Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking for Themes

When I look through my process blog posts and project post-writes, I do see a few re-occurring statements.

1. I talk a lot about my love and avid usage of the web. I'm pretty much a professional web surfer, blog reader, Stumbler, e-mail demon, always looking for what's new and customizing the web just for me. Computers are one of the most important things in my life, not only as a tool, but as THE tool, an outlet, a platform, and a machine that constantly fascinates me. The web has greatly shaped me as a person, as someone who needs to learn and to search, to post and to communicate, to collect and share information.

2. I tend to have apprehensions but always decide to "dive in" to new things. In just about every project I voiced some kind of worry in the initial stage, but through my work I became either accepting of what was going or finding it more enjoyable or interesting or doable than I could have imagined. This is probably very important for my portfolio, because it shows that with an interest in something and no previously knowledge of HOW to do something, I still make great attempts to do my tasks, mostly because of my love and knowledge of the internet itself. I do not fear it.

3. My apprehension for group work comes up a lot. I really dislike "taking charge," but I do it anyway because I dislike being quiet and complacent even more. I suppose this isn't really something I'd like to highlight, but maybe I can spin it in a way that makes it look like a strength and/or and obstacle overcome. Likely the latter.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Projects to Revise

After a lot of thought, I've decided to revise my blog project and my Wikitravel project.

I want to revise my blog because it is the most important project to me. It is something I'm proud of and was basically the best part of this class for many reasons. As it is, I know there are things that I need to fine tune.
-I'll re-edit posts for errors.
-I'll re-edit posts for content and fluency.
-I'll work on the aesthetics of the site. As it is, there are a few inconsistencies with fonts and alignment, so I'll make them as polished as possible and present the best looking blog I can produce.
-I'll consider the feedback Johanna gave me to anticipate the audience and not just myself as the reader of this blog.

As for the Wikitravel, I wanted to revise this project for two reasons. One, it was the only other non-group project, so it was something I had total control over from the beginning and it is 100% my own work. I suppose that makes me more comfortable than editing a group project. Two, I know for certain there are improvements to be made.
-I will add pictures of some of the entries I added.
-I will revise the written portions I added to the page.
Ultimately I think I did good work on my Wikitravel page and I'd like to see it perfected, because that is doable.

I do not want to revise the Ning site because I think it is very good as it is. I don't want to revise the Google site because I think it's a mess and the group aspect makes it even harder to tinker with. I don't want to spend all my time totally re-designing to fit my aesthetic.

Key Points from Kimball

After reading through the chapter, I think I figured out what makes a good web portfolio and what should be in it.

1. First and foremost, the portfolio needs polished and revised works, at least the two we're allowed to revise.

2. A clear thesis/theme for the portfolio is extremely important so that it connects the introductions and the works themselves.

3. The selected works should show off my strengths, but also show growth in areas that aren't so strong. A good example would be the collaborative web re-design since I've never done something like that before, I can at least show what I learned.

4. As in all portfolios, what's most important is understanding and proving the purpose of the course and really knowing what I learned; In this case, what it meant for me as a writer and as a web user.

5. As far as the web portfolios go, my work will be way more accessible to people because it's on the internet. That's an important thing to consider in terms of what I put in there and how I will be represented.

6. My web-based work will highlight my strengths and literacy on computers, unlike traditional portfolios.

7. I will also need to employ rhetoric, both in design and with the writing appeals in my introductions.

8. I will present my work to meet my standards, which are very high. It will be a good representation of the kind of writer/student/professional I am.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Group Process

I think the group dynamic is working quite well. Everyone seems to be on board with the cause even though I'm the only one who is personally invested in it. I noticed this especially when I wrote my "rant" for the Ning blog, which was a personal editorial about the harm of joking about Jews. It did feel weird to put all of my personal emotions out there, but at the same time, I've always been a writer who puts my heart into my work. It's liberating to show your heart to others, and I think in the case of my rant, important to see it from my perspective.

One of the group members seems to be a loose cannon of sorts, but I cannot judge him too harshly. I appreciate that he comes to class and attempts to work, but he's sometimes wildly inappropriate or careless with what he brings to the table for our project. I hope that by the time the project is completed he will have made his proper contributions.

When I look at the Ning site, I'm very proud of it. Not only because of the cause, but the aesthetics and the content. It looks very professional and appealing and all of our writing and research has provided the site with rich content. Unlike the last project, the website re-design, I am pleased with the outcome. The Google sites template was just awful, and it didn't reach my expectations. Ning, however, has done that.

What I've Learned

I've learned quite a bit about the anti-Semitism in the world: on the local level, the national level and the global level.

I know that New England is likely the least anti-Semitic part of the US, and because our cause is based in RI, we didn't thoroughly research other areas in the US. I'm really horrified to think of the kinds of anti-Semitic behaviors occur in the South, which my parents have always warned me about (if I were ever to go there). It sounds stereotypical to judge, but I know that the South is highly Christian and doesn't take kindly to Jews. The clip from Borat that I posted on our Ning site proves that (Throw the Jew Down the Well sing-a-long).

What really knocked me out was the intense anti-Semitic behavior in the Middle East, due to Israel and the Palestinian conflict. Man, they really really hate those Jews. I'm going to Israel in two weeks to see it for myself, and I'm so glad I had to opportunity to prep myself before my trip. I won't be seeing with ignorant eyes, for sure.

I don't feel that I can really defend or pass judgement on what goes on in the Middle East because the situation is so fucked up and has been for so long that I am in no place to point fingers. What does sadden me is the intense hatred and lies being spread about a group I belong to, the false claims made about the evilness of Jews and their lust for power and control of the world. I know that's wrong. I'm glad I made this my cause.

Our Cause

I came up with the cause our group decided upon, which is anti-Semitism. I was really reluctant to vote for my own cause because I didn't want to dominate the group, but everyone complied. There were other great options as well, but since anti-Semitism is such a vast and relevant topic locally and around the world, we decided to go with it.

Anti-Semitism seems to be the most important topic to me out of everyone in the group, because I'm the only Jewish group member. Trying to end anti-Semitism is probably impossible, but I'm excited to take a stab at creating awareness and educating people about the wrongness of bigotry and prejudice against Jews. It's something I have certainly faced directly, but nothing compared to what others go through.

It also makes me think of the racism and prejudice against all other ethnic or religious groups -- the topic of our project has opened my eyes to how much injustice is in our society.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 Post Ideas

1. Teaching Tolerance in Schools

2. The Importance of Providing Knowledge (Speakers, Presentations) to the Public

3. Discouraging "Jokes" about Anti-Semitism