The site is an archive of the work that I completed as part of ENG221 at Emory University during fall semester 2017.
It is just until now that I finally realize I have almost completed ENG221—one of the most interesting and meaningful classes I have ever taken. In this course, I learned a lot and also realized that there would be so many valuable knowledge and skills for writing awaiting me to learn. I would summarize the course in five parts: Technology Literacy Narrative, sketch assignments, Podcast series, Equality of Opportunity Project and the learning outcomes related to them.
Technology Literacy Narrative was one of the early assignments in this course. It asked students to describe their early relationship with technology, especially in regards to writing. After finishing this course I realized that this was a very good assignment to get students acquainted with what the course would be talking about all this semester. This course’s name was New Media Writing, and one of the most important thing in this class was to understand the development of media and new media in nowadays society. And one of the most different things between old media and new media was that new media was largely based on technology. So this assignment’s implication to me was to dig into my individual experience with new media and how that influenced my reading and writing process. In my Technology Literacy Narrative Essay, I first talked about how computer and internet as technology shaped my learning in my youth. “Later when I went to primary school, the teachers started using PPT to teach classes. They created a PPT for the class and used a projector to let us see it on the screen. Instead of reading words on a blackboard, reading words and watching videos on a screen were more efficient and with more interesting content.” In the following paragraphs, I actually talked a lot about the new media in nowadays China—Wechat and Weibo. How Wechat as a social networking site improved the speed of information transmission, and how Weibo used different pictures, videos, and words to report the news. This assignment made me realize that new media was everywhere in my life, and I was about to notice them.
Every week the course required the students to do one sketch assignment—something that was interesting but often required some tricks to do. To me, these assignments taught me the most and made me try so many things I had never thought of. I had no experience of using applications like Photoshop, but in the Combophoto assignment I started learning how to use Pixlr and tried to use creativity to put two pictures together as one and gave it a new meaning; I had no experience of mixing different music together but in the music mix assignment I managed to use GarageBand and put all my favorite songs written by Jay Chou together into an mp4 file;(I could listen to it while I am studying and the music won’t stop). I had no experience of using Numbers but in “How healthy am I throughout the whole week” I managed to use the numbers and created a chart that kept track of everyday life based on data. This actually gave me valuable insights on my healthiness so that I knew how to improve next.
The most difficult project in this class was the podcast series, in which each student should do an analysis of one specific new media subscription. Though I was the producer for my group’s first podcast, I didn’t choose subscriptions in China because the other two members in my group knew little about them. Instead, I chose to talk about Buzzfeed. Actually, I knew nothing about it at first and was a little frustrated. But as the other two members were eager to help and after doing a lot of research on Buzzfeed, I found my ways. In the podcast, I focused on how its use of click baits(a feature of nowadays new media) attracted more readers and how it chose between meeting its sponsors’ interest and telling the truth. In another podcast in which I was the assistant producer, I talked about FiveThirtyEight and how it incorporated statistics into storytelling and made it very compelling. One of the other’s podcasts I liked the most was Cindy’s podcast about bilibili(a Chinese website which I was acquainted with). Her analysis of how the commentary subtitles boosted the participatory culture and developed collective intelligence was very insightful. Overall, I believe the podcast series was very successful. Instead of talking about new media generally and abstractly, each podcast talked about a specific subscription. While analyzing theories proposed by Henry Jenkins and other scholars, the podcast series actually showed different forms new media have taken and infinite possibilities it could have in the future.
Equality of Opportunity project was almost the last assignment and my job in the “unsung hero” group was to do the data. My computer was unable to use Tableau, so instead, I choose to use Excel. I didn’t know how to use excel at first, but after spending one night learning from my friend I made a huge progress. I calculated all CUNY and SUNY’s mobility rate and compared them to the average mobility rate of all the schools and Emory’s and made them into two graphs. The interesting fact was, from these two charts, that though Emory ranked #2 among elite colleges’ mobility rate, it fell far short from those “unsung heroes”. It was even a little lower than the average mobility rate. This finding told me that elite schools might need to contribute more to improve the mobility rate of their students from the lower class. Overall, I believe our Equality of Opportunity project was comprehensive and based on substantial evidence. Most of the data came from the Equality of Opportunity project. Some of the students used their own experience to analyze mobility rate, which was featured in Emory vs. Elite College. Some of the students took the data and made them into very interactive visualization, which was featured in Opportunity in the Southeast. All of these gave us valuable insights on mobility rate—personal background, college mission statement and courses, and the regional differences all matter.
Finally, I accomplished three learning outcomes in this course. The first one is rhetorical composition. In every assignment in this course, I was practicing rhetorical composition. In each sketch assignment, I thought of how to use just a picture or a drawing to make the audience resonate with me. In the polecats series, I always thought of how to make the conversation in the podcast more interactive and intriguing. The second one is critical thinking: in the podcast production process, I cited many scholars’ articles and thought very thoroughly about how to incorporate their work into my work to support my arguments. As the learning outcome said: students use writing as a critical thinking tool. The last one—which I believed the most valuable thing I took away from this class—was collaboration: I didn’t know Buzzfeed and how to produce a podcast, but my friends guided me. We collaborated and made it. I didn’t know how to use Excel, but my friends taught me and accomplished the Equality Opportunity Project. There were so many beautiful and valuable experiences about collaboration in this class. I obtained new skills, learned how to write and made friends. Great thanks to professor David Morgen and ENG221. In this class I learned, I had fun, and I grew up.