While this is less of an architectural diagram, it certainly is a diagram. With this, I wanted to visualize the components of this class and categorize them. I had originally had the class flow into two main groups: work we read and work we created ourselves. Of course, all of the books we read would come from the first group, and everything else would go into the second group. However, this set up made the graph too wide, and it looked better without that addition. I think that the right hand side gives a good summary of all the things we did in this class. Flowing upstream in the diagram reveals how I have thought about the class components and their organization. Through this assignment in particular, but also through the course in general, I have found more and more that I really enjoy making data visualizations.
For my sketch assembly, I chose to represent the work I’ve completed this semester as a cup of coffee. Part of this is just because coffee is an easy drink to break up into parts, but I could also say that coffee is something that I hated and would never drink before the semester began, but I started to drink it much more frequently as the semester went on, and I actually don’t mind it now. This is similar to my relationship with English classes. I had never really enjoyed an English class before this year, but now that I have tried lots of different forms of writing, I have found some types that I actually quite like.
Within the coffee cup (which represents this English course as a whole), I have the instant coffee that you put in right at the bottom. The coffee granules are supposed to represent the readings that we completed over the semester. Not only does this include the main books that we read, but also our textbook readings from the beginning of the course. All of our readings formed the course foundations, as we based a lot of our other work off these. Next I put in honey, which is supposed to represent the sketches that we did in class, and every Sunday. The sketches were some of my favourite parts of this semester, and honey adds a nice sweet element to the cup of coffee. After this comes the hot water, or Tracing Maus. This was quite a big assignment and so makes up a large amount of the cup. It also brought together a lot of the other elements (it included drawing, reading, and written analysis), and so was a fundamental part of the course. I then added cold water which represents Mapping Spinning. Sometimes you need to add cold water so that you can drink the coffee straight away without it burning your mouth. In a similar way, Mapping Spinning was some light relief for me near the end of the semester as I could do a more mathsy based, rater than written based assignment, and enjoy it more. On top of the water, we have milk (and my Literacy Narrative). I would say that the Literacy Narrative was the second biggest project this semester, and it was also a really important part of the course for me, as I was able to discover a new, visual approach to writing, which I had never tried before. Just like milk is crucial to a cup of coffee, the literacy narrative was so important in my writing this semester. The last section in the cup is cream, which represents the final reflection. Cream is a nice last edition and really brings the whole cup together, just as the reflection will do. I have also included a stirrer in the cup, which represents my English website. Posting everything online was a huge part of this course, and is integrated into every project that we did. The last element of this diagram is the sugar cube outside the cup. This is supposed to represent the Palestine/Pyongyang Comparison essay. I don’t usually put sugar in my coffee, because I already have the honey to sweeten it, but some people really like sugar (just like some people really like writing essays – but not me). It is still a part of the English course, but it was my least favourite, so it is outside of the main cup.
I enjoyed this sketch assignment, and I think that approaching the final letter will be easier for me now that I have already completed this sketch and thought about all of my work this semester. I also really liked the combination of a mathematical and artistic sketch – these are two areas that I really enjoy working in.
For this project I had to draft a “model” or a “map” that highlights spatial, temporal, thematic, or structural elements of Tillie Walden’s Spinning. I chose to assess just how much figure skating appears in Spinning and so I counted the number of panels in each chapter that were about figure skating, and then calculate what percentage this was of all of the panels in the chapters.
Although I think that my map is relatively accurate and clearly represented, I also think that it may be limited due to my subjective opinion on whether a panel is about figure skating or not. For example, in some panels, Tillie is with her figure skating friends at a competition, but they are talking about whether Jacob or Edward from Twilight are more attractive. In these instances, it is hard to decide whether that panel is about figure skating or not. Throughout the chapters, there are several panels that could be considered to be partly about figure skating and partly about something else. In these cases, I counted half panels. I also tried to keep the same categorizing system so that I was consistent throughout, but some people may get slightly different numbers and percentages than I did, due to its subjective nature.
I have never had to quantify a book in this way before, but it was a new and interesting way of analyzing a text, and I enjoy working with numbers, so I would definitely try something similar to this again.
When I read Spinning, one of the most interesting things I found was how little Tillie’s parents were referenced in her book. They seemed to be completely out of her life and when they were present they were usually depicted negatively. This is why I decided to see in how many panels they were referenced in every chapter, and it is clear to see from the graph that they aren’t a very important part of the story throughout. Their impact fluctuates in an inconsistent manner, as they seem to play important roles at different points in her life.
(This Blog Posts alternatively titled “How to Pass English 101 with Professor Morgen”)
As per usual, I decided to test how I could possibly turn an assignment into a humorous and perhaps unrealistic approach to storytelling. With this particular assignment, I decided that I had to recreate my thought process for most my assignments this semester (and to be fair, it isn’t very far from the truth). Looking back at all of my work this semester as a whole was very interesting because I realized that I did some work that I actually really liked and had forgotten about, Horny the Elephant and my Red Highlights Found Poem being the standouts for me. If anyone really wanted a blueprint for how I created most of my work this semester, this is probably the best thing I could give them. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised as to how in depth I went with the steps in the assignment.
I made this assignment while still hungry so of course this the direction that I went in. I tried to think about foods that could be broken down and reassembled. Naturally, the American classic cheeseburger came to mind. When assigning which parts of the burger correlated to which parts of the class I tried to think about what each aspect adds to the burger and see which parts of our class had a similar impact. For example I see Maus as the pivotal and majority of the class so naturally it would be the meat.
Throughout this project, I was concerned that the act of consciously collecting data would actually alter the outcome of the data. The fact that I knew I was recording my actions would probably lead me to increase or decrease that behavior based upon my preconceived notions of whether that activity was positive or negative. Instead, I looked for data that had already essentially been collected and logged. This led me down a little bit of a rabbit hole where I became more mindful not only of the abundance of data that I create, but the amount that companies like Google and Facebook are able to take advantage of that data. I decided to focus on my browser history since I utilize the internet almost constantly. I also believe in being somewhat unbiased with my hypothesis when first starting out with research. I didn’t want initial interests blocking me from finding something intriguing that I wouldn’t have expected. In the course of my searching for a program that could go through my internet history and collect some numbers, I found a browser extension called Web Historian.
These are some heat maps describing my clicking activity versus dates and times.
These are some word clouds constructed from my unique search terms.
This graph describes the amount of time I spend on certain webpages.
As a result of seeing this data, I am most concerned about the times of day I am using the internet. Most of the heat maps show that I was active online in the late evening to early morning. I know that looking at a screen will make it harder for me to fall asleep. An erratic sleeping schedule has also been linked to numerous health issues. I will probably look into another browser extension that limits the websites I can visit during a set window (when I should probably be sleeping). I will probably be looking into other ways to monitor the data I am sending out into the internet in the hopes of being more cautious about companies monitoring my information.
In the future, it will become exponentially easier to track almost every data point you could ever want about your life due to better technology. There is something paradoxical about using technology, something that is definitely not human, to gain a closer understanding of humans / ourselves. I have been thinking about these things more so than I would usually due to this project. Another question I have been thinking about is how technology has affected our lives. I cannot really be a subject for this because I realize I have never really existed in an age where knowledge and computing power have been scarce.
For this sketch, I immediately starting of things in which many parts comprised one whole item. For some reason, I thought of the way that Thanksgiving dinner is made up of many different dishes. The dishes actually began to relate with assignments we did in class, which I find to be somewhat pleasing. Even though it seems silly, I feel like it makes sense and the idea of our semester of ENG 101 being a Thanksgiving dinner actually seems kind of cute.