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.

Assemblies

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.

Cover Letter

Seventy-nine to eighty-one percent of published statistics are incorrect, made-up, or found to be unsubstantiated after a deeper numerical analysis or secondary study (French Connerie Journal).

I originally had decided on a number closer to ninety, yet ultimately decided against anything above eighty-two. The suspension of disbelief couldn’t support such a number starting with a nine. I’d argue the citation to the French Journal might have helped support a few extra percentage points but I didn’t want to push it. 

From self-proclaimed health gurus to presidential candidates, people lie and perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Often, this is nothing more than a defense mechanism that people have developed to protect their own beliefs. When confronted with evidence or logic which contradicts a value held, rather than admitting a belief might be wrong or needing revision, false statistics are utilized. Oftentimes, the choice to lie or miscite information is not a conscious decision. Rather, a vulnerable opinion with no defenses left creates an escape plan and blurts out what seems like a white lie. It’s happened to me and I’ve even “won” arguments due to a faulty statistic or white lie, convincing myself that they could be accurate. Small fibs like “Yeah mom, I brushed my teeth” seem innocent to both the toddler and the parent who knowingly asks to smell the toddler’s breath (just me?).  

However, those porkies might not be so harmless. In SuperBetter, Jane McGonigal argues that “the more you repeat a thought pattern, the stronger the neural networks that drive it become … and the more likely you are to repeat that thought pattern in the future” (89). This argument results in two conclusions: people’s actions are direct products of their habits and those habits are hardwired into the brain. Therefore, a person’s sentience might not necessarily control the response to certain stimuli or events. For example, a student who typically procrastinates might create plans for a drawn-out and lengthy writing process for an assignment. Despite all their good intentions and effort to change, their habits, aided by YouTube tutorials on sleight-of-hand-card-tricks, betray the plan and last-ditch caffeine-induced all-nighter occurs. 

The college years are some of the most formative times for youth; in addition to our academic habits, we students construct our identity and set goals for who we want to become. Through a nontraditional course structure, I was forced to approach the course’s learning outcomes and build healthy habits for future academic endeavors and the game of life. 

This semester, I have greatly improved my skills as a mediator between my initial creative thoughts and the polished product. Often, I struggle with rushing into projects without a grand-plan or sense of purpose. Despite originating from harmless excitement, my “jovial and thrill-seeking nature” (SideQuest 1) often results in uncalculated risks, unplanned activities, and extensive backtracking. For instance, my vision for a grand green bean arch resulted in myself sowing more than 120 seeds without realizing seeds grow. Nor did I consider our garden is not “grand” enough to house twelve rows and thirteen columns of green beans. The assignment reflections require an introspective analysis of the creative decisions I make and their importance. Throughout the semester, I developed a habit of making more deliberate decisions during my writing process. I even brainstormed for a few minutes before this reflection letter . . . Progress!!

The podcast series greatly tested my collaboration skills; yet resulted in more confidence regarding group work with deadlines, navigating ulterior circumstances, and not squirming while listening to my voice. As an avid podcast listener, I’ve encountered numerous episodes with audience engagement issues. With a fear of mindless droning, we incorporated “comedic breaks, an active script… and upbeat music” in our first podcast (Risky Business). During recording, I uncovered a severe speech impediment: sounding much worse than I do in my head. In the second podcast, we went into the void and embraced full snark. The tone felt more natural and I even sounded less horrible. Taking the project less seriously and making self-aware jokes helped me feel at ease and enjoy recording more. Good vibes extended into the third podcast and resulted in the most refined and engaging podcast our group created.  

Embracing sarcasm with the podcasts represented a general trend of becoming comfortable in an intellectual setting. As a hard-core STEM major, I have a natural inclination to think analytically. This logic doesn’t leave room for creativity, clear group communication, and even hinders the overall enjoyment. With weekly writing assignments, I honed in on finding a better balance of humor and rhetoric which improved my outlook on my writing process. I had plenty of fun working on Sidequests and playing with the mix of analysis and banter. I’m specifically proud of the side quest about organizing the contents of our bookbag into an aesthetically pleasing way. Bummer I couldn’t put my award-winning calves in the photo. I’m a part-time Calve model, sometimes even Knees too. The faux anecdotes about the “next opportunity to try to get by as a D3 Cheese Roller” paired with genuine remarks about my insomnia was a nice balance of sarcasm and genuinity. Genuiness? Giannis Antetokounmpo?. It was difficult to decide which items’ utility can be undermined without subverting their importance. Overall, the second side required a topical synopsis of my identity. As I wrote descriptions for items I carry around, I considered how my possessions can incur judgments on my character, and if that representation is accurate. To craft a false narrative about drugs or sarcastically admitting I’m trying to appear quirky, I realized that I wasn’t as secure in my intellect as others might think. In addition to uncovering my Imposter Syndrome, exploring a lighthearted tone paved the way for more experimental writing throughout the semester. 

This extended into the final portion of our classwork, the Hometasks. The tasks resulted in some of the goofiest moments in my academic career. Literally, I put on a cowboy hat, threw a whip over my shoulder, and am receiving genuine college credit at a top 25 university. With the heroics of Indiana Knight, the Hometasks served as a form of enjoyment and creative output during a tough and unexpected transition. Additionally, they served a case study for applying the gameful attitude to substantial issues. If the attitude I approached a problem with helped bear self-quarantining, what else could be accomplished by adopting a more gameful perspective? 

Initially, we defined games as “intense focus and labor to accomplish an optional task” (Page 3 of My notebook). Adopting a gameful approach imposes a joyous and self-aware perspective on an issue. Recognizing a task might not be necessary can remove pressure and expectations while enabling creative thought. Throughout this class, the side quests, podcasts, home-tasks, and reflections enabled me to become a more decisive creator, maintain a lighthearted approach to difficulties, and supremely, become excited when a new challenge arises. Unless the challenge is explaining to my mother how us sharing a Spotify account prohibits both of us from playing music at the same time.  

Finally, as my work for English 101-7 comes to a head in this reflection letter, I welcome you to my classwork blog. Ignore the frequently terrible attempts at comedy, and I hope you enjoy it. Information about the course can be found at the course site. I’m going to go tell my mom that Spotify has a record player for each account and can only spin one song at a time. Wish me luck. 

Final Reflection Letter

The experience of taking ENG 101 section 9 has been a wonderful journey for me. As a student with English as my second language, I developed an averse and fearful attitude towards writing classes throughout high school due to the difficulty for me to process and come up with a piece of writing in a comparatively unfamiliar language. I was even more nervous for a college-level writing class, worrying that it might be the most stressful and intense course in my schedule. Going through this semester, my experience was the exact opposite of what I expected: I no longer felt stress and anxiety toward writing. I noticed that writing in this course was much easier for me, not caused by lower standards or the sudden appearance of personal interest, instead, we “write” differently. Our writing assignments were derived from various activities and tasks we completed; based on my main takeaways from each of the tasks, I categorize our course outcomes into four categories: writing process, rhetorical thinking, collaboration, and creativity, which all contribute to our big theme of the course–gamefulness. Although gaming has been an activity widely discouraged by parents due to academic purposes, our motive is to discover and analyze what can we learn from games and how can we apply them, not just to writing, but our life as a whole. 

My final assembly side quest that gives an outline of our activities in this class and what skills were needed and developed for each of them.

Most of the assignments we completed require students to develop different stages to complete the task and follow the steps to generate the final piece.  For example, one of the biggest projects we had to complete in this course was producing our own podcasts, where we had to thoroughly experience and analyze a game of our own choice, and express it in a form of a podcast episode. I did my podcast episode on the game League of Legends, where I briefly introduce the setting of the game and analyze the strategies, skills, and real-life applications involved in the game in depth. The first step of producing the podcast was communicating with my teammates to come up with an outline of different categories, such as probing, telescoping, and synchronization, and what to be included in each topic. Next, we brainstormed specific examples of major aspects to help with audiences’ comprehension. After writing the outline, I met with my assistant producer and recorded the episode by carrying out a natural conversation discussing the game. In the end, we edited our recording to make the conversation more smooth and the main argument more clear. Though the production process does not sound like traditional writing assignments where we have to submit a fifteen-page essay, the experience and goal have minimal deviations from traditional writing. Similar to writing an essay, producing a podcast requires students to create an outline of the work, generate their own thoughts and opinions, and think about what will be the best way to communicate them to the audience. In addition, editing the recording at the end is the same as revising an essay after finishing it to correct grammatical errors, sentence structures, and strengthen the central idea that is done in traditional writing,

            The rhetorical situations we learned during our second class meeting has been an important element in completing different assignments. Rhetorical situation is an important area in writing for both the author and the readers to consider the context, intention, and genre of the text. We were able to apply the skill of rhetorical analysis through playing Fiasco. Fiasco is a story-telling game, each student was a unique character and had to “write” stories in a form of creating a scene with other characters in response to the dynamic storyline and conditions. Playing this game requires a great amount of critical thinking, as there is no fixed plot–everything happens as you go. The most important part of playing Fiasco is to analyze other characters’ stories–what are their secret motives, what are the tones of their dialogues, what can I do in response–in order to reach an ideal ending, which is a great practice of rhetorical thinking where students actively analyze the perspective and purpose of the narrators and their texts. In addition, after each assignment, we are required to write a reflection about our experiences completing each task and main takeaways on the class website, which is a good way to look at other students’ work to stimulate fresh perspectives and ideas through analyzing their ways of approaching the assignment and developing the work.

While most writing classes require students to complete individual assignments, collaborative writing is fairly common in this course. At the beginning of the semester, we were required to play a board game as a group, where players form teams and communicate together to come up with strategies and work together to lead to victory. Producing podcast episodes is also a form of collaborative writing since students work as a team and each team member can contribute different opinions and aspects to make the podcast more complete and diverse. The most intense collaborative writing has to be the experience of playing Fiasco since it’s what the game is intended to do: as different characters, students took turns to produce a scene with other characters through a series of dialogues, narrative, and description to push the storyline forward while brainstorming how to respond to unexpected situations and fulfill their own required conditions until reaching the end of the story. In short, Fiasco is a story generator for a group in a fun, exciting, and gameful way. I very much enjoyed the experiences of collaborative writing in this course because I always learn something new–a new idea, a new perspective, a new strategy–and everyone in the group was able to each contribute their own effort and creativity to make the piece more complete as a whole. 

Why playing Fiasco is the best way to start out a new Roleplaying ...
Fiasco

This course completely changed my view of creativity. In the past, I was always an instruction-follower student, which I simply did what the professors told me to do. Generating unique ideas of my own is beyond my comfort zone, and has always been challenging for me. However, beginning from the weekly side quest, I discovered the power of creativity. The side quests that stimulates a great amount of creative thinking was the combo photo, where we had to combine pictures of two completely unrelated objects to form something new, and Sunday sketches, where we have to incorporate a physical object with our drawings on a sheet of paper to transform the object into something new. Both side quests encouraged me to look at things around me in different ways and generate fun pieces of work. For example, in the side quest Sunday Sketches, I was able to get inspiration from pickled radish during breakfast and create a painting of night sky with radish representing the moon–it all comes from paying close attention to your surroundings and thinking outside of the box. Another assignment that led us to think creatively was the 3D printing assignment. I chose to print a mask from a game character, and I learned to look at the object of my choice more than what it’s intended to be and discover what it symbolizes from deeper perspectives:

  “…it reminds me of  the Jigsaw Killer and V from V for Vendetta because all of them have a mask that represents their identity. Personally, I love how the designer incorporated the idea of ‘mask’ into this character because the mask truly brings out the shadowy, dark elements of his identity as a psychotic serial killer…

I was able to exercise my ability to discover dynamic thoughts of my own towards a simple object and what it represents, which added more emotional components and in depth analysis that elevated my writing. 

Big Sunday Breakfast No No
Fluffy Sweetness
3D Printing

The assignment that I appreciated the most, especially during this pandemic, is the home-tasking that our instructor came up with as a substitute for our final game design project. This assignment aims at using limited resources during the quarantine to create spectacular ideas in response to bizarre prompts such as ‘turning your bathroom into a night-out venue’ or ‘silent recreation of your favorite movie scene’. Coming up with creative ideas for each prompt was definitely challenging, not just for me, but also for most of the students in the class; however, I started to look at this assignment in a more ‘gameful’ way: as I became more competitive and ambitious in the assignments, my anxiety towards the pandemic diminished gradually and I developed passions for accepting each prompt as a challenge in my daily life. Using what I learned from Super Better by McGonigal, I looked at each home-tasking assignment as game puzzles, and as a player, I navigate through my house, finding pieces that fit into the puzzle and allies to help me along the way. This mindset is also beneficial for writing and other academic tasks in the future because when I look at a task as a challenge I accepted instead of a stressor that I am forced to face, I had more motivation in completing the task; in addition, I can turn the task from something I ‘have to complete’ into something I ‘want to master.’ All of the students in our class posted their unique ideas on the class website, which opens up a new canvas of colorful, diverse, and creative thoughts for students to learn from each other and stimulates new ways of approaching life and future challenges in different aspects such as academic or work fields. I was especially pleased to see the progress every student made towards the home-tasking assignments — everyone’s work was more serious and effortful towards the end. I believe this assignment brought the whole class together as a community, as we were facing the same challenges and grew together as a whole.   

Overall, I am genuinely grateful for what this class has taught me,  especially for I was able to gradually walk out of my shallow and turning from an instruction-follower to a creative thinker. Like what I wrote in the Fiasco reflection,

“the experiences and lessons that we learned from completing different tasks in this course cannot be easily achieved in a traditional writing class.”

Instead of getting a prompt and sitting quietly in front of the computer, trying to pull out something worth-writing from my brain, we take actions, and write from experience, from fun, from different perspectives of the world, and from gamefulness of life.   

Reflecting on a Fruitful Semester

Note: this site is an archive of the work produced by Winslow Wanglee over the course of the spring 2020 semester at Emory in English 101

Throughout my semester in Professor Morgen’s English 101 class, I have thoroughly developed my skills as a writer in ways I could not have foreseen. The unique structure of the class encouraged me to break boundaries in my writing, challenging the structured dogma writing that I had been taught throughout my K-12 education. No longer were we writing bland five paragraph essays. Instead, we explored alternative forms of media, such as podcasts, sidequests, and blog posts, opening new pathways for literary expression. Most importantly, I fulfilled all five of the learning outcomes for the class: rhetorical composition, critical thinking and reading resulting in writing, writing as a process, collaboration, and digital citizenship. 

I utilized the introductory texts to form a framework for my writing for the remainder of the class. In Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, Steven Johnson talks extensively about the concept of probing, where a player figures out how to play a game through trial and error. I used this concept in my own podcast Minecraft: A Trip Back Through Time, where I say, “As I was playing, I used a bit of probing to create items,” discussing how probing was a tool I used to rediscover the game. I used Johnson’s term and applied it to my own experience playing Minecraft. Another important concept I utilized throughout the semester was the act of thinking gamefully, which Jane McGonigal described in her books SuperBetter and Reality is Broken. To be gameful is to wrestle with the game’s limitations, to play until we exhaust the challenge of the game. Because of Jane McGonigal I tried to think gamefully, exhausting the challenge for whatever game I played. In my Fiasco reflection, I write, “I tried to develop the emotional strengths and weaknesses of my character: in my first scene, I described my ethical dilemma towards my gambling addiction, and how it was fueling my worst behavior and causing me stress. I also described the anxiety of being indebted to bloodthirsty loan sharks, and how that was driving the conflict for my character.” Fiasco is a roleplaying game, which means the best gamer is the one that creates the most multi-layered, thought-provoking story. In Fiasco, I played the full extent of the game by fleshing out the story and the emotional undercurrents as best as I could, effectively incorporating gameful tactics into my writing and play.

My podcast series employed writing as a process of revision, editing, and reflection, while simultaneously supporting collaboration with my peers to work in various rhetorical compositions. I began the process for my Minecraft podcast by writing an outline for my desired theme about nostalgia in video games. Meeting with Professor Morgen helped me revise my idea into a more practical approach where I discussed how Minecraft in particular changed the way I thought as a kid, while briefly discussing the effect of nostalgia. Instead of having it mostly scripted, I also changed the structure to having more moments of discussion between me and my associate producer. I collaborated well with both of my partners when making our podcasts, managing to bounce ideas off them and facilitate discussion. We divied up the work fairly and found the time to work together. After we recorded, I edited the podcast extensively on audacity, deleting awkward pauses and adding music where needed. This process not only strengthened newfound editing skills, it also showed me how to be a good digital citizen; I only used creative commons music and images for my podcast, making sure not to steal intellectual property. After completing the episode I wrote a reflection of the process and accomplishments of the podcast, thus finishing the process of writing successfully. 

The diversity of texts I have created illustrate the new and adaptive rhetorical compositions that I’ve learned throughout English 101. From completing and reflecting on sidequests to creating podcasts using digital and audio tools, I’ve composed texts in many different ways. While previously my works could only be seen by myself and the teacher, from the beginning of the semester I published each reflection and sidequest on my website winslowwanglee.wordpress.com for all to see. Maintaining good digital citizenship, I made sure to credit all sources in my posts. I made sure I understood the purpose and constraints for each post, with some of the sidequest assignments including comedy, such as when I described the contents of my bag, saying, “1 Book (SuperBetter, for eng 101 class, duh); 1 Calculator to get me through Chem 202”. I reserved these playful, comedic moments for some of the smaller assignments while retaining a more serious, analytical approach to the larger reflections for my podcasts or fiasco, demonstrating my knowledge for the purpose of each text. In creating my podcasts with peers, I made sure to incorporate a mixture of scripted and conversational moments, to create an analytical argument that was both structured and contained the more intimate flow of a conversation. The introduction and conclusion were scripted to emphasize the thesis of the podcast in a succinct manner, while the middle of the podcast involved the conversation where the other producer and I fleshed out the podcast’s argument based off of an outline we created. This structure exhibited my recognition that the audience and purpose of a podcast is distinct from a standard analytical essay or reflection; while the podcast is still making an argument, it’s done in a more colloquial way through dialogue between two people, whereas the structure of an essay wouldn’t translate well to that form of media.

The process of hometasking personally helped me transition from an in-person to a virtual learning environment by assuring me that I am not, in fact, alone. Whenever I was tasked to complete a hometask, I could always look to my peers or the other thousands of people hometasking for inspiration. Although I was isolated from my peers physically, I could still gain power ups from my allies to help me complete my tasks, in the words of Jane McGonigal. I managed to defeat the bad guys, including sadness and Covid-19, to collaborate with my peers in online class by discussing our hometasking quests.

My learning inside the class translated wonderfully into my other classes here at Emory. I began to understand the importance and effect of rhetorical composition in my research. For example, in my business economics class I was instructed to describe the macroeconomics of the coronavirus recession as my final paper. During my research, I found that data charts and graphs were the best ways of rhetorically conveying my evidence, and frequently used them to supplement my writing. The graphs are often easier to understand by the reader and incorporate a more diverse rhetorical composition to my essay. Not only did I present this data, I analyzed it by emphasizing the abrupt changes in the economy between February and March 2020 in order to strengthen my argument. English 101 has improved my rhetorical skills both inside and outside the class.

Over the course of the semester, I’ve expanded my repertoire to include novel methods of writing while improving my proficiency in all the learning outcomes. One of my last tasks, entitled The English 101 Menu, illustrated how different parts of the class built off each other to accomplish my learning goals. The appetizers were mainly the early readings, which laid the foundation for the rhetoric of this class. The drinks and desserts are the collaborative games that we played which built my camaraderie and teamwork with the class. Finally, the entrees are the main projects of this class, such as the podcasts and the sidequests, which enabled me realize my full, diverse, rhetorical potential. As the semester comes to an end, I hope to use this menu of delights from Professor Morgen’s class to draw inspiration and impetus for future work.

To find more about David Morgen’s class, https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org

“Tetris” Reflection

Photo credit: https://scienceline.org/2020/01/tetris/

In this episode, Zamirah and I analyzed the popular game, Tetris. As the lead producer of this episode, I took on the role of developing the overarching argument in this episode. Having played this game when I was younger, I wanted to understand why it still remains popular today around the world despite its simplistic nature. Drawing inspiration from our discussions in class about Jane McGonigal’s, Superbetter, I also wanted to address how this game and the mechanisms and strategies of this game could apply to our real-world experiences. After playing the game through and doing some research, Zamirah and I came together to discuss and write out our thoughts. Using our notes, extra research, information from readings, discussion with each other and Dr. Morgen, we were able to develop a coherent and engaging script. I was in charge of the production and recording aspect this time, which was a little difficult through Zoom. We would often experience glitches in audio, occasional background noise, or poor sound quality and we would have to re-record. But we did our best with the resources we had! Since I’d had some experience working with audacity, I was able to input the recording and make the necessary edits considerably easily. However, finding music to fit the tone and attitude of our podcast was quite difficult. It took many, many hours and lots of trial and error. As with the last podcast I worked on, patience was essential in the developing process. I think this is where the learning objective “writing as a process” comes in. Working on something fairly new to me on unknown technology or applications was frustrating at times; I was ready to give up and settle with what I had. But taking the time to go through the process of research, drafting, editing, discussion, reflection – all of this was essential to produce the desirable end result. It’s rewarding to see the outcome of hard work and dedication. 

I think I would still want to improve on content and audio quality if I had the time and resources to do so. This game is fairly simple, so at first it was difficult coming up with ideas and analyzing this game. However, this is where our readings came in handy like Superbetter and Steven Johnson’s ideas of probing and telescoping. But I think there was still opportunity to offer more personal insight and reflection about this game in the podcast. 

In terms of skills and strategies I acquired as a learner, as I said before, the overall process of thinking critically and analyzing a game(even a simple one like Tetris), brainstorming, drafting, editing, etc, are all important skills to utilize with other various types of assignments I do in the future. In addition, I always find it beneficial and important to find ways to connect classroom topics or readings to real-life perspectives. Thinking critically and creatively has allowed us to do so in our podcast episodes and throughout this class. 

“Smite” Reflection

In this podcast episode, Austin(producer) and I(assistant producer) analyzed Smite, and the accuracy in its portrayal of mythological deities. Austin has an extensive knowledge of this game, and was pretty set on the topic of our podcast from the start. But we needed to establish the thesis statement and argument. We began our development process by playing the game through, listening to previous podcasts, and doing some background research. We discussed what we liked or needed to improve, and what we definitely wanted to include content-wise. After a lot more discussion with each other and Dr. Morgen, we were able to solidify our thesis statement for this podcast. To write the script, we continued to discuss and put down the main ideas, along with incorporating the research we had found from before. While some of the content was scripted out, we wanted to make it more anecdotal and conversational — so a lot of the script was simply bullet points to expand upon. Since Austin was taking a class that pertained to our topic, he had the idea to interview his professor for some insight on the particular deities we were talking about. I think this interview aspect was a perfect addition to the podcast! After talking out ideas and revising if necessary, we recorded the podcast and Austin was able to put the edited interview, background music, and other necessary audio aspects over the recording into audacity

Our primary goal of this podcast was to express the importance of the game’s characters(like Kali or Bastet) staying true to their original lore, and how this contributes to the overall gaming experience. I think these initial discussions we had around the content of the game allowed us to create such a cohesive and interesting argument/conversation for the podcast. Because we had rich discussion before recording, we were able to deviate from the script at certain points, and add humor or anecdotal aspects that made it more engaging for listeners. 

Since it was the first podcast I ever worked on, I think I underestimated how much time I needed to devote to developing it. For the future, it would be best to give myself more time to come up with ideas, discuss, and put it all together. Other than this, I’m proud of our result!


Developing this podcast episode reinforced the learning outcome of “writing as a process.” It takes thorough discussion, research, brainstorming, revision, editing, and above all, patience. I enjoyed being able to use a different genre/type of writing that differs from the traditional, literary writing. It was refreshing to be able to utilize collaboration and conversations, and establish a more casual tone in our work. Overall, this was an enjoyable experience that has given me new resources, skills, and strategies for the future.

Reflecting on a Gamely Semester

I am standing at the door of Cox Computing 230A. There is a small door handle. 

>open door

Opening the door revealed a classroom filled with eager but apprehensive students. 

>take a seat in the back row so the professor doesn’t call on me on the first day

I take a seat. 

>the clock strikes 10 am. Class begins. 

When I entered the “Play Make Write Think” classroom for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. I wondered: Would we be coding to create games? Because I do not know how to. I was so apprehensive, I almost switched into a different writing seminar because technology is not my strong suit. But after attending the first class and learning how we would analyze games as a literary text, I had a newfound sparked interest. In most of the English classes I took in the past, we always analyzed written texts. Beginning this class I was excited to explore a new medium to “read” critically and have engaging conversations with my peers. When Professor Morgen first showed us the website he created for the course, I felt energized by the instruction manual-like instructions for reading the course description. I had never been presented with a syllabus in this manner before, and I could not wait to start exploring the website and all of its nuances. 

From the first assignment when we were instructed to create an avatar that represented ourselves and post it to a website we created, I engaged in digital citizenship/identity learning objective. I thought about how to use technology appropriately and engage responsibly in online spaces when I formatted my website and carefully crafted my first side quest. Every week throughout the semester, Professor Morgen assigned us miscellaneous tasks–“side quests”–that challenged our thinking and provoked critical analysis of games and other online mechanisms. Each student in the class posted their avatar to their website and they appeared on our shared course site for all the students in the class to see. When creating my first side quest, I felt uncomfortable sharing my work with the rest of the class. I was accustomed to writing for my professor’s eyes only, and I feared judgement from my classmates. To my surprise, looking at my classmates’ posts on this shared online space prompted inspiration for many of my assignments. When I had trouble thinking of an idea, I looked at my classmates’ work, which I used as a jumping off point for my own work. I grew to enjoy scrolling through this shared space, and I felt a sense of digital responsibility to produce great work for my classmates to also learn from me. I accomplished this learning objective by understanding the symbiosis of the internet: users serve as both students and teachers by constantly bouncing ideas off each other through posting on media platforms. I gained a newfound knowledge that the content I post on the internet is public, and that I must always be careful what I put into the world but also take risks within reason. 

Posting our work to this shared platform also helped me meet the collaboration learning objective. Although the students in the class were not directly working together, we helped each other develop ideas and discussed each other’s work in class discussions. For the “What’s in my bag” assignment, I learned a lot about my classmates and their passions. In my response to the assignment in which we took a photo of the contents of our backpack, I wrote: “I believe this image is very representative of me as a person since I enjoy learning, reading, and writing.” Sharing my interests with my peers helped me open up and lead to deeper discussions since we grew more comfortable with each other and shared a mutual understanding of one another. Another source of collaboration was through the podcast series. For every episode, each member of the group took on a unique role and we learned to work together as a group by playing on each member’s strengths and working on our weaknesses. For instance, I took a heavy writing and researching role in the first podcast, but did not feel comfortable with the editing and recording aspect. I played on my writing strength by helping develop the script, but I also learned new skills: how to use the recording equipment and edit the recordings together. Giovanni taught me how to use the equipment, and this collaboration gave me a better understanding of these important tools that I plan to use in future projects. My group worked really well together, as we all assumed an equally important role in producing the podcast episode regardless of our assigned roles for each episode. When the episodes came together into a final product, our collaborative effort shone: each group member assumed a key role in the production process, we taught each other skills, and this resulted in podcast episodes we all felt proud of.

When producing the podcast series, I fulfilled the writing as a process learning objective for the course. When writing the scripts for the podcast series, I learned effective research strategies and wrote multiple drafts to produce a finished product and also improved throughout the episodes. As the Main Producer for the third podcast, my group talked about the card game Gin Rummy, which I believe was very successful due to growth over the episodes. When producing this episode, we considered what worked and what did not work from past episodes. After producing the first episode about Risk, my group spoke about how we could improve for the next episode. We realized we discussed the technicalities of the game too much and did not focus enough on analysis, building our argument, and making the script entertaining for listeners. Therefore, for our next podcast about Chess, we spent less time explaining the rules and focused more on a clear argument that ran throughout the script. And for our final podcast, we added more dialogue, which helped frame the argument and lighten the mood while threading a clear argument throughout the podcast. Something I focused heavily on as the Producer for the Gin Rummy podcast was using personal anecdotes to exemplify our argument. In past episodes, we relied too heavily on directly stating the argument, but for the third episode, I focused on using the Pathos rhetorical technique to captivate the audience’s emotion by listening to a sentimental story about the game. This technique also played to the Ethos rhetorical technique because our audience could trust our words since this was a personal story. Throughout the production of this podcast episode, I learned effective leadership skills and thoughtful writing techniques to produce a convincing and entertaining podcast. 

Another way I wrote as a process was through the home tasking assignments, in which we completed weekly tasks posted to Twitter that tested our creative and gameful mind. Although these were not technically writing, these tasks helped develop my writing as a process skills because I took many takes of each video. For instance, for my “Yoga Throw” task, I took six takes of the video until I had a final product I felt satisfied with. I tried different ways to throw the ball, and multiple poses from which I could throw the ball into the trash can. Furthermore, for my home task when we were assigned to “do something spectacular with a pair of trousers,” I thought of many ideas before deciding to put the pants on a pair of crutches and dress them up like a mannequin. Additionally, having a creative assignment to complete amidst the current global crisis helped me feel like I had more purpose and control during this time. By building off of my classmates’ work and ideas, I felt less alone during this isolating time since we all engaged in this process together. Completing these assignments one-by-one was a process in and of itself. Each side quest, home task, podcast episode, and game reflection built upon themselves as I critiqued what worked and what needed improvement from one assignment to the next. For instance, for the “What’s in my bag” side quest, I wrote my reflection in one long paragraph. But after looking at how my classmates structured their writing in an organized list, I used that technique for multiple assignments going forward. The assignments we completed this semester probed my revising skills, as I learned that it is impossible to do something perfectly on the first try.

I accomplished the critical thinking and reading resulting in writing learning outcome by analyzing games and Jane McGonigal’s book Superbetter. When I played the role-playing game Fiasco, I embodied my new identity and analyzed the game through the lens of the character I had taken on. In my Fiasco reflection essay, I wrote “With this new identity, I felt a new sense of control. I have a clean slate and I can make whatever I want to happen try to happen.” Throughout the game, I did not think, “What would Sadie?” but rather “What would the Sadie the gambler and bookie do?” By embodying this new persona, I discovered underlying characteristics about myself. When there was conflict in the game, I took a neutral stance and helped the other players solve their problems instead of creating more. I wrote, “I think that is a valuable asset because I am not a very contentious person but rather like to help others work out their problems.” Although I played the game as a different person, my non-contentious personality still shone through as I thought critically about how to solve the problems the other players had created. As I played, I played off the ideas of my peers. Additionally, when reading Superbetter, I employed critical thinking to incorporate and apply McGonigal’s thoughts into my own life. Although the strategies she discussed to live a more gamely life often related to people I had no similarities to, I integrated her ideas to fit my own circumstances. For instance, when she described a man who taught a college class with the goal of each student running a marathon, I realized that I can accomplish difficult tasks by making them into a game that I have to win. 

The learning I completed in this class not only helped me with the specific tasks of the course but also with other classes this semester. For instance, in my Financial Accounting class, my professor assigned two group projects. Usually, I take a fairly passive role in group projects and stick to the tasks I have been assigned to complete, but after taking on a leadership role in the podcast series, I contributed tremendously to my accounting group project by delegating tasks to each member, setting up Zoom meetings to work together, and making sure we successfully executed the final product. I also learned a valuable lesson about writing as a process. I am accustomed to writing one draft without heavy editing, but this course taught me to write multiple drafts and learn from each assignment. I applied this knowledge to my art history class. For my first paper, I wrote it quickly and did not spend a lot of time editing, but throughout the semester, I fine-tuned my patience and editing skills and progressed from paper to paper by studying how I can improve between each assignment. These learning outcomes have not only improved my writing throughout this class but in other rhetorical areas of my studies. 

Our last side quest was to creatively map out our thoughts to argue we met the learning outcomes. I chose to draw my newly developed gameful brain that held the five learning outcomes with thought bubbles leading to which aspects of the course helped me meet each outcome. Although each thought does not relate directly to one another, I connected each thought together because I believe the thoughts provoked through the learning outcomes each influence each other. In a game, each move and choice leads to another, even if the player does not realize this while they are playing. This class taught me that if I utilize the skills we learned to think “gamefully,” each of life’s experiences teaches a different part of my brain a new lesson. These moments are all interconnected, and they form who I am. ENG101 has helped me realize this life-changing concept.  

Gin Rummy: Reflecting on the Third Podcast Episode

As the lead producer of the third podcast about the card game Gin Rummy, I took on a new leadership role by organizing the script and overall production process of the podcast. I chose this game because it is often misconceived as a boring card game played by the elderly, and I wanted to shed light on this misconception. In writing the script, I aimed to provide a clear explanation of how to play the game while also emphasizing personal anecdotes to play on viewers’ emotions and provide greater entertainment. My group began work on the podcast by researching the game’s rules and history, which we discovered was fairly recent. We divided up the tasks accordingly: As the Producer, I developed the majority of the script, as Assistant Producer, Giovanni compiled the audio and music into a cohesive audio file, and as Line Producer, Will helped edit the script and audio. When producing this episode, we also considered what worked and what did not work from past episodes. For the first episode about Risk, we realized we discussed the technicalities of the game too much and did not focus enough on analysis, building our argument, and making the script entertaining for listeners. For the Chess podcast, we spent less time explaining the rules and focused more on a clear argument that ran throughout the script. And for our final podcast, we added more dialogue, which helped frame the argument and lighten the mood while threading a clear argument throughout the podcast.

The obvious challenge we faced when producing this episode was not being physically together to work on it. However, we optimized the capacity of the internet by using the video chat platform Zoom to discuss our plans for the episode. And instead of recording it all together using a microphone, we each recorded audio files and sent them to Giovanni, who compiled them. Overall, we managed to produce even better podcasts than we made when we were in person despite the lack of in-person interaction. If we had more resources available for our episode, the audio would likely have been clearer by using high-tech microphones, but I do not think this was a major issue. Something else we could have incorporated was interviews with family members about their experiences playing Gin Rummy, but this also would have been difficult since we could not meet in person. 

Producing this podcast helped me meet the composing texts in multiple genres learning objectives by writing for the aural genre rather than an audience who reads my work. I achieved the analysis learning outcome by writing a script that had a clear argument throughout. I wrote as a process by undergoing multiple drafts and really thinking through each word I wrote. I demonstrated visual thinking strategies by arranging my thoughts in a way that made sense to the audience and flowed in a sensical way. Lastly, I employed technology appropriately by making sure everything was appropriate for the wide internet audience and making sure to credit all the sources. 

I learned a lot by producing this podcast. I learned leadership skills by organizing a group effort and outcome we were proud of. I learned to choose music that reflected our overall argument: by using music that did not typically align with the podcast mindset, we argued that the game Gin Rummy is more upbeat than most people think. I also learned how to produce good work in a short time span. I am confident that I can produce a successful podcast or any aural work in the future, and I believe this skill will take me far. 

One Last Reflection

I still find the existence of this English course magical. When I read the course description on Course Atlas, I could not believe there existed an English course at Emory that allows students to play video games and board games. Were we to spend the whole semester on games, instead of on sentence structures or classic books or root words? We did, and I think that turned out well. 

            For a summary of the assignments in this class, or more precisely the “quests,” please refer to the drawing below. To explicitly address the course outcomes, I assume that listing them out would be the most effective.

A partial sum-up of the work done for the course.

            One, rhetorical situation. Before taking this course, the only audience I have written for was the instructor of the course. I had to write formally: no abbreviations or vague adjectives, use long sentences with complicated grammar, and of course, Times New Roman 12-point font double-spaced. Now I realized not everyone enjoy reading formal writing all the time, and not all ideas are delivered through letters printed on paper. I still prefer formal language in reflection essays, but for other assignments in this course, I forced myself to use apostrophes and more colloquial words. For example, the video game podcast I produced with my group requires aural text, and most ideally, it faces the audience in the general public, which might not enjoy deciphering fifty-word long sentences with multiple subordinate parts. Formal writing is not unacceptable in situations as such, but it could be of lower efficiency. Still, as I mentioned in my reflection essay of the Do I Scare You? Doki Doki Literature Club podcast:

I realized a tinge of humor might help. Whether I achieved this purpose I know not, but the experience of attempting to amuse the audience is new for me.

I intend to keep the audience interested by voicing out characters in the game and creating comic relief through editing. In all podcast episodes produced by the class, we chose less formal language to communicate our ideas compared to traditional essays.

            Two, critical thinking, reading and writing. We read plenty of analysis of games in this class, including the book SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal. The insights of these readings and other videos were discussed in class. Games are frequently related with negative descriptions, especially after WHO classified video game addiction as a disorder. However, SuperBetter brings insight to the design of games, and how games could improve a person’s mental state, instead of leading to deterioration. We closely analyzed every game we played in class. I knew that games, including video games, were not simply for fun, but I never viewed them as a form of writing. Some games might not even use words to communicate; they deliver ideas indirectly —through a story, a feeling or even an opinion—and sometimes this could be more convincing than traditional writing. In addition, I find it interesting how this course encourages us to propose opinions against any of the readings and other possible mainstream beliefs. When I drafted our Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) podcast, I was uncertain if it were appropriate to express disapproval of some existing dating simulators. My professor told me that it would not be a problem. We can express our opinions, so long as relevant and founded.

            Three, writing as a process. At the beginning of the semester, as I mentioned above, I worried whether informal writing was acceptable. For different quests, I used different writing styles. Later into the semester, I found it easier to analyze a game or talk about a quest I completed, for I knew what to look for and my audience. Here I would again mention the podcasts my group produced as a process of writing. We had limited experience from making podcasts, so listening to examples was the first step. There we learned about the use of music and effects of changing tones. Similar to writing traditional essays, after we decided on a specific game, we played through and researched for it. The draft of a podcast includes brainstorming. During the production of the DDLC podcast, I composed the first, raw draft with the main ideas for my group members and our professor to modify. Besides the recording, we still used plenty of typing. The bullet points were for ideas, while a complete script was for recording. In the beginning, I considered talking without a script, which turned out to be extremely inefficient, for my accent forbade me to speak fluently. Eventually we read from a script written in conversational style. Also due to the lack of a script at the beginning, the time we spent editing the raw recording took much longer than most. I had to edit for not only the stuttered words and silences, but to create comic relief as well. Our group learned from experience, which allowed the production time of two other podcasts to decrease significantly.

A screenshot from the DDLC podcast draft.

           Four, collaboration. The quests of the course are open for comments for everyone on the website, which allows receiving constructive criticism. The podcast episodes also depend on collaboration. From brainstorming to recording and to editing, every step requires group members to work together.

A diagram of collaboration I created.

           Five, digital identity and citizenship. This course is largely based on the use of technology. Video games themselves are digital, and I have gained a better understanding of the role of video games in contemporary life. Moreover, the podcasts and the WordPress website we created require use of technology and applications such as Audacity.

           And two additional points I would like to mention in this reflection letter.

           Six, how this course influenced me outside the classroom. The technological skill will certainly come of use some day, but there is one more thing. As I produced the Plague Inc. podcast as assistant producer, I realized how my two interests—one in film ad media studies and one in science—might be able to overlap. Within a field of the science community communication is simple, as everyone understands the vocabulary. However, educating or spreading the information to the general public would be more complicated. In this rhetorical situation, less traditional means of writing, such as video games, might become effective.

           Seven, HomeTasking. The final project of a Kickstarter empathy game proposal was replaced by five HomeTasking quests due to the pandemic. Those quests were derived from the popular Taskmaster online tasks. The threat from the virus turned into a series of challenges, and we posted videos of ourselves completing the gameful tasks. Instead of escaping from the stress from the change to remote learning, we embraced a new way to learn as a community. We supported each other as allies. Nobody would be judged for a video s/he made, and we recognized the effort in well-made videos by voting. At first, I was afraid to act out in my videos, but after watching my peers’ bold choices, I decided to follow them. I made it my goal to gain slightly more votes, and I did. It was interesting to see how everyone’s HomeTasking videos grew more creative along the way.

Overall, this has been the most extraordinary class I have taken in my life. Many of the things I learned I did not expect. Most importantly, it taught me to pay attention to my audience.

NAVIGATING THROUGH PLAY. MAKE. WRITE. THINK.

ASSEMBLIES IMAGE

The main theme of this reflection letter is blossoming. This assemblies image shows the way in which I blossomed. I think that this class has allowed me to blossom in several ways that I did not originally think that it would have. It has given me growth when it comes to both my reading and writing, and I think that it is essential. I think that whatever you experience and put some type of time or effort into it, growth, lessons, or values should come from it. Everything teaches you something, even if it is minor. And this class has taught me a lot in various ways. Let’s take a dive into the ways that I blossomed to meet the learning outcomes.

The first learning outcome is rhetorical composition. I remember when I first started this class and we were learning about rhetorical situations that should be analyzed after reading, and in this case, also after playing a game: genre, audience, purpose, medium, tone/stance, context, and design. I never knew about these ways to analyze literature, but it became very apparent quickly that these were the best ways and most helpful ways to do so. Anytime that we read a chapter from Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter, we analyzed these rhetorical situations, especially purpose and stance. McGonigal always had a stance or argument in each chapter when she discussed how games enhance everyday lives and thought. Also, whenever I read her novel, I began to become a better analyst. Noting that her audience were mostly those who are in favor of games or convincing those who believe that games are pointless to think otherwise, her purpose changed every chapter to get the reader to discover or learn new things about games which I analyzed each time. Additionally, the analysis in rhetorical situations influenced my own writing. At first, in my writing, I would be structured and uninteresting to read because I tried to add a certain criteria into my writing. However, I used these rhetorical situations to add a sort of comical, colloquial, yet professional free style into my writing. The first time that I realized that I incorporated this was in style was in my second post, “Ordinary Emory Kid?”: “However, if we are being 100% truthful, I haven’t had pencils and pens since the start of spring semester. Don’t worry, I’ll still ace this semester! (Remember, I have a MacBook… who needs pens and pencils?).” My personality radiated in not only this line but throughout the entire post and continued in my future posts. I realized that the posts were not like the writing that I was fixed into creating in high school. It did not have a strict writing or rubric to follow because the posts had a different audience and purpose. So each post I created, I made it unique and centered around my own stance, purpose, and audience that the post produced. This directly related to the second learning outcome: critical thinking and reading resulting in writing. Similarly with the SuperBetter, I learned to analyze who the author’s were aiming at and for what purpose. For example, the Johnson reading was one of the articles that I really dived into. His article was about an idea of a “Sleeper Curve” where he discussed the ideas of probing and telescoping for those who are in favor or undermine video gaming. Being able to analyze the audience, purpose, and stance allowed me to use the article in future writing assignments and take his ideas to enhance my own interpretations of video gaming. In my podcast episode that I produced, which analyzed the game Paranoia, I used Johnson’s ideas of probing and telescoping in order to enhance my own analysis of Paranoia which made my podcast more sophisticated and focused.

The last three learning outcomes are closely knit and relate to one another in my process of blooming throughout this course. The third learning outcome is writing as a process. One of the main ways that I showed this learning outcome is through my process of reflection. This class is all about reflection: reflection of experiences, reflection of assignments, reflection of successes, reflection of opinions, reflection of coursework. I mean, reflection is at the nitty gritty of everything that we do in this class. And this class taught me just how important reflection is. The fact that Dr. Morgen asked us to reflect on every assignment that we did made a big difference for me. There was one side quest that was really challenging for me which was the combo-photo and in the first line I explicitly reflected on my struggle, “So, if you asked me how I liked this task… I would say I didn’t. I don’t think that this task of creating a combo photo is a horrible one, but I would say that the idea of thinking of two completely different things and fitting them into a similar graphical/physical agenda posed as a real challenge.” Growing up, when I did an assignment, I always did it and then was completely finished with it. But that was a boring and kind of depressing way to go about it. Whatever someone spends their time on, it is important to reflect because that experience taught you something. And I think that by not reflecting in the past, it has caused me to miss out on those lessons that I learned from those experiences. By reflecting, it makes me a better writer, experiencer, failure, successor, etc because I retract the valuables and details from the event/task. So, from now on, I’ll reflect on everything that I do because it is important (THANK YOU ENG 101!). This brings me to the fourth learning outcome of collaboration. Collaboration was the heart of the podcast episodes in this class. While there were several instances of collaboration throughout this class that I experienced, the one I felt resonated with me the most was when I was the assistant producer of the Tetris podcast episode. I developed the coronavirus when the producer of this episode, Rachel, needed me so that we could produce the episode. Rachel created the entire script for us because I was unable to. Still feeling ill, I tightened up and rehearsed with her to test the length of the video and it was way too short and Rachel ran out of ideas. Instead of giving up, we both thought about our own experiences while playing Tetris, and we combined our thoughts together and it allowed us to dive into a deep discussion regarding the game and thus great content for our podcast episode. This is when I realized that collaboration was more than just working together with others. It was about learning from others and struggling with your peer(s) to overcome an obstacle and also learn from that struggle. The final learning outcome for the course is digital citizenship/digital identity. Anytime I used a reference on the internet such as an image or an stl file, or an article, I always added the link to make sure that I am giving credit to those sources that I am using, which is obviously the right thing to do.

When looking at my work for this semester, I see two main things within my writing: patience and malleability. I think the very first time I learned patience is on our very first day of class when we played the card game. I didn’t understand why every time we rotated, people were presenting a different set of rules and it was frustrating me. But by the end of class, there was a larger lesson regarding the importance of rules and dynamics of power. This was the start of my patience. This quickly carried on to my readings. At the beginning of the class, we did a lot of readings. The readings, especially Superbetter, was very annoying for me to read. I was used to reading analytical essays and research papers but here I was reading books about games and how games affect and relate to our lives and views. But after giving the readings a fair chance, I realized that the readings were more than just about games, but was giving me techniques into changing my ways of thinking about games and how thinking in a gameful way may impact everyday decisions. Patience even carried on to my writing. Similarly to my reading style, I thought my writing had to be in the form of research papers or analytical essays. But during side quests, writing was more of a free verse style which I was not accustomed to. However, through patience in the side quests, I began to be more creative and began writing in a more reflective manner that made my writing more interesting and engaging to read. Next comes malleability…WHEW, this class really taught me this one. I learned to read flexibly. There is not one way to read or interpret a piece of work. One thing can have several meanings depending on the context, medium, or personal experience. This hit home with a lot of the readings. For example, Superbetter had a ton of different meanings upon various different students because they interpreted them differently. Even the home tasks..people interpreted the home-tasks differently such as the sporting arena home-task. I interpreted the home-task as at a football or baseball of basketball game in the crowd. However, other peers interpreted it as somewhat of a olympic event that they were in. This taught me that things do not mean just one thing and just because one interpret things differently than myself does not mean that they are wrong. And then you have my writing. As touched on previously, my writing has become more flexible as the class allowed me to practice a new style of writing that does not stick to a certain criteria or guideline.

One piece of writing that I did that resonated with me the most was one of my home tasks that I titled “Cutest Doggie Eva!”. This home task’s purpose was to do something spectacular with a pair of trousers, and in this home task, I wanted to loosen up and be a little more open. In this home task, my audience was honestly my peers as they viewed the videos to vote on them, and I wanted to give them a little laugh, so I put my dog in a cool hat and leggings. Even my writing in the home task was evident in my more comical approach, “Although it took several treat bribing, chasing around, and funny faces, this video came out great. I mean look at her… have you ever seen a cooler dog? (I mean, maybe if I would have put sunglasses on her, it would have enhanced the look even more, but I’m trying to avoid making her into a little diva).” This honestly brings me to my experience with the home tasks in general. During the quarantine, the home tasks presented both struggles and breakthroughs. When I first started the home tasks, I was very closed off. I didn’t really open up or show any personality as I felt uncomfortable to complete a lot of them because my house was undergoing renovation. However, this video of my dog was my breakthrough podcast. I started to loosen up and realize that the home tasks were not about judging but being authentic and creative. As a class, I realized that everybody made the home tasks their own. Everybody interpreted and understood the tasks differently, and it made the home tasks more interesting to watch as each one was unique to each student. These home tasks taught me that writing is surrounded around being creative and making it your own. The best writing comes from authenticity, open-mindedness, and knowing your purpose which I can carry on to all of my assignments.

Overall, English 101: Play. Write. Make. Think. has taught me several skills that I have applied and will apply to future classes. One skill that I have already applied to a class is communication: freedom in the way I communicate in my writing. In my poetry class, I had an analytical essay on a poem and I was urged to use a strict structure to write. But I remembered what this class taught me: FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, FREEDOM OF THE PEN, and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. And honestly, it helped me immensely because it helped me have more interesting paper, rather than taking a boring approach by implementing a strict structure. It also allowed me to more easily get all of my thoughts and ideas expressed without feeling like it doesn’t fit within a certain paragraph or criteria. A skill that I will apply in the future is collaboration. Before this class, I have never collaborated in an english class because I never felt the need to. However, this class has taught me that collaboration can only enhance my writing and thoughts. It allows for new perspectives and ideas that I did not previously think about to be implemented, thus making my writing stronger. Also, it is honestly a fun and interesting approach because it blends several ideas of the parties involved, making the project more exciting to read and engage with. There is always power in number, right?

You can find more information about David Morgen’s Play. Make. Write. Think. English 101 course at: https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/