ePortfolio

Initial Learning Goals

As I explained in my first blog post for this course, I’ve always found group work to be both the most challenging and most engaging way for me to interact with new learning concepts.

“…Revising collaborative work can be especially complicated due to authorship and personal opinions. In my experience, even grammatical edits in group work can become difficult or impossible when the author feels attached to their original contribution. However, I think the drawbacks of collaborative content production can easily be outweighed by it’s benefits. Whether in small group work like I’m familiar with, or on large-scale websites like Wikipedia, collective intelligence is much more representative of our understanding of topics on a societal level. Group projects in school have always made it necessary for me to reevaluate my own thinking, and I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn is through collaborating with someone whose views differ from my own. Collective intelligence may not be flawless or refined, but it’s certainly more dynamic, unbiased, and flexible than a single expert’s opinion.”

Given my take on both the importance and challenges of group work, I made it an objective at the beginning of the term to improve on my group work skills. I aimed in our D2L discussions to contribute as actively and thoughtfully as possible, and to take each of my group members posts into account—even if they didn’t align with my personal beliefs.

Looking back, I’m pretty proud of how I managed to engage with our group discussions, and am really satisfied with how my classmates seemed genuinely dedicated to the discussions as well. The only challenge I really faced throughout the course was maintaining my own discipline regarding deadlines; I managed to submit nearly all my work on time, but I tend to edit my work, seemingly forever, without feeling like it’s satisfactory and complete. On one hand, I could interpret this “perfectionist” mindset as proof that I care about the quality of my work. On the other hand, though, it makes procrastination a really appealing option. While I only turned in one or two late assignments, I’d still like to improve in that area. I think I can achieve this by embracing rough drafts, and continuing to ask for constructive criticism from my group members.

Becoming an Active Listener

I think I improved most this term in my role as an active listener. Because I made it a goal for myself to consistently participate in the D2L discussions, there was more than one occasion where I read ideas and opinions by classmates that were new to me. Rather than replying exclusively to the people whose opinions I shared, I managed to also ask questions and write responses to classmates whose identities were less familiar to me. Admittedly, this wasn’t a huge challenge—each member of my discussion group was kind and open-minded, and it helped to feel that my own ideas and opinions were being listened to as well. Still, though, I’m confident that I gained a much better understanding of my classmates and their different identities by taking all stories and philosophies into account.

Working to become a more active listener also gave me the opportunity to improve my own work, since classmates often made clever observations about aspects of our reading material that I myself might have overlooked completely. More than once, I found myself replying to classmates not only to explain that I agree or disagree, but also to acknowledge that I’d learned from their point of view.

Excerpt from response to a classmate’s comment on the Course Blog:

“…I didn’t even realize how little information [this article] gave about the two missing individuals. Now that you mention it, this seems like pretty critical background information in understanding the events, especially considering how few details we receive about the investigation. I wonder if the article left out personal information about the missing people because they themselves were lacking the info, or because it could be dangerous to provide the public with personal details in a potential kidnapping case? Or, perhaps the article leaves out this information intentionally to minimize the word count or something. What do you think?”

By asking questions and admitting when ideas were new to me, I achieved more dynamic interactions with my classmates. I also think this allowed me to gain a more complete understanding of the course material by working to view it from my group members’ perspectives.

Knowledge and Skills Gained from this Course

I’ve taken several online courses prior to this one, and I honestly never felt like I gained many skills that would be applicable later in life. Maybe that’s due to the subject-specific work in the courses (Art History, Health, etc.), or the fact that there was no communication aspect between the classmates or with the instructors. Needless to say, this course has been the most constructive and interactive online course I’ve ever taken. On top of being able to bounce ideas off my classmates and revisit topics from their points of view, I feel lucky to have been exposed to material I find genuinely interesting and engaging. Two ideas that strongly resonated with me this term were the topics of expert status in the age of information (Week 1), and media literacy (Week 5). These were two topics that I’d been wanting to explore in an academic context, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on them for class. Because weeks 1 and 5 focused on topics I personally found very interesting, I think some of my most authentic and engaged reflections appear there.

Excerpt from my response to the Week 1 course blog:

“I think we tend to presume that information is, by default, best and most reliable when it’s published by an expert in a book or peer-reviewed journal. Consequentially, it’s very easy to discount blogs and websites as invalid sources of knowledge.”

Response to a classmates comment on the Week 1 course blog:

“I was also really impressed by how dedicated Kvaran is to contributing on Wikipedia. It totally made me reconsider how our society decides who’s an “expert” and who isn’t. On one hand, it makes sense to me that expert status should require qualification, like some sort of degree, to prove how devoted an individual is to their area of study. But, after reading this article, I almost think it shows a more genuine interest when people (like Kvaran) work to master a subject in their free time. I agree with you that this sort of passion for knowledge is honorable and deserves more recognition! I wonder, should he receive the same merit as an Art Historian if he’s read and written about the topic as much as a college degree would require? If not, I wonder what differentiates Kvaran’s knowledge from that of a college grad with an Art History? After all, he probably reads from the same books, and has written enough on Wikipedia to make up dozens of essays!”

Response to a classmate’s comment on the Week 5 course blog:

“I think many people (including myself) are reluctant to admit that they aren’t as aware of world news as they feel they should be. I don’t think I’d be as quick to acknowledge how I’d rather spend my free time watching movies or browsing friends’ blogs than familiarizing myself with current events in distant countries — but now that you mention it, that’s totally the case for me as well. I’d like to be more aware of what’s going on in the rest of the world, but it’s really difficult to prioritize that when I’m privileged enough to choose how I spend my free time. After reading this week’s texts about media literacy, though, I feel a bit more motivated!”

A second response to a classmate’s comment on the Week 5 course blog:

“People probably don’t discuss these major events as much in person, because we all presume that the people around us have already looked at their smartphone and gotten up-to-date. I’ve noticed this pattern to be particularly strong in regard the the recent Baltimore riots. Personally, my ONLY understanding of the events come from what I’ve read online. My Facebook and tumblr feeds are full of news stories and opinion posts, but I haven’t heard a single person at school or in my neighborhood discuss the events aloud. On one hand it’s remarkable that we can all express ourselves and form opinions non-verbally, but this also seems like a very limited way for our culture to interpret events. After all, if for some reason I’d had no internet access over the past week, I’d be totally unaware of the events in Baltimore.”

As someone who regularly communicates and keeps up with current events over the internet, I know the brainstorming and reflecting I did for weeks 1 and 5 (above) will influence the way I use the internet from now on. I’m also glad to have gained awareness of media literacy and critical source analysis, since those skills are invaluable for people (like myself) who want to utilize the web as an accurate source of information.

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Eportfolio

My original goal for this class was to improve my writing skills. I wanted to be able to make my writing more concise, improve grammar, sharpen researching skills etc. More specifically when it came down to communication in our workshop groups my response was: “It has always been difficult for me to receive critism. I know it is necessary but is always hard to hear. For our mentor groups I hope that we can all be constructive toward one another’s post. When we say that we like what someone has said, we should be able to tell him or her why we liked it. Also if we disagree with one another hopefully we can give our reasoning why we think differently and support our opinion. Since we’re all adults I know that when we disagree we can be polite and constructive in our reply.

Good posts should answer any questions that have been asked in the prompt and any outside information used to back up a statement should cite where that information was taken from. Useful feedback should extend upon the subject that was answered by the original poster; perhaps ask questions to that the original poster did not consider in the initial post. Good participation is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just say you like or agree with someone. Give an explanation why”.

My strengths throughout the term were 1.) Staying organized and on top of all the posts and other assignments that were due. 2.) Responding to each weeks instructor prompts to the best of my ability, including using the texts for that week in my responses and also using other outside texts to help support my claims. Some challenges were finding secondary sources for the mirror essay. Researching is not a strong point of mine so finding good reliable sources for this assignment was a little bit of a challenge.

For this term overall I think that I made improvements in four of the areas listed. I feel like as a researcher that I have made improvements. I don’t just take a picture, advertisement or someone’s writing at face value. I try to dig a little deeper and find if the story behind the image or the writing is true to the claims being made. This is something that I did not even have the skills to do before, this course has made me much more analytical. The second improvement that I have seen in myself after this course is an improvement in my writing. The tools given to us through the Purdue website, having our own librarian to help, and the aid of our instructor and mentor have helped me to write better. If I don’t know how something should be cited or whatever else while writing I know of tools now that can be accessed to help make my writing the best that it can be. The last two improvements I think that I have made are as a citizen and a student. I think as a citizen now I am better equipped to see passed the tricks used through the media in the news and also in advertisements. As a student I think that I have improved because this class has put me out of my comfort zone a little bit. Having to review another’s work can be a sensitive matter. I am definitely not a perfect writer so having to tell someone else improvements that should be made in their paper is tough for me. But I think helping others find mistakes in their papers helped me to go back and find my own as well when I was revising.

The main skill that I will take with me and use in my everyday life is analyzing and researching potential sources for whatever I am using them for. It is easy to find something on the Internet and just using it to aid in an assignment. But as we all know the Internet has a lot of unreliable things floating around on it. Sometimes we may not even know that something is unreliable until that source itself is researched. In week two we were shown the perfect example of this. The course text was called, The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post 9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media by Diane Watt. In this case on page 36 of the article we are shown a little girl wearing religious clothing surrounded by a sea of black clothing. The cover states, “Why the world belongs to Islam”. The image and words are very ominous. Yet someone did some research and found that this was a day of mourning in Turkey, where otherwise these traditional garments would not be worn. Finding this out really blew my mind, it just made me wonder about every other news article, broadcast, etc. that I have heard and seen in my life. How much of it was true?

Now that I have seen first hand what the media can do to make their viewers swing one way or another on a topic I am much more wary about the information being given to me. I don’t have the time to research every story but these skills for research have made me see things differently. I don’t just take in information from anyone anymore. I looked at it more skeptically.

Adam Al-Holail Portfolio

My goals in taking this course have changed dramatically throughout the term. I came across this course because it was suggested to me by a friend and later on by my advisor. Admittedly I was hesitant to take the course at first and quite frankly intimidated by the subject matter for I have never taken a similar course in my entire academic career. I was born and raised in a society that had never brought popular culture into schooling or academic institution. Not only did the subject of the course feeling intimidating, but also the fact that it was online. This course was my first experience with an online course and it was new. But thankfully I managed to improve on navigating though the website and utilizing the checklist option to organize my time. I remember on the first day of the course looking up what the word Popular Culture meant. I found a vague and broad definition that only brought me more concern. As the course progressed I realized the beauty of the subject was hidden in its ironically broad yet simple meaning, pop culture is movie, its books, its Facebook and YouTube. Without realizing it I have been emerged in this discipline. As the term progressed my goals began to shift from just passing by unnoticed and unscarred and I became genuinely interested in the material at hand. It was about a quarter thought the term is when I began to get familiar with the technology required for the course and the overall expectations from the participating students and I began to relax and take the information in with relative ease. Once I became accustom to the ways of the course my goals became clear, I wanted to truly improve my writing skills and develop a more proper way of communication.

A role in which I improved on and gained a profound understanding in would be an analyzer, in week nine we were talking about analyzing advertisements and ways to look deeper into what was presented to the viewer or desired customer. We were asked to analyze an Adiddas commercial, which I found fun and interesting, was posted and we were asked to make certain “moves” to analyze it. Below is my comment for that weeks lecture:

 

The ad includes many scenes with many details; the details that spoke to me most were the subtle details of the clothes or lighting but rather in the blatantly obvious things that are in the video. The video features several factors to paint their mental image of “originality” in the minds of buyers (us). For example, the music played throughout the video is Beggin’ which was originally preformed by a band named “the four seasons” in 1964. The song was remade many times but most notoriously the hip-hop band Madcon remade it in the year 2007. Adiddas uses this song to bring the old-school feel of the 1967 version and to incorporate the newer hip version preformed in 2007. Adiddas used this song to give a sense of seniority over younger and perhaps rip-off companies that may be rivals. The add uses a mixture of old-school music and modern day looks to give off an aroma that subjects their superior class over other companies.”

 

In the 9th week course I saw myself getting into the subject and working hard and trying to meet the goals and properly accomplish the “moves” appropriately, not only to get the grade but also because I was genuinely interested in the matter of advertisement and analyzing and I realized I enjoyed it.

 

My role as a analyzer improved throughout the progression of this course as well as my role of a researcher. For the mirror blog essay analyzed and looked as myself to find defining adjectives about myself to write and essay about. After picking the subject of male college students I began researching artifacts from popular culture that portrayed Male College students. For the purpose of making my paper interesting I decided to pick movies that would give rise to interesting matters about male college students.

 

 

 

“ The film “A beautiful mind” is a movie based on the story of a young prodigy named John Nash who attended Princeton University on a mathematics scholarship in the year 1947. The movie is about Nash’s journey through college life and the struggles he faces while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness that has many effects on the mind such as frequent episode of hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. The purpose of the movie is to tell the story of this genius man as a college student and to show the amount of a burden stress and academic pressure can have on even the most intellectual individuals, many claim that the strain and difficulties Nash faced were components that contributed to his mental illness. The audience for this movie is broad because the story is well appreciated amongst many ages and cultures, but I believe the intended audience leans toward younger individuals (between the ages of 20-30) who are in the prime of their academic pilgrimage. The film had its premier on the13th of December in the year 2001. The movie was first showed in Beverly Hills, California and went public January 4th of the following year. “

Before this course my research background consisted of scientific matters alone. This paragraph from my mirror essay shows the role of researcher, although it might not be the most outstanding part of the essay It was a personal accomplishment for me to be able to do something that was once so out of my element. From this course I learned how to remove myself from my comfort zone and venture into new academic territories.

 

In this course I advanced in writing, which will without a doubt be applied, positively to future academic and professional endeavors. Thought this course I expanded my writing experience from what I have become accustomed to. By reading different styles of writing and analyzing each piece I gained some insight into the world of possibilities that come with each new style of literature. This will indubitably be useful in further learning whether in an academic sense or for personal growth.

 

 

 

Adam M Al-Holail

E-portfolio

Before taking this course I had very little interest in popular culture and I had very little knowledge of what popular culture was. I also wasn’t a big fan of online courses but after taking this course I realized that not only can I work at home but I can lean at home as well. Through this course I gained and improved multiple skills. I was fairly new to virtual community courses but I managed to familiarize myself quickly with my group and the format of the class. Through the discussions and the activities done in this class, I was able to recognize things about myself that I didn’t before through other sources; class mates and the course content. I realized after the first couple of weeks that the goals, list set in the beginning of the course, needed much improvement.

“One of my strengths in coming up with visual ideas when working in groups. Understanding the problem and collaborating with group members to come to a solution is something that I do well. One challenge that I face is presenting the idea orally to the public. Since English is my second language my word choice is much smaller so getting mu idea across is challenging and is something that I need to work on. This term the mirror blog and a peer review and will definitely help me improve my communication and my writing skills…  In order for a group project to be successful each individual must want to participate. Being able to communicate with one another, providing honest feedback, and not be afraid to share ideas is the key to group work. Also being enthusiastic and letting everyone share their piece will create a successful projects.”

The main goals I set for this term was to improve my communication skills and be able to actively participate in a group, share my ideas, and be able to provide helpful feedback. Also I wanted to improve my writing abilities by writing my making the writing flow more and also make my sentences more powerful by choosing better words. Improving my writing by making my word choice and sentences more powerful was challenging since my word choice is limited. What I felt I did well in was group participation and sharing my ideas. In most blogs I was able to connect with the writers and build on their ideas and concepts. I found this to be my strength. Also, I believe I was able to provide helpful feedback, especially in the mirror blog post, as well as receiving feedback. After receiving the peer review letter form a class mate, I realized my essay was written incorrectly and the way I represent engineers in media is only the negative aspect. After reading the review I was able to improve the essay by showing that even though engineers are most films portray engineer’s negatively, some films show how engineers truly are. This doesn’t only show the positive features of engineers but it motivates others to reconsider their career choices and possibly chose a path in the engineering field.

Throughout this course I improved and expanded on being an effective team member and not only providing advice but receiving it as well. In the peer review a student replied sayingThe Tony Stark reference was a good example as well. However, it seems you may have misinterpreted his portrayal because I do not think “evil” is the right word choice to describe him. The words I think of when talking about Tony Stark is like philanthropist, playboy and hero is the best words, not evil. First of all, he created the suit to save his own life. You could use the example of when his chest gets wounded by his own missile to portray that it is careless to how he got injured due to his own invention. But he learns that his weapons were getting in the wrong hands and harming innocent folk so he shut down its production. He did end up saving the world multiple times so calling him “evil” may not be the best word because he was clearly portrayed as a hero. However, you can use this example as a counterargument as you lack one. Instead of twisting the Iron Man reference you should utilize it as the other perspective to your paper. Tony Stark is a wealthy and very charming man. He does not have that sloppy look like your previous primary sources. Because he can use his own inventions to save the world, it can also inspire young engineers. Iron Man can spark our youth to get into this field because he makes it cool and trendy.” At first thought this seemed wrong but as I thought about the idea of a positive portrayal I found that using Iron Man as a positive source will make the blog much more effective and interesting. I also review another student’s blog and provided similar feedback and gave advice on improving some things to make the blog better and have more meaning. Being able to work with others and accept others ides makes a stronger connection between the group members and makes the class more comfortable.

Throughout this term I not only learned about popular culture but I also learned to write better and be a better group member. The goals we set in the beginning f the term I feel were met by the group.”Over the past term my group has supported these things and replied to post honestly and retuned positive feedback regarding my ideas. Through this  the group often built on each other’s ideas resulting in closer relationships then the first weeks and now we feel more comfortable with each other.” being able to communicate properly with team members can be extremely useful in the future. With the skills I acquired here such as teamwork and writing abilities I will be able to do much more in my future career and job. I will be more effective at work and be more successful when working with other teams. I will also take the knowledge of popular culture and the effects media has on our perceptions and use this information to help make media shape better images of people. It was a pleasure being in this course and working in a group of diverse people.

 

Aleksey Prozapas

 

 

 

EPortfolio Essay

Andrew Sasser
June 4th, 2015
Daneen Bergland
Pop Culture
EPortfolio Essay

The prompt I am utilizing, in terms of the overall theme of this essay, is in regards to my acquisition of a new understanding of myself as a student. As each new school quarter dawns, I find myself in a state of anxiety and preemptive exhaustion as I approach each new line of hoops to jump in order to make it towards my end goal, and this class was no exception. Although I have grown rather weary throughout the years since starting the pursuit towards the benefits of a college education, I, once again, have overcome the obstacles that have been set before me.

With the course beginning with a series of rules, expectations, technical details and posts regarding the coursework I was to undertake for this class, I found that one of the things I had to do was join a digital group and talk about myself. Although digital interaction makes it rather easy to divulge intimate details about one’s self, I still found it rather intimidating to list the things that deeply matter to me as I am in this present point in time; the subject matter affiliated with many of my identifiers often ignites debate, prejudice, and overall frustration. However, I couldn’t help but notice that several other members of my group also felt a connection with some of my personal identifiers. This gave me the courage to go on and lay my guts on the table, so to speak. The overall reception of my post was a rather positive one that made for some constructive and gratifying dialogue. Perhaps the niceness I experienced from my other group members was the result of my admission of nervousness preempting the bulk of my post:

“This assignment makes me nervous. Many of the things I identify as are perpetually criticized and marginalized due to, mainly, misinformation or cultural misrepresentation. However, it appears as though I am not the only one with these identifiers within our group, so that makes me feel a little better.”

Of course, part of my fears were manifested in that, eventually, one of my identities did incite a comment which expressed a disinclination towards my viewpoint. This comment was met by a caffine-fueled, impulsive, 1,674-word counter argument. Thankfully, this did not damage my overall experience with the commenter in my group; he remained positive and gave me very encouraging feedback regarding my other posts.

However, all this interaction and positive exchange didn’t change the fact that I entirely loathe the idea of assignments or projects that have to do with introspection, which was to be the main goal of our mirror blog posts. When presenting my proposal for my Mirror Blog project, I requested that, rather than focus on myself and how I personally feel I am represented in media, I attempted to change the course and do mine on a subject matter that is rather important to me–Feminism. After a bit of exchange between me and the instructor, she approved of my desire to deviate from the intended goal of the Mirror Blog. However, I ultimately decided that I was being selfish and depriving myself of a challenge and went on to do an introspective piece which also happened to align with my views on feminism.

Although I decided to do what was originally asked of me regarding the execution of the Mirror Blog assignment, it was no light undertaking for me. I was met with many challenges regarding exactly what angle I wanted to do my research from. At first, I was flirting with the idea of doing my Blog on the societally imposed gender binaries with which men are taught to behave, dress, and think, but the research was conjuring a frustration in me that made it entirely too difficult for me to continue down that path. Another direction I had considered was going entirely personal and autobiographical and try to explain why men like me who freely walk outside our gender binaries are discriminated against and are mistaken as gay. However, all the examples I had to draw from were extreme examples that merited further cultural elaboration that I just didn’t feel was in the correct spirit of the Mirror Blog theme. Eventually, I decided to scale it back a bit and keep the subject matter simple enough to limit my findings to a 2,500 word maximum; simply how male feminists, like myself, are portrayed in the media. I also found a way to elaborate upon my own views of what feminism means to me, but I don’t feel as though I did so in excess; I merely dedicated a paragraph to provide a piece of context:

“For those of you who are not familiar with feminism, it is a rather complex movement that, for some, takes several full college courses to fully comprehend and explore. As a result of feminism’s complexity, for the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll just break the term down to it’s basic definition; feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. For many feminists, one of the steps towards gender equality is challenging and tearing down societally imposed gender norms and gender roles that shepherd people into assimilating a conditioned identity that is ultimately fiat, imaginary, and false as it pertains to the actual capabilities of either gender.”

I suppose, ultimately, the thing that I’ve come to understand about myself as a student is that I have the ability accommodate and compromise outside of my general comfort zone without experiencing any detrimental setbacks as a result thereof. Although group work was not exactly something that I was enthused about and although I didn’t entirely go the initial direction that I wanted to regarding my Mirror Blog assignment, I was still able to complete my goals by motivating myself and rallying an enthusiasm towards the transcendence of a new series of academic obstacles.

Niedermeyer ePortfolio

I must admit upon learning more about what I was going to have to do for this class I was a bit hesitant. Like a lot of people, I generally tend not to enjoy having my writing about in such a transparent environment. Despite this one bit of hesitancy, I realized the class was far broader than that, particularly with the various topics that were brought up in the blog. Upon starting this course and realizing the frequency and openness of the writing, coupled with small groups, I set some goals for myself that included punctuality, openness regarding my views/opinion, respect towards my group and others, and expanding my writing and thinking skills.

I express some of my reservation regarding group work in this Blog post from Week 1:

In terms of group work, the last time I was involved in a compilation assignment was for a technical writing course. We were tasked with writing a manual of sorts. It is clear that every individual has unique perspectives, styles, and methods. With this knowledge, primarily based on past experience with group projects, I decided to take a ‘laid back’ approach. Despite this, it is difficult to not take some form of offense when your personal work is edited and critiqued by peers, though it is often necessary. In terms of Wikipedia, as with any group dealings, some will perceive biases others don’t and in the end it is vital to keep the common goal in mind.”

In terms of a role which I improved in was as a group member. I have generally shied away from group work in classes, or at least not enjoyed it in the past. Thankfully the way this course was set up I was able to develop a kind of rapport with my group-mates which helped me to gain a new understanding in things like helping by review or simple encouragement. In addition, I gained skills as a student through the weekly blog writing due to the fact that it provided all sorts of room for various topics and content.

Some interesting topics we/I covered in the blog come to mind:

One group of people that I feel are represented in a one-dimensional way are football fans. In general, popular culture tends to portray football fans as beer-drinking, overweight, unintellectual loudmouths who love nothing more than the ‘gladiator’ aspect of the game. This representation is so commonly prevalent that when I announced to my poetry class I was planning on writing a poem about football I was met with decisive criticism. Of course, the poem was not actually about the game of football, but of the communal, familiar, and church like aspect surrounding it. Without question there are a large number of people who go to or watch football games and are largely unaware of what it is exactly they are cheering about. Understandably so due to the intensely complex nature of the sport. The reason I choose this to write about is largely because of my upbringing. In veiled terms, some of the smartest men I have ever met in my life have been involved in the game and the business of football. While others went to church on Sunday, I would go to Foxboro. It baffles me how many time people must learn that generalizations are generally a poor viewpoint. We must all beware of judging before knowing.”

and

“…One specific gender stereotype specific to these ads I found troubling was the Pepsi Max commercial. In this ad, the woman is depicted as the controlling wife/girlfriend trying to make sure her boyfriend/husband stays healthy. The man is seem trying to get or eat ‘unhealthy’ food and is swiftly corrected, largely by physical and abusive means. The man is kicked for trying to order french fries, has his head shoved down into the cake he’s staring at, has soap put in his mouth while hiding in the bathtub, and finally has a can of Pepsi thrown at his for looking at and smiling at another girl, who ends up getting hit. In all instances there is abuse occurring. An ad would never air if the roles in this ad were to be replaced, nor should it. The problem though comes down to the continued enforcement of the idea that it is OK to hit a man but not a woman. As a young child I was taught by my father to never hit my sister or any other girl, so I never did. This message was never conveyed in the same way regarding my brother or other boys. Naturally, my brother and me would fight occasionally, our older sister would hit us occasionally, and my brother and I never hit her or any other girls. I have no intention to downplay the seriousness of violence against women at all, it is impermissible, the point is that violence and abuse of any degree and regardless of sex and gender should too be impermissible. As Ringo would say, “Peace and love, peace and love”.”

This class helped me to develop skills that can be carried over into future coursework as well as life. One would be the ability to think critically about a topic or even how I view an advertisement. Another would be the advancement of my Internet communication skills, which are clearly very necessary in today’s world. The analysis of ads is one skill that also comes to mind. In week we analyzed an ad for e-cigs which provided me the ability to dissect its message piece by piece:

This advertisement is bold, clean, themed for the product, ‘in your face’, presumptive, and presents an air of class/sophistication. In it features a white male with an attempt at a distinguished and inviting expression. It presents the subject, Stephen Dorff, at eye level, like a friend. In addition, the lighting of the ad displays Stephen’s face and teeth prominently, as well as his hand which is holding the e-cig in question. The photo was done with a prominence an emphasis on the color blue, a play on the name of the product, with bold and highlighted elements in various shades. Last, the font of the advertisements appears clean and modern. The brand name is highlighted in blue to further illustrate the brand, while various words like ‘Rise’ are highlighted with the theme of “rising from the ashes”.

The ad, which is for Blu e-cigs clearly emphasizes the retaking of your freedom by allowing you to not be a slave to cigarettes. This emphasis on freedom is emblematic of archetypes that many American males value. It is not only playing on the actual nicotine/cigarette addiction, but also the larger theme of the value of freedom in the United States. It would seem apparent that the primary target for this ad would be male (and smokers) in large part due to the text that accompanies the photo. By saying, “C’mon guys”, it is set in a tone of one guy talking to another. The emphasis on the color blue, while logical, is a bit overkill, with essentially every element of the advertisement in some form of blue. Although ads are largely annoying, it is easy to see the thought and attention to theme and style that was implemented. While still an ad, I can clearly see how this campaign may successful, particularly when it is aimed at a market where many have tried and are willing to try various forms of ‘healthy’ alternatives.” 

Shout out to all the classmates that helped make this class what it was.