Welcome to my website! My name is Andy Kim, currently a freshman at Emory college. This website serves as a portfolio of all my writing pieces from ENG 101-5 Play Make Write Think taught by Professor David Morgen. Please feel free to go through my website to learn more about me and my amazing experience with the class.
ENG 101 taught by Professor Morgen at Emory College is centered around the course’s learning outcomes. These are the core skills that all students develop by the end of the semester. The 5 learning outcomes are rhetorical composition, critical thinking and reading resulting in writing, writing as process, collaboration, and digital citizenship/digital identity.
Rhetorical composition is the skill of composing texts in different genres and using multiple modes (written, aural, nonverbal, digital). My writing pieces stretch through multiple different genres. My literacy narrative and player narrative capture a personal reflection of my experience with reading and writing and playing games. My game comparison essay compares and contrasts two games in the form of an induction essay, connecting ideas from a wide range of scholarly texts that the class delve into. The script that I initiated for my podcast group for the episode on Valorant takes an educational approach as it verbally teaches the underlying lessons of the first-person strategy shooter game. The photo of the things I normally carry in my bag visually convey my liking for simplicity. The Twine game that my group made is a digital, playable game that allows the user to think about the pandemic through the lenses of fictional but realistic people. All of these disparate genres of writing strengthened me immensely as a writer. Unlike the average English class where all of the writing is the same five-paragraph literary essay, I was able to play around with different structures and styles in different modes of expression which both challenged me and taught me as a writer and thinker.
Critical thinking and reading resulting in writing involves summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing ideas to make into your own argument. That was evident in my game comparison essay. The first step for writing my game comparison essay was to play a selection of games that Professor Morgen introduced to the class throughout the semester. When it came to picking which two games to compare, Gris and Gone Home caught my attention. Although the two games were so vastly different at first glance, they both followed the same theme of trauma and the coping of it. My writing process for the game comparison essay started with me going back and summarizing the basic storyline and important features of the games. Referring back to my prior writing pieces where I documented my thoughts as I played through both games helped me with this step (those documentations are located with the side quests). After writing some basic thoughts on the game, I then started writing the differences and similarities of the games. “Unlike Gone Home where the primary objective is for Katie to solve the mystery of her family’s absence by piecing scattered clues in her house, Gris relies on symbolism to find meaning in the game.” This was one of the most prominent differences between the two games, one finding meaning through showing and the other through telling. The biggest similarly both games had was that they followed Cathy Caruth’s trauma model. “Both games, based on their characters coping with trauma, promote empathy despite the different game structures, as Gris captures the trauma of the protagonist and Gone Home of a side character.” We empathize with the protagonist’s physical struggles in Gris as she bravely traverses her 5 stages of grief. We empathize with Lonnie and her battle of accepting her true identity.
Additionally, during the entire process, I referred to notable sources to support my ideas, not just Caruth. I included ideas from Ian Bogost’s How to do things with videogames as well as Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. One of Bogost’s ideas, which was central in my thesis, was that videogames put the player in someone else’s shoes. That was totally true for both games. “We empathize for the girl in Gris as we control her arduous journey. We emphasize for Samantha as we guide Katie around the house and slowly learn the social and internal strife Samantha must have gone through as reflected in Samantha’s diary entries”. My target audience was people who are unfamiliar with both games and games in general which was the main reason I described the games on a general basis. My purpose of the essay was to connect two games with a scholarly inquiry to support my arguments. In the end, I feel like I synthesized both games and produced my own argument while utilizing scholarly inquiry to support my work.
Practice writing as a process was showcased in every big essay that we did in the class. Take for example, my literacy narrative. When my first draft of the essay was complete, I was satisfied with the quality of the work. Unbeknown from the heavy revision that needed to be done in terms of the essay’s general structure and clarity, I confidently signed up for a meeting with Professor Morgen to go over “Book Enchanting”. I was enlightened to see his perspective on my first ever essay for the class; he shared his opinions that my essay had a pleasant, paced flow in the beginning but turned sporadic towards the ending, most likely from my awkward attempt of transitioning my beginning anecdote to general statements. Professor Morgen offered me insight that I otherwise would have not caught onto. Shortly afterwards, I started revising on my own, and the literacy narrative turned out more coherent in the end. The process of recursively working on the essay helped me grow as a writer as it taught me writing is a process that can’t be perfected on first attempt. Another component that strengthened me as a writer was writing a reflection following each of the big essays. The reflections would note what kind of challenges I faced during the essay writing process. These were helpful to recollect and acknowledge because they would prompt me from getting in a writing rut in the next essay I would write.
Although all of the work done in the class was offline and independent, there were a handful of projects that were done in groups and via technology. My classmates and I demonstrated collaboration for the Twine game project and for the 3 podcast episodes that my podcast group was responsible for. Despite inconvenient time zone differences between me and my classmates, we were able to adjust by having our Zoom meetings either in the morning or evening of a time zone. This was to ensure that the students on the other side of the world wouldn’t have to wake up at an awkward time at 3:00 AM, for example. Even though the students in the class didn’t experience much interaction amongst ourselves during actual class time, I felt an ease to collaborate and get to know my project mates. All of the Zoom meetings we conducted for both projects were successful and productive. The group chats we made which made up the bulk of our communication helped us to work efficiently. I was lucky enough to work with classmates that were amicable and easy to talk to. Also, I was lucky that I landed with classmates that were initiators. Whenever one of us in the podcast group was the main producer, we chose the game of focus and initiated conversations and set dates. This allowed each episode development process to go smoothly.
The last learning outcome that I accomplished was using technology appropriately and engaging responsibly in online spaces. For the first time, I learned to be mindful of the sources I was getting my information from in my essays or other projects. Although I was still aware of citing sources throughout writing and history classes in high school, this class embedded the habit of practicing good digital citizenship by citing works when necessary. The project that I had to be most aware of citing sources was when I was the acting executive producer for the podcast episode on Valorant. During the development phase, I made sure to cite all the sources I used, even making sure that I found royalty-free background music. I am happy to have learned and practiced this skill, of becoming more conscious in this digital space. I see myself using this particular skill in the future, as I write countless essays and papers in the future that require proper citations. I see myself becoming more digitally conscious, as my academic future will yield more of these expectations in the years to come.
Taking a step back to view all my work during my first english course at college, I was happy to find an improvement in my writing ability as well as notice a glimpse of my personality from the assortment of writings I did over the semester.
Check out the course site to learn more about the class!