As I look back on my experience with popular culture, I can safely say that it has been an immersive eye opening ride. In the beginning I was a little confused on what we are learning. I thought it was a class about movies, TV shows and famous people but it turned out to be a much more than that.
My initial learning goals where to be a better overall writer, but I also wanted a course that is interesting and fun. I had a slow and awkward start since I was forced to sign late for the class, but the teacher and classmates helped me settle in very quickly with their friendly attitude and willingness to offer help. In the beginning weeks of the term, I made more specific goals. I had set goals to be better at sourcing my writing, a better researcher and manage my time properly. The mentor workshop gave me the guide to begin with some group exercises were I showed my strengths and weakness. It was really helpful to engage in conversations with other team members where we exchanged notes of our writing experiences. I thought that communicating would be a challenge since this was an online class but the way the course was set up made it easy for me to post assignments and respond to others assignments. My biggest challenge was time. I could not manage as I thought I would. Since this term is my last as a mechanical engineering student, I made my major specific classes a priority. I could not compromise my time for those classes to work on this one. It was really hard since this class was a writing extensive class and there is heavy reading involved.
I can confidently say that I have gotten better not only in the categories I mentioned but also in other ones. I became A better communicator and learned how to share my thoughts in a safe and productive environment. It really helped that this was a multicultural class. Each classmate brought a deferent approach to writing. It was a real treat to see such diverse writers in one place. Each exercise we had brought significant improvement to my writing. They were very diverse, but on the other hand, plenty of resources were given which really helped. For example, I become much more confident in my interpretation of advertisements in the media. I would say that the most interesting assignment was on week three of the course blog. It really helped me realize how to deconstruct messages in ads. I wrote two prompts, the first was to find an affective ad and deconstruct it and the second was to analyze a cigaret ad while following an analysis technique found on external resources presented to us. Here they are 1:”Since I grew up in the nineties, I saw a lot of Michael Jordan. For those who don’t know him, his is considered on of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was everywhere. TVs, newspapers, magazines, billboards, buses and even on cereal boxes. Here is an ad that he did for Gatorade in the nineties. This ad is one that I think defines how companies utilize celebrity fame to sell their products. It shows Jordan holding a Gatorade and smiling with a large bold text that reads “Be like mike .. drink Gatorade”. In this ad, to sell their product, Gatorade was relating between their drink and Jordan’s fame that comes from his ability. Since it is a sports drink, the audience being targeted here were obviously sporty people. The ad gives the idea that if the best basketball player is drinking Gatorade, then it is got to help regular people up their game. Also, the power of using such a popular figure in an ad is that there are people who would buy it just because the figure that they love is using it. For me effective merchandise ad is one that sells the product, and Gatorade was booming at that time.” 2:“A celebrity, smiling while using an unusual looking cigarette. The people being depicted in this ad are white, middle aged, happy and stylish men. The man’s hand is highlighted using light to direct the attention on the cigarette. The ad uses stylish blue colors matching the stylish clothes of the man. The phrase “Rise from the Ashes” is large to catch the reader’s attention and to direct them to read the smaller info about their product. The smaller text is where the ad closes the deal, it describes how tobacco is bad because of the guilt, the smell the ash and the unnecessary moments where the smoker is forced to leave a place because it forbids smoking. So, the ad is selling happiness, ease of use and relief. The message being used works because those who are new to electronic cigarettes will see the obvious advantages of them in contrast to tobacco.”
It has been an immense learning experience for me. Weather it was writing, working with other people or utilizing resources available. Most importantly I think that my research skills are improved. For an engineering student it is an important skill to have, since our work involves many detailed based research. I really expanded my skills of crafting and honing my writing by utilizing external resources. Writing is a creative skill, but more importantly is having a good argument backed up with a proof of some kind. In the end I am more confident with my writing, communication and researching skills which has prepared me to be more successful in the future.