“A big step for a little bird on becoming an Eagle.” This is how I could describe my time taking ENGRD 101 from Professor Morgen. While taking ENGRD 101: The Secret Language of Comics, I have learned various skills that I have never encountered in the past. The course stood out from others from the beginning as we had to create our own website through WordPress instead of using canvas. It was at this moment that I added “Digital Citizenship” to my skillset as I created my own website, with an avatar representing myself, to which I uploaded all of my own original work. This experience helped me develop my skills in using technology appropriately and engaging responsibly in the online space.
Rhetorical composition is a skill that I already had as a speaker. However, in writing, it wasn’t as strong as it was in speech. The process of my development as a student was well shown through the three literacy narrative projects. The development of the literacy narrative from the first to the third project helped me accomplish the learning outcome of “Practice writing as a process, recursively implementing strategies of research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection.” As literacy one involved writing on the process of how I shaped my reading and writing skills, I was more general and descriptive of my path of developing my writing and reading skills by writing down irrelevant content. For example, I continued to utilize the writing structure that I used in middle school, such as “The way that I structured essays at that time was to write an introduction that caught the audience’s attention and then write two body paragraphs with two main points of my argument.” However, after receiving feedback from professor Morgen on how I could improve in literacy narrative 2 by getting rid of the unnecessary parts at the beginning, focusing more on the specific time about how I was able to get motivated, and how I actually developed my reading and writing skills, I was able to improve the content in my comics. For the final literacy narrative, at first, it was weird to return to the alphabetic literacy narrative after creating my comic. However, I felt that I could improve the narrative by focusing on how I developed as a human being as well as a student instead of providing background knowledge of how I performed during elementary and middle school. To illustrate, the superfluous content of the structure of my essay was deleted and I described instead how I was able to start developing further as a student. For example, I added “Although not my immediate intention during this time, I realized that improving my reading skills, analytic abilities and writing skills would allow me to achieve my immediate goals of better preparing for and scoring better on exams.” It became a pattern for me to reflect on my points and demonstrate the process of developing my conclusion.
One of the most unique activities of this course was definitely Halfa Kutcha. The interesting structure of presenting ten slides and spending only 20 seconds on each slide was challenging as I had to make my analysis as precise and concise as possible. The concept of trauma and healing shown in two different comics was able to push me to choose the most interesting scenes from Stitches and Kindred and make the presentation convincing and reflective of those issues. I personally wanted to spend more time on the pages that I selected and provide a detailed analysis of the use of symbolism, the intention of the author, and the stylistic devices used if I was given more time. When writing this piece, because the audience was my classmates who have background knowledge of the comics that I chose, I decided to spend time and effort on my analysis and evaluation of the scenes that I’d chosen rather than giving a simple summary and description of the scenes. The primary purpose of this piece was to provide an idea of how Stitches and Kindred expressed the trauma and healing that the main character undergoes. For Stitches and Kindred, they were the perfect representation of an individual and societal trauma, which was precisely the reason why I chose the two comics. Here, the individual was David, and the society was the African American community, represented by Dana. The preparation of Halfa Kutcha played a significant role in achieving the outcome of ‘visual thinking’ as I analyzed the intentions, symbols, stylistic devices, and tone when reading the comics.
The skills that I’ve learned during this class helped me with my final essay for my political science class. Political science was a field I had not studied before, and the topic that I chose for the final report was human rights abuse, which was more demanding than the other topics of climate change and financial crisis. Because I was able to develop my critical thinking skills and think in various perspectives about one topic, I was able to come up with strong points to support my view. Writing reflections for each assignment and Sunday sketch were able to develop my ability to provide self-feedback as well as going through my own work and reminding myself of the process of how I produced that work. This activity helped me plan out my political science essay and go through it after finishing my draft. Such a practice of self-reflection allowed me to be more objective about myself and improve the quality of my essays. The outcomes of this class were also applicable when I was writing essays and reports in Korea. Even though the language is different, the skills I have learned throughout this course allowed me to use them for Korean essays and receive good feedback. Just as I was able to apply the skills that I learned in this class to political science and other languages, I expect to be able to apply these skills in the future even after I finish my military service in Korea for two years and see Professor Morgen again.