Thursday, June 17, 2010

The End as the Beginning

At the end of today, Spring semester at BYU will draw to a close. I will go back to my apartment, finish packing all of the random things that I forgot I owned, and tomorrow my Dad will show up in Provo, ready to drive with me back to sunny Mesa.

Can you see the light at the end?

I don't mean to be cheesy or anything, but is this the end? What if it's not? What if this blog continues to serve the purpose that I hoped it might in my first post? Has this blog been useful? Have my key ideas been a meaningful contribution in the online discussion about identity?

ENGL 295 Learning Outcomes
First off, has this blog helped me in gleaning everything I could from my ENGL 295 class? Here's the outcomes for the class:
1. Read literary, critical, and online texts analytically and
2. Find and evaluate secondary sources.
I think I've been able to do these two, with discussions of literary texts like Joy Luck Club and How to Tame a Wild Tongue. I also have been able to look at critical texts, about both Joy Luck Club and online identity issues. As for looking at online texts, I have looked at more informal sources, such as online book reviews, as well as scholarly blogs.

3. Develope collaborative compositional processes.
I have tried to use the comments others have left me, as well as the material they've suggested. Here and here are examples.

4. Write a traditional research paper. Did it! (although it wasn't really on this blog)

5. Engage in self-directed learning. This, I think, is my greatest accomplishment. I came up with researching this topic on my own, and I took it in the direction I wanted, and I decided who I agreed with, and who I disagreed with, and whose ideas were valuable. I can't really provide a link for this.... the blog in itself shows the process. Feel free to shift through posts and see how my own ideas emerged.

Good blog? What the teacher wanted?
After my ENGL 295 class started working on these blogs, my professor, Gideon Burton, started his own Literary Process Blog with a list of what he would like our blogs to be like. There's quite a few areas of criteria, so I'll just touch on a few. I think that towards the beginning of this blog, I struggled a little on length. Sometimes I rambled (forgive me. I'm an English major). I also didn't really add too much media toward the beginning, such as pictures. Perhaps Focus was a problem toward the beginning, and some of my posts would be a bit confusing if read alone. But I think I have learned, and gotten better at posting. I have a good variety, touching on book reviews, profiles of scholars, data visualization, and event-centered posts. I think I've gotten pretty good at linking posts together and forming cohesion. And I do think I have a good amount of quantity here, with discussions that are grounded in both the current online conversation as well as the larger context of ideas related to my subject of identity. I also was able to interact with other people in the online world through this blog. See here and here for more about my interactions with others.

Back to the Thesis, One Last Time
So, yes, I am going to restate my thesis for you. I think that the online world allows identity formation, experimentation, and active creation to take place. Through these multiple identities, a stronger and more whole sense of self is formed for an individual. We create a beneficial singular identity that contains multiplicity. Now, am I absolutely positive that this thesis is set in stone? Not by a long shot. Like I stated above, the greatest triumph (too strong of language? deal with it) of this blog is that it was, and IS, a process, where I can open up my learning. I've been trying to do a lot of linking on this post looking back at all of my work so far, but, again, I can't really provide a link for this. My ideas have become more focused over time, and have sometimes changed as I came in contact with other people. Maybe in a way, this blog is the greatest indicator of my own thesis. Multiple faces of my learning have been presented, as well as mutliple sides of myself. But I hope that all of these wonderful multiplicities can be reconciled together in a way that allows others to get to know me better, and allows me to better get to know myself.

So, Spring semester churns to a close at BYU. But don't worry, it's not the end! The light at the end of the tunnel is really the beginning!

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