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: https://pixabay.com/vectors/tool-seminar-work-screwdriver-5656897/
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