Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Consume, Create and Connect
The first learning outcome of this course was to "demonstrate the ability to analyze literary texts, and to gather, search, filter, sample, bookmark and research within academic and general sources" (Burton 2). My favorite part of this outcome is the general sources! I took this exact course winter semester, and for several reasons I did not get the grade that makes me, my GPA or my mother proud, so I did some ratemyprofessor.com searching and signed up for Dr Burton's class. I cannot say that either course was better than the other, because both winter and spring Engl 295 taught me a lot. I learned how to be an educated writer (I'm not saying I am perfect, but my writing did improve). However, this class took the traditional research and writing style of the winter class and revamped it to match the modern world today. Not every single source I used had to have a .gov or .org domain! This opened up a whole new world of the internet. Of course, I had to have a mix of scholarly sources, but this class allowed me to go outside of the BYU library database and search Twitter, blogs, facebook and Goodreads. Instead of using BYU Refworks to collect my sources I was able to learn and use Diigo, a great bookmarking site that I will continue to use past this class.
The best part of this class has been the opportunity to choose my own topics. My winter class had three assigned texts that had a detailed reading schedule (John Steinbeck will forever bring bitter feelings). This was not so in Dr Burton's class. I learned how to schedule my own learning. I was able to pick my own books and sources to consume. This made me realize how important it is to think with your own brain! A syllabus is good, but having the responsibility of your own learning is incredible. I wasn't held accountable by quiz or honor to report whether I read the material or not, but by understanding that what I learn is dependant on how much I want to learn is not noly scary but motivating.
Holy cow! Have you ever Googled your own name? Well, I just did and I am shocked! I've googled it in the past and about all that comes up is my Facebook profile, but since the goal of creating a professional online profile so much more has been added to my google results! Check me out! This is part of the creating process of the class. We took what we were consuming and we created something out of it. We started producing academic blog posts on our topics. We created an entire eBook from our consuming process. Instead of consuming an assigned book and writing an assigned, formal paper to be read by one person, graded on his/her opinion and then filed away in my shoebox of papers that date back to sophomore year of high school, I now have a usable piece of work that I can show potential employers. Also, now that I know how to create eBooks, blogs, Diigo, Goodreads, Twitter and Google accounts, I can put these into practice in my future classroom. This class wasn't just a 2 month course, but it has created life-long learning.
For me, connecting was hard. I was so scared to post publicly for people to read. I love to write, but I am also very self conscience of my writing and do not like to share it. I would hear about Amy writing artists, and Derrick's podcast interviews, and I would shudder! They are so brave! This class forced me to connect with people. I was required to start posting daily and connecting with people in class and outside of class. I posted questions on Goodreads, and reached out to English teachers, especially Tammy Stephens. Instead of writing for just me and the teacher, I had to expand my writing to reach a public audience, formal online discussions and professionals in the English field. I not only learned how to be brave publishing my writing, but also I learned to adapt my writing to fit the audience.
We as a class were tasked with creating an eBook that connected each of our individual chapters, and then connected with the world! We took what we consumed, created something worthwhile and then connected it with ourselves, each other and everyone else. This class didn't give us another 10 pages of paper to file, but instead we learned sites, sources, people, technology and life-long learning.