).  What do you guys think?