My Learning Essay

    When I began my freshman year of college, I was completely computer-illiterate. I had no idea how to research important issues in depth, and the fact that my CTW class revolved around technology made me fear for my GPA. When I was informed that I was supposed to make websites for my CTW class, I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me.
    Our first project was to design a hypertext around something that was important in our lives. Finding a topic for my first project was easy. The decline of the family meal came to me as soon as I heard that we were supposed to find a topic that was important to us. I felt like I could excel with this subject because my parents have always told their kids how important it is to eat with the family.  I had lots of ideas for my website, but the main problem was I did not really know how to work KompoZer. I was having a lot of trouble following Gloria during class. Before the first draft of our project was due, I had to go to my fellow classmates for help. I had Anthony DeCosta explain the site to me and eventually, I was able to work and function the KompoZer. For my first draft of my very first website, I had no idea what I was doing, design-wise. I was not sure what direction I wanted to go with my website. With all of these different ideas and concepts running through my brain at one time; it made it difficult to create a clean, neat, and influential website. My first project was adequate, considering it was my first project, but I knew I could do better. My color scheme was one of the major problems. The colors were too bright and childlike, which is what I was going for at first, but after I submitted the project, I felt that it took away from the content of the site. And because I kept changing my direction throughout my process, the information was solid, but seemed very high school. It was not at university-level intellect. After my first project, I realized that it was essential that I knew the ins and outs of KompoZer and to have a direction for my subject as soon I started the hypertext.

   My second project looked very similar to my first project.  Even though the topic was less family-friendly (lowering the drinking age to 18), I liked my layout from my first project therefore, that is how I made my next project. I thought that all websites should be laid out with easy to find navigation bar on the top of each page.  I again, without realizing it, created my project like it was a high school controversial power point.  It did not have real depth or high level intellect and I was just spitting out the pros and cons of each side.  When I wrote the linear versions, it was much easier than I had imagined because I had just spit out facts. My second project also suffered and I regret not branching out and trying something new.
     So for my final project, I looked at the websites of Aldo Altienza and Clare Batty for inspiration. It took me a long time to decide a layout for this hypertext. I had many different drafts and formats before I decided that I was going to go with a clean and neat layout that reflected a whole different hypertext from the first two. I decided to lose the huge toolbar at the top of the page and settle for a top and bottom toolbar that would only have pages necessary for that particular section. I also researched  the topic in more depth, unlike the second project where I just looked at the basic facts on the sites and did not dive in deeper to other subjects and issues that regarded this matter.
My final hypertext was sixteen webpages with 2,838 words of my own writing, not including the annotated biliography or the review of the literature. Each page was different for me when it came to my internal links because, on some pages, I did not feel that it would be useful to put a large amount of internal links or any at all in some cases.  My hypertext  includes a navigation bar that averages four standard links per page.  I had an 10-item annotated bibliography with links to six online sources and descriptions of five library resources. I have a 2,062 word printable version of my hypertext, a literature review that was also included on the site. 
      I believe that if children of Vietnamese immigrants read this site, they will find it very informative, as well as very true to their everyday lives. Even if they never talk about it with their family and friends, the different stories and webpages may let the children realize that they are not alone and they have something and people to relate to.

    Overall, I feel like I have learned so much more from this class than any other class this quarter. The fact that I, Maggie Roe, am now able to make a decent and fully functioning website proves that I have progressed as a computer-user. I started out as someone who did not fully understand how to work her printer to a person who can pull off making a well-thought out and informative website with clean layouts and designs.
    Throughout the whole quarter, after each project I took all of my peers and teacher’s comments into account and tried to fix whatever criticisms they made on my projects. The biggest criticism on my first two projects was my layout so for my final project, I tried to make the layout more sophisticated and clean.
    I think it is fair to say that I learned a lot from this class. Besides learning how to work KompoZer effectively, I have learned how to research at a college level and I have now developed high-level computer skills. I now feel comfortable to go onto other computer classes and excel at whatever technological projects they assign to me.