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Welcome to Alia’s Blog!

  • Make Up Class 1: The Power of Tracking

    Make Up Class 1: The Power of Tracking

    In this assignment, I chose to explore the Do Not Track interactive documentary. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the idea of the episodes to be interactive and display our answers while explaining a certain issue. It is something I really enjoyed doing and encouraged me to keep watching and concentrate.

    I started by watching the first episode of the documentary: The Morning Ritual. It discussed the idea of how frequently someone gets to share their personal information on a day to day basis when “no one forced them to”. However, this information is key to forming a database about every person using companies like advertising agencies that sell this information to worldwide organizations for billions of dollars. The second thing I learned was the meaning of cookies that we usually accept without second guessing what they might be. As an internet user, I usually perceive cookies as ads that I wanna skip to view what is next. I am not aware of the consequences and I was surprised to know that everytime I click I am giving someone the consent to keep knowing more about me. 

    By knowing the cons of being impatient and having the urge to accept cookies to view more information about me, I think I have already done enough damage to myself and agreed to have numerous files on my computer that I do not know of. In that regard, I think I should be more careful and give myself the chance in order to better understand my surrounding and finally defy the trackers as much as possible,

    Also, I really enjoyed listening to the part when they said that even if tracking agencies attempt to help you by suggesting content you may like to see, this will never be accurate for several reasons. A speaker mentioned the idea of having the perfect identity on social media and our tendency to always hide the tough times and share our struggles on a regular basis. As a result, trackers will use the information I share to make my life seem “perfect” and would not necessarily relate to who I truly am.

    The second episode I watched continued discussing the mishaps of cookies and how they have been the target of many advertising agencies to sell information to other worldwide organizations. In this episode, they started mentioning names of agencies such as Double Click being targeted by worldwide organizations like Facebook, Google and Twitter since 2013. I was also surprised to see the attention of such organizations escalate significantly across the years through a graph presented in the episode.

     Also, It was very interesting when I was asked how much I was willing to pay so no one tracks me. I wrote 10$  and was surprised to know that Google earns 45$ from me only. It got me thinking if tracking could be such an important base for the internet economy, why would they stop? I also started thinking about politics and what important figures of the country to avoid the damage of being tracked which would be much more dangerous than my own.

    However, I was happy to see a list of recommendations at the beginning of the episode that help people who would not like being tracked avoid cookies. I felt that this could help me implement those actions on a day to day basis and benefit from the episode. In that regard, I like the fact that the documentary is not meant to make you feel “scared”, it is rather a platform that addresses the helpless users like myself who do not like the situation but have no idea what to do about it.


    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Soliya Reflection

    Soliya Reflection

    Soliya is an online educational platform designed to allow people of different cultures and backgrounds to connect and discuss their insights with each other. In the program people are able to discuss a variety of topics that are both controversial and engaging without being afraid of being judged or discriminated against. The conversations are moderated by a facilitator who makes sure everything is in order and everyone is engaged and taking turns to share their thoughts.

    I had the opportunity to discuss with my group how the Connect Program in one of the sessions in the program. What made soliya unique of its own kind is the idea that it is an online platform entirely designated for educational purposes. If we look around, the idea of creating an online platform that helps people of different backgrounds communicate in a similar form like soliya is not implemented variously. Personally, I would think of zoom only as a closely related idea to the program. However, it is not facilitated in a certain way to cater for educational purposes and make sure they are abiding by the initial goals of the platform. I learned from my group that three of the participants were students as well and joined the Connect Express program for core classes in their university. Another student joined the program in an attempt to enhance her speaking skills in order to prepare for her IELTS exam. In that regard, I understood how people can use it for different academic purposes at the same time. Another aspect that makes the Connect Program differ from other online platforms is the ability to create an engaging communication channel between the participants that is both secure and private. The facilitator would always mention the idea of the sessions being our platform to speak freely without having to worry about being watched or censored by anyone like other platforms on the internet. Finally, what made the Connect Program very unique is the instructions we were given at the beginning. We were always told by the facilitators that although everyone comes from different backgrounds, we were always asked to listen to them, accept them and try to understand their point of view regardless of what we think. In that sense, we learned how to communicate with each other and set boundaries of what to do in the program and what is considered unacceptable.

    I consider myself to have been an engaged communicator in class. The topics discussed were very interesting and always kept me wondering. I believe what made the communication both constructive and interesting was the openness and acceptance of people in the program. I felt comfortable sharing details of my personal life, interests and hobbies without fearing anyone’s judgments. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the program and the overall experience, however, I felt that I was the type of communicator I would be in reality. Speaking of which, I felt very excited to share my views about identity, culture, violence in the Middle East and mental health. I think my only issue would be that facilitators needed to ensure that all participants were engaging in the program. Personally, I felt that it was only me and five other participants that kept the conversation going while others didn’t feel like participating throughout the entire program and would sometimes not show up. The digital world is a huge advantage to help people who are naturally shy and afraid to speak up hide behind the screen and make their voices heard. It is a matter of who chooses to use the opportunity and who decides to take it lightly, refusing to benefit from the overall experience.

    I think the most important part of holding a conversation is acceptance. In the context of Soliya, we needed to acquire this skill in order to make everyone feel comfortable to engage and their personal insights towards the topic. In that regard, we were in a context that exposed us to different ideas depending on people’s different backgrounds which we were less likely to relate to. Relating to a certain topic shouldn’t be the main aspect to keep someone engaged in a discussion and certainly not a good enough reason to allow someone to judge, criticize or hurt someone in the process. Another important aspect is to always ask questions. I think it helps people better understand the other person’s point of view and helps with engagement as well. I feel like it also supports the person speaking and makes them feel both heard and understood. By observing this behavior, more people could feel encouraged to participate and share more details about their personal views on a certain topic. Personally, I also feel using visuals could help foster a constructive conversation. I feel like everyone is attracted to things that require critical thinking towards a certain issue that they could easily visualize and communicate with. The connect program was quite interesting while using our verbal skills only, I can only imagine what the experience would’ve been if we had pictures to share as well in the program to help us visualize our ideas and different backgrounds with people who we do not know much about.

    Further Insights:

    Before knowing my peers, I expected that they would join the program from different places of the world. I also assumed the intercultural aspect would aim to integrate people from completely different backgrounds in order to help them understand each other and how their different cultures helped shape them into who they are today. To my surprise, most of the participants in my team were from Middle Eastern countries, two participants from the USA and one participant from Italy. In that regard, I felt very familiar with the participant’s insights towards several global issues such as identity. For instance, people from Middle Eastern backgrounds would include in their views of how conservative the region tends to me and how keen we are as a population to stick to our traditions and how our ancestors were raised to pass it on to future generations. As a member of the same region, I felt familiar with their views and was able to input easily in the discussions. However, I felt that the other non Arab participants had a difficult time understanding several views and needed more time to agree with the proposed arguments. Also, another drawback was that not all participants were able to attend the meetings. Personally, I have noticed that some participants only showed up once making it very difficult to understand different viewpoints from only 6 members every week by which one of them is non Arab only.

    One of the things I enjoyed most with my group is that my facilitator would create weekly polls at the end of the session asking us to choose what we want to discuss next time. In that regard, we felt as if this was our own platform by which we could discuss anything that resonated with us personally. Accordingly, we were able to choose authentic topics of major importance to the world such as identity, culture, violence and mental health. By choosing such intriguing topics, we were constantly adding to the conversation and sharing our perspective in an ongoing cycle. This allowed the facilitator to listen to us openly without having to ask us to participate or take turns in order to make sure everyone is taking part in the discussion. In fact, the facilitator always encouraged us to feel comfortable to share our thoughts freely and view the meeting as an open platform for everyone.

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Tools Reflection

    Tools Reflection

    Personally, I was always not very fond of the idea of posting online. I was always someone who would use social media to post my hobbies like photography or big achievements only. I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of people knowing what happens on a day to day basis. This is why I stopped posting personal information unless something needed to be “announced” to everyone. It was always very uncomfortable for me to think that someone might fetch old photos of myself and make jokes about. In that sense, I ended up being someone with zero posts at some point.

    In this regard, It felt a little bit overwhelming to be using wordpress for the course. For me, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the platform, especially that it was my first time using it. In the course, we are always challenged to express ourselves honestly and reflect about certain issues that could be personal sometimes. At some point, the blog posts start looking like journals of my diary and I could hardly believe someone else could see them. I can still remember the first time someone liked one of my posts, It got me having a thousand questions at the same time. I wasn’t able to detect how people notice other accounts and what could possibly interest them in my content. I remember thinking to myself: Do they really understand what I’m blogging about?

    Although the professor informed us that there is some sort of encryption that could be placed on our blogs with password, something in me chose not to do it. I think at that moment I discovered it was not people I was afraid of, it was fear of making my thoughts public to the world. I started calming myself down and gained confidence slowly by knowing my strengths and weaknesses. I knew one of my strength points were my visuals and if I was capable of making my blog look “like me” I wouldn’t be afraid to share it with anyone just as much. Personally, I gain a lot of confidence in my work only I guess, its the one thing I firmly believe in and always back up with a huge line of thought. In that sense I started designing my blog, my feed, how I want the colors to be assembled and suddenly “it’s beginning to look like a poster I would make’’.

    In order to keep personalizing my blog and reassuring myself that I would get there, I started thinking about all the other social media platforms that I’m not fond of and at the end of the day, whether I visit them once or twice a month they would make me feel like myself. Another aspect of visuals was also photography. I think this is why I always intended to add a featured image in every post. For me, it was a message to myself: “ This is how I feel about this assignment”. In this regard, this was photography’s way of helping me make themes of every blog post and translate my feelings gradually into words (which I believe is not my favorite thing to do as well). Speaking of which, I tend to be someone who concentrates more with pictures and colors involved. I believe this is why I decided to study architecture :). It was a bit challenging for me to use wordpress, not only because of it being a new platform, but also because its a WORDpress which made me feel uncomfortable at the beginning. As a matter of fact, this is the first time for me to write this much (in this course and my thesis defense) since RHET 1020 I guess which is funny. However, by writing blogs I think this was one of the ways that helped me get back to writing in a less formal way than my thesis and eventually prepare me for it.

    The changes mainly took place as we started discovering more digital tools across the semester. Personally, I feel like I will use them onwards in my future courses or even post grad! For instance, having slack as a professional tool of communication without having to share personal platforms like whatsapp was a huge discovery for me that I believe made everyone’s life easier. I also loved the idea of hashtags and couldn’t imagine it anywhere else. If I had this amount of groups on whatsapp I would probably freak out, however on slack it just made sense and made everything so organized so we know where to ask and share our insights. On the other hand, It was also a very useful tool to replace emails. I mean the fact that I haven’t used my mail one single time to ask the professor about anything is mindblowing. It also removes the stress of having to make it a formal text that needs to have dear, regards and hope this email finds you well.

    Personally, I believe that the connection we were able to build within ourselves and the professor goes beyond the email-professor type of communication. I think it was also useful to have an option to text the professor privately whenever I have a personal thing to share or an inquiry. I think it would’ve been very useful to introduce this tool in other courses since I always have a hard time formulating an email and making it formal enough to fit the context.

    Moreover, Hypothesis was also an interesting tool. However it felt very much like commenting on google docs but public to the world. I feel like it could just be an added feature in a website rather than being an entire entity of its own. On the contrary, it was useful in the way we can always view how different people of the world saw the same article and commented on it. Not only that, we can also annotate on the same comments back. The thing about social media is that it makes people feel  very connected to each other. Students can get in touch with professors and share their insights with someone who is a lot more experienced, could even lead them somewhere to celebrities!

    I feel that the benefit of seeing each other’s comments could also help in sharing different angles of a topic. It helps people get inspired by more ideas because nothing ever starts off from scratch and it’s always a continuation of an initial idea that later developed into one’s personal belief towards it. However, I don’t really think you can compare it with any other tool because it’s not a communication tool like the first tool, however the option to have it where only certain people can read what you wrote is totally a plus.My favorite tool however would certainly be Google Slides.

    The game for me is a never ending subject that I choose to develop on for as long as I can. It feels like an open ended project that I chose to pursue for the sake of everyone I love. During this phase, I also had the chance to improve my digital skills and explore Google Slides differently in the way we transformed it into hyperlinks and games. I liked how creative I could get with it, since my major depends entirely on visuals that appeal to the eye and that keeps the people engaged in the process, the idea of hyperlinks helped me do it in several different ways. Also, it helped me create insightful content that is dissected into different scenarios based on the type of argument being proposed in every case.

    It is also important to reflect on the class room because this on its own was a game changer for our overall experience. I really enjoyed how the Professor used the board every morning to display ice breakers such as pictures of a chart by which we have to choose how we feel today. I feel like this was an interesting way of keeping us engaged with the board and knowing more about how it is used when we came to annotate, swipe and delete items. I was happy we were introduced to the tool in a lenient way that allowed everyone to use it in a certain way without feeling reluctant or unable to perform the tasks.

    Also, the tool was very useful in the way it was used to display numerous videos. As a short sighted person, it was very easy for me to see everything being displayed from a distance by just checking the screen behind me quickly without having to worry or inform anyone of the situation, in that regard the tool was very practical and convenient. I also enjoyed using the chairs very much since it was very easy to move and change our seatings during group assignments. I believe the use of carpets too was a very interesting way to provide the class with sound insulation and help us all feel heard and stay engaged in a better manner.

    Finally, I enjoyed the tool very much during the testing games phase. I will never forget when I had two of my colleagues playing the game on one of the screens and I had everyone looking at the presentation and commenting on my slides which I personally thought no one would pay attention to if they were not playing. In that regard, it was the first time for me to be introduced to such an innovative tool. I remember last semester passing by CP16, a classroom in plaza, when I found the new high tech classrooms and tried using the screen with my friend out of curiosity. In that sense, my dream to explore it has come true 🙂

    Reference of featured image:

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Final Reflection

    Final Reflection

    During the course, I was able to connect thoroughly with personal life issues I face on a day to day basis. I would probably say things I have barely found the courage to research about and eventually solve one day. Linking to real life issues was easier in the course as we were always encouraged to delve into interesting topics and express ourselves in various ways like reading articles and watching videos. I believe the most interesting part of the course was during the different steps of making a game. For instance, through trying out different games in the beginning and understanding how to deliver meaningful content such as knowing more about fake news yet still formulating it in a fun way for everyone to easily understand. 

    Also, I was very interested in the topics relating to identity and our sense of self individually and in contrast to an entire community. This helped me know myself more and feel grounded and more accepting of my personal identity that I was able to express in different ways. I think I was able to tackle that in the beginning while designing my ALTCV. This was helpful because looking back, I feel like I could add much more to it after our discussions in the course. The changes mainly took place as we started discovering more digital tools across the semester. Personally, I feel like I will use them onwards in my future courses or even post grad! For instance, having slack as a professional tool of communication without having to share personal platforms like whatsapp was a huge discovery for me that I believe made everyone’s life easier.

    I am grateful for the course that helped me discover a lot of issues while designing my game. Mental health has always been a taboo within my circle and stopped from tackling issues that would be of great use to myself and the people around me. By choosing depression as my main topic, I was able to delve deeper into the symptoms and have a professional view of the issue. As a result, it was beneficial to understand proper ways to help someone suffering without being impulsive and following  my emotions right away. The game for me is a never ending subject that I choose to develop on for as long as I can. It feels like an open ended project that I chose to pursue for the sake of everyone I love. During this phase, I also had the chance to improve my digital skills and explore Google Slides differently in the way we transformed it into hyperlinks and games.

    In this course, I was able to experience things for the first time and learn to develop my skills by taking part in different experiences. This took place through the topics we have discussed and the connection it had globally with other countries we never thought we would relate to. Also, the dynamics of the class and the activities we have participated in helped me to always feel heard, appreciated and included in the discussions. The doctor was always a main supporter for each and everyone of us and would always give feedback that boosts my thoughts and helps me become more creative in  different phases of every assignment.

    Creating a digital narrative game was new for me in several ways. It was challenging at the beginning and a little overwhelming for me to do this assignment within the given time frame. Honestly, I had no idea I would create all that in such a short amount of time. While creating, some phases would make me feel emotionally down, sometimes anxious because I had no idea if my game would respond to important mental health issues and become sufficient. It was also overwhelming to read sometimes since I have personally experienced all the scenarios with a close friend. I believe this is why I named it: When Someone You Love Is Depressed. I feel like the title could help people feel safe to play the game and end up feeling someone has related to their feelings and acknowledged them. I also thought that not only the player can benefit from this game, it is also a fun way to collaborate previous research and share it with anyone who wants to continue further with the studies.

    Another blog I want to discuss is my self development post. I respect how this course attempted to help us delve deeper into mental health issues and discover what meditation really means. Personally, one of my favorite classes would be when we had a hands-on experience of a collaborative in class meditation session. Meditation did not only help me split my big chunk of grief gradually when I lost a family member, it also helped me keep up with my courses that I have not been paying attention to during this phase.

    Another assignment that really impacted me was the Digital Literacy Pathway reflection. Personally, I chose to do the tinkering oath assignments since I wanted to challenge myself with different assignments and explore my creativity. They helped think in different directions other than my field of study such as photography, media, marketing and fashion. In that sense it helped have a fresh eye to different fields and critique them from a much better perspective.

    In terms of things that need to be changed, I don’t think there is much. Ironically, I feel the way by which the course is organized is a true example of how a proper class environment should be. Personally, I believe that the class could make better connections with the outside world. For instance, More outdoor classrooms in the gardens. Most of the classes help us question our surroundings and reflect so it would be fun to have a hands-on experience. Also, I still remember the way we got to know each other through the walk of pride game. I believe these are the things we all got in contact with each other while performing. Another way to engage with outdoor learning could be through organizing field trips together that help us understand more of the topics discussed concerning digital literacies. This could be by attending conferences together such as Soliya but something that includes all of the class and helps us stay engaged and reflect.

    Another thing that could be changed in the course is the way we have our Soliya sessions. For instance, we can use a randomizer for topics related so there is something to talk about when we run out of ideas and engage the class. A lot of people were not opening the camera or talking. Moreover, we can Make the time of the lecture less, have sessions not in spring break or Ramadan and hold more activities, not only discussions.

    I think if anyone is going to register for the course, they should be flexible to go through change and discuss a variety of topics that would eventually help alter their mindset. Also, the courses demand effort and a constant willingness to learn new digital skills. It was important to keep teaching myself how to use different tools in order to express myself differently in different phases. In that regard, we were able to create a game in the end that helped us develop both digital skills and creative approaches respectively.

    What I feel grateful for is the ability of the course to always provide options even in assignments. I was always glad to have the choice either to read, watch a video or annotate on a certain topic. I think this helped all of us with our different interests to take part in different activities within our area of preference and still be prepared for the next class. In that regard, I was very glad that the assignments we did were always before class time. This helped us discuss and reflect more on our outcomes and share it with the entire class. Also, it felt that we always had insights to share with everyone based on new topics we have delved into. In that sense, my favorite assignments were always the videos we watched. One of my favorites was ‘Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local’ TED Talk by Taiye Selasi. I feel like the ted talk discussed important issues that should be shared on a global scale not just within class. Moreover, I think the course is very adequately designed in the way to include the same content across different activities done depending on the choice of every student. I believe it must take a lot of effort to make sure the message being delivered is constant across all mediums. For me, although the class was an 8:30 course, it has never felt like one. The course is not the typical -watching slides- type of experience we usually do not enjoy in most courses, however, it always kept us entertained by dividing the class time so it fits different activities which helped everyone stay focused and engaged.

    Personally, I feel that this reflection helped me delve into what I am thankful for experiencing in this course. It allowed me to discover a personal “gratitude journal” that is custom to my experiences in the course. I come to appreciate the effort and feedback I have received throughout the entire semester from Dr Maha and something I am very proud to receive one semester before graduation. It is definitely an experience I am lucky to have during my last months in university.

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Self Development

    Self Development

    Anyone who knows me at first hand would never guess it, but it is undoubtedly true that I suffer from anxiety. A few years ago, I started facing myself with reasons why I happen to be that way. Surprisingly, I couldn’t pinpoint specific reasons as if I woke up one day and started feeling everything immensely. During my lows, specifically last year when I lost my grandfather, my anxiety escalated to a point where I started stress eating and gained 20 kg of my weight (which I have lost over the span of the last 3 years). 

    It took me a while to start thinking of ways to overcome this phase and start looking around me for ways to move forward and start again. Speaking of which, I discovered meditation. In the beginning, I started by youtubing videos with calm scenery and music that would help guide me through the process step by step. However, something in me would always be conscious and refuse to unwind. In that essence, I thought of changing the context into a more serene space that allows me to feel at ease with my thoughts and help myself delve freely into who I am. My easiest and most convenient option nearby was my balcony. I always used to resort to it throughout the years. Since I live on the last floor of my apartment (10th floor, i know right!), we can only see rooftops from the balcony which allows a clearer view of the sky and a constant airflow of the wind. In that regard, my intention to meditate this time was more successful and helped me unwind gradually as the video progressed. 

    Meditation did not only help me split my big chunk of grief gradually, it also helped me keep up with my courses that I have not been paying attention to during this phase. It was really tough at the beginning since no one really respected my healing phase and forced submissions on me (this always happens in architecture). In that regard, meditation spoke to me in a way that gave value to my feelings far away from the pressure, ignorance and fast paced community we live in. Meditation also helped me work on my faith and the belief that loss doesn’t really exist in the first place. It made me spiritually connect with souls that have left this world and continue to believe that they exist happily somewhere else. It is the peace in your heart and the constant will to do your utmost best to meet them again in a better place in the future. 

    In that regard, this blog goes out to my grandfather, my main supporter and the one I miss the most. I am sure he knows how far I have come past this phase and my intentions to always make him proud.

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Digital Narrative Game Phase 5: Final Draft

    Digital Narrative Game Phase 5: Final Draft

    Having the chance to modify my first draft of the game is definitely a step I was looking forward to trying. It helped me understand how I can link it to our culture and make personal connections that makes the user feel familiar with the context and expect the scenarios yet to come.

    To begin with, I started to modify the technical issues that might have made the player a bit confused and looking for more clarity in the game. For instance, based on feedback, I changed the location of all my next buttons and placed them in a white circle in the bottom left corner of every slide that includes the button. Moreover, I had the chance to work on unifying the pronouns I used in the game and avoided using (you –  she) which confused the player and who is being addressed in the game. While replaying the game, I found it helpful to understand the characters I am addressing in every scenario and make sure I give them the importance they need in every scenario. I realized that by using “you” instead of the actual name of the character, I was making the game look more factual than it intended to be. In that regard, my intention is to create a game that gives a feel of day to day struggles in the first place.

     Finally, I used the time I had at the end to work on the links of the game and the typos I had while creating my first draft which misled the player and sometimes made the facts unclear. In that sense, I chose a different way to also allocate my statistics (in a way that makes them both important and not competing with each other in the same scenario). It is also important to mention that I used Canva, a website that allows its users to use pictures for commercial and non commercial use for free. This helped me use individual elements and collage them freely which created the aesthetic I wanted throughout the game. Afterwards, I exported my posters in the form of “PNGs” and added only the text I wanted to convert into a link using Google Slides.

    In terms of improving the essence of the game, I decided to add a cultural twist in the game that made it more relatable to the player. For instance, I changed my character’s names to (Khaled – Noha) instead of (John – Alex). Honestly, taking this step inspired me to even go further with the Egyptian twist and think clearly of how the scenarios take place in our context. In that regard, I added more Egyptian phrases that are commonly said in some of the scenarios that game meant to them and personally made me feel more connected to the game. It is important to mention that  this game is based on true events that I have personally  experienced and inspired me to create the game to raise awareness about the issues. In addition to that, I used the book “When Someone You Love is Depressed” in order to find real symptoms of the illness and statistics that  shed light on the severity of some scenarios in the game.

     In contrast to that, I chose my final scenario to be a “surprise” made by the main character. I wanted to include it at the end of the game to prove to the player that good days often happen too. I left it as an open ended question for the player to think “Is it placed at the end of the game to shed light on the importance of good days and that they will always overpower the heavy ones no matter how many they are?” OR “ Is it placed at the end of the game for the reader to see that scenario and find it meaningless after feeling exhausted from 9 other unfortunate scenarios”. Personally, I would choose the former situation because, although unrealistic to someone who doesn’t go through it, the good days will always remain the best driver to staying with the person.

    Personally, I can never see an actual ending for this game. Everytime I look at it, I feel very intrigued to do more and add more scenarios if I possibly can. This game is the first of its kind to help me connect to real events I struggle with and work on finding possible solutions for myself, the player and “Noha” even if it was sometimes painful to read or go through the experience. In that regard, if I had more time, I would make sure I include scenarios that tie previous events again. This game was initially designed to cater for different events. Since they are only ten, my intention was to give the player a glimpse of different unconnected events that Noha and Khaled encounter regularly. However, an extension would help the game feel more of a story that keeps progressing as the player continues to play. Topic that could’ve been extended in further scenarios could be the “academic – probation issue” along with the “therapy sessions”. I believe these are two important aspects that could create two different games as well.

    This game is designed to help people who have friends struggling with depression. By researching in this field, the game helped me find several ways to help someone you love who suffers from depression. It helped me place myself in several situations I am likely to encounter on a day to day basis with my friend. Also, it helped me feel at ease with the illness and catered for my feelings in several ways. By doing so, I felt acknowledged and ready to help my friends while maintaining my own being as well. In that regard, I felt as if I was the hero of the game and the game is designed to acknowledge my own experience with my friend struggling from depression. Meanwhile, the game also focuses on raising awareness of real symptoms that people suffering from depression encounter regularly. This helped me understand more about the illness and how to cater for my friend’s needs by referencing researched information rather than googling shallow views on the internet.

    I am very glad to share this link with everyone. I would be grateful to receive your feedback after playing the game in the comment section below. I hope you find this issue as useful and as interesting as I did while creating the game 🙂

    Link of Final Draft:

    Link of First Draft:

    Link to Canva File (Editable) :

    References: Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Digital Literacies Pathways: Practicing Digital Literacies Hands On (Tinkering Path)

    Digital Literacies Pathways: Practicing Digital Literacies Hands On (Tinkering Path)

    Visual Assignment 1:-

    In my first attempt to use this path, I tried to use the tool of converting an image into a sketch and how well it will still be understood by the observer. In that regard, I chose to test if converting images of nature into black and white sketch format would still deliver the same message and clarity without the use of color. Accordingly, I tested this theory by applying the tool on three pictures of nature that have different scales. I used this technique to test my understanding of the picture and efficiency of the tool as the zooming changes respectively.

    At first hand, the disappearance of colors gave me a feeling that I wouldnt understand all three pictures after seeing the original color and understanding the feel of the image. However, as I looked closer into the pictures, I felt that the best case scenario to observe an image of nature in sketch mode would be when it is zoomed in completely. In that regard, I felt that the lines were clearer without the colors and could be easily defined and recreated in another manual sketch using this technique. In contrast to that, the lady picture was very dull and did not show any adequate details of nature that could give the observer details of either the feel or elements in the surrounding context.

    Visual Assignment 2:-

    In the second assignment, I chose to design a poster for an event of any kind. Meanwhile, I chose to design a poster inviting people to attend Roberto Cavalli’s fashion event being held in Paris. I chose him specifically because he has a unique character that took me time to understand and respects his extravagant nature in the way i designed my invitation.

    I started by plotting a virtual list of his target users that i arranged for myself to understand his style and who would would want to attend this event and how would they want to observe the invitation. Once I was able to find users that mimicked the feel of the designer, I started generating fabrics on the poster that match both the user’s character in contrast to the existing designs by Cavalli.

    After understanding the user group, I was able to come up with keywords that would helped design a poster of a certain identity. In that regard, my keywords were dynamic, powerful, multilayered, creative and exotic.

    Visual Assignment 3:-

    In this task, I was required to choose my favorite quote in a movie and use a picture that best describes the quote. Personally, I chose Greys Anatomy, a tv show that focuses on the lives of several doctors in their field and gives the users details about their personal lives as well. One of the important scenes in the series was during the reunion of Meredith and Derek, her husband who was killed a few seasons ago in a car accident. She had a dream that included both of them reuniting after his death at the beach.I was then able to quickly resonate the image with one of my favorite quotes in the series when Meredith said: “Cause you never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t”.

    Personally, I would not link the quote to death incidents only. It would make me think of more day to day events like missed opportunities, breaking friendships and never seeing loved ones again. In that regard, it could also be the last time you visited your school campus, hardly remembering how the spaces were aligned there. One thing I always think after reading this quote is to hold on tight to my present and cherish the events happening now, by then I can learn to be more grateful and accepting to my fate.

    Visual Assignment 4:-

    In this assignment, I was asked to test my sense of creativity and imagination by imagining a certain picture in my head and recreate it by giving a sense of illusion of completely different elements. Initially, I pictured a view of the mountains having a spiral role and ending at the top with a volcano that erupts in a way that would look dangerous for the cars going uphill.

    When I was looking for inspirations, I wanted to find an element that represented verticality in the way mountains express their power through heights and rigidity in nature. Also, I needed a fluid element that would act as the danger I envisioned for vehicles. I chose food as a main element to explain my idea. In that regard, the main design tool in this poster would be the contrast created visually between the dressing seeping from above while the lettuce continues to sustain itself.

    I believe that this assignment helped me widen my imagine skills since I am used to be rather systematic and focused on real object that have a clear and definite structure. In that regard, I felt that I used my digital skills to think about the roles different elements of nature have and what they perceive to the outside world. In that sense, I was able to envision them in a hypothetical way that can be understood right away.

    Visual Assignment 5:-

    This assignment tested my creative skill in an interesting way as well. I was required to think of a cartoon character and think of their potential as a face for an advertisement. Since most of them are always designed with no purpose for the adult community, I was able to start my steps with understand their physical appearance, the characters in the show and what they meant to the main character of the cartoon. By identifying solid connections in the cartoon, It was easy to develop a certain identity for the character to promote the service.

    Furthermore, I chose The Fairly OddParents as my main cartoon show. The main character, Timmy Turner, was my area of focus in the concept face. I started by analyzing his physical appearance and observed that he was the only character if the entire cast with no full set of teeth! Afterwards, I wanted to create a connection between the purpose of the cartoon show which is allowing Turner to achieve all his wishes by the use of his Fairly OddParents. In that regard, I thought they would promote for a dental clinic center and solve Turner’s problem in the show of having no teeth.

    Visual Assignment 6:-

    In this assignment, I chose to design a card that delivers a message of appreciate and gratitude. I chose you Dr to send this card and personally thank for all your efforts in the course to help us develop a new way to view the world around us. I chose “Canva”, an online platform similar to Adobe Photoshop that allows users to form their own templates and encourages layering.

    Source of Featured Image:

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Digital Literacies Pathways: Digital Confidence Profile

    Digital Literacies Pathways: Digital Confidence Profile

    In order to analyze what areas I needed to work on to set my digital literacy goals for the semester, I had to take a test that determines my digital confidence profile and where I stand in different categories in the online world. By analyzing the results, I was able to understand how my confidence mainly comes from creative work done online and being able to link emotionally to difference messages I want to deliver for the observer. Also, this made sense when I found out that I was prone to viewing myself as a student and always aiming to teach myself new literacies as new technologies seize to exist in the modern world.

    For example, studying architecture developed greatly with the invention of various technologies. In that regard, AutoCAD was designed in the 1970s to allow clients to view their work in 2D format. This did not allow them to develop a critical form of digital literacies on the building such as applying different weather conditions as a plug in and testing different circumstances by which the building can endure. By the invention of Revit BIM, a program later designed in 2003, it helped encourage designers to perceive programs beyond a drafting method, rather a living organism that can be shaped according to different cultural needs and climatic conditions.

    It was also important to analyze my weak points and understand ways to enhance them. For instance, my results showed that I might face difficulties transforming my work into material that is profession on paper and can be used in further research methods. I believe this exists since I tend to be a visual person and rely more on producing digital material that appeals to the eye more than making sure it impacts the academic audience in a sense.

    Also, I showed average results in my sense of wellbeing and digital identity developed in social media platforms. In that regard, as new technologies seize to exist, the internet seems uncontrollable and I am always whether a normal user who is not highly aware of software protection methods would be able to trust the internet safely and share their personal information in a way that doesn’t threaten their wellbeing and safety online. From my perspective, I believe this is why we still rely mostly on the governmental efforts and regularly aim to file cases against hackers and illegal online activity due to our lack of sufficient knowledge to protect ourselves once and for all.

    By analyzing the previous results, I feel like I currently need to focusing on developing a critical thinking technique behind my work and not focus entirely on finding the “perfect tool”. In that regard, the options themselves will never be good enough if the sense of reasoning is not detailed to allow the work produced to explain itself for the target audience. As a result, I chose to apply several tasks using the tinkering method to test my understanding of digital literacies by being proactive in different scenarios to test differently according to the description of every task.

    Picture Source:

    Test Source:

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Digital Narrative Game Phase 4: First Draft

    Digital Narrative Game Phase 4: First Draft

    Initiative of  “When Someone You Love is Depressed” Game: 

    This game is designed to help people who have friends struggling with depression. This field is worth addressing since attention by researchers and the medical field is always focused on the patients themselves neglecting the fact that their surrounding context plays an essential role in their healing process. Based on research, the game suggests several ways to help someone you love who suffers from depression. It aims to put the player in several situations they are likely to encounter on a day to day basis with their friend. The game is focused on two initiatives. First, it is designed to help the player feel at ease with the illness and caters for their feelings in several ways. By doing so, the player feels acknowledged and ready to help their friends while maintaining their own being as well. In that regard, the player here is the hero of the game and the game is designed to acknowledge their own experience with their friends struggling from depression. Meanwhile, the game also focuses on raising awareness of real symptoms that people suffering from depression encounter regularly. This helps the player to understand more about the illness and how to cater for their friend’s needs by referencing researched information rather than googling shallow views on the internet.


    As a player, it is important to know that this game is played using Google Slides. It will only work in presentation mode or slideshow format for the hyperlinks to be activated. Also, It is advised to use a computer to play this game easily in slideshow format.This game is played individually. Every choice you make has different consequences according to the chosen answer. It is important to understand that the game is not designed to affect the player’s mood negatively in any way. Although the topic itself is not comforting for certain players, it raises awareness to the player and helps bring them comfort by making them believe that their feelings are shared on a larger scale with other people. One of the key factors to the design of this game is visuals since they are designed to make the player understand the content easily and match the scenarios designed respectively. As a player, make sure you read the getaways in every scenario you play. This is designed to help you understand ways to benefit from all the situations you encounter in the game. Most importantly, the final message is a shoutout to all the people supporting their friends struggling from the illness. 

    Link of “When Someone You Love is Depressed” Game:

    I am very glad to share this link with everyone. I would be grateful to receive your feedback after playing the game in the comment section below. I hope you find this issue as useful and as interesting as I did while creating the game 🙂

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.

  • Digital Narrative Game Phase 3: Prototype

    Digital Narrative Game Phase 3: Prototype

    Amador, X. (2017). When someone you love is depressed. Free Press.