Svyatoslav Zhuchenya

Popular Culture

Sophomore Inquiry

June 1, 2015


Learning Goals

Going into the term I had very little knowledge of what popular culture really was, I had heard the word many times before but never really looked into what it really meant. As a result I didn’t really have a specific thing that I wanted to learn about pop culture just wanted to see what it was and how it can be useful. To me the class seemed like it could be very interesting because it dealt with essentially all the things that we consume on a daily basis as entertainment or education. As for taking an online course, my goal was to first of all save some time for my other courses but also to improve my communication skills with people that are not necessarily next to me. At first it was a challenge, I saw almost nobody in person but I had to have group conversations, post and reply to other peoples ideas. This proved to be challenging because, the replies to questions were not always instant. There was also a challenge in finding instructions for the course, I am used to a format where the instructor tells you in class what is due and when it is due. With this course it was very different, I had to search for instructions myself on the D2L page. I found that often I would miss something and would have very little time to complete something before the due date. Over the course of the term however, these challenges began to fade I learned how to better communicate with people virtually and I learned how to be more organized and find out information on my own.

Work Example:

One example of a group virtual communication was the mentor-writing group workshops, here students was separated into groups and had dissuasions on various things through the term. Whether it would be peer reviews on each other’s papers or discussions of class goals, each student had the opportunity to give their input and receive other people’s on their own work. This is an example of one of my discussions and some replies to it.

My Post

“I believe that I am good at communicating through writing; I have done fairly well on just about all of my college as well as high school papers and other writing assignments. Others often tell me that I state my points and ideas clearly in my writing, to the point where it is easy to understand. I believe that this also translates into oral communication, especially in a preplanned speech or presentation. This term I think there will definitely be plenty of opportunities to improve communication through writing, whether it is an essay, e-portfolio or the discussion and blog posts. These assignments are writing intensive and are based on communication through writing. I don’t see many options for improvement in communication through speech, graphics, numeracy, etc. This is expected however in an online course. I would like to improve on working in groups this term, although it is a bit hard to accomplish this in this online course, nevertheless it is a very important trait to have and I am starting to see that just about every job or internship values people who have good communication skills, especially in the field of group work.”

“Suggestions (Ground Rules):

1)   Good posts should contain clearly stated ideas; they should be easy to follow.

2)   Each member of the group must post and reply on time, to not hold back other members from completing the assignment.

3)   Feedback should be valid and constructive, not made up because it was a requirement.

4)   Posts should not be deemed incorrect because of contradictory beliefs.”


“Hi Svyatoslav,

I envy you when it comes to writing, because it is one of my weaknesses. This is one of the main reasons why I chose to take this course online. I feel like it could benefit me.

I agree with you that everyone should post and reply on time. It really is unfortunate if other people can’t complete their own assignments, if we don’t have posts to comment on. I think that is an extremely good ground rule. And I agree that posts should be seen as incorrect. Because a person’s post is a person’ idea, and it’s their thoughts.”

Role Improved

            I have definitely improved my role as a reviewer of people’s papers. In the past I tended to simply correct the grammar mistakes that people made and point out sentences that don’t make sense. This term however I realized that although important, most of the grammar mistakes could be corrected by simply rereading the paper a day or two after writing it or running it through a spelling and grammar checker. In the peer reviews do on the Looking into the Mirror paper I decide to focus more on content and if the paper flowed, versus simple grammar mistakes. I believe this is far more useful. Here is an example of a part of a peer review I did this term.

“…The paper has an intro, body and conclusion. The introduction could be a bit more organized, I would try my best to use that paragraph to summarize the information and arguments that you are going to present, and this way the reader knows what they should expect to hear. The body could also use some work on continuity, I find that some of your paragraphs seem incomplete, lacking a good intro or conclusion; some paragraphs should just be part of the previous ones. Try to introduce the subject of each paragraph sufficiently and at the end of each paragraph, maybe hint at what you will talk about in the next one, but only in the next paragraph provide a full intro to that subject….”

Application of Skills

I will be able to focus my improved skills in my professional life; I believe that as an engineer I will definitely have to communicate with other people virtually whether it would be through email or online forums or other online communication methods. Engineering in particular is a very group work heavy field so I will definitely be taking these skills that I have described further in life with me.


Throughout this course I have learned a lot about my skills as well as my weaknesses. Although I came into the course with the weakness of not thoroughly reading, my goal was not only to become a better reader, but improve my writing skills as well. Furthermore, back in high school and this past year of college I had the horrible habit of skimming over required readings and not thoroughly dissecting the content within them. As a result, I wasn’t fully prepared for certain assignments, quizzes and didn’t include a lot of content in my essays. Thus, this affected my college grades, and led me to be disappointed in myself. Getting bad grades doesn’t make me happy, but unfortunately I was so used to skimming over readings in high school and would get decent grades that I didn’t realize till college that this form of reading isn’t acceptable or appropriate. On a separate note, although I have been told I obtain some good writing skills and think of myself as a decent writer, this course allowed me to further my abilities within this area.

Since I set my goals at the beginning of this term, I believe I have come a long way compared to before. First off, proof that intensive reading rather than skim reading has paid off can be viewed in the following example/blog post:
Prompt #1:
“After reading Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship by Majorie Heins and Christina Cho, there were several facts and details that stood out to me. The first detail that stood out to me was the fact media literacy was neglected and ignored by the United States until some time ago. This relevant detail stood out to me because I had no idea about this issue before reading this and I also can’t imagine as to why the U.S. would discount this educational approach, especially since it’s beneficial as well as useful. Another detail that stood out to me was the purpose of the curricular project known as “Television Awareness Training” in the year of 1977, because it focused closely on how television represented ethnic minorities as well as presented other issues, which allowed me to relate our classwork in some way since some of us conducted research for our Mirror Blog Essay on how a specific group of people is portrayed in the media. Last but not least, the astonishing fact that the White House decided to release a supporting statement in 2002 was particularly fascinating in my opinion because it was a step closer to having the United States government accept and embrace the approach of Media Literacy and its importance. Overall, all of these facts/details stood out to me because they were alluring to read about and allowed me to receive a better insight regarding Media Literacy.”

Prompt #1 from a previous blog post of mine is a brilliant example that with engaged reading, relevant information can be discovered and understood more clearly. Not only did my improved reading result in much more accurate and longer postings, but it also allowed me to soak information in more easily. Not only was I able to successfully exercise my reading skills, but also my writing skills. Likewise, my writing skills were practiced through the amount of writing we were required to accomplish in this class. Next off, evidence that I believe represent my improved writing skills can be seen in the following example:

“Due to the powerful influence popular culture has made on individuals in regards to race, Hispanic/Latin women suffer several frequent stereotypes. Moreover, instead of properly portraying this group of women, popular culture has instead steered its focus of Hispanic/Latin women towards an inaccurate and negative representation comprised by unreliable stereotypes. Additionally, popular culture has jumped back and forth from stereotype to stereotype, but in my perspective has focused on four particular stereotypes of Hispanic/Latin women: the maid/housekeeper, the women with thick accents, the immigrants, and the attractive teases. Furthermore, it is safe to say that all four of these stereotypes are offensive and degrading to Hispanic/Latin women. In addition, not only are these stereotypes hazardous to a woman’s image, but they can potentially be very harmful due to the fact that these images consist of unpleasant and awkward imagery based on the assumptions created by popular culture. All in all, these ideas can be viewed and understood thoroughly through television shows such as Devious Maids and Modern Family, as well as the film Spanglish.”

In regards to the strengths and challenges I obtained during this term, there are a few. First and foremost, a main strength of mine this term was accomplishing all my assignments either on time or earlier than the due date. Another strength I encountered was being able to take constructive criticism in a positive way because in the past taking this type of criticism has been tough on me, but this class allowed me to overcome the fear and disliking of it because it helped me improve on assignments. However, the only challenge I faced was doing all the assignments. Although I completed every one of them and either before or on their due date, it was tough to try to get everything done early or on time due to the amount of other homework I had not only in this class but others as well along with working part-time. Luckily, I overcame this challenge, but it surely was hard to do at times.

The role I improved in this term was a reviewer when it came to reviewing others blog posts, discussion posts, and mirror blog essays. I enhanced my skills within this role because before this class I struggled as a reviewer when it came to giving others constructive criticism and feedback. This was tough for me because I know that many people can get uncomfortable or nervous when it comes to having someone look over and review their pieces of writing, and my biggest fear was hurting someone else’s feelings, offending them, or making them feel distressed. While the thought of having to do this for others this term was frightening, I overcame my fear and improved by not only giving good constructive criticism and examples to improve, but also words of praise. Proof of improvement in this role can be noticed in the presented example/peer review letter:

“I would suggest looking over the complexity because at first when I read over it I was a somewhat confused as to what your main idea was, which I believe can be adjusted by pulling out some unnecessary sentences and summing them up to make your main point more clear and thorough. Other than that, I think you’re off to a great start and just by making those few tweaks along with any other ones you desire to change, it’ll be awesome and will flow a lot more smoothly.”

As a result of this class, the knowledge and skills I have gained will stick with me for the rest of my life. I will apply my knowledge when it comes to viewing a film, television show or any other form of popular culture since I know what to look for in certain areas of this topic. For example, when it comes to stereotypes/portrayals, I will be able to scope this details out much more easily since I know what to look for. I will also apply skills such as writing and reading when it comes to future classes and assignments within them. Similarly, I will continue using my writing and reading skills for the rest of my life and especially in my dream career which will require both abilities. Overall, this class pushed me to work hard and exercise my talents so that I could perform at an improved level and I am incredibly thankful for that.

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.

Eportfolio Instructions

Please type or copy and paste your eportfolio essay here. Make sure you include excerpts of work from this term to illustrate and explain what you did and learned this term. Feel free to add graphics, hyperlinks, video, headings, or anything else to make the eportfolio more readable.

You can choose to make your Eportfolio password protected: Under Publish on the right side of the dashboard, Click “Edit” next to Visibility. Then click “Password protected” and type in a password. (Make sure to write the password down somewhere you won’t lose it. If you want to share the portfolio, you’ll need to also share the password). Please email the instructor your password.

Don’t forget to choose the Category “Eportfolios” before you publish.