Play Make Write Think

Final Reflection

My roommate recommended this class to me. She was taking Professor Morgen’s freshman writing class last semester, sharing all the interesting assignments like “mimicking a film scene” with me. I was a little bit jealous and so impressed by how students in the class are encouraged to do the creative works. So, without a doubt, I chose professor Morgen’s class this semester as well. It turns out that taking English 101 is one of the wisest choices I have made for my freshman class registration. I felt so engaged and appreciate the growth that this class gave me. Let me lead you to go through the amazing course and what it has taught me.

The rhetorical composition is an essential skill that we are supposed to learn from the writing class. The class, Play Make Write Think, encouraged me to compose in multiple modes: writing, speaking, videoing, painting, and so on. By all these means, I found a way to express my ideas to a broader audience with spurred wiliness and confidence. This time, we were not only asked to write a page for the professor to read but also to a much large group of audience who were total strangers. Of course, publishing the work to the public was quite hesitating at first. Imagining the work would be posted on a public platform, and to be viewed, at least, by all the classmates is uncomfortable, or a little bit embarrassing. I still remember when posting the first Avatar Sidequest, though I finished the content in advance, it took me a lot of time and courage to click on the publishing button because I was afraid of not doing good and being judged by others. But, through times of posting, the fear gradually faded away. I turned to be comfortable with publishing my work online after making my first podcast. In my first podcast, as the line producer, I was responsible for a performative voice-over part; and it was the first time I literally talked to the unknown audience, with the most shaming voice I could ever get: me intentionally pretending like a factitious high-school girl. But for the sake of the interestingness, we made the voice-over as a big part of the episode. After accepting the worst version of my voice, producing the rest—making the other two podcasts, videoing for Sidequests, posting reflections on WordPress—would not be problems for me. After transiting to the remotely studying mode, people rely heavier on the internet to study or communicate; profit from this class, I am no longer afraid to compose via different media to a general audience and enjoy conveying my ideas to other people.


I am grateful that the class Play Make Write Think pushed me forward to talk, which makes me a more collaborative person in the group. To be honest, as I have performed in many other courses in the college, I am never the rustler in the classes, sometimes being too shy to share my idea in public or just not a fluent verbal expresser. At first, seeing the syllabus saying that participation is critical in this class, I was so apprehensive. However, getting more involved in the class, I found out that participating actually required the least effort. Game is such a relaxing topic to talk about that I felt much more confident and willing to share my experiences with others, to voice my ideas out, and to feel engaged in the discussions. Contributing to the class discussion is no longer as a demand but a genuine urge to communicate with classmates. As the class moving on, more and more opportunities came forth: playing multiplayer games like Mansions of Madness and Fiasco, producing the podcasts, posting the Hometasking challenge on the public website, and so on. Opening myself, I became accustomed to communicate with the classmates, or sometimes the other players too. The communicating skills helped me to have a great time exchanging ideas and to generate new one from another.

Though English 101 Play Make Write Think came to me as a writing class, I would like to say that for the most of the time, students are creating rather than writing. The compositions in the class is not bounded by media, which gives us a chance to express our ideas through the most appropriate way we would like. Meanwhile, writing became a process, best reflected in the podcast producing. For the three podcasts we produced, we gradually improved. For the first podcast Doki Doki Literature Club, there was not a clear structure at first. When recording the contents, the words just freely flowed out, saying the first thing came to our mind as analyzing the game. The lack of a general structure makes the post-edition much more time-consuming than we thought it would be. Learning from that, we figured out that even the aural composing includes writing as a process. Taking composition step by step is the most efficient way to form an intact piece of work. Keeping this idea in mind, we changed our working process for the works later: coming out with an outline with bullet points we summarized from meetings with Professor Morgen, adding details separately on the aspects that we were interested in, going through each other’s points to give suggestions and to come up with transitions, and coming up with a final draft to record accordingly. Even though we were physically separated due to the quarantine, we still complete the other two podcasts about Plague Inc. and Undertale enthusiastically and productively. The final conclusion is also a crucial step in completing the podcast. Based on the reflection of the previous podcasts, we accumulate the experience and apply the lectures to the next one. It might be cliché, but I could really feel that the error of the past is the wisdom of the future.
Critical thinking is another valuable learning outcome for this course. Just as we have come up within our Plague Inc. podcast, “sometimes a game is more than a game.” We analyzed how an entertaining game also carries the mission of educating, mentally consoling, and promoting introspection. When I play a game now, I try to stand in the developer’s shoes, probing the purpose of why and how they produce the game, which is also suitable to be applied in other fields. Learning from the book SuperBetter, I now try to apply McGonigal’s thoughts of how games are made for a purpose: to view our life with a gamely sight. Also, by analyzing the games, I begin to think critically. As I have mentioned in my podcast reflection, I found out that there is a common characteristic shared by the three great games we focused on: breaking the fourth wall. It is not hard to broaden this conclusion that the audience nowadays enjoys the blurry boundary between the virtual world and reality. The practical and critical thinking ability I have prepared for this class is leading me to become a better analyst, which is apparently helpful on my future journey studying in the college.

Overall, English 101 Play Make Write Think, different than a traditional writing class, is more adaptive in the modern world where people take their digital citizenship an inseparable part of themselves. Taking this class, I am not only introduced to various practical technologies like WordPress, Audacity, even Procreative, the application I sometimes use to draw for the Sidequests; but I am also encouraged to grow: to composed through various modes, to step out of my comfort zone communicating and collaborating, and to be capable of thinking critically and independently. From English 101 Play Make Write Think, I have learned a lot of skills that I will definitely apply to the future classes. Thanks to such a great lesson that it overall makes me a better person in writing, studying, and self-expressing.

Rocketing to the Sky

The design of my assembly is a rocket flying high to the sky. I include the contents that we have learned in this class in the rocket trail, symboling the accumulative skills and experience that are pushing us forward. On the fundamental layer, there is the materials of ENG 101 class: the book SuperBetter we read, the games like Fiasco we played and discussed, the three podcasts we produced in a group, and the website we designed to post our thoughts. In the upper layer, there is the skills we practiced: analyzing rhetorical situations, working in a group, creating interesting posts, and embracing technology as a new media to write. At the top of the trail is the ability we possess after finishing this class: critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital-identity exploring.  

Podcast Reflection Again

I did the two podcasts within a comparatively short time, which means I am writing these two reflections one close behind another. I am a little short for words.

This time, the main producer, Kimberly, picked an RPG video game Undertale. I have never heard of this game before, but it really surprised me as the first time playing it, in a good way. Though my schedule did not allow me to make it for the Zoom meeting with Kimberly and Dr. Morgen, the information we posted on the google doc helped us to communicate our ideas a lot. Kimberly firstly came out with a list of bullet points she summarized from the Zoom meeting in turns and added we detail to each point in turns. We move faster and smoother than any piece we have made before.

I love how Kimberly suggests relating the contents of SuperBetter with the podcast. By combining the contents of Undertale and the strategies mentioned by Jane McGonigal, the episode, as one of the ending episodes of the Ready, Set, Play series, matches the ending of the book SuperBetter. This kind of “coincident” we planned on purpose is not only making out podcast more related to the lecture materials but also contributes to the whole series as a whole. This is a genius move.

Interestingly, I found out a common characteristic of the series of the podcast our group produced. Without planning out intentionally, we all discuss the problem of how the game is trying to break the fourth wall in the podcasts. In Doki Doki Literature Club and Undertale, the characters are aware of the player’s effect, and in Plague Inc., the players are like playing his or her real-life at this point. We dabbled into that topic a little bit. This kind of immersive gaming experience is quite a thing recently in the gaming community. As far as I can see, breaking the fourth wall blurs the boundary between the players and the game so that it actively engages the players to put their foot into the characters’ or the developers’ shoes. People can get the idea conveyed by them better: appealing people’s attentions to teenagers’ mental health problems, making the game as an educational media of public health, and provoking compassion and understanding between individuals.

Composing podcasts is a more vivid creation than simply writing. It is pretty amazing to see how the group is finishing the goal of doing an episode step by step: building up the draft on the top of a little point, decorating the statement with personal experience, and voicing and posting out a comprehensive thesis. Doing all three podcasts is a self-improving process. This improvement is not only about using Audacity or Google Doc better but also about building up the bond and trust with the group members and challenge me to explore alternative ways to think about games. Using more vocabulary than “good” to describe the game absolutely broadens my word bank and view.


Moon River Forever

I recreate the scene of Holly Golightly, performed by Audrey Hepburn, singing with a guitar on the balcony in the movie Tiffany’s Breakfast. Because I currently don’t have a guitar next to me, which I left in the storage in Atlanta, I try to use my phone and iPad to mimic it in the best way possible. Obviously, I can’t play the song, so I record this video silently and put the iconic song Moon River as the background music to make it more recognizable. Though Tiffany’s Breakfast is not my favorite, Hepburn’s elegance and the character Holly’s yearn for a better life made this scene classic and unforgettable for me. I am happy to have a chance to recreate the movie scene I love, tipping my hat to the classics in an entertaining way.

Podcast Reflection

The podcast we produced focuses on a video game Plague Inc. that is recently on fire due to the Corona-outbreak. It was the first podcast I had made as being the main producer and was also the first podcast I had made apart from the group-mates.

However, the producing process was much more efficient than I thought it would be.
Firstly, we played this game separately. The assistant producer Wenyi and I, luckily, were playing this game for the first time, which contributed to our main discussion about how this game is influencing people under the pandemic.

With the experience that we accumulated from the last podcast, I set an outline with google document with four main sections we are going to talk about: the brief introduction about the game, the gaming mechanism, our personal gaming experience, and its impact on the real-world. According to this outline, Wenyi and I put our thoughts separately, complementing each other’s points. With the brief idea in mind, we met Dr. Morgen on Zoom to enrich the content on video games’ real-life impact and to add more details like a little warning at the beginning of the episode. Wenyi and I also held several Facetime meetings to allocate the parts we were going to record. Because we are neither native speakers, we prepared ourselves a rather solid script, specifying every point we were going to mention on the google doc.

Prepared for the recording, we first finished the introduction and the mechanism part quickly and tried to record the discussion part conversationally. However, we two computer-illiterate people cannot figure out how to record our dialogue via phone call, and the sound quality via the zoom meeting is too bad that the voice was not even coherent. We finally decided to write the script sentence by sentence and joint them by Audacity to imitate a dialogue. Because Audacity is a straightforward app, and I helped with refining the last podcast, I finished editing the speaking part within two to three hours in total. Though the conversational part is not that interactive so well as when we recorded together last time, it is still smooth and qualified in the limited condition. Lastly, the line producer Kimberly proofread and added sum-up and background music.

Whereas, at this point, writing the podcast reflection, I finally find out how dumb I am that I sent the pre-edited audio file, without the background music and the conclusion, to Dr. Morgen.

I take making this podcast as an enjoyable writing experience. The purpose of composing this time, entertaining the public as well as sharing my view, is novel. It is relaxing to chat with a friend about the game that we both appreciate; at the same time, it’s also exciting, but a little anxious, to be aware of there are unacquainted audiences on the internet. Other than the great experience producing this episode, I also realize that I am a computer-illiterate careless dumb, and I should probably make revisions on that ASAP.

DO Exercise!

I have gained SO MANY weight during the quarantine! There are not many things for me to do every day. The only thing other than school works for me to think about is to eat. Typing this short paragraph, I cannot help myself stop getting another cup of yogurt and self-lying that I will not get fat because of this little cup of yogurt. Therefore, I used the trousers as a jumping-rope. I would like to make this hometask, doing the most extraordinary with a pair of trousers, to remind myself: IT’S TIME TO DO EXERCISE AND LOSS WEIGHT!

Failed Pooling and Bottle Lifting

Without referring to anyone else’s hometasks, I did pooling with frozen fishball with the chopstick as the cue stick and class cups as the holes, which is basically IDENTICAL with Ruohan’s post. So I rushed other basic weight lifting exercises, and I put the pooling as the bonus scene at the end of the hometask video. At first, I thought I was going to pretend like lifting and exercising, but when actually lifting the bottles of oil, I found there is no need to act. The bottles are genuinely heavy. My arms are aching now.

Hometask3: I should be there

My camouflage is inspired by color today. My to be washed bedsheet and my to be washed hoodie are in the same color. Therefore, I tried to fit myself into the laundry basket. However, my camouflage is more evident than I thought it would be because I was too big for the laundry bag. I believe that is the place where I belong. After so many days getting mildew in the house, I feel like am supposed to be cleaned in the washer with the bedsheet and the hoodie together.

Hometask 2: Dinner Party?

The real daily experience inspires my decoration in the bathroom. It is an interesting experience for my sister and me that last weekend the power in our house is accidentally cut off except the electricity in the bathroom. Therefore in consideration of survivability, we moved some portable cooking utensils to the bathroom. Sanitation guaranteed, though. So this time, I decorated the bathroom with the “dinner party” theme. I put the toasters and all kinds of sauce in there, which basically serves every meal for me last weekend. Also, to build up a party feel, I bring some decorative bulbs and lamps as well.

Hometask1: an unintentional throw

The coronavirus locks down limits my movement in the house, and I had no idea about making a spectacular throw of a piece of A4 paper. Therefore, form one extreme to another, I decided to do an unintentional daily throw that is a chill coincident. This piece of video is a record or my daily struggle of doing Differential Equations. Special thanks to my cousin as the guest actress who changed her pajama for the first time this week to help me filming the clip.