Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Learning Outcomes of English 295

The 3 C's... what are they? Did we meet them? 

This semester has been spent trying out the new tools of the digital age. To consume the required texts I wanted to use a variety of mediums. I read Vinge's Rainbows End the old-fashioned way, a nice new paperback book. I tackled Darnton's The Case for Books via audiobook and for Card's Ender's Game I used a mix of both the physical book and the audiobook. I came to really appreciate the audiobook format and now I listen to them everyday at work. 

I also learned useful tools for researching in the digital age. I discovered we are not limited to scholarly databases to find useful information about literary texts. Goodreads, Diigo, and Twitter played a key role in my research. Those websites provided great starting points for finding even more information. 

The create learning outcome was essential to this class. Each of us was required to create a blog and produce daily blog posts. I struggled a little with this requirement. I really like blogging but it has been hard for me to get past the mindset of having to compose perfectly crafted pieces of writing before putting it online for everyone to see. I discovered that if I let myself write, spend a few minutes tweaking it here and there and quickly click the "publish" button I can produce relatively interesting content without much stress. 

While blogging is less formal than a traditional research paper it is still very possible to create content that is meaningful and insightful. When the blogging medium is used for more academic purposes the content being created is more likely to be read by a larger audience because of its accessibility. The blogger has to catch your attention quickly before the reader has a chance to click away. Learning to write in this style has been very rewarding.

Connecting with others interested in the work we are doing turned out to be easier than I thought. I am a pretty reserved person so when Dr. Burton told us about this section of the learning outcomes I was a little apprehensive. As the semester went on I discovered how fun it is comment on other people's blogs and how exciting it is to look at the stats of your blog and see who is viewing it and from where.

Connecting to people through marketing our (now complete!) eBook has been a lot of fun. I felt a little bit like an explorer when I was searching for  people who would be interested in what we have to say. When I sent out invitations and got a few responses from people saying they planned to attend, I saw just how important it is to connect with others. What is the point of creating something if it will never reach a audience? It is nice to know that our eBook is accessible to all right now and will continue to be there in the future. 

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