Sean Young

During the first few classes, I was extremely nervous and worried about how daunting the classes’ work load seemed. Creating webpages was something new for me. That first time Terri came to our class and explained how Dreamweaver worked, I felt overwhelmed! However, after experimenting for an hour or two, I started to easily get the hang of the system.

My first personal webpage wasn’t aesthetically the best; in fact the design was pretty horrible and random. However, my navigation bars, links, text, and pictures all blended together and I was very proud of my first website creation. I actually enjoyed the process of making the website. After my first project, using Dreamweaver came to me like second nature. I had the best time trying to envision and design the last two projects so that the websites looked pleasing to the eye, yet not over crowded. With the perfect amount of pictures, text, variety of placement, and great use of links/navigation bars, I am extremely pleased with my design layout of the final two webpages.

Of course, design isn’t everything. The actual text in a website matters a great deal. This class taught me that revising is necessary. Not only did I have to revise my webpage writing, but I had to create a linear version from it. This took time and dedication, yet in the end helped the writing as a whole a lot in my opinion. By writing a linear version from a hypertext version, I had to think about what information was unnecessary and what I might need to add to keep the linear version’s writing smooth and connected. By doing this, I could go back to the hypertext writing and maybe add something important that I overlooked, or delete parts that were totally just unrelated.

However, my first linear essay wasn’t that much different than the actual text from my webpage. Only when I did the research hypertext, did I have to change almost all of the writing to create the linear essay. Without a doubt, I used much more information found in my review of the literature and various sources cited in my annotated bibliography than from my research webpage. Thus it was harder and took more time and effort to create the linear essay for my research hypertext. But the extra work did help my writing. I changed a lot of wording in my final revision for my webpage due to my work on the linear essay.

Critical thinking was also important to creating the hypertexts, especially the text portion. I have three quotes from the critical thinking quote page that I thought followed my process of thinking. Here are the quotes and my thoughts:
"Thus, critical thinking involves: following evidence where it leads; considering all possibilities; relying on reason rather than emotion; being precise; considering a variety of possible viewpoints and explanations; weighing the effects of motives and biases; being concerned more with finding the truth than with being right; not rejecting unpopular views out of hand; being aware of one's own prejudices and biases, and not allowing them to sway one's judgment."

This quote truly represents what I think about when creating hypertext. For all my hypertext projects, I had to represent people other than myself, tell their story, without being biased from what I already had known. I had to take a variety of viewpoints to make the hypertext successful. Rather than trying to be "correct" I had to find the truth. For the research hypertext, I'm trying to convey the truth of the matter, whether or not the truth is what I believe in doesn't matter. I can't let myself sway my judgment, I must just write what is true and that is all. And this critical thinking quote sums that up perfectly.

"Critical thinking is careful and deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgment."

I also found this quote to be helpful. When creating the hypertext, I needed to be able to know what information should be accepted and put into the project, and which should be disregarded. If I put everything I learned about the topic into one hypertext, it would be too wordy and too much of a summary. I had to find the perfect balance.

"Critical thinking is the formation of logical inferences."

Lastly, I agree with this quote because while doing my research hypertext, I realized that much information on low-wage McDonald's workers applies to the research journals on low-wage jobs in general, or working at restaurants. I just had to use my logical inferences to connect the situations of people in other low-wage jobs to the situations of people at McDonald's.

For me, the biggest thing I’ve learned from this class is how to create and design a webpage. It’s the most impactful thing I’ve learned because it was the most interesting part of this class for me. I feel like I could create more webpages in my spare time just because I enjoy creating and designing. However, the greatest thing I’ve learned that is useful towards school and work is how to successfully write a review of the literature. This was the first time I ever had to write a review of the literature, and it was extremely time consuming, not to mention difficult. However, the skills I’ve learned from doing it will definitely be able to help me in future English classes or perhaps even in potential jobs.

My research site explains, using first person accounts, potential reasons as to why adults would still work at low-wage workplaces such as McDonald’s. However, it only gathers information on why they are still working there and not at a higher paying job. Thus, it doesn’t really help the low-wage workers who are actually working at McDonald’s. If anything, the best advice my site gives is to get a better education, as education is a key element for success.

Speaking of success, I was able to successfully complete the goals I had set for myself during the midterm. I wanted to create a better designed website and (more importantly) improve my writing for the website. My final project really had improvement in the weaker areas of my writing skills, thus I was pleased. And having to write that review of the literature really made me focus and concentrate, which helped towards my improvement. However, my review of the literature and annotated bibliography isn’t perfect and still need work in order to be exceptional. So I’ll probably use the skills I’ve learned from this class to help better my writing and researching in the future.

Of course, my success wasn’t without help. A lot of my ideas for my designs actually came from my peers’ webpages. I really enjoyed some of them, and strived to create a design just as good, if not better, than theirs. Some examples of peer websites that gave me inspiration are:
Their constant level of gorgeous web design and excellent placement really helped me in my quest to create an amazing website. They gave me ideas of where to put navigation bars, where pictures should be placed, what colors go together, and which templates worked wonders.

In the end, I think I’ve learned a great deal from this class, and I’m glad I took it. Learning how to write for hypertext and how to research thoroughly were great new skills I picked up. But honestly, learning how to write and research was boring for me. Creating webpages was the best part about this class, and is what I’m glad I learned. I actually enjoyed going to the library to work on my website design and layout, which is saying a lot since I do despise work of any form.

For my next project, I’d want my design to be something very creative and amazing, perhaps even making the webpage look crowded. I want a ton of interesting (perhaps even moving) images/objects that are actually clickable links. Of course, that all depends on the topic of my next project. If the topic is something fun and loose, then that design would work! But if the topic is quite serious, I think I’d have to make the design parallel the subject.

Connecting to Draut:
As Draut says, “entering the real world with only a high school diploma is like going into battle armed with only a squirt gun” (Draut pg.29). This is a huge difference that separates my situation from the situation of low-wage workers. Right now, I’m working to getting my college degree so that I can have a good paying job. Most low-wage workers only have high school diplomas, if any, which is why they have such a hard time finding employment. Another thing that I have that low-wage workers might not is a family that supports me financially for the time being. I don’t have to be a “juggler” and work full time while I attend college. These jugglers however “work in low-wage jobs like retail or fast food, or they do grunt work at an office, and manage to squeeze courses in at a community college, study every minute that they’re not on the job” (Draut, pg.67). This is just my opinion, but having the money for education is important, so a main factor is the family you come from. If your parents have the money to get you through school, you’ll usually end up with a fine job. But if education costs are too much or educational values aren’t important to your family, then usually you’ll end up not going to college, and having to work low-wage jobs.

Site Described in Material Terms:
My site is comprised of 17 individual pages. It has on average 3-4 internal links per page, plus the 10 links located in the 2 navigation bars per page. There are no external links in my website. My site includes around 2500 words of my own writing, plus a 2200-word printable research essay based on it. It also has a 15-item annotated bibliography with 6 sources from an online scholarly database, 6 sources from various journal articles, and 3 sources from various books.