You are on page 1of 5

Sam McNamara Prof.

Steele ENGL 1102 4/20/14 Final reflection (wow that was a fast semester) One could say that this class was unique in a challenging way. However, I did not find the class or its assignments difficult except for the academic genre for the inquiry project. Even though I found the other assignments easy to accomplish, I still learned a few valuable lessons, some of which made me question the concept of how English projects should be carried out in middle and high school. The inquiry project was interesting to take on. There were many moments when everything worked out just fine. However, there were other days when certain parts of it were impossible to assemble. With the social genre, I used my survey monkey account for the first time in about two years. Since my inquiry project was around the idea of monsters in politics, I had to create questions that would essentially pave a roadmap of what most people saw as political monsters. But I also needed to keep the survey short in order to ensure that those taking the survey would not take too long since I needed the results as soon as possible. The first of the five questions was asking which political systems the taker had already heard of (the systems were listed on the survey). To my surprise, virtually no one had heard of a tribal system (like Indian tribes) or theocracies (like Irans political system). The second

question was asking which reasons were likely to cause some governments to fall whiles others thrived; the number one reason selected was that the rich had a strong grasp on political choices (I was surprised that virtually no one had considered an invasion scenario). Question number three was asking which of ten listed nations were most likely to be corrupted by rich elites. To no ones surprise, the USA was the most likely according to the takers. The last two questions were short answer questions about two hypothetical nations called Bucyrus and Willince (I wish I had came up with a better name than that) ; the objective was to evaluate the nations. On all survey results, monsters did not run Bucyrus while Willince was. I felt very challenged to write the paper for the academic genre of the inquiry project. The main obstacle was finding enough sources to support my theory that Big Brothers (just like the one from 1984) existed in three nations (Russia, China and North Korea). In the past, all of my teachers from high school had set very clear and strict guidelines for research papers. In this case though, I found it hard to accomplish since I was use to high school standards, which were absent in this case. Nevertheless, I finished the paper and got input to revise it. For the creative genre, I used an excerpt from my 2012 National Novel Writers Month story called Doomsday Pilots. The excerpt was a dream that one of the main characters experiences; that dream was also to foreshadow to what was to come later on. From this excerpt, I created a short film that included the results of the survey, some animations and a song called On your shore by the Irish singer Enya.

When I was working with my presentation group (we were put together based on similar ideas of what a monster is), I had never heard of Prezi before and thus did not known how to use it. Fortunately, my teammates did and were very helpful when composing our presentation. If I learned anything from this, it was not how to use Prezi but I learned how to make better presentations in the future; when I presented my section, I felt as though I wasnt giving the audience enough of a chance to ask questions or express thoughts. Before the final draft of all documents, I posted drafts on forums and in online workshops for others to look at and review. The biggest problem I ran into was not the quality of my work but the lack of detailed input from reviewers. Virtually of all documents I posted received simple comments like This was incredible and unique. There werent a lot of problems listed that required me to think deeper and consider major changes. I do not know if what I posted was actually fantastic but I kind of wished it wasnt so that I could make changes (I like to be challenged when it comes to writing). Besides writing for the inquiry project, I was also writing responses to assigned reading in the dialogic journals. For each one of the journals that I did correctly (wrote out a list of points that summarized the reading and gave a personal response), I would have a randomly selected classmate look over both sections and they would respond to my thoughts. After that, I would later on write another response, this time to the thoughts of the classmate. Every single response I got for the journal entries shared some sort of agreement with my statements I wrote down. Some people noted for several

journal entries that I wrote I had brought up a point that was less obvious and/or important. Unlike the responses from the online workshop, these responses were much longer and more detailed, which I enjoyed. When I started to compile my portfolio, I had never created a website with Weebly before; in fact, I hadnt even heard of Weebly. As I got moving, I realized that many of my previous writings (the ones I had created before the start of the spring semester) could be applied in some way for this course. Two of those writings were intended for the National Novel Writers Month competition but I had a change of heart later on. The one I primarily focused on was Children of Fire and Rust, which I have not completed but have gotten a lot of advice and suggestions. There were also comments that indicated the reader was very interested in it. The other piece of writing was a cluster of ideas for a story that I cannot think of a title for. This received less attention or advice but I am not surprised given the fact that I only posted it on my Weebly site, Sierra International Airlines. I cannot help but wonder if I shouldve talked about some other kind of monster besides politics. On the one hand, I had a lot of access to knowledge about other political systems besides that of the US; the biggest source of that knowledge was a political science professor at UNC Greensboro (aka my mom). On the other hand though, I also knew a lot of sci-fi monsters like Godzilla, aliens, giant robots, zombies, etc. If I had a choice though, I would still stick with the politics approach for an odd reason. I have learned so much about realistic

but science fiction monsters that I was afraid I would create a realistic story or report that would be way too complicated for everyone to understand. Overall, I really enjoyed this class since I did learn how to write better papers (like the academic piece) and yet still be creative in various forms of media besides writing (like making my video game called not alone or making an animation). Also to note is that I find assurance for the two pieces of writing (Children of Fire and Rust and the one that I havent thought of a name for) that I wrote should be continued and developed into. Using the concept of monsters for this class is something that I will continue to rely on when writing other stories that involve horror. For now though, I plan to work on one of two writings during the summer when I have a chance.