When you accidentally start your E-Portfolio…

This chapter has given insight specifically in the difference between a rough cut and a rough draft. The author stats, “…in a rough draft all the assets should be finely edited and in place so that the project will work without any intervention by the author.” Ah-ha! No I get it. The rough cut didn’t have to work, it didn’t have to make my argument for me, and it didn’t have to be in any sensible form. But, a rough draft has to attempt to accomplish your goal, it has to touch your audience, it has to do the talking for you. This distinction was quite abstract to me until I read this one particular sentence. And not only that, but I began to see how important the feedback loop is in this limbo between rough cut and rough draft. This small liminal phase is actually one giant transitional phase because of all of the revision that needs to be had; only then can you start to fine-tune the rough draft that you’ve created—a rough draft that might be quite “shitty,” in the words of Lamott—and that’s okay.image

This rough cut gave me a little bit of trouble because the medium of my re-mediation doesn’t fit the traditional model for the rough cut as displayed in the book, but I think I was able to pull together my interpretation of a rough-cut as would be fitting through the definition given in the book. I feel like I have this flexibility with the rough-cut because of how flexible Writer/Designer seemed to portray this process.

This chapter also helped me to digest my e-Portfolio. Because, let’s be real, the thought of creating a website seems intimidating to say the least. But after reading the “Drafting & revising Your Project” section, I feel at peace with this task, and quite frankly, I’m excited about it. I’ve already created my page; it’s in an infant stage, but it’s there. I think a lot of time when I’m challenged with a task I’ll put it off for as long as possible. But, this one has become softer, and easier to approach since thinking of it as a process rather than a project. Also, I kind of stepped back and started to appreciate the summative nature of it: this is the way I can showcase myself as a writer, and my work, and my passion. This isn’t busy work imposed on us by evil teachers who want to see us labor over our keyboards, this is life experience that means a collaboration, and an end goal I can be proud of. This e-portfolio will make the fruits of our labor tangible, or as tangible as a website can be.

Here’s a sneak peek of where I’m at:

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 9.54.34 PMThese pictures, through the gallery option, will become the icons for my Poster Series. And I’ll admit, I did skip the rough cut for this section because I got excited about the gallery options, but either way, I know that through the security of the feedback loop, I’ll be able to make adjustments as many times as I need, and as drastically as needed. I guess I accidentally started my E-portfolio…

Conceptualizing Remediation

Podcasts have always been really appealing to me, so I’m thinking of using that as a medium. The interesting thing about podcasts is that they seem both like a new digital form, but radio, if you think of it it as its predecessor, is such a traditional form. And perhaps that’s what scares me about this form of communication, is that so many people think audio that isn’t musical is a dying form. So I feel like from the get-go, I will put a lot of mental energy into making my project, if it is a podcast, not feel boring. Also, I hate my voice on audio recordings and I could get distracted by self-presentation rather than content. Im not sure how to remedy these anxieties though, especially because I love to talk.

All the podcasts I listen to are really long, and its not that I’m hesitant to do a lot of work (smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat emoji here). I just feel like its hard to a) put a podcast together, so making it longer is even scarier, and b) things could get boring. I’ve definitely started listening to podcasts and then just stopped because I thought they too boring or not what I thought they were. So finding a good length will be difficult, but perhaps it will reveal itself. I also just kind of want to combine a lot of interviews rather than having people sit down (or I guess in the real world they like call in or something) to have annoying constructive conversation because that seems beyond the realm of possibility. But, it could be possible. Constructive conversation may not seem as inviting, but it also seems more organic. I really am unsure which route is better. I wish I had the time to to both and then choose.

In every podcast I’ve heard, everyone comes to implicit conclusions because their topics are so debatable. But I’m scared that I won’t come across that in the typical podcast-y form. So I think I almost need to so something more like This American Life where they are introducing stories, and thus can control the production. That’s why I used it as a model. Harper High School is one of my favorite episodes. It was eye-opening for me, and actually ensured me to pursue journalism. I feel like the audience is learning because they are hearing about a world they are unfamiliar with, which is how I want my listeners to feel. But hearing the kids, hearing the everyday experiences as a backdrop for the story being told makes it all feel tangible.

Hearing people’s voices can be very persuasive, at least empathetically. And that’s my larger goal with my project, a lofty one that I kind of abandoned with repurposing because I focused on game day. But it could be a goal I can feasibly accomplish if voices are included and real people are acknowledged as encountering racial tensions, both cultural and implicit, and social and explicit.

Pank No. 7

After reading the drafting and designing your project chapter, it has become easier to envision my Eportfolio and more importantly the drafting process. I look at drafts many times and consider them to be close to the final version of my projects, essentially I view them as completed mini projects. Then, when I receive feedback I am reluctant to take into account any of the advice because I consider my draft to be final. This is a problem I’ve had for a really long time, I don’t take advice well on my writing solely because I become too connected to certain phrases or paragraphs or thoughts and I feel that the project wont’ be the same without them.

The chapter helped me to create a new version of a rough rough draft, the rough cut. I like the idea of having a rough cut because it helps me bridge a gap between thoughts and a final project. It was also really nice to visualize how difficult it can be to edit rough drafts (that have been edited too much and shortened, etc) that have been completed too much already. For example in the chapter it talks about how students might ask to see more of a video, however if you have already condensed the video into a 2 minute clip you’ve limited yourself.

For me, the difficulties with my remediation project will come with the overall editing of a video. I don’t have much experience with apple video editing software and I’m nervous that I’ll cut something or make changes that others think should be different, and I won’t be able to get the full clips back. I’ll have to do a lot of research on apple editing software. I’m also nervous that I won’t be able to create a professional video due to my overall lack of editing knowledge. I know what I want the video to look like but the execution will be difficult.

(me in the Diag tomorrow trying to interview people)

cameraman falling

I also saw many similarities between the “preparing for rough draft feedback” section on page 110 and the reflections that we create for our eportfolio projects. Discussing who the intended audience, purpose, sources, design choices, mode and media, and genre convention were in my project is a great summary of what the reflection covers. These in-depth sections in the book greatly help guide how to write the reflections for my portfolio.

Furthermore, the visual with the Pank No. 7 poster was a great example of how to use constructive peer feedback for revisions. I liked that in the poster the revisions didn’t have to be huge, the peers were able to give small advice that made huge differences. I love giving advice and ideas to others so it was great to see how to go give constructive feedback, and I hope others will do the same for me. The Pank No. 7 poster showed how it can be simple to enact advice from others, a problem that I have that I discussed earlier in this blog.

New Endings, New Beginnings

Despite the three consecutive sunny and 70 degrees days in November, all good things must eventually come to an end, and thus, the repurposing project wraps up and we transition to the remediation project. I’m honestly not sure whether to dread this project or to be excited for it… one thing is sure though, it will be unlike any writing assignment I’ve ever done before.

Having written lyrics to a song for my repurposing project, the obvious remediation approach would be to turn said lyrics into an actual song. A few of my friends and myself have messed around with making music before, utilizing the Duderstadt Library’s audio studio capabilities, and it would definitely be fun to make a beat for the track, and master it and what not. If I took this route, I’m not sure if I’d want to perform the song myself (something I have next to no experience with) or have a friend do it instead, while I just master and produce it. But honestly, I probably am leaning towards the former, because even with the lack of experience, I ended up writing some fairly personal lyrics, and so it only makes sense that I’d perform them myself, whether or not the skill is there.

The next question is, do I try to pursue this to it’s next logical step (a music video) for this project? Recording a song AND making it into a video would be a lot of work, but I actually do have some preliminary experience editing videos as well, so I’d just have to find someone willing to film and get an idea for it. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, as well as the original source that I repurposed, I consider the medium of music videos to have a lot of promise, and so it could be fun to try to create something like that myself rather than just analyze someone else’s work. Fun indeed, but also probably immensely more difficult than Director X makes it look.

Finally, I have the option to just more or less scrap all my repurposing work and take this in a different direction. One idea I had was a sort of documentary about how difficult it was for me writing a song, complete with interviews from my songwriter friends about their own processes and what not. To be honest, this feels like the safest choice for me. But at the same time, safe isn’t always better? I guess it’s just going to take some soul-searching and re-examination of how happy I was with my finished repurposing project before I make any sort of decision.

But if I do pick the former… y’all better cop that fire hot mixtape when it drops.

Remediation Ruminations

I’m not sure how I’ll remediate my current project, but I’ve narrowed down my options to just two. My first choice is to create a video, or highlight reel, of some split-second decisions in sports. I could incorporate some of the wording from my repurposing project into slides for the video and start with Chris Webber calling the timeout, much like how I started my repurposing project.

Creating a video would be a great challenge for me because I’ve never done so before. Over the summer, I interned in the corporate communications department of Blue Cross Blue Shield, so I was able to watch some co-workers create videos. I did NOT realize how complex creating a three-minute video could be. After seeing others create videos, I got the itch to create one as well. I think it would be fun to learn how to use a video editing application and I can see how it could come in handy.

Challenge Accepted

On that note, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to create a video due to copyright laws and what not, but I’ll definitely try. For my model, I’m considering to work off of ESPN Top-10 style. The only reason I don’t like this model is because it doesn’t incorporate any language. That was a problem I ran into quite often when searching for models. I will continue to search.

My second idea is create a podcast. I like to practice speaking because if I pursue the career I’m planning on, presentation skills are highly important. I’ve also never created a podcast. I think I could create a three-part series, with each podcast focusing on a specific example of a decision in sports. I would talk through what I thought happened and incorporate psychological perspectives. I like this idea because I can talk through my ideas, but I still like the idea of a video because it’s so visual.

There are a quite a few podcasts I could model  my project off, like basically any of these top-ranking sports podcasts. I don’t want to model my podcast off a specific podcast because each podcast has its own style. Some are funny, some are serious, and I’m not sure what I want just yet.

Justin Bieber shrug

Remediating an Argument, Digitally

In terms of what’s to come next, I have many routes before me for our upcoming Remediation Project. Over the course of my past two years here at Michigan, I feel that I have been given limited openings, and had limited access to build course projects outside of the essay writing sphere. Academically, I’ve rarely had the ability to branch out into other project styles, as the steady diet of exams-essays-exams-essays and more exams seems to be the norm at our academic institution. Building and expressing my ideas through the creation of media-based project opportunities, most notably through video production, has become my very favorite method of creative expression as a young man. This being said, as I have been looking to get into a new video project, I was curious as to how I might go about presenting a video for this project, outside of the standard YouTube platform (looking mostly for website/resource suggestions, as I continue to search down a topic).

As I felt upon first learning about the project, I believe that the Remediation Project will be a fantastic opportunity for me to drive home a set of ideas through media creation, allowing me to also focus away from the sphere of essay writing, for a short period. I truly cannot wait to pin down a topic for my new project (I am considering anything from a humanities based research experience, to a montage/compilation of what it means to be an objectively, or subjectively, successful student at the University of Michigan). I very much look forward to discussing these ideas in class this week, in order to delve into what may be the best road for my own Remediation project!

Spoken Word Poetry

I have thought about several possible remediation projects, and I have to say, I am a little surprised by how a spoken word poetry project has appealed to me the most. Thinking back, my only ”contact”/”exposure” to spoken word poetry was through my best friend. She was crazy about several spoken word poets. The one that really stuck with me most was Sarah Kay. I love her stage presence and the poetic nature of her script. Two of my favorite pieces by her:

 

“Point B”

https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter?language=en

“An Origin Story”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esgfG3BoAPc

 

The thing about spoken word poetry is that it is a much more personal form of media than an investigative journalist article. The tone of my article turned out to be much more objective. So one of the major things about doing a spoken word poetry remediation project would be for me to rewrite my script to be more personal and “poetic,” much less heavy on the scientific side of things.

 

I would also have to think about performing my piece; spoken word poetry is about performance after all. The thing is, I have litting experience with filming things, so I’m a little intimidated by how that will work out. Perhaps I could just recruit a friend to film me with a phone. Or I could only write a script as the project itself….

 

Remediation – Finding Good Examples and Ideas

In my last post, I spoke briefly about an example that had caught my attention thus far. It was the “Class Matters” topic from the New York Times. Like other New York Times topics, this series focuses on one subject through different perspectives and digital mediums. There are graphs of varying complexities and types of information. Like many New York Times topics, there is a good amount of perspective supplied by ‘regular’ people, projected through the words or digital rhetoric of the journalist. For example, here, the journalist provides ways getting the story. There is a slideshow with audio from the words of an every day person. This is then followed up by an analytical research piece by the journalist. For me, I see this and I try to think of how I can remediate my project to create a supplement to the research I have done and the product I have thus far created. It would be cool to put together some interviews and voice over the opinions and outlooks of real people because that would  interesting and would provide more perspective for the my readers, who have only heard the story from me.
Some other things that I’ve looked at: Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/), for Brandon Stanton’s unique ability to ask the right questions and depict humans through their experiences and a snapshot on the street. Another pretty cool example of digital rhetoric that informs is the playlist that the New York Times offers when click on a video through one of their umbrella ‘sections’ (i.e. NY Region or Travel or Technology). It will play a video for the user, accompanied by words on the screen and a caption bubble on the side. When the short video ends, it was move on to the next one. Each video is interesting and new, created by Times journalists recently under the umbrella topic (here, called “Channels”)Take this video for example: http://www.nytimes.com/video/realestate/100000003981972/block-by-block-fort-greene.html?playlistId=1194811622241. Notice that as soon as you finish watching, it will smoothly play another video. About 10 minutes and three videos later, you will have learned a pretty decent amount about Real Estate and some history of Fort Greene (although skewed by those interviewed, and I really encourage you to read about the Walt Whitman Houses and the Auburn Homeless Shelter there…), Broadway, and Birds in New York. Admittedly, it seems a bit random as you watch, and it is hard to feel as though you really took a lot from it. The digital rhetoric here, and the smoothness it exhibits is very nice though.

The First Eportfolio Thoughts

So, onward and upward to the elusive realm of the ePortfolio. I think it works out well that my ePortfolio will basically be a grander version of my remediation—it gives me some time to work out the website kinds before I have to begin all over again. This chapter lays out quite nicely the timeline of events that need to happen in order to create a good ePortfolio. However, it’s slightly intimidating in that it lists all these conventions I might include (the multi-media assets of graphics, audio and video, digital photos) but gives no insight into the inspiration of getting them in the first place! Not that that’s its job… I know that the inclusion of at least some of those assets will make a huge difference in the readability and interactivity of my site; I just need to hit on some inspiration regarding how I want my argument and theme in my ePortfolio to be conveyed. Visual representation is key to giving the audience an idea of what you expect them to find and how you expect them to view your product. It’s much like marketing; you are creating a brand for yourself made up of rhetoric and snippets of multi-media, and it is up to you what that brand conveys to others. Slightly scary, very exciting. My favorite part is that we have the revision process there for a reason; I have Mel and Nikki to stop me before anything goes horribly wrong! Lovely.

Through some of the questions towards the end, the chapter also made me think on how I am going to convey the overall purpose of my portfolio. Will it be to provide a little snapshot of myself as a person? Will I choose a different theme entirely? And then, what kind of style would I use to properly portray my theme? I feel that theme has to relate to overall purpose somehow, so what am I trying to get across to my audience? This chapter did make me realize that I have a variety of steps to get through before the final product and much room for trial and error. I’m pretty astounded they laid this project out so specifically, also. But as I mentioned above, as specific as it is it is also vague in the sense that I really wish they would provide a concrete example that was relevant to me. But then again, that’s why we have the prior student sample ePortfolios! I’m definitely going to have to do some exploring there to collect my thoughts and figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m super excited to put something like this online—as a result of these two projects, maybe I’ll finally be classified in the realm of semi-technologically competent.

Thoughts on Remediation

I am between a few ideas for my remediation project. Since my argument in my repurposing argument was fairly political, one of the ideas is to make a series of political cartoons. If I went forward with that idea, I’d run into a few problems. The first problem is I can’t draw very well. I would need to take a lot of time on the drawings or ask a more creative friend to help me out. Another problem would be how many cartoons to make for the project. I think the text of the cartoons would need to be concise to be effective, so I would need to do multiple cartoons to create an overall effective argument. As for a model for this option, I really enjoy The Far Side cartoons. They are simple and punchy and I loved reading them when I was younger. The Far Side

Another idea I had is to do a video. I could take this in a few directions. I could make a video from the point of view of the victim of an unfair dress code, making a personal call to action. Or I could interview multiple people and get their opinions on the effects of dress codes. Both of those sound kind of boring to me, but could be effective. I was also thinking of taking a lighter approach, making a video where I meet with people, read them stories of real or fake conversations between school administrations and dress code violators, then have the interviewee guess if it was real or fake. This would try and make some of the real reasons given by administrations laughable, showing how ridiculous they are. The trouble I have with this idea is that I’m not sure if that would detract from the importance of my argument. I would have to be careful that it makes enough fun of the reasons so that the reasons seem ridiculous, but not so much that the issue isn’t taken seriously. I don’t have a model for this idea because there are so many directions I could go.

Overall, I definitely have a lot to consider. I need to evaluate my argument again to decide the best direction to take it next. I am going to need some creative help regardless of what medium I choose, as I don’t know how to make either.