Learning Essay

When I first stepped into class, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, I really didn’t read the class description or title, so I just figured that this would be a conventional English class. Therefore, I was very surprised to hear how 5 paragraph essays are irrelevant, and how the class was structured, such as the writing of essays on websites. The subject of computers was something I have always been interested in, so I immediately felt a little excitement. I took a multimedia design class in high school, so I was pretty confident this class wouldn’t be too much of a challenge. That was, of course, until I started work on my first hypertext.

My first website was on how my high school often gets a negative reputation based on common stereotypes surrounding it. When I first started writing the contents, I felt as if it was descriptive enough. When I received my feedback of it however, I was a little confused. I apparently could have gone into greater detail about it, and some of the content I wrote as the main points was actually more for the outer layer of information. I’ll admit that I panicked, because I really wasn’t sure how to approach this new way of writing. In regards to the design, my navigation bar had far too many links, and I felt like I spent too much time finding appropriate pictures for each page. However, I feel like the color scheme of red and blue was appropriate. My second website was definitely much cleaner in terms of design. Though there was lack of consistency with the color schemes and backgrounds, I feel like my navigation bar was definitely an improvement. However, the hypertext itself was extremely linear and did not allow the reader to dig deep into the issues.

 This, I would say, is the turning point where I finally realized how to make my hypertexts. For my first hypertext, I found it easy to add layers of content, simply because it was my school. For my second hypertext, I tried too hard to focus on simplicity, that I completely disregarded the idea of adding layers of information. I kept this in mind when working on my final hypertext, trying to simplify design while not simplifying the content.

Things I found unusual, unconventional, yet helpful at the same time were the annotated bibliography, linear essay, and the review of literature. While annotated bibliographies are something we are taught to do regularly, actually having to write out why we choose a source we choose is something I found very helpful. Most of the time, I just see annotated bibliographies as a citation to prevent plagiarism. However, describing how the source is relevant to the topic reminds me that these sources are here to help us. In regards to the linear essay, I just found it interesting that creating a hypertext makes it extremely easy for me to reconnect the dots and make it into a regular, printable essay. Finally, the review of literature was something I have never heard about it my life. When I first heard about it, I honestly had no idea what to think. However, after hearing the comparison to “America”, I realized that it would be an extremely helpful tool in creating my hypertext, simply because it created the backbone of my hypertext.

While creating my final essay, I was able to get a better sense of researching data and applying it to a project. Normally, I would mainly just use one or two sources, while having others as backups. However, this project really forced me to analyze different articles relating to my topic, due to the fact that I was attempting to portray the life of a low wage worker. The aspects of these workers were not just on an encyclopedia page. I needed to look at first person accounts, articles pertaining to the subject, and other sources. I believe I can successfully apply this newfound way of researching to other classes and projects I will eventually come across.

Finally, in regards to the class, I will admit that there were some days that I wasn’t clearly sure about what was going on. For example, when assigned readings in the various books we read, I read the books to understand the content. That’s why I was a bit surprised to hear that we had read the book in order to understand the “lens” that the author uses. It’s just something that was a bit different and unconventional in my opinion.

My final hypertext consists of about 2000 or more words, with 12 pages, a literature review, and an annotated bibliography. Though my site reaches out to the general public who may or may not be aware of the situation agricultural migrant workers live through, I would definitely show it to migrant farm workers themselves in order to see if there are any other pieces of information I should either add or are irrelevant.

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