Welcome to my website which I made for my English 101 class in 2019 at Emory University. This website it where all of my work for this year has been uploaded to and here is the main class website (https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org/).
I was very worried when I was told that I had to take an English requirement class in college. In high school, English was my least favorite class. However, after this semester of college level English, I can say hands down that I’ve really grown to enjoy English and other classes need to be more like this one! The reason I say this is because I feel college should help set you up for the real world. In college English class, we didn’t just write essays about books. We were able to write about anything. We also learned that “writing” doesn’t necessarily have to mean just essays, as writing can be anything from blog posts to reflections and even podcasts.
I feel that with the help of this English class, I have improved tremendously as a writer. Almost weekly, we write a reflection or blog post on our websites, which is a completely different style of writing than a traditional essay. We would write about different interesting topics, for example like “What is in My Backpack?” which tackled the written and nonverbal portion of our learning outcomes.
With the help of these diverse writing styles, I feel I was able to find my identity as a writer which has also helped me in my Philosophy 190 class. In Philosophy we write weekly essays and at the beginning of the semester I quickly realized what a difficult task it was going to be for me to come up with something interesting to write about regularly. But as the course progressed, things I learned from English class helped me expand my thinking and by the end of the semester I was able to write philosophy essays with ease, on even a single topic. Previously, even trying to write about multiple topics was difficult and I was barely able to get to the minimum word limit. I have now learned to write more meaningful pieces of work. Simply put, this class has helped me expand my boundaries of writing and creativity too, through not only reflections and blog posts, but also with podcasts, websites, and projects.
Through our two podcasts that we created for our series, Playing Yourself, I believe I benefitted the most from this experience. I am not aware of other English classes that allow you to do podcasts as assignments. At first, I was a little frustrated with having to do assignments like this, but by the end of the semester, I am thankful that we did because of the lessons it has taught me.
First off, it has taught me to be able to speak more comfortably and confidently in front of a microphone. In the past, I was always self-conscious about my voice and how I sounded in front of the mic, but after speaking my first thirty minutes of doing the podcast, I felt much more comfortable.
Secondly, I was never really a big talker or somebody that enjoyed discussions. This was another reason why the thought of doing a podcast was so frightening to me in the beginning. Our first podcast was on Settlers of Catan and it taught me more than just how to talk in a mic and have an interesting conversation with someone that people would actually listen too. It taught me how to organize my notes and outlines for something like a podcast or even a presentation. It also taught me how to edit in audacity and how to cut, add and sound editing. So, by the time we had to create a podcast on Minecraft, we were ready to go, and it went very smoothly.
In the past I would have never been able to analyze a game with such detail, but during this podcast I said something that shocked even myself. I said, “you have a big say in what you want to do in the game. The game doesn’t really tell you what to do. You tell the game what you want to do”. Never in a million years would I expect myself to be able to come up with something that thoughtful and creative. This is in thanks to the different assignments that this class had me do.
Also for the podcasts, we had to create some art to go along with the episode, so we learned how to edit photos as well. Creating podcasts helped with the class’s learning objectives of writing, aural, nonverbal and digital. This was and will be a very useful experience for me in anything and everything I do in the future, no matter what that may be.
Finally, by doing these podcasts, I have became more involved in in-class discussions, whereas previously I tended to avoid participation in class. As a result, my participation grades in other classes have gone up and I have learned a very important skill in group participation.
Next, our website that we created did not necessarily teach us how to write better, but it gave me an amazing experience that can be applied to any work I do in the future. Learning how to work the backend of a WordPress site is something very useful that everyone nowadays needs to know. Also, by creating this website, I officially have a personal digital identity and now my work is online for what I believe is a benefit to myself. This hit the learning outcome of digital and nonverbal.
Finally, the variety projects that we have done have really taught me important and valuable lessons. The biggest project we did was our Kickstarter campaign that we created in groups. This project was very big, and it pushed all of the learning objectives in order to complete the project successfully.
We came up with an idea to tackle time management issues among Emory students by creating a racing game. It seems counterintuitive, but I believe it is actually something that could be funded and made one day. To complete this project, we had to make a website, explain different processes and scenarios that would happen in and out of the game, logistical reasoning behind the game, rhetorical analysis, photos and design of the game, and finally presenting the project. The list could go on and on, but this project made sure we accomplished everything the learning outcomes aspired to teach us.
Another project or game that we did in class was Fiasco, which was a role-playing game. After playing the game for several hours, it really made me realize how creative I am at imagining different scenarios and coming up with mischievous plans for my character. This led me to eventually join a Dungeons and Dragons group outside of class. This game used the learning objectives of aural because of all the talking that is required in the game. I used to be a little close minded to games like this, but now I really appreciate them and have a completely different way of looking at them.
Thanks to this class and its unique structure, along with the variety of experimental style writings, I feel I have personally improved in many ways. I have learned to think about things more critically and from a different mindset or point of view. The class has taught me how to brainstorm better which I now apply to other classes as well.
Learning about the different forms of writing in this class has left me with a much better appreciation for writing in general!