Kelly 1 Conor Kelly Dr.

Dietel-McLaughlin Multimedia Writing & Rhetoric 6 December 2011 Final Portfolio Reflective Paper Throughout the first semester of my freshmen year, our class has worked on several essays to gain a firm grasp on rhetoric using multiple forms of media. For the four projects we worked on this year: the audio narrative, rhetorical analysis, research paper, and visual essay, we were able to incorporate rhetoric to keep the viewer reading, listening, watching, and wanting even more. My portfolio demonstrates that writing is a process because each project required much more than sitting down and writing an essay. For the audio narrative we had to work on not only how it sounds in our heads, but also how it sounds in our ears. We had to practice speaking it to ourselves to make sure the progression and development of the plot came across the same way when it was spoken as when it was read. This was a difficult blend because we are so used to the confines of writing proper essays that it was initially difficult to write in slang or how we would talk normally for fear that it would come across as unprofessional. However, as soon as we embraced that our ears need to like the story more than our eyes did, we could successfully cross the border into creating an audio narrative. For the rhetorical analysis, we had to explore the online identity of two people and compare them. I choose to look at two of the biggest NBA stars of my generation, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and looked at something besides their basketball abilities. I used their websites and analyzed how they presented themselves to the world using color schemes, content design, and pictures. This required a keen eye and an ability to look past your initial impression of the website and focus on the fine details and the hidden messages. For the research paper, I decided to look at how the media portrayed concussions and the effects it is having on sports. This project required that we go out and

Kelly 2 search for information both in the library and online in order to write about our topics. Instead of an essay in which you already have a firm grasp on the material, my research essay challenged us to explore sources, find the best ones, learn about it, interpret the information, and then use it to help support my overall thesis. This was perhaps our greatest “process” of the semester because of how long it took and the attention to detail that it demanded. Lastly, for my visual essay I decided to branch off of the topic I used for my research paper and examine how improper tackling is the root cause of the recent spike in head and neck injuries and I chose to present this information using iMovie. I gathered videos, music, and text and blended it into a movie that both entertains the viewers and sends a vivid message. I used the “big hit” videos that everyone loves to watch on YouTube to wow the viewer with the raw impact that these players are receiving and then direct my point at the coaches of these players and how it is their job to curb this trend towards violent hits. For this project we had blend multiple forms of media into one complete project and that required an entire process of research, composition of the video, and then writing an essay about it. Unlike the constant revisions of reading over my papers, the visual essay required me to re-watch my product over and over to determine its success at portraying my message. My process skills were evident because of all the steps that it required for each individual project to make them successful. For every essay there was multiple components that made it critical for us as writers to take one step at a time. I believe that the area I progressed the most in was my ability to buy into the “process” way of writing an essay instead of cramming it all in on the last night. By breaking our essay apart into sections, for example exploratory drafts, annotated bibliographies, strong drafts and peer revision sessions, it allowed us to conquer a 10page paper in baby steps and ultimately resulted in a more thorough and finished product. The

Kelly 3 process of writing a paper let me break my high school habit of procrastination and finish my paper of several weeks instead of the night before. I believe that my portfolio demonstrates my understanding of rhetoric because I was able to incorporate it into all my essays in a number of ways. For the audio narrative, I depicted rhetoric through the spoken word of an essay. For the analysis and research paper, I was able to interpret information and translate it into rhetoric through an essay form. And for the visual essay, I was able to present rhetoric visually through my movie. Rhetoric is not defined to the lines written in a book like in the olden days. We’re in the 21st century and technology is the future, and we were able to use that technology to display rhetoric in multiple forms. I believe that my best use of rhetoric came in my visual essay. I had the most fun creating this piece and I believe that that resulted in my best work. I feel that using audio and visual aids to persuade the reader about my cause had the longest lasting effect on the viewer because of how everyone is easily able to connect to the point I was making no matter if you like sports or not. The role of research was also crucial to this semester, especially in creating the rhetorical analysis, research paper, and visual essay. For each of these projects, we had to pick a topic or subject and then go do research on it. For the analysis piece it was contrasting two websites. For the research essay it was going to the library and learning how to utilize all the resources that it has to offer while also searching the web and even television for possible sources to support your point. And for the visual essay it was finding the right medium to portray your topic. Each required that we go above and beyond the call of simply writing off of what we already know and demanded that we get out there and discover resources for ourselves. I had done a research paper my junior year of high school, but lets just say my library didn’t have fourteen floors and had nowhere near as many options. Research became a focal point of our

Kelly 4 writing process and an extension of that was our ability to read critically. Reading between the lines and finding what the author truly meant and find the information within the article that truly matter became a vital part towards generating successful papers. We were able to find sources and then red critically through the information and provide only what was necessary to our argument. Instead of being hand fed the information needed for the paper we were about to write, the ability to read critically through my sources became the difference between a solid paper and one that was lacking something. Multimedia perhaps played the biggest role for us this semester because it was involved in every assignment. Whether is was posting entries to my blog, or recording my voice as I read my essay, or creating an iMovie from scratch, our ability to translate rhetoric to multiple forms of media was essential. I always considered myself to be “tech savvy,” but this course took it to a new level. I learned how to use a blog, do an audio recording and the upload it to Sound Cloud, and then create an iMovie with video clips, music, and text and then post it to YouTube; all of which were first time experiences. These are appreciated skills and I was able to learn this all while developing myself as a writer. Since we continue to move away from paper and more towards technology, my ability to use multimedia in a scholarly way is infinitely valuable. I believe that the multimedia project connected extremely well to the course material and made it more fun to learn. Instead of learning about old literature, like Shakespeare, as I did in high school, we were able to learn about current trends, like Facebook and Twitter and other material that is relevant to us as college students. All of our major projects were designed to get us to use rhetoric but in a number of ways. The audio narrative challenged us to use rhetoric in a story. The analysis challenged us to use rhetoric to compare two websites. The research paper challenged us to use rhetoric to find

Kelly 5 resources and then interpret the information and assemble it to support our thesis. And the visual essay challenged us to use rhetoric to portray a message using visual and audio cues as well as textual evidence. Each project seemed to gradually build on to the next one. The foundation was set with the audio narrative when we first learned how to write using rhetoric. Then we proceeded to use our rhetorical skills to analyze sources and compare then. Next, we used our ability to analyze sources to research a topic and pick what information was essential and then use our knowledge of rhetoric to establish a convincing point. Finally, we combined all three phases; rhetoric, the ability to analyze, and research, to create a piece that also incorporated the multimedia aspect of our course. My development towards what I felt was my best piece, the visual essay, was noticeable because with each essay brought a new step to add to the ladder of rhetorical writing. You couldn’t have done it all without excelling at each individual step first. Lastly, the project that I am most proud of in my portfolio is my visual essay. I did my research paper on concussions and I decided to use that as a springboard to explore a reason why these concussions were happening, and I landed on making a video about illegal hits and how to prevent them in the future. I thought this was my most successful project because of all that went into it: the video clips, the text, the music, the transitions, and the research behind it all. I felt that I was able to accurately portray my point as well as keep the video interesting and generate a lasting memory of what the viewers just saw. It highlights my strengths of working with multimedia because of my use of iMovie and my rhetorical strength because the nature of the video was to persuade the viewers why illegal hits were the cause of so many concussions. It then utilized my analyzing skills because I was able to notice a problem and analyze it to find the cause and a possible solution. Lastly, my research skills, because I had to find all the information for the video to keep it scholarly but not overloaded it with information. This piece

Kelly 6 shows my development as a writer because before this course if I was told to make an iMovie about illegal hits in football, I would have simply put together a highlight tape of big hits and then said “this needs to stop because concussions are bad” and probably end it there. Through my development in this course, I was instead able to do research and analyze the situation behind all the recent commotion about concussions and determine that one of the key reasons was because of illegal hit and the use this knowledge to pick and choose what video clips were best suited to support my cause. The rhetorical aspect of the visual essay is often overlooked, but since the nature of my essay was to convince the viewer of something, I took a great deal of time in the progression of my iMovie to make sure that the viewer would fully understand what I was arguing and be compelled to agree with my solution. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the essays that we did in class because I could see the connection to how the skills we were learning would be relevant in the future, but I felt that the visual essay was the piece that I was most proud of in the end. Thank you for a great semester!

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