When Will My Reflection Show Who I am INSIIIIIDDDEEEEE

If you don’t know what this title is referencing, I am so sorry click here. As to the actual reflection/evaluation of this class, I am not going to express THAT in song. You wouldn’t want it hear it, I promise.

When I signed up for this class, I was determined to get the ‘right’ course. My roommate had signed up for it last semester, but dropped it after the first night, having been terrified to hear of everything media-y she would have to do in the class. As she told me about it, however, I thought it sounded really cool and wanted to take it immediately. There are two different sections for Digital Storytelling, and I went to the first night of the other one, unsure of which one I needed to be in. Clearly, I found the right one. =]

I was excited to create my own website (though it wouldn’t be the first time, it had definitely been several years) and even though I didn’t completely understand everything Jim Groom talked about, it sounded interesting. I immediately began thinking of ideas for my digital story. Vague notions of following the rest of the NASCAR season floated through my brain, as did ideas of photography or image editing. Seeing as I lacked the needed equipment, I finally decided to take on cooking. But that part of the semester hadn’t quite come yet, and instead we were reading articles and blogging about them.

The articles we read were one of the few areas of this course that I think could be improved. I think there were three in a row, and I understood about 15% total. To have those assignments right at the beginning I don’t feel like gives a good image of what the rest of the course will be like, and therefore I think we lost some students in the process. Looking back at them now, I still don’t completely understand some of the concepts, but I don’t really know what concepts to ask questions about either. I think spreading them out a little more through the semester, while giving less of an informational introduction to the class, would be better for general understanding. I can relate more/understand more than I did at the beginning of the semester, and I think we could have gotten more out of them if we had encountered them later in the semester, once I had a little more knowledge.

The next few assignments had to do with images and photography, and I really enjoyed those. The daily shoot assignment was challenging, but it really made me think about the prompts and look at my daily life a little differently. I wish I had kept up with it through the rest of the semester because I think it really impacted how I looked stylistically at my surroundings. And, the six frame story was just hysterical. It was a little challenging, but I think it introed well into the ‘story’ idea and outsider perception to your work.

The uninteresting story assignment was hell for me, but only because audacity kept crashing and I had a terrible time getting anything salvageable. I know some people really enjoyed this assignment, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it in general. It was just a bunch of people talking about boring things, and as hard as most of us tried, I still thought they were still kind of boring.

Similarly with the video commentary, while I enjoyed rewatching my favorite scenes of one of my favorite movies, I didn’t feel as if other people’s videos did much for me, especially if I hadn’t seen the movie to begin with. I was a really good assignment to get comfortable with video editing and analysis, and I think overall it is a good technical assignment, but the content wasn’t as interesting to me. Also, I had to use several programs to get the right file forms and everything, and that was both confusing and time consuming. However, just because an assignment isn’t super easy doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have happened, and I think this one was a good precursor to our mashup.

The mashup project was probably one of my favorites, if not my number one favorite of this class. It took me a while to think up my idea and I was frustrated for a while because I felt like there were just too many options and wouldn’t be able to decide on one that was good. But, that is something I actually really liked about this class – the complete and utter freedom involved in each assignment. I think by allowing us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in things we really enjoy both made us more excited about doing it (and therefore less upset if it took a lot of time to do) and also let us show other people our interests. If we had an assigned topic for an assignment, some people might like it, but others wouldn’t. Sorry professor, but if you told me I had to incorporate zombies or sharks into something, I doubt I would have enjoyed it much. ;] The creativity aspect of this semester was sometimes difficult to handle in terms of coming up with ideas, but I think it was incredibly beneficial and a lot of fun. My mashup turned out a lot better than I expected and I am really proud of it.

Our individual projects were a good idea and I think most people feel the benefited from them, but I don’t know how much each person’s project really added to/helped/educated everyone else. By having my own individual projects, that I formatted, outlined, and carried out, I think I was able to have some flexibility in how/when I did things and know the expectations set out before me all semester. And, since I got to pick the topic, I knew it was something I would enjoy and benefit from personally. I have eaten some amazing food this semester, and it feels good to say that I cooked it myself. Cooking was a good choice for me and I am really glad I did this project. I learned a lot about something I was interested in, and even though I know I have a lot more to learn, I can now feel comfortable going to the store and coming up with a meal for myself. What does that have to do with Digital Storytelling? Maybe nothing, but I also feel as if the point of the class was to teach us ways to teach ourselves things that we can apply anywhere. I have used the technology I encountered in this class in several other outside assignments already just this semester, and I don’t know what I would have done without it. That being said, as much as I enjoyed my own project, I don’t know how many other people have actually attempted cooking the meals I posted here, or really even learned that much other than what the food is supposed to look like in the cooking process. Some other people’s projects were interesting to me, and I tried to comment on them, but sometimes I just wasn’t interested in what they were saying. =/

I know I have skipped a few assignments here, but those are the ones I have a real opinion about. But, as to the group projects, I have already given my thoughts on those in class yesterday. To sum up, I think they were really beneficial, for several reasons – they helped us get to know our classmates better (sometimes commenting is easier when we get to know the people we are talking to), we could turn to each other for help, and it was nice sometimes to break up the class by doing something new.

Clearly, I really enjoyed this class this semester. I know I have learned a lot that I will undoubtedly use in the future, and I had a lot of fun doing so. It was great to be able to fulfill assignments using subjects I was interested in and have expectations set for me that were challenging, but not unattainable. A friend of mine used this quote in a paper recently, and I think it really applies to this class:

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t yet been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. — Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Clinton

So, to end, as we have invested time in so many different kinds of media and my first assignment also had to do with Matilda, I can honestly say my feelings towards this class feel somewhat like this:

Also, Prof Groom, if someone had asked me if you had a bald spot before you just talked about it, I probably would have just said “errrr. I don’t think so?” hahaa.

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