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Albano 1 My name is Matthew Albano and you are currently browsing through a collection of all major works I completed

during my first semester of Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric. I entered the University of Notre Dame a mediocre writer with a somewhat mechanical approach to the organization and composition of my essays. However, my writing style and process was completely reconstructed over the course of the semester and in this way, I have vastly improved my rhetorical abilities. The development of my writing is apparent and easy to observe, especially when chronologically browsing through my works. My first draft of the audio narrative assignment demonstrates a blatant lack of organization along with a disregard for purpose and focus. However, I feel that by the end of the semester, I had perfected the art of persuasion through rhetoric and applied it well to my visual essay. My writing has matured in every way imaginable as a direct result of my eventual understanding of the term rhetoric. I have come to understand throughout this semester that rhetoric is a very complex term. There is not one single thing that alone determines the effectiveness of ones rhetoric. In fact, it is more so the combination of many aspects of an argument. Interestingly enough, each of these projects unveiled a new factor that we as students learned how to aptly apply in order to perfect our use of rhetoric. However, I did not realize until the completion of my visual essay that rhetoric does not simply define ones master of language and debating skills. It iss actually quite the opposite. Rhetoric is ones ability to persuade an audience with any combination of mediums and skills. Furthermore, a master of the art of rhetoric knows how to combine all of these aspects into a singular, polished argument. I hope to be able to use my new understanding of rhetoric not only in school assignments, but wherever it applies.

Albano 2 Being a technologically inept student was quite difficult throughout my first semester in college, especially in Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric. However, I learned a lot about rhetoric through activities that required me to use multimedia files. During the audio narrative project, I learned that voice inflection as well as the tempo and tone of ones voice can add meaning to sentences that words simply cannot. Therefore, it is important to understand how to use ones voice when speaking rhetorically. Also, the visual essay provided me with great insight into how both visual images and audio tracks can add meaning to an argument. Proper placement, lighting, and mood of images make all the difference when persuading an audience and I feel I mastered this lesson in my visual essay. I also feel that I mastered the use of music to enhance arguments through my visual essay. The songs simply added to the mood of the video slips and facts, which truly fortified my argument. These multimedia files should be treated as words in that they can describe an argument. One should interpret these files as they do sentences in that the combination of these files can tell the same story, but in a more moving manner. In this way, my use of multimedia files certainly helped me understand the full meaning of rhetoric. The sequence of assignments truly aided in my development as a writter and thus, my writing seems to improve as one progresses through these assignments chronologically. The first assignment, the audio narrative, taught me the importance of word choice to support assertions rather than using hollow clichs. Thus, in my description of scenery in the assignment, I attempted to paint an image for audience through the use of powerful words. I feel that I succeeded in providing vivid descriptions of the scenery through proper word choice. However, I was lacking a strong organization and progression of events. Furthermore, I lost track of my thesis midway through the plot of my narrative. Thus, there was still a great deal of room for improving my writing.

Albano 3 The second assignment, the analysis essay, stressed the importance of developing a strong thesis and fortifying it with a counter-argument. Therefore, I developed a strong thesis that fully and accurately incorporated every aspect of my argument. Also, I spent a good deal of time developing a counter-argument that would further support my thesis and reject and dissensions from my argument. Specifically, my argument focused on how Surflines (a popular surf forecasting website) identity as a forecasting website is blurred by its use of current event and its fixation with business while Magicseaweed (a rival surf forecasting website) is extremely simplistic and focuses on merely forecasting incoming swells. These web identities proved somewhat difficult to compare in a way that did not use surfing jargon. Thus, I struggled through my original draft and was not completely satisfied with my work when I submitted it for grading. I felt that my counter-argument was weakened by my inability to translate some surf jargon into strong, descriptive words and thus, the purpose of the paragraph was lost. Thus, I corrected these problems in my polished version of the analysis and crafted an argument with a concise counter argument and a very strong thesis and progression of ideas. Still, there was certainly room for improvement. The third assignment, the research essay, initially proved to be one my largest failures. My lack of experience with these types of assignments certainly shines through and is apparent when reading the original draft submitted for grading. I misinterpreted the intended lessons of the assignment, which are progression of ideas as well as organization. Instead of focusing on these rhetorical tools, I emphasized the research portion of the assignment and dug through many articles, stock reports, quarterly reports, and blogs finding valuable statistics to support my thesis. I certainly succeeded in that regard, however, I failed to organize my ideas in a manner that facilitated the flow of my argument. Thus, despite a strong thesis, my argument was weak

Albano 4 and my paper was poor. Thus, I spent around five hours reviving this essay after receiving my grade and I have included the new version under the research essay tab. I spent a great deal of time absorbing my teachers comments and finding ways to alter my essay in order to create a nice progression of my argument. Firstly, the re-organization process was extremely difficult and time consuming due to the fact that my original argument had no organization at all. Therefore, I evaluated my argument and developed a logic flow for it that slowly supported my argument. Thankfully, I did a stellar job on the researching portion and was able to simply insert old facts into new locations. As a result, the strength of my argument grew exponentially and my purpose within the piece became much clearer. I am extremely pleased with the effort I put into this revision process as well as the final result. I feel this is a perfect example of a smooth flowing argument that is well supported with strong evidence. This assignment went from the biggest disappointment in my portfolio to possibly my strongest work and I am proud of the final product. The final project, the visual essay, immediately appealed to me as a perfect chance to use my fine tuned understanding of rhetoric with interesting multimedia mediums in an assignment. I also was excited to take this opportunity to point out the flaws of a particular stereotype that affects me daily. As a native of the New Jersey Shore, I am constantly grouped as a guido simply because of the descriptions of the region provided by television series such as MTVs Jersey Shore and True Life. Thus, I took this opportunity to rhetorically prove to my audience that the true New Jersey coastline is extremely different from the manner in which the media portrays it. I felt the lesson of the project was to learn how to use different mediums to rhetorically argue a point. Thus I incorporated a great deal of strong visual and audio rhetoric to argue my point. Because is was the last project, I was able to use my expertise on the

Albano 5 aforementioned rhetorical aspects including diction, presence of a strong thesis, a polite yet cunning counter-argument, a smooth organization and flow of ideas, a strong use of evidence, and the current lessons for the project, to put together one of my best works. I am currently very pleased with the final product. It includes a very defined thesis that is supported by politely disproving common stereotypes. It also includes a smooth and organized flow of ideas supported by a good amount of statistics and research that strengthens my argument. However, I feel the most impressive aspect of the work is the use of new mediums to truly complete the rhetoric of the piece. I feel that the video clips, particularly during scenes that pan the ocean or focus in on birds, are emotionally moving and truly demonstrated the beauty of the region. I also feel my use of audible mediums to further move my audience was great. The first song used to describe the misconceptions that surround the region, Im in New Jersey Bitch by Fo Onassis, truly sheds light on amoral activity that supposedly engulfs the region. Furthermore, the song used to describe the true beauty and mystique of the region, Soldier On by The Temper Trap, has a beautiful piano melody that simply adds to the aw of the clips on display. Thus, I could not be prouder of my final project and I feel it is my best work of the semester. As I absorbed the lessons from each assignment, I developed an effective writing process that is apparent in my final two works. It is clear in my first two works that my fundamentals were off. The focus is poor in both as is the flow of ideas. However, I developed an understanding for the importance of working from the ground up when crafting an effective argument and displayed it towards the end of the semester. I learned that the basis of any argument always begins with a clear and strong opinion, also known as a thesis statement. It is then important to develop main points of focus on which the thesis will focus. After this step, one should organize these main points in a manner that flows smoothly and provides a logical

Albano 6 progression of the statements that support and focus on the thesis statement. Next, it is vital to put in a great deal of time into the research process. No argument is complete without strong supporting evidence. Then, the writer should beef of the skeleton outline he or she has created and put it into paragraph form. Then I have found through trial and error that it is very important to proofread and focus on diction, focus, sentence structure, proper citation, and organization. This process has proved to work best for me, which is exemplified by the success of my final two works. Thus, I feel like the assignments throughout the semester have helped me develop a strong writing process. I feel that the final two assignments truly demonstrate my dedication to research and critical reading. I was able to gather a slew of supporting evidence that was not merely numbers, but opinions as well. This requires an understanding of the speakers / writers purpose in order to accurately understand their meaning. Furthermore, this research added to my understanding of the writing process as well. I realized that strong supporting evidence is vital to the success of any argument and thus, it is important to put in the time digging through books and articles to find this evidence. This is truly the final step when constructing an essay skeleton or outline.