English Portfolio Project

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  • Entering my first College English class was a daunting task, I didn’t know what to expect from the professor, the other students, or the course material short of the title,    
  • Initially, when I learned the course would be taught mainly through the lens of comic books I was nervous, during my childhood I would be considered at most a casual reader of comic books and now I was put into an entire course centered around them.   
  • Memoir Comics and the American Experience   
  • I thought comics were only superhero stories written mainly for kids and that I would have an extreme disadvantage to the other students in the class who I assumed were avid comic readers.   
  • I am not the most artistically inclined person and I knew drawing which is a major weakness of mine could be a major part of the course. For these reasons I began with a negative opinion outlook on the course   
  • For these reasons I began with a negative opinion outlook on the course, however negativity did not stay, with each additional book we read, documentary we watched, or artifact we completed this negativity dissipated and left me with an entirely new outlook on comic books.   
  • This said, I believe the greatest strides I have made in this course have come in terms of my understanding and perceptions of comic books.    
  • This course even exposed to many other new things including ethical, moral, and societal dilemmas I was unaware of, and previously unknown ways to communicate my ideas.        
  • I began the course with very basic comic reading skills, I relied almost exclusively on the dialogue to drive my understanding of the story, I would skim past visual images and panels and solely read the words.   
  • As I progressed through our readings I began to garner an appreciation for the paneling and line style of every page and the meanings it could convey for a story. This appreciation began when I started the first artifact the Pecha Kucha presentation.   
  • I initially wanted to analyze the dialogue much like I had previously stated I saw no reason to look at any of the formal elements of comic books, I wanted to study the content of the comic books and not the way they are drawn. After consulting Dr. Griffin and the assignment guide I realized I needed to study a more formal element.
  • At which point I chose to do my presentation on the use of color in Batman comics. The research that went into this artifact propelled me to see the true power of the drawing of comics and how other elements besides dialogue can have a huge impact on the story   
  • I gained the ability to focus on the formal elements of comics and as a result I am now a much more adept comic book reader at the same time, my perception of the genre as a whole was altered completely, I began to see comics as a more complete genre outside of the simple superhero stereotype.   
  • Through books such as March, Stitches, and Fun Home, I was exposed to comics in a setting where they can be used to explain extremely serious concepts and can even be analyzed in a literary context to illustrate higher level thinking.    
  • I also gained and developed many other valuable communication skills, Each artifact I have created this semester including this final portfolio has given me an opportunity to develop one or more of these skills in a project based setting. Essentially the skills of woven.  
  • In artifact one I used oral, visual, and electronic communication methods to create a multimodal Pecha Kucha presentation where I orally describe each slide of an imovie presentation in the form of a running movie. This multimodal presentation requires the combination of three separate communication methods into a coherent movie.
  • In artifact two I used visual and written methods to communicate in the form of a multi-modal essay with traces of my actual comic pages. This essay developed my ability to use pictures to supplement written words in an essay which is a very valuable skill because pictures can describe certain concepts very accurately in way a words cannot   
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  • Despite the strides I have made in terms of communication and understanding comic books perhaps the most important growth is in my awareness of greater social and ethnic issues that are perpetuated in the media.   
  • Prior to looking at the media analytically as we did in this class I had no idea of the stereotypes and lack of representation that exists for minorities in the media.   
  • The first real revelation I had was when we watched the Celluloid Closet documentary, I am not particularly well versed in TV and Film from the mid twentieth century, and when I saw the ways homosexual people were treated in media of the time I was horrified.    
  • When the only times people that you identify with are shown so negatively it is extremely detrimental to self-esteem and growth and can lead to depression among other issues. These issues are shown first-hand in “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel, where she recounts her childhood    
  • The other documentaries in this class combined with the comic book March and American Born Chinese showed that this struggle for positive representation in the media was not simply a homosexual issue, it encompassed racial minorities as well.   
  • I chose to write my third Artifact, a research paper on the portrayal of minorities in comic books. My findings were incredibly interesting, I realized that comic books often held in high regard and often read have many of the negative stereotypes and roles assigned to minority characters.   
  • I was appalled that children during their impressionable stages were being exposed to media showing minorities in very negative roles and there is no doubt in my mind that comic books have continued the perpetuation of stereotypes in America and across the globe.    
  • I have developed greatly over my time in this course, I have become a skilled reader of comic books, seeing the value in their content, I have honed many different communication skills and have gained the ability to give a wide range of presentations in a coherent and professional manner   
  • Most importantly I have become more socially aware in terms of portrayals and prejudices in the media. English 1102 allows for the discussion of a wide range of topics and I believe taking a section which I was not an expert in was a fantastic decision for me.   
  • It opened doors to an entire type of literature which I was unfamiliar with while at the same time teaching me about media as a whole. I believe I have become a much more well-rounded student and person as a result of this class and I think I have fostered a long lasting appreciation for comic books. 

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