Comic 1

 

 

Comic 2

 

 

Song Remix

 

 

The past two quarters with Professor Bousquet have definitely challenged me and pushed me to my limit. I’ve done things I’ve never done before. I’ve written in a style that was unfamiliar to me. I’ve used programs that I diligently had to force myself to learn. I’ve spent countless hours in the library, getting kicked out on more than one occasion. In spite of all these, perhaps the most valuable lesson that I have gained is a redefinition of the term “critical thinking”.

The first half of the two-quarter class introduced me to the slow ascend to my epiphany on critical thinking. We were required to read books that dealt with low wage workers such as Strapped and Fast Food Nation. We analyzed different viewpoints and became open to the different openings and possibilities that a certain topic could have. In reading and discussing these books in class, I was enriched by such varying and relevant views that were completely different from mine. Just hearing and contributing to class discussions helped me realize that an issue could be approached in so many different ways and it is in real critical thinking that a person must treat each view point with utmost care and more importantly, respect.

More than just discussing the books, however, writing on our respective topics definitely helped in entering the world of hypertexts. I could vividly remember my first foray to the field of web design in my hypertext “Growing Up Jesuit”. It was there when I realized my style of web design. I wanted to employ a clean and sophisticated design because I was particularly enthralled with the simplistic design of some of my favorite websites. I carried this design aesthetic with me throughout my two other hypertexts, namely “The Reproductive Health Bill” and “Maid in Manila”. I learned the power of simplicity in my websites and after going through many revisions just to get rid of clutter and eye sores in my pages, I could firmly say that I can now make websites that are simple, yet effective and powerful in message.

Writing for hypertexts, however, is a completely different story. Hypertext writing is vastly different from the type of writing that I am used to. In high school, I would always have to write long and draggy essays that would only analyze a topic in a limited number of viewpoints. Hypertextual writing, however, gave me so much more freedom and gave me a wider scope in writing about my topic. It was in writing for hypertext that I practiced researching and scouting for all the possible viewpoints that I and numerous scholars have on a certain topic. This idea was particularly true for my low wage life hypertext “Maid in Manila” and my two research hypertexts “The Reproductive Health Bill” and “Of Tweets, Tumbles and Toppling Tyranny”. In writing for these websites, I engaged myself in a discourse that covered my own ideas and opinions synthesized with the existing scholarly discourse found on journals, books and websites. I was used to always just finding a couple of viewpoints and sticking to them. Writing for this class, however, pushed me out of my comfort zone by making me seek other people’s perspective on my chosen topics. As uncomfortable as this initially made me feel, I now feel a deep gratitude for having this experience because it made me open to what other people think. Learning isn’t restricted to one aspect of an issue. If you truly want to understand a key topic, then it is vital to not just find out where you stand, but to hear other people out and make sure that you comprehensively cover all the viewpoints and relevant information that you possibly could regarding your topic.

The hypertext projects were all opportunities for us students to partake in hypertextual scholarly writing. We wrote for a public audience. Our websites could be seen by anyone surfing the web and it was our responsibility as informed netizens to not just regurgitate what other scholars have written before. We had to dig deep and truly analyze our research in order to come up with an original contribution. For example, my research hypertext “Maid in Manila” sought to gather new and compile old anecdotes regarding domestic abuse of household help. It sought to approach the issues of violence and mistreatment against household help in a more compassionate and personal manner by featuring actual stories by real maids themselves. Instead of putting down data and statistics, I felt that it would be more effective if I looked for and asked real maids themselves to share their stories with me. True enough, the stories were vital in constituting the powerful and empathic hypertext that I now have. For my “Of Tweets, Tumbles and Toppling Tyranny” hypertext, I sought for Doctorow’s response to the idea of light affinity ties. No one else on the internet has done this before and I am proud to say that I have genuinely contributed to the world of scholarly discourse, as minor as my contribution may be.

Scholarly writing, as I realized throughout this quarter, is not that different from hypertextual writing. In writing my websites, I would always refer back to certain articles and scholarly journals that I have procured in my research process. I noticed, however, that the same method of referring back to scholars and journals are employed in the scholarly resources that I have. This just goes to show the inherent power of hypertext writing. Most people think that writing for websites is constantly dumbed down or that it is “lazy” because it would always link out to numerous websites. But if seen in a scholarly light, this is an effective way of making the reader branch out and read more about the different viewpoints and data that is available all around the web. Scholarly and hypertext writing creates a map. It presents a grove of intellectual writing ready for the reader’s consumption.

In saying so, advancements in technology have redefined the hypertextuality of websites and scholarly writing. Scholarly writing would refer back to just books and would entail the hassle of looking for those books in the library. These books are, more often than not, unavailable or inaccessible. Online, however, these books and journals are proliferated. With one click of a button, a user would have access to an innumerable amount of journals, articles and books. This capability is one of many steps that technology has contributed to the complete integration of hypertexts and scholarly writing. The potential of professional and knowledge-making hypertextuality is continually being realized by the advancements of technology. To not just be a spectator, but to be a part of the rapid change that technology brings to the field of scholarly writing is extremely exciting.

In the second part of the quarter, we were asked to read the book “Little Brother” and reinterpret the book by “remixing” it and making a five minute movie based on the values and themes found in the said book. This process of remixing entails understanding the concepts and motifs presented in the book, taking them and analyzing them in a deeper level. We exploit those themes, and make them the bases of our screenplays and eventually, our movies. This process of remixing brought out the dichotomy between traditional exercises such as writing annotated bibliographies and review of literature versus advanced exercises such as machinima and comic strip making.

Having the opportunity to both, I would say that the advanced exercises that we did in the latter part of the quarter was the most effective in my learning. It gave us the opportunity to truly look outside the text and find what we found relevant or what we found the most intriguing about the text. There was no right or wrong answer. No opinion was more significant than the other and no choice was better than the other. We aligned what we found important and relayed that through the production of an original hypertext and eventually, a movie. For me, this redefined education as something participatory rather than something that is mere regurgitation. We were challenged to find what we ourselves believed in. We were challenged to go outside the text and use all these unique programs that we would never have had the chance to use were it not for this class. In polishing and bringing out the themes that we found most valuable, we had the arduous yet neat experience of using programs such as Bit Strips and iMovie. As challenging as these programs were, they were programs that we eventually learned and could use for the rest of our education and even in our careers after college. A design aesthetic for comic strips making and movie making was developed throughout the process of creating both and these would not have been realized were it not for the ingenious remixing project that we had.

Remixing, or rethinking a topic in a different and unique light, is something that piques critical thinking and writing. It challenges people to think more deeply and to look at the subject matter through a different lens. For example, in my “Intro to Asian American Studies” class, we examined the migratory patterns of first generation Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos. It would’ve been interesting to make a film depicting the reactions of the original American settlers to the settlement of these migrants. Activities like this forces the students to think critically, to apply and go beyond the best of their understanding of the topics and the materials.

Everything that I have done in the course of these past 2 quarters in Professor Bousquet’s class have helped me realize not just what critical thinking truly is, but also its developing and constantly changing nature. We utilized new media in our projects and maybe in the future, as new forms of media are introduced, perhaps a revolutionary form of new media would take prominence. Whatever may happen, it is definite that the nature of education has changed such that the students could now take a more active role in their learning. The students are put in situations wherein they must teach themselves, wherein they must decide for themselves and wherein they must challenge themselves. Hypertext writing, comic strip making, glogster making, movie making and screenplay writing have all definitely pushed me to do all these things.

The field of technology, as I now realize, goes hand in hand with the field of professional writing and scholarly discourse. Both work together other as technology brings out the best in scholarly learning, especially in terms of its hypertextuality. Advancements are bound to happen and as soon as that occurs, I would be the first one to download that program and engage myself in the new and revolutionary form of learning and intellectual discourse.

 

Glogster

 

 

Research Hypertext

 

 

Index