Arnaldo Atienza 12/7/10

 

Learning Essay 

Before taking this class, I have never made my own website. When I found out that the “Remixing Little Brother” class entailed creating and designing our own websites, I suddenly felt nervous. I’ve seen my friends create websites using html, flash and java and I saw how arduous those programs would be. Luckily, we were eased in to using Dreamweaver and I found the workshops to be very helpful. I spent countless hours in the computer labs just designing and meticulously redesigning my website (getting ideas from the suggested websites in the syllabus) but the work was worth it because now I can say that I know how to make a website using Adobe Dreamweaver. I believe that this is a skill that will prove useful as I go through college and I am glad that I took a class that teaches students how to use it.

I employ a clean, sophisticated design ethic and I believe that I achieved that kind of feel in my websites. I vividly remember how much of a mess my first draft of my first website was. The navigation bars were unequal, the text was scattered, the links were too copious and the images were misaligned. I am then thankful for the comments that both the professor and my peers gave me. I took their suggestions to heart as I revised my website and now, I can firmly say that I created a truly clean and sophisticated website. What helped me the most in redesigning my website was the comments from other people. You will always want to achieve a certain “feel” for your website and the only way to find out if you are successful in doing so is to show it to others, even if you’ve only made a rough draft. Website making for me is a process of constant transformation, changing things as you see fit and creating redesigns and revisions as the need (and inspiration) arises.

Writing for a hypertext differs greatly from the traditional essay writing that I am used to. In writing an essay, you stick with one thesis and work around that thesis, further explaining and supporting it. For hypertext writing, however, I definitely had to stretch my topic. The scope for the writing I am used to is very limited. In hypertext, however, I could go as far as my topic could bring me. I looked for different viewpoints, statistics, data, scholarly text, pertinent links and first person accounts. I was able to include all of these in my websites and I feel that not only was I able provide my reader with a broader grasp on the subject, but I myself discovered more information and insights about my chosen topics because of the breadth of research that hypertext writing let me do.

Creating the annotated bibliography helped me gain a more “scholarly” perspective to my topic. At first, using the library database was tricky because there is so much that you could get from it. However, after much trial and error, I finally go the hang of using the database and the books I found through it greatly helped me in writing my hypertext. Also, writing an annotated bibliography made the process of writing the printable version much smoother. I admit, however, that writing it was tricky. I originally thought that it was merely regurgitating data but after a few revisions, I made sure that my annotated bibliography explained the relevance of each and every one of my sources. Because I was able to successfully write it, my research was more vivid in the essay and it was more clearly presented. Aside from the annotated bibliography, writing a review of the literature aided me in perfecting my linear essay. It gave structure to both my essay and my website and it helped me remember the modest original contribution that I wanted to make in my chosen topic’s field of study.

After reading Draut, I realized how dire the maids’ situations are. Draut calls college a “luxury-priced necessity”, saying that “entering the real world with only a high school diploma is like going into battle armed with only a squirt gun.” (Draut, 29).  This assumption exacerbates the situation of the maids because not only do they not have a college degree themselves, their wages are not enough for them to send their children to college. How then, if a college degree is absolutely necessary into thriving in the “real world”, will maids be able to break her and her family into a life of poverty and hardships?

My low wage life hypertext has 13 websites with around 3 – 4 internal links per page and two navigation bars. It includes about 2300 words of my own writing plus a link to a 2046-word printable research essay based on the site. It also has 7-item annotated bibliography, a review of literature and an overview of my original contribution.