Capstone Challenge Journal 2

The writing games have begun. My project is two-fold in that there is a personal storytelling component and an analytical narrative component. Originally starting this project I figured the analytical narrative would be the easiest to write as it is the most interesting aspect of this to me, however, in me experience thus far it has been quite the opposite. While the personal storytelling has been hard to think back on, it has been easy to write about. Whereas, when it comes to the analytical component, I find myself more stuck. I believe this roadblock is because reflecting on these experiences analytically will make my feelings about them more real, which can be tough to deal with when they are emotions I oftentimes try to forget about. All in all, I do think this will be a therapeutic experience for me when everything is all done and I look back on it.

On a dryer note, I have created my website. I say dryer because I am not a very creative person. I find the content producing aspect of this to be the easiest while I wish the website would have just made itself. After 4 hours of obsessing over what would be the perfect design for this project, I think I am pretty happy with where everything landed. It is coming together nice with complementary colors working in my favor and the flow of where the content will live seems to be productive for the reader. 

As I continue on this journey, I know I will face more challenges, however, I am excited to tackle this current challenge of analytical reflection in the coming weeks.


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

Wix Template: Descriptive or imaginative?

Over spring break, I’m going to design my project website because I know that having that template in mind will be key for my content-creating process over the next month and a half. Also, side note for some reason the words I’m typing for this post only show up when I’m highlighting them so be prepared for some typos.

As I’m looking through the Wix site template options, I’m feeling divided on what I want my site to look like. My project is on the process science fiction world-building in a story which I’m writing, and I’m conflicted between having the site open directly into the universe I’m creating with an image and different things to explore and click on, including an “About” page that describes what the project is, or opening on the about page itself. The first option is more aesthetically pleasing and the second is clearer.

Mock-Ups

A mock-up is supposed to be an outline for a media project. And this accurately describes my experience creating a mock-up for my remediation project. I got out a pen and paper. I thought about the exigence for the photo campaign that I decided I was going to create. And I got drawing. I mapped out what I wanted to take photos of, so that the photographs I include would evoke the necessary emotion. I’m no artist. My drawings are basic. But this wasn’t frustrating for me. I knew that when I took the photographs the mock-up would come to life.

Remediation Mock-Up

 

My e-portfolio mock-up experience was different. It wasn’t like I was creating an outline. I had started working on my e-portfolio without a mock-up. Clicking this to change that. I must have went through hundreds of changes before I came up with a design layout that fit with this exigence. I found that clicking around and having the changes manifest immediately was the best way for me to deliberate on a design. It was the best for me to begin an outline. Had I just created a mock-up for the first idea that came to mind, by the time I was actually editing online, my mock-up be present in my actual design. Getting the design just right was frustrating. It took so much time to make such insignificant changes, but I think it paid off. I am really happy with the “outline” I have created for my e-portfolio.

My e-portfolio mock-up

My digital e-portfolio mock-up

 

Overall, the two experiences were very different. I think that working with web design lends well to fooling around with the capabilities, then going back and creating an outline. Maybe this is just because I was unsure of the web design capabilities. Or maybe this is because the changes made within web design are instant, while the changes made within a photography require a lot to manifest. Regardless, the mock-ups have been proving helpful and I am glad we were required to use them.

Commenting on Wix Pages for drafts

Hello all,

There is a cool feature on Wix that we all could take advantage of when it comes time to have our group members comment on our portfolio drafts, its the comments feature.  You simply click on the little bubble icon on the right hand side of your webpage in the edit setting.  It will give you a link you can email to your group members to allow them to put comments wherever they would like on your site in small bubbles.  To remove them after you have used them you can just simply click the little trash can on them.  Hope this helps some of you out with getting feedback on your portfolios.

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.

getting wix-y with it

site preview
The tentative top-half of my ePortfolio’s home page.

After presenting a Wix tutorial to the class on my ePortfolio, I feel pretty good about all the work I did last week to get me up to this point. Instead of procrastinating this assignment like I thought I would, I spent four hours last Thursday evening laying out as much as I could and then creating a useful Google Doc for everything else that needed to be written. It was my first time ever using Wix, and through experimenting with different plug-ins, widgets, and ways to present all of my work, have an ePortfolio I can really be proud of.

The coolest part for me about my “tech challenge” was that the class generally seemed to enjoy it and asked questions about how they could enhance/improve their own ePortfolios. While I didn’t have a pre-planned script to go off of, my impromptu tone allowed me to navigate through my portfolio and all of its pages through the eyes someone who has never seen it.

Now all that’s left is revision, revision, and more revision. As much as I love every written word on my portfolio now, I want to use the time until the due date to make sure everything is said in the most coherent and clear way possible. There are so many variations to choose from as far as how to present our work. Every decision must be made with extreme clarity and reason.

Overall, I think I accomplished my goal of using my choices to create a stylish, “final” product.

I’m looking forward to see my peers’ ePortfolios-in-progress soon. Hopefully my ePortfolio will give others inspiration to start theirs now and not the week before it due (or sooner). So much value is gained by starting a term project so early, including not panicking, creating quality work, and having the ability to go back and revise where necessary. The more we get done before the last day of class, the more we can help each other out through peer feedback and revisions.

Another component of my project that Shelley commented on that I need to be cautious of is the images I used that aren’t mind. I need to make sure they are fair use and not violating any copyright policies. I will go back and pray that the images I have up are fair use because I really like them a lot and they fit in with my vintage theme. Other than that hiccup, the other technical components of my ePortfolio are solid.

Content-wise, I also need to ensure that my annotated bibliographies are added to both the re-purposing and re-mediation pages. As this is a required component to the course I need to make sure I don’t forget to do it. I think the best way to represent them will be putting them at the end of the embedded documents so that users can just scroll down more and browse through them.

I’m super excited about having so much done already and look forward to really being done in a few short weeks.

What a Semester…

I honestly cannot believe that this semester is almost over, and that we had our last gateway class yesterday!  I remember walking into class on the first day having no idea what to expect from a course that broadly covered a bunch of new students to the Minor in Writing, but I can honestly say that I have learned so much more about my writing as well as different forms of new media writing that are really interesting to work with!

The best part of this class for me I think was definitely the creation of my online portfolio (I also really loved working with the re-mediation project!).  When I found the wix.com site, I instantly knew that was the platform that I wanted to use to showcase my work for this class.  I remember way back when we first started, I couldn’t stop playing around with the different awesome features and shaping my portfolio in ways that I felt were representative of me and a good way to highlight the different types of writing that I have done.  The ability to be creative yet in a way that is very applicable (now I know more of the nuances for making websites/portfolios online!) has been an amazing aspect of this class that I have appreciated and really enjoyed developing over these past few weeks.

Overall I’m generally really pleased with how my portfolio is now.  However, I do think that after this class ends I will be going back and looking over the reflective/contextual language that I used for my different sections of writing on my “Work” tab.  While I am proud of what I was able to convey right now, I somehow feel that the words aren’t “right” — I just need to find the right way to say what I want to say.  I think this is a factor of me choosing a theme (a writing “scrapbook”) a little late in the process and not being able to accurately put into words exactly what I want to convey about me as a writer.  I hope that my portfolio shows that I am a writer who likes to reflect and remember the little moments that impact my work as well as the memories that are forever associated with different pieces of writing and stages in my writing development.  I hope that exploring this can shed light on both myself and my personality, as well as my writing style.

Well, I guess this is it!  My portfolio’s debut and my debut as a Minor in writing!  Take a look, and let me know what you think!  I’m excited to see what others have created as well!  It’s been a great semester!

http://alyssalo.wix.com/alyssalopez

 

Enjoy your winter break!

~Alyssa

Web Writing

As I’ve been uploading documents to my e-portfolio, I’ve tried to make my papers more like true web writing.

First, I uploaded my resume. I decided to put all text straight on the webpage. I was also able to input links to the companies I’ve worked at, some of the work I have completed, and a photo of myself. I’ve worked at a lot of small companies, so I like that my online resume makes it easy for a reader/prospective employer to understand my previous experience.

Then, I started on academic papers. Many of the papers I’ve written are long, so I tried breaking them up into several pages. It was very easy to create new webpages and link all the parts of my paper together. But, I quickly realized that I was going to be using A LOT of webpages, for just a few essays. And for the reader, it would be extremely annoying to see a “Read more” link at the bottom of almost every page, having no concept of when the paper will end.

Web writing has been a challenge, and it’s one I’m still trying to figure out. At first, I wanted to put all my writing directly on webpages and was against using pdf documents, but now I’m thinking pdf’s may be the best way to showcase my work.

Does anyone have any advice? How have you been uploading longer papers to your portfolios?

E-Portfolio Introduction

The first goal of my e-portfolio is to show how I have changed as a writer throughout college. I have tabs across the top of each page for work I have completed in Writing 220, and for other academic classes. I hope to show work from every year of college, but will privilege my Freshman year and my current Junior year.

I decided to present a wide range of work while I was looking at all my potential artifacts. I noticed there are some topics I have chosen to write about over and over again, but in different classes, styles, and contexts. I especially noticed common threads between my writing for English 125 and the work I am doing for Writing 220. I want to showcase these two points in my life to illustrate how I have developed and matured as a writer.

Showing my work and progress over time will help with my second e-portfolio goal: being professional. I hope I can show my portfolio to prospective employers, both as writing samples and to display my personality. My portfolio has a white background, black text, and a grid-like layout. But, it will also have many images, to add color and be a little more informal. I want my design to show that while I tend to be serious and reserved, especially in professional settings, I am still able to relax and have fun.

I am most excited to upload artifacts and the descriptions of each section. I have already picked out many of the things I want to include. I’m very close to bringing my portfolio from a skeleton to a full composition, and I cannot wait to see this happen!

However, I’m still struggling with how I want to display my papers. I know I want the text directly on the webpage rather than uploading a pdf. But, I am not sure if I want my artifacts to be in a digital, web writing format, or if I want them to be more static, text-only compositions.

I am also struggling with the types of images I will include with each piece, and what each image will reflect. For example, do I want photos or clipart that directly describe the content of the writing? Or would I rather use visuals to represent my feelings about a piece of writing? If I choose the second option, where and how do I explain this so the reader understands the purpose of the images?

Although it’s definitely still in-progress, here is a link to my e-portfolio!