The semester of spring 2015 was a long and hard journey for me. Keeping up with my English Discourse Analysis class was one of the more difficult tasks this semester simply because I was not expecting an experience quite like this one. Dr. Marc Bousquet introduced a new and unique style of teaching that was holistic in approach while at the same time effective. Veering from the traditional teaching method, I instantly recognized the amount of freedom we were given to work in. Although completing the assignments would take up a lot of that time, we were free to work when and how we wanted therefore minimizing stress on the student. The semester began by keeping track of class and class assignments through the utilization of the blogging website, known as Blogger. The entire class built an online community on Blogger and we were able to publish posts, which had pedagogical value, for anyone and everyone to view. Not only were we able to view this new content but we were also able to engage in conversation with one another in the comment section under each blog. These posts and comments gave me room to elaborate on books and articles that we were assigned to read for class. We also communicated this information in several various forms, such as an online comic, a timeline, and even socratic dialogue. With the completion and publication of each assignment onto the internet for everyone to view, I found myself taking a conscious step into a new world open to many possibilities. As we acted as consumers and read about participatory culture in textbooks and online, we also got the chance to act as producers whenever we created new works thus allowing us to engage in the internet as members of a participatory culture. The classwork began piling up on me around the time we were assigned the midterm project. I had no idea what to expect so I did not know how to approach it at first. I worked on gathering data for the longest because with the more scholarly articles that I found and read, the more I changed my project’s direction. At times I had too many resources and sometimes I did not have enough. At the end of the day, I decided to tackle the question of manned space flight’s importance and how it is necessary for space colonization. After completing the research, I learned how to link words and phrases to other websites, files, and pictures. I created over nine separate web pages full of information pertaining to my topic and once I finished, I felt pleased and proud to say that I built my first website into the digital public sphere. This project had a larger workload than the midterm however it was on a topic that I care deeply for so I was not going to let that hinder me. My topic for the tactical media final project deals with raising awareness of alcoholism within the Native American community and finding effective treatments. Since I am Native American with plenty of family and friends who live on the reservations still, I can relate to this topic strongly. While working on this project I discovered a range of new things about my people and our culture; for example, the fact that Native Americans are biologically inclined and more likely to become alcoholics due to a genetic disposition. I genuinely appreciate everything about my website and what it stands for but my favorite feature is the donate button. This feature engages with my audience and allows them to make a charitable donation to one of two charities to help substance abusers. I am very fortunate to have had the experience of learning from Dr. Bousquet and his progressive teaching methods. I am grateful for valuable skills that I required from this course, such as creating websites, researching scholarly articles to fill websites, remixing content, and communicating in various forms. Although technology has been evolving rapidly and becoming more involved in everyday human life, I believe that the skills and knowledge I have obtained over the course of this semester will be an even more huge help to me in the future.
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