Going into this class I was not sure what I was getting myself into. I had some pre conceived ideas of what I though this class was going to be like but those turned out to be not even really close, but I think that is a good thing. I took this class as my last SINQ and I choose it because I always thought of myself as someone who keeps up with popular culture. My previous 2 SINQ’s were somewhat related to my major so I also wanted to take a course that was something completely different. Overall I have enjoyed this class and will be taking away many valuable lessons and knowledge that will be very applicable to the real world and everything that surrounds us.

My initial learning goals coming in for this class were to expand my knowledge on popular culture and really learn what makes up popular culture. As far as my communication goals went, my main goal was to just improve my overall writing skills throughout the course. Of course my final goal was to do well and hopefully get an A in the class. As the term went on I really started to notice where my strengths and weaknesses lied. As far as strength goes I noticed that my strength seemed to be that I was able to connect my life and personal experiences with the topic or issues we would discuss. This really helped because it allowed me to connect myself to the subject and express my ideas more clearly. Here is an example of how I was able to use a personal experience to get my point across.

“1) The essay I found more compelling was The Book Stops Here. When I started reading the article and realized it was about wikipedia I immediately wondered who contributes to the wikipedia pages and why do people do that. To my luck the essay basically answered my question and more for me. I found it very interesting to read contributors say that editing and adding information is like an addiction to them. One thing I took away from this essay was just how much protection is now around wikipedia pages. There seems to be a lot of work that goes in to protecting the pages from vandals/trolls from contributors and I am sure there are many more now, being this essay was written 10 years ago. Me and my friend actually tried to make a wikipedia page about our friend once and the page was deleted within 5 minutes of it going up because it was considered to be not important or substantial information. It just goes to show how you cannot get away with nearly as much as people think you can on wikipedia.”

I think this is a good strength to have because when the reader sees that you have a personal experience that goes along with what you are trying to say it can help them understand as well. My main weakness this class was exactly what I figured it would be. My biggest problem in all of my classes is procrastination and it was no different with this class. I often found myself Thursday night or Sunday night trying to get my work done. Most of the time I get the work done on time and do it well but sometimes it is rushed and I just wonder how much better it could have been if I started way earlier. I am continually trying to work on my procrastination because I know I can improve my writing and overall work much more if I give myself more time.

I think the role in which I greatly improved and gained a new understanding for is a reviewer. In previous SINQ’s and my FRINQ last year we would have to periodically peer review other students work but never to the extent we did for this class. It was always just fill out a form about their work but ultimately the professor’s feedback would be the only one we cared about. In this class we had to rely on our group members a lot for our final blog post and much more input was given on our topics from our group members than the professor or mentor. This really gave me a new appreciation being a reviewer because I realized that people take a lot of stock into what you have to say and your suggestions really are something people look forward to and they actually use them. Being a reviewer myself I really enjoyed the letters we had to write to our group members because there was no outline or sheet to follow directly so I was really able to be free on my suggestions and because I did not have a worksheet or outline it forced me to really inspect the rough drafts more than I would have.

“One thing that is missing, which you stated, is a conclusion. I think for your conclusion you should make sure it summarizes your main points again and connects those points with yourself. It sometimes seems hard to follow what your main points are through your primary sources so summarizing them in the conclusion would be strong. You go so quickly from the positive affect of things to the negative affect that sometimes I got confused. I’m also wondering if it may be easier to talk about all the positives of gaming in the media and then switch and talk about all the negatives. It may make the paper easier to follow and easier to understand the main points you are trying to make.”

That was part of one of the peer review letters I wrote. In my previous experiences with peer reviewing I would not have written anything that detailed or helpful. I would just follow the peer review sheet given to me and write down general ideas. This is a great example of how I improved as a reviewer from this course and a lot of it has to do with the understanding I gained about peer reviewing.

There are many things I will take away from this course and use in my everyday life and future courses. However I think the main thing I will be taking away is just my improved knowledge of being able to identify, evaluate, and analyze sources and knowing where the line is for copyright infringement. I think these will be the things I take away the most because they are and will be applicable in almost everything I do in my life. With technology playing a huge part in our life and the internet being such a necessity it will be very important I know what is a reliable source or something that I can use. This class really cleared up some uncertainties I had on those subjects and I will take and use that knowledge for a very long time. Overall I am happy I took this class because it has taught me a lot about our world today and has been enjoyable doing it.