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Welcome to Syaru’s Pond!

This site is an archive of the work I’ve completed as part of ENG101 at Emory university during Spring semester 2020. Here’s the course site that shows the details for the course and assignments.

Final Reflection Letter

What you are seeing right now is a reflection letter that serves as a general overview of this website, where I will go through some of my writings and the course outcomes of this class.

The quest tab includes major assignments for this course; usually longer writings or works in other media related to games with focused topics.

Side quest, as the name suggests, are smaller assignments that are often fun and interesting “games”. These are often in forms other than normal writings, such as drawing, photo compositing, and videos.

The last tab is reflections, which each follows one of the quests. Reflections are where students look back and write about the assignment they completed. This includes critiquing our own work and sometimes those of our peers for the purpose of better understanding our learning for revisions and future work.

Following the directions for navigating this website, you can check out our learning outcomes (insert link) for detailed information on the expectations from this course. I will also be covering them as I go over some of the quests we completed for this course.

Stairs, Photo taken by Ryan Song

The five main course outcomes of this course include rhetorical composition, writing resulted from critical thinking and reading, writing as process, collaboration, and digital citizenship/identity.

Rhetorical composition, which is effectively composing texts in different forms/media, was my main takeaway from this class. If you looked through our main quest, other than our narratives and our comparison essay, you would find 3 episodes of podcasts and the creation of a text adventure game that’s not in traditional writing forms. Although the end products are podcast and games, the basis of all these assignments are written scripts and stories. In order for us to address the audience and attend to the purpose of the podcast or game with the limitations and differences due to different media, the style of writing and experience changes dramatically.

One obvious change is the tone of language used. This differs for different people, but when I was writing my parts of the script, I had to constantly read through each sentence and change them to natural dialogue form. This is so I can read exactly off of the script when I record later. Many repeating filler words were then included in versions of my script such as “yeah,” “I agree,” and even “Hmm”. For other students, their script may include only bullet points if they are able to put this into natural dialogue when recording the conversation directly.

In terms of game script, we had to adjust our tone based on the perspective of the game. Let’s look at DMD’s Revenge, the game I created with my group, as an example. The game was narrated from mainly a second person perspective, with occasional shifts to first person as players enter and control different characters. Since I was responsible for editing the plot of our game into separate scenes, I needed to manage each parallel story line going on, make sure options matched outcomes, while also maintaining consistency in the language used; especially when the players shift perspectives. As a result, there were many cases where I had to fix messed up uses of pronouns that indicate first and second person perspective narration like changing “I saw…” to “you saw.…”

As my group and I created the podcast episodes, our major limitation was the amount of content of our discussion. When listening to someone speak, it’s easy to lose track after a certain length. This is unlike writing; in-depth analysis is encouraged since readers can always look back and be reminded of the topic. Our group had to cut off many parts of our original script after rehearsing our conversation and realizing some contents were too lengthy.

When creating games, on the other hand, the limitation becomes how directly you present your information. In informative papers, people seek the use of clear and concise language. This is very different in games. For text adventure games, this is not as obvious, since the writing style becomes similar to that of novels. But if we were to further develop the game, information might then be represented more by graphics and animations, so writing in a form that can be translated into visual representations becomes especially important.

Aside from rhetorical composition, collaboration and digital citizenship/identity also clearly connects to the quests mentioned above. Both the podcasts and game were done in groups. We each had to distribute different roles and responsibilities in order to complete the assignments on time. Due to the pandemic this year, this was more difficult with no face to face meetings and instead working together digitally. Some groups even needed to face being in different time zones.

This then brings us to digital citizenship and identity. With most if not all of the course delivered online, were had to properly practice good digital citizenship and properly give credit to sources used in the works we have done.

Writing as a process and writing resulted from critical thinking and reading are more clearly demonstrated through our reflections. We write about how we completed the quest and our takeaways. From there you will see our thinking and writing processes, as well as some extra thoughts on certain ideas or topics that was covered in the quest.

Waves, Photo taken by Ryan Song

            In this last section, I will summarize some changes I noticed in my style of writing and how I can use what I learned in other or future situations when writing is required.  

The writings on this website were done for quests and posted, and the audience was primarily set to be my peers who has taken the same class and my teacher, so there is less context given in each post. If you were to look at the writing here and compare them to standard, let’s say book analysis essays, you would see an increased use of first and second person pronouns as I write out my own voice and address you, or my peers, who are the visitors of this site. This is visible throughout all texts in this website, including this reflection you’re reading right now. This makes reading this more like having a conversation, and hopefully more interesting.

Speaking of interest, something else I noticed I have been doing semiconsciously then consciously halfway through the course was trying to keep each paragraph shorter. Browsing the web is different from reading a paper, people tend to lose interest after seeing big chunk of text with no separations or little images. So instead of making the paragraphs their normal lengths, I try to separate the texts for each, at most two, complete idea, hoping to make the site more readable.

As I become more aware of what kind of writing is better fit for different rhetorical situations, I will be able to work on manipulating my writing style to write more affectively according to the different audience, purposes, and media. This might be writing for websites or scripts for podcasts and games like we did for this class, analytical essays, or scientific research and experimental paper for labs.

In the advanced world we live in today, ideas are expressed in ways more than merely printed text. It’s necessary for us to adapt to and accept the different medias both in order to keep up with the world as well as allowing the world to keep up with you.

I hope you enjoy your time browsing!

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