Spring 2020 Portfolio
A Writing Reflection
Throughout my gameful adventures in English 101 Spring 2020, I created this website and built a portfolio. This process in itself has helped me unlock two key learning outcomes from the course: writing as a process and rhetorical composition. I have been able to keep track of my progress throughout the semester and see where I have grown. This course really stretched my creativity and gave me unique ways to hone my writing skills. This is an excellent account to document my writing which I can look back on in the future and share with employers.
It began with the simple task of creating an avatar. I had to not only describe myself through a single, self-made icon, but I also had to convey all the design aspects of it through writing. This involved learning how to power through frustration when studying a new program and use reflective writing as a coping mechanism. This was a change in pace in from the typical third person academic papers I grew up learning to perfect. With these assignments early on in the semester, I was able to establish what I knew about myself as a writer at the time.
While we started getting into the meat of this course, I tested my knowledge in rhetorical composition and collaboration. We worked with our friends, learned the skills of certain games, and used teamwork to tackle obstacles within them. The writing that came with this was not just recounting the events of our gameplay. We also had to analyze how the game pushed us out of our comfort zones, similar to how our writing should do with every phrase we craft.
When combining a drawing with a 3D object, I was able to apply it to my writing processes. It felt like a weird assignment, but many things we are assigned in the academic or work world are weird and confusing. Part of writing is learning how to make new sentences and information fit and flow. Another learning outcome from this course is critical thinking and reading resulting in writing. When you read or research, you have to practice sliding the information into your argument seamlessly. This simple creative assignment provided a visual for that.
Soon, everything changed. The world stopped, we were all pushed into quarantine, isolated from our peers, and communication had to come in different forms. This put a strain on the main writing assignments for this course. I had to find sources for creativity within my house, but the corona virus allowed us to come together in a different way.
Our weekly quests switched to hometasking. This required a new kind of collaboration – one that involved family. Working with people you are close with, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Quarantine put everyone in a weird spot, but having these hometasks gave me a creative outlet. I got progressively more creative and found motivation to put more effort into each assignment.
Superbetter, our course novel, felt really applicable to these times, so leaning into this gameful mindset was a challenge I accepted.
It started by throwing a piece of paper into a basket. I used a familiar platform and worked entirely by myself, but my next hometask required additional help. My mom eagerly helped me put together the bathroom transformation, and collaboration became more and more important for these hometasks to be successful. By the time I had to camouflage myself, I felt a healthy competition with the class leaderboard. Collaboration peaked when my whole family got involved in helping make our kitchen a sporting arena. From creation to execution, everybody took time out of their busy schedules to assist me.
As we approached the end of hometasking, my own learning outcome, balance, would come into play. My whole family wanted to get involved in doing something spectacular with pants, but I had my own ideas. It is important to listen to other’s advice with an open mind, but that does not mean you have to apply it. Taking criticism and outside feedback is crucial when it comes to writing; sometimes other people see missed mistakes. As we progressed as a class, I witnessed everybody interpret tasks differently, each coming up with their own unique approach, and an overall boost in effort and motivation.
My most important work was the podcast I produced. My writing process began with a list of concepts to discuss. Then, I prioritized that list and fleshed it out further. We tried to improvise dialogue, but I soon realized we needed a detailed script to fully convey and articulate my intended messages. Ideas went from: “teaches everyone the importance of teamwork” to “kids could learn early on, not only to solve a puzzle or challenge given to them, but also the best way to communicate how they went about doing it,” when trying to convey messages about collaboration and communication.
In thinking about rhetorical composition, I strongly considered my audience. What topics would be enjoyable, and which should be highlighted? I carefully worked the audio transitions and recorded high sound quality. With podcasts, you have to write to entertain. My intended audience spread farther from the classroom setting. I was proud of my podcast, and after posting it on my social media, I thoroughly enjoyed the feedback from my family and friends.
My podcast production process also incorporated the learning outcome: critical thinking and reading resulting in writing. My newfound passion for the book SuperBetter allowed me to apply knowledge from Jane McGonigal. As part of evidence for how games increase communication and collaboration skills, I mentioned how Jane McGonigal “actually explains [that] when two people are playing the same game (whether competing or working together) their brain waves synchronize,” revealing something unique and important about multiplayer games. I also practiced proper digital citizenship by always siting my sources. I had to remember to give credit to any audio I incorporated. If I were to make a podcast again, I would follow a similar process and workshop a script until I found it entertaining and informational.
I finally had the chance to recount my writing over the semester through this reflective essay. I used my final assembly factory assignment as part of my process. Even as I am writing this essay, I created a detailed bulleted outline to make my writing flow. I discovered my biggest take away from this course was learning to trust yourself. You have to take risks and be creative! You want to write something people are not expecting to hear.
To succeed as a writer, you have to take creative risks. I will carry this with me for all future writing assignments. One of the cool things this course offered me was a chance to analyze and practice living gamefully. It is truly life changing to learn a new perspective and apply it to schoolwork, a job, depression, motivation, or anything else. I have been able to achieve little things everyday by giving myself happy tasks to boost my mood. When the world is undergoing something devastating like this, it is important to remain positive and take action in keeping yourself mentally challenged. I will forever cherish the experience I have learned while playing in this game of life.