Learning Essay

Over the course of this quarter I believe I have significantly improved my critical writing skills and hypertext writing in general. In the beginning of the year I really had no clue what a hypertext was, if you don’t believe me you can just look at my first project. Now that we are nearing the end of the quarter I have come to realize that hypertext writing includes creating pages that start with the main subject of your argument or topic and dive deeper into the specifics by linking pages internally so as to create a network of information and discussion.

My first project in itself was unsuccessful, but the obvious failures made me realize what I was doing wrong. I didn’t change much from my proposal to my first draft all the way through my final draft because I wasn’t really sure what I was making. Both the writing and design aspects were low. It doesn’t feel like a complete site because each page is focused on one part and does not contribute to the site as a whole. The navigation is lacking as well. It’s not easy to navigate throughout the entire site and I do not put less important pages deeper into the site.

My second project was more successful in design and writing. The writing is brief and highly informational, and the design is consistent and the internal links allow the site to be navigated quite well. However the site has some major flaws. The navigation bar on the bottom of the page is too large and overwhelms the text and the topic itself is unsuccessfully vague. I have succeeded in making a hypertext that is navigable and informational, but the broad topic keeps me from interesting readers. Unlike the first site, this site changed a lot throughout the process of creating it. The proposal and first draft are similar, but the following drafts lead me in so many different directions that I never really narrowed in on one aspect of my topic.

My final project for the fall quarter was the most successful out of all three. For this project I wanted something more professional in both design and content. The writing was greatly affected by the research and novels we read in class. This is where my writing and critical thinking intertwine. I tried to incorporate and criticize the research I found on my topic, while adding my own opinion on the relation between hours and education with my original contribution of interviews conducted with two former retail workers. The site is easily navigable with internal links and two side bars. Unlike the second project, I was able to narrow in on an interesting aspect of my topic by keeping the most relevant pages on top and the less relevant pages deeper in the site. I think the review of literature and annotated bibliography was helpful in that they gave me a starting point for what I would eventually turn into an interesting topic. Likewise the color schemes and writing columns give the site a more professional look than my other two projects. In design I drew from Kelli Ryan and Bonnie Given. For the linear essays and writing content I looked at Aldo’s sites.

I think what I learned most successfully was the writing aspect of a hypertext. I learned to interest the reader with narrower information on a topic then general information can be found deeper in the site. My design sense was also more successful in that my final project is much cleaner than the first two. The navigation is much clearer and the pictures and side bars compliment the writing instead of overwhelming it.

My final project consists of thirteen webpages, averaging two external links per page, plus two navigation bars both with three different links. There are seven external links on the site. It includes 2,507 of my own words and 1,754 words of a printable essay. There is an 8 item annotated bibliography with 6 links to library sources and 2 to web sources.