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Reflection Letter

Note: This site is an archive of the work that you completed as part of ENG101 at Emory University during the spring semester of 2022 taught by Professor David Morgen.

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Over the course of the semester, I accomplished several major projects revolving around the theme of comics –  the Halfa Kucha, creative Sunday Sketches, literacy narratives, and tracing pages. On the journey of completing the plethora of assignments, I practiced my digital citizenship by attempting to create and publicize work via new technologies, became a more mature writer, critical thinker and confident presenter by rethinking & redrafting arguments on analysis of graphic novels as well as my own story, and above all, appreciated the power of visual thinking.

In my opinion, Halfa Kucha is the most challenging assignment integrating multiple learning outcomes. My Halfa Kucha presentation presented an analysis of Stitches alongside Gender Queer under Judith Hermann’s theoretical framework of stages of trauma recovery. My proudest achievement in this assignment is to incorporate the class spirit of “draw to win” by trying new technologies – unlike going straight to Microsoft Powerpoint, I intentionally stepped out my comfort zone and familiarized myself with, which turned out to be more user-friendly than PPT; I drew out the symbolized abstraction of certain essential characteristics of selected pages to make a visual argument in this multi-medium rhetorical situation. Hence, I met the learning outcome of digital citizenship and visual thinking – “Demonstrate visual thinking strategies to analyze and interpret visual information and to experiment, assemble, and arrange visual and written documents of their own.” In addition, I intentionally employed the ABT (And, But, Therefore) structure to present my argument, trying a very different rhetorical situation. The most challenging part, on the other hand, is certainly the time limit of 20 seconds per slide. Unlike finishing a written assignment, I practiced over and over to make sure I could present material fluently in front of the class; the entire process involved text, images, live speech and synchronous digital presentation, which achieved my learning outcome “rhetorical composition” – “to compose texts in multiple genres using multiple modes”. 

However, the “draw-to-win” success wasn’t built in one day, rather it was a consequence of continuous practice in weekly Sunday Sketches assignments – my favorite chill part of all assignments. From hand-drawn sketches to music playlists, SK series presented my personal ideas through music, words, photograph, and drawing – again a great challenge for a person who hadn’t been drawing for several years. Take “Mr. Forest II” as an example, I blend in personal symbols in the framework of Forest Gump’s poster, conveying my wish for positivity and productivity. Also, one of the early works “Zero and Snake” visually demonstrated Hilbert’s Nullstellensatz, a theorem from another math course which has highly geometric essence. By applying visual thinking skill to the abstract maths course, I deepened my understanding of the theorem itself and was able to convey the intuitive ideas even to outsiders, despite its complicated background in algebraic geometry. In fact, this process makes to think about the mathematical as a whole – it’s a highly visual-motivated, geometrically intuitive subject and visual thinking could not only help in communication but also in understanding as well. Thus applying multi-media for creative expression and digitalized distribution in completing the SK series, again achieves learning outcomes “visual thinking”, “rhetorical composition” and “digital citizenship”.

My most greatest challenge – and richest reward – lies in the jagged journey of writing as well as drawing the three literacy narratives. My first literacy narrative had very loose controlling theme; it was written in a hectic manner without a clear understanding of the directions. I realized this issue after revising it in the first meeting conference with Professor Morgen. Then, I reproduced a new idea, came up with a new structure and written the third literacy narrative before creating the story into comics (a genre I’m less familiar with). Meditating my journey through the words, I “created” a narrative of my history with poetry by recollecting my experience reading the Mistry Poets and romantic poetry. It’s a hidden storyline in my life that was real and concrete, yet to which I’d never paid attention; thus rethinking the literacy narrative provided this opportunity to discover this storyline. Moreover, both drawing out and writing out the same narrative allowed me to compare and contrast the difference between the two distinct mediums through practice. In specific, I concluded that a literal essay is capable of including more details and factual information, whereas the visual narrative works more efficiently to convey the emotion and poetic theme than merely a combination of words could. In summary, rethinking my literacy narrative, and personal story and simply pondering on structuring the essay achieved the learning outcome of “Writing as Process”, as I “recursively implemented” strategies of “drafting, editing, and reflection”; moreover, both writing and drawing the same story consists of distinct rhetorical compositions in multiple genres and style, in which I enhanced understanding of purpose, advantages, and constraints of different literary styles, achieving the learning outcome “Rhetorical Composition”. In addition, I utilized Procreate on iPad to create comics for Part II, adding to the experience of hand-drawing Sunday sketches series; to me, digital drawing provided a high lower bound on the quality of the work, but it loses the intricacies of personal trace to a certain extent. By practicing, creating, and distributing work from both analog and digital drawing technologies, I achieved “digital citizenship” outcome.

Overall, through the aforementioned various assignments, I learned a plethora of skills in different areas of visual thinking, digital citizenship, and critical as well as creative writing skills. As the only non-maths class out of 7 classes, I took the opportunity to rethink comics, writings, and my literacy experience; I also had a clearer view of another discipline by borrowing the visual spirit from this class.