Friday, December 5, 2008

Last Blog

On the whole, I am very content with the English education I've earned at UNCW, but in my senior seminar this semester I've noticed there is a missing link between me and some of my classmates. As we face the task of creating an online portfolio to reflect our accomplishments in the department, many of my classmates are in panic at creating even the simplest of pages. I am no expert web-page maker, but I'm confused that the levels of technological literacy are so varied among professional writing majors.

I am lucky to have taken classes on technical writing, design, writing and technology, classes that have taught me to maneuver technology with confidence. I have learned to tools of design and layout, such as the CRAP method, as well as how to implement technology such as Camtasia Studios to create an effective tutorial to teach others something. I am thankful for these tools because as I go out into the "real world" I feel confident that I can achieve tasks effectively and in a timely matter.

As for several of my classmates, I wish that they had been encouraged to take some technology classes so they would feel more confident in their degree. The times are changing, and more and more writing is being done online. Magazines hire writers, editors and design staff for strictly online work. One must be proficient in a wide range of softwares, and be able to manipulate his or her writing in a way that can be converted on paper and on a screen. I think that the Professional Writing program should require students to take more technology classes to augment their technological literacy, so that they can be better suited for the working world.

Second-to-last Blog

I have always loved to take pictures, but this semester has brought me closer to the issue of how technology serves our memories and the way we see the world. I like the way that, through a camera lens, I control how others see the world. If I choose to shoot from a downward angle, high above the subject or scene, I can provoke a completely different sentiment in those who view my picture, than if I decide to lay down at the base of a tree and photograph up its long, slim trunk.

Our photo project this semester was a refreshing change from the reading, and I'm grateful that I was forced to go out into parts of Wilmington that I wouldn't normally have gone, and observe and snap photos. I was proud of the pictures I took, and I felt that each were unique to me, despite the fact that another class member may have taken a similar photo. Working backwards, I'll first discuss the image on the far right (of the above three) that I took at the playground at Greenfield Lake. This picture has a lot of meaning to be because I will always remember that I took it while crawling around a jungle jim, and sliding through plastic tubes on my stomach. I am no small girl, so the sight of it was probably rather alarming, but the experience was priceless. I was alone on the playground, except for two small children, no older than four, so I was free to play like a kid. I swung on the swing set, slid down the slide. I'm graduating in a week, and it was so refreshing to play and take pictures that reflected the childlike simplicity of an empty playground. The photograph I showed here is of the inside of a multi-colored slide. I like it because, somehow, through the lens of the camera, the fact that it is a slide is lost. It could be anything, it could stand for something significant, something meaningful. For me, it is a daily reminder not to forget to play a little bit every day.

The second photograph represents the summer of 2007 which I spent abroad in Dijon, France. I lived with a kind widow Madame Devoux, and her cat whose name I can't remember. My time spent in France was the most enriching of my life. I have studied french for the last ten years, and can speak it fluently. It was my first experience overseas, so my senses were piqued and I wanted to take everything in that I could. I had classes every day except Saturdays and Sundays, so it was hard to find time to travel and I'd often beat myself over not going into Paris enough, or visiting surrounding countries due to my schoolwork, but I realized toward the end of the trip that the quiet, simple moments were what I would remember most. On sunny afternoons, I used to sit with my host mother in her backyard and discuss literature and politics, and she would hum and play with her cat. She had a beautiful garden and we would pick cherries from her cherry tree for dessert each night. This is a photograph I took of one of the flowers in her garden against the slate-colored sky of an on-coming storm. Each time I see it, I am back in Madame Devoux's garden, where I find beauty in simplicity and peacefulness. 

Finally, the first picture I chose to discuss is a photograph taken in 1989 of me and my father and my two older sisters. We're standing on a beach in Massachusetts in the wintertime. I love this photograph because it's one of those childhood photographs that depicts only contentment and love. Though I often complain about how technology ruins some of the "magic" of family moments or making memories, a camera is to thank for this beautiful image of my father and sisters that brings me comfort, and makes me happy.