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

Research Papers

I have always hated research papers. Always. Throughout high school I bullshitted my way through every research paper I wrote, rarely ever concluding anything worthwhile or unique. Once I even wrote a 15 page research paper in one day and got an A. That’s either an insane skill or my teacher was just oblivious to how little effort I actually put into the assignment. Either way, research papers were, and still are, the enemy.

But you know what they say: keep your enemies close. So, I guess that means I’ll take a stab at a research paper for this experiment (Ha, get it? Stab the enemy?).

But, in all seriousness, for every high school research paper I wrote, I was missing a crucial component: research. Research for a topic, no matter how simple it is, cannot all be collected and analyzed in a day’s time. When I did this, I undoubtedly compiled a couple of worthwhile sources, but definitely did not find multiple perspectives in order to deduce anything significant. So, after my K-12 education plus my short time at college, I have decided that research is indeed important for a research paper. Who would’ve thought?

Research papers usually have a few more consistencies, regardless of topic, such as:

  • An abstract, or a summary of research project
  • An introduction, with a clear purpose
    • Including a thesis statement, usually at the end of the introduction
  • Body paragraphs, with a strong argument, a stronger argument, and a strongest argument, accompanied by in-text citations
    • Including a review of the literature and how it supports the claims
  • A conclusion and/or discussion, with a summary of the arguments and how they connect to deduce a significant claim
  • A call for further research, when there is a need to delve into a topic further
  • A bibliography, to cite the sources used

Looking at aspects other than formatting, research papers often have a professional, formal tone in order to appeal to the norms of academic works. Often, they work off of already existing research and are a stepping stone for research in the future.

The following examples, while differing in topics, all include the components of a research paper stated above, and I plan on using these as templates for my own work:

  1. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/18/
  2. https://kucampus.kaplan.edu/DocumentStore/Docs11/pdf/WC/Sample_APA_Paper.pdf
  3. https://depts.washington.edu/owrc/Handouts/Hacker-Sample%20APA%20Formatted%20Paper.pdf

My research paper for experiment two will focus on the effects of heartbreak on mental and physical health. Many people think of a break up as something that you just have to get over, but, coupled with depression and other health effects, it isn’t as easy as it seems. I hope to call attention to this  phenomenon as a stressor for health, rather than a simple hiccup in one’s personal life. I hope to build on my diary entries from experiment one which tried to highlight this, but lacked the research to back-up my claims in any significant manner.

And, yes. I promise to put more effort into this research paper than the ones I wrote in high school.

Introducing…My Capstone Portfolio!

It could be due to the fact that I’m graduating soon, but introducing my Capstone Portfolio is making me feel a bit weepy. It’s the first of my last few assignments at the University of Michigan, and it has come to represent a lot of the writing pieces I’ve done over the last four years.

Overall, I’m thrilled with how my Portfolio and my Capstone Project have come out. When I first had the idea to create a business plan for my Capstone Project, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. I only had one semester to do it, and I had high expectations for my end product. Through hours spent adjusting the beta version of the site to emailing back and forth with my mentors, I can honestly say it was all worth it. My Capstone Project, ModeCollab, is one of my greatest achievements over the last four years and I could not be more thrilled to share it with all of my fellow writers (please use the password: capstone2017 to view my website).

When it comes to my Capstone Portfolio, I view it as the “more mature” version of my Gateway Portfolio. I used a lot of the same language and headers, but I definitely see the difference in my voice and style of writing. I also chose to have my portfolio centered around a theme of “learning” because I think that sense of discovery encapsulate the work I’ve done not only for the Capstone, but for many of the courses I’ve taken through the Minor in Writing.

And here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for…my portfolio! I welcome any suggestions or feedback on it, so feel free to comment below!

True Life: I’m Addicted to Making Websites

So I’ve created three websites total this semester, and consider myself a pro at using Squarespace now (seriously, if you’re thinking of using it for your portfolio feel free to reach out to me/comment on this post and I’ll help you out!)

However, this also means I’ve created three websites this semester. I’m a little burnt out creatively and find that I’m struggling to pick a theme for my portfolio.

Here are a few of the things I know for sure:

  1. I am making sure that my Capstone Portfolio has the same overall theme as my Gateway Portfolio. Since I link my Gateway Portfolio in a lot of job applications, I want to be able to do the same for my Capstone. Plus, I am so proud of the way my Gateway Portfolio turned out, so I’m treating my Capstone Portfolio as the former’s more mature version.
  2. Along the same lines, I’m using the same “Headers”/Menu Items that I used in my Gateway. They’re a little less traditional than “About Me” and “Capstone Project,” which aligns more with my style of writing and creating.
  3. The opening page has a video that plays, as a way to catch my reader’s eye…so I’m pretty stoked about the way it looks right now. It’s a video created by one of my favorite brands, so it aligns really well with the aesthetic I’m focused on for my overall portfolio.

Even though I’m positive on the three above attributes, I’m struggling a lot with how I want to introduce each section of my portfolio. The approach I took in the Gateway was to briefly describe my process and the steps I took to get to the final piece.

However, with my “mature” Capstone, I want to combine the explicit with implicit. By this I mean I want to explain the revisions I made and the research I did with saying I made revisions and did research. It’ll be a tricky balance to get right, so I’ve reached out to a previous professor of mine to see if she’d be willing to navigate my portfolio this weekend, and make notes on confusing language, technical difficulties, etc. Basically anything that would make the portfolio hard to read.

If anyone has tips for how to integrate research and revision into their portfolio, I’d love to hear about it!

See ya!

Well, this is a bit surreal. This blog post marks my last assignment at Michigan. High Stakes!

I’m happy to share with you all my new portfolio. My last one was an utter disaster and I wish there were some way to destroy it. Without further adieu, here is the link you have been waiting for:

http://jasonrubinstein4.wix.com/jasonbr

Check it out. Read every word. Just kidding; don’t do that. Well, unless you want to. Anyway, my portfolio, titled “The Writer,” was a way for me to showcase my personality through writing. When I began to write my Evolution Essay, I realized my writing progression is gigantic metaphor for who I am. That essay is what I want you to read most. And hopefully that will give you an urge to read more of my work which is plastered all over the site!

My capstone was a long-form feature about an Ann Arbor chef, who wants to end the stereotype that Gordon Ramsay has created for all chefs. They don’t all yell and scream. Writing about a chef was difficult; especially because I had no idea what would be cliché and what wouldn’t. I gave it my best shot and hope you enjoy it should you read it.

Most of all, please read the evolution essay: I never opened up like this before — that should entice you.

Before I go, thanks to everyone in my class. You’ve all been great. Special shootout to Julie — you challenged me when I didn’t want to be.

Cheers

PS: Check out my portfolio! And read the evolution essay.

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!

Drafting My Portfolio

Hey all!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and that you aren’t too stressed out (hehe wishful thinking…). If you’re feeling like I am, please enjoy this adorable GIF of a little duckling from my blog:

http://i.giphy.com/6N5xYcINzjEg8.gif
From Giphy

 

I just finished my draft of my capstone portfolio, which was way more entertaining than those history and energy politics papers I have blocked out for this time in my planner.

So far I really like the platform I am using, Weebly, and the design of the website. It is simple, but really functional. I also like the way I’ve separated my writing into left and right brain categories. I think this makes sense for my project and follows from my writer’s evolution essay. I have a lot of questions though:

  • For one, does the left and right brain concept make sense to you guys? Does it work throughout the portfolio or are there places where it isn’t as effective? Also, does the reflective writing introducing the pieces make sense, or is it too jumbled? Do I push the theme too far?
  • I also want to know how well the pieces I’ve chosen fit together. Do you feel like you get a good sense of my writing, or do you think I need to shuffle things around?
  • Lastly, the developmental essay involves pictures that are linked to the pieces the paragraphs discuss. Does this make sense here, or is it more confusing than helpful?

If you want to check out the portfolio, I just published it here. Once I published it, I realized some of the things look different in draft form compared to the actual published portfolio, so I’ll need to go through and fix that.

Happy writing!

-K

 

mischief managed

All I could think about when publishing my ePortfolio was this iconic phrase from Harry Potter.

The long road through the Gateway course is finally over, and I couldn’t be more excited to publish my ePortfolio to the world. The experience of designing a website for me to showcase my work in the course was extremely rewarding. I learned a lot about being patient in the website building process as well as the revision process. As a visual person, Wix allowed me to layout everything exactly as I planned it with technical ease. I became such a pro at it that I ran a tutorial to the class so that my peers could make an educated decision on whether to use WordPress or Wix.

I hope that people take advantage of the comment box, static at the bottom of each page. I would really like to know how my readers experienced reading my portfolio, and of course, whether or not they enjoyed it.

As the last day of my junior year comes to a close, I am so happy I was able to put forth my best effort this school year. I accomplished my goal of no procrastination, producing quality work, and (I think) becoming a better writer. I can’t wait for Winter 2015 and the Capstone course, and will continue writing until that time comes. Until then, gateway mischief managed.

Final Portfolio

3 months after I first started my portfolio, it’s done. http://beixili.wix.com/livelaughloveshare

Looking back, it’s crazy to see how it’s changed. I remember looking through countless templates and trying to figure out which one could possibly represent me. Then I discovered the beauty of completely reinventing a page, of adding my own touch, but above all, of keeping it simple so that a certain tone and message could really be felt throughout the entire portfolio.

As I worked on it, adding artifacts, changing layouts, I found myself including more and more pieces of my life onto this online platform. It started off as writing from school, moving on to include blogs we’ve done for class, and eventually even my  travel pictures from this summer snuck into it. Before I knew it, my internal menu for categorizing my pages was exploding and there were subpages within subpages within pages.

Experimenting with the different technology also became more and more complex. I had buttons linking forwards and backwards, to other parts of the portfolio, and all over the place besides. Checking to make sure all these links worked was an hour long process in itself. But more importantly, it was incredible to see how I could change my writing on the online platform. From changing the layout to mimic a book, to incorporating visuals and collages to tell a story, there were so many possibilities, and for the first time, I was writing with something other than just words.

Although a lot of work, I’ve really enjoyed every step of the way and remember working on my portfolio just to procrastinate on my other homework. Seeing the finished product is very satisfying, and I can’t stop thinking about how I’m going to grow and change it, so that it can continue to capture how I view the world.

The final touches

Being that it is nearly midnight, the due date, I am naturally still working on the e-portfolio to put the final touches on it. Anndddd of course I am still obsessing about the colors. I know it is minor, but for some reason I just can’t help but think, “Am I a brown or blue”

To go through some of my thought process on the portfolio, I thought I would share some of my favorite components.

1. The about me and hyperlinks.

It took me a long time and a lot of editing to finally be satisfied with what I settled on. I wanted people to get a deeper sense of who I am, but being the reserved and sometimes shy person that I am about the internet, I decided to make it almost a maze to really understand me and my portfolio. The way I set up the links and layout of the site works somewhat like the way netflix pushes you along without you wanting or knowing. In order to explore most of the site, you have to follow the links at the bottom of the screen to get to the next page until you reach the final contact screen. What I wanted this to be was sort of a journey to the more personal side of me. The more links you follow, the more personal the writing gets. I did offer other ways to get to the pages, in a sort of metaphor-type-thing for the way to find out more about me through different ways.

2. Dropbox.com

I thought I would have to take screen shots of literally hundreds of pages for my artifacts, but someone told me about dropbox.com which is a free site that allows you to upload all your papers or whatever files onto the internet. You don’t have to create a google doc and its shareable and you can always go back on your desktop to edit the paper whenever you want.

3. The first page.

I wanted a very clean look to a website, but with the color issues and the extra text needed to complete the assignment, I think I will have to find time to explore a different template, although I really do love this one. The first page has two of my favorite pictures and the little blurb is something I would love to read about someone on a website- plus I think it says a lot about me.

dc14021e371efcc9bc74bd12ec29bda0

 

Peter pan!

 

All in all, the process has been a long on, but I have thoroughly  enjoyed it and learned more than I would have thought.

Check it out !