Ahaze’s Weblog

Portfolio Summary

Portfolio Summary

One of the most memorable classes of the semester, to me, was the first day of class where we discussed what multimodal composition is or rather what multimodal composition is not. I was surprised to find out that multimodal composition encompasses a large variety of modes. Upon enrolling in the class, I did not know exactly what “multimodal composition” was. We were asked to make videos of what writing was to us and I found that despite knowing and using the computer every day, my ideas of composing on different forms of media were very limited. Writing, to me, consisted mainly of words produced on paper either manually or technologically by computer. It never occurred to me to consider an audio commentary or a video calling for submission of papers as writing. Therefore the most important thing that I learned is what multimodal composition is and how much it is being incorporated into the future of composing. I realize that I am writing my portfolio summary in a more tradition, closed minded mode, but by doing this, it can be used in contrast with all of the other forms of media that fall into the category of multimodal composition.

After learning what exactly multimodal composition is, I had to work outside of my comfort zone to create pieces of work on different forms of media. I learned how to use windows movie maker to create a call for submissions for the New Work of Composing. This was the first time I had ever used Windows Movie Maker. It was a little bit more than frustrating. When using new forms of media, it can be difficult to figure out how to make everything flow together while still having some constraints put on you from the program you are using. Without having any guidelines and just being allowed to explore the Windows Movie Maker, I was able to figure out how to create a video with effects and audio. This was the first assignment where I had ever surprised myself by taking on something I had never done before and produced such a good product. It was a shock for me to realize that I still had something to learn from the computer which I had thought I already knew a great deal about.

Going to the Watson Conference only helped me realize this more. As stated earlier, I was rather closed minded in my modes of composing as well as my opinions on those who use other modes of composition. My opinion was that people my age and younger knew how to use multimedia while people older, knew very little. The Watson Conference completely shifted my opinion. I was surprised by how much everyone knew and that I actually learned about new programs on the internet that I had never known about. That was not the only thing I learned at the conference. I also learned some technical things such as how to use a video camera. This in itself was surprising, since at my age I should have already known how. It was all a little bit overwhelming

This class was hard in the way that it pushed you beyond your limits. Every time we were assigned work I would have a little panic attack. It required me to actually plan out and spend more time than I normally would on an assignment. It almost made me question whether I wanted to continue to compose on new media and explore everything that new media entailed. It is hard to be in a class where you are thrown into a field which you knew so little about in the beginning of the class. Even by working on our project, we were barely able to cover everything that new media includes. That alone, was one of the hardest concepts to grasp.

I figured that if I was overwhelmed and surprised by the small amount I knew about new media, then how must the professionals who did not grow up with this kind of technology feel? Watching the presentations at the conference showed me that they were just trying to tackle one thing at a time. If we were taking a class which specialized in one area of multimodal composition than we could have gone about it the same way but this class was an introductory class to new media and thus we had so much more to work on. With the project of a myspace, we were able to sample all of the medium we had learned to use in the class so we were able to visually as well as audibly show what we had learned in class.

What I got out of this class most was how we as students have a lot to teach the older people but also how much we still have to learn from them. Just because they did not grow up with these forms of technology, doesn’t mean that they do not know what they are doing and can’t show us or at least open our eyes to what we can potentially do.


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