Engl52 Final Portfolio By: nicole martinez

First Impressions

I enrolled in ENGL52 (Computers and English Studies) because I was curious to see how the two can be tied together… to my imagination, I would be writing essays on a computer, reading poems on a computer, and possibly analyzing some plays on a computer. To Dan Anderson’s imagination, we had to take risks and experiment on a computer, communicate ideas from novels and comic books onto a computer, and challenge ourselves with unfamiliar programs on our computers.

The art of digital literacy is much more exciting and interesting (in my opinion) than just regular English literacy. However, I would not have figured that out if it weren’t for the projects I was assigned this semester. Traditional English courses are important but a unique class, like this one, is what brings out the creativity and adds to the analytical skills of the students.

Playlist

The first assignment we had to do was create a playlist on any fiction or nonfiction character. Personally, I am horrible with pop culture in the sense that I do not know any names or actors and I am not a fan of movies. Luckily, last semester (in a traditional English class) I had to do research to write a paper on a historical figure. I had chosen Princess Diana and I knew enough about her life to depict it through a playlist. This assignment was unique because it taught how to use some features of HTML, analyze sonic elements and connect music to literature.

Twine

The second assignment we had was using twine. It required us to explore all the features of twine and further our HTML and storywriting skills. We had to use our creativity to develop an original twine story. I tried to think of events that I could be relatable to my peers and wrote a story about choosing a roommate. I really liked how we had the freedom to choose whatever topic we wanted and make it as complicated as we wanted. I thought it would add some humor if all my paths resulted in the same outcome. After seeing some of my peers’ twine stories, I realized I had not made the most out of all the features I could use and revised my project to have pictures and flow nicer.

Gone Home

The third assignment was the Gone Home video game review. This assignment was unique because I had never had to purchase a video game for a class and analyze its genre as an interactive novel. I liked reading about this game online because I had not been aware of what the gaming community thought of it and it was definitely a game that revolutionized the concept of a video game. We transitioned into this assignment nicely, by creating a twine storyboard to organize our ideas and convert that into a video. This was the first assignment we had to use Camtasia with so we had to learn a new program and dedicate hours to put every detail of the review together (background music, recordings, effects, text, etc.). More information on how I created and revised this assignment can be found in my first portfolio video.

E-poem

The fourth assignment was the e-poem. This assignment incorporated traditional English skills with technology. We had to use visual and auditory tools to communicate the poem of our choice. This project went smoother because I was already familiar with most of Camtasia’s features but I was still able to learn some more, such as the mobile screen recording. I really liked how this project linked music with text with visuals. This assignment was one of the most satisfying to see finished. More information on how I created and revised this assignment can be found in my second portfolio video.

The Road

The fifth assignment was The Road trailer. In a traditional English class, we would potentially watch a music video and analyze it, yet this class challenged us to make our own. While this project was similar to the last in the sense that we had to communicate ideas from text using images, videos and sound, it required the interpretation from a larger amount of text—a novel. Even though I faced some issues with Camtasia and my project got erased, I was able to retrieve some of my screen recordings and make the trailer better than what it was before. This was also one of my favorite assignments (also discussed to further depth in my second portfolio video) and I enjoyed the challenge of having to make a movie trailer because I am usually just the audience.

The Watchmen

The Watchmen was a different project from the rest. This assignment used the concept of converting ideas (this time from comic pictures) into text using Adobe Spark Page. I liked the change in programs this assignment required, yet the text we had to interpret was much more complex than The Road novel. I had never read such a 400-page comic book before and The Watchmen had so many themes and complicated characters that made it hard to decide on a topic to explore and write about. However, the storyline was much more interesting than I expected it to be. Working with Adobe Spark had its own challenges and issues, such as having cropped images in the grid layout but ultimately, I really liked how Adobe Spark is easy to use and looks really nice in the end, inspiring me to use it to create this final portfolio.

Portfolio Videos

The two portfolio videos we had to create in class could be considered walkthroughs of some assignments we did. My first portfolio video explains my thought process in creating and revising the Gone Home video game review, and the second video links the epoem and movie trailer while explaining how they were made. I enjoyed going back and talking about my projects, especially in the second video when I made connections between two.

Final Thoughts: Throughout the course of this class, I have worked with Camtasia, QuickTime, Twine, Vimeo and Adobe. I have found some new weaknesses and strengthened them at the same time. People all around the world do assignments like these outside of their schoolwork. It was truly interesting to see how video game reviews, twine stories, visual poems and spark pages are created. I have reconsidered literature, technology and education and gained a new perspective as a scholar.

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