Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learning Outcomes

1. Gain Shakespeare Literacy
"Demonstrate mastery over fundamental information about Shakespeare’s works, life, and legacy"
  • Breadth: I was looking back over our syllabus at all the plays we've read and I was surprised by how many there are, I had forgotten. I was nervous coming into this class because I'd read many Shakespeare plays and wasn't sure if this class would contribute more plays. I had already read Henry V, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice and many others when I came into the class. Reading The Tempest, Love's Labour's Lost, and Othello were all new. And I came to realize that even though I had read many of the plays before, revisiting them in different formats (audio, kindle, Globe Theater Production, BYU Production) broadened my knowledge even more. I didn't just learn more about the plays but ways to divulge in the plays that I hadn't used previously.
  • Depth: For my research I looked more closely at King Lear and Othello, I studied them with an Indian perspective because those are two of the plays that are commonly taught/performed in an Indian setting. Othello looked a lot like a Bollywood tragedy, particularly after watching "Omkara." It certainly gave me new perspective on the play. Additionally, I realized that looking at King Lear through a Pagan lens made it less of a tragedy. One of my professors explained that Indians are okay with tragedies because "they believe everybody is going to get reincarnated anyway." With a Pagan perspective the reconciliation of Lear and Cordelia is less important and the ending is more acceptable because everybody got what they deserved. I had read King Lear years before and revisiting it after watching "Omkara" completely changed my perspective of it, I read it like a Bollywood movie. So the ways that I studied in-depth weren't traditional but they were beneficial. 
  • Performance: For this learning outcome I attended BYU's Love's Labour's Lost production, their Merchant of Venice production, and I also watched parts of the Globe Theater's Love's Labour's Lost. I also watched "Omkara," an Indian adaptation of Othello, as I mentioned before. I most enjoyed the Globe's Love's Labour's Lost because it seemed like keeping it in the time frame it was written in helped eliminate adaptation issues ( I had a really hard time with "Moth" in BYU's production, though it was also very well done). I thought it was very interesting to watch experienced actors perform the play and their humor was contagious, I wanted to show the play to my whole family.
  • Legacy: When I read "Legacy" I thought "well shoot I didn't do anything for that one," then I saw that it said "scholarship, popular culture, history." I did look a lot into Shakespeare scholarship, particularly Shakespeare in Asia. I checked out books, read articles, and explored the internet. I got a bit consumed in seeing where I could find Shakespeare on the internet...Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, Stumbleupon, Flickr, and Blogger were just a few of the places. The one thing I didn't look into much is Shakespeare's history, I mean, I know contexts behind the plays and I know a general history of Shakespeare but I don't know every detail of his life and his works. I feel like I learned a great deal about Shakespeare by learning about the authors and politics that surrounded him.
2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
"Interpret Shakespeare’s works critically in their written form, in performance (stage or screen) and in digitally mediated transformations."
  • Textual Analysis: This was probably one of my weaker areas throughout the semester. I looked at passages from Othello, King Lear, Love's Labour's Lost and the Sonnets. Something that I found interesting is that Shakespeare has mastered the images of humanity and nature. Harold Bloom says "Shakespeare Invented the Human," essentially and a passage that I read from Dryden said the same thing. Everybody at Shakespeare's time called him the poet of nature and as I took this into account I realized that his texts are centered on universal aspects of human nature and that he often compares human events to nature. The themes he discusses and the language he uses all allude to some sort of natural happening, that was something I was continuously interested in over the semester. 
  • Contextual Analysis: Like I said in the "legacy" section, I studied this a lot more than I realized. I looked a lot at secondary scholarships and a bit at Shakespearean history. I was really interested in Shakespeare in the cultural aspect and how we study his works globally. It was fascinating to see that we aren't the only ones interested in Shakespeare's works and how they affect society and what they say about humanity. I was also really interested in the cultural aspect in seeing how we discuss Shakespeare in class and online and how his works just resonate with people.
  • Application of Literary Theories:  One of Gerald Graff's theories is that discussing literature is what makes reading literature worthwhile. I explored this idea in connection with Shakespeare and discovered that the capacity to discuss Shakespeare is what makes his works universal. Maybe everybody doesn't read them in the same way but everybody reads them and everybody discusses them, and that unites us.
  • Analysis of Digital Mediations: I focused a lot on adaptations and how particular adaptations reflect a culture's understanding of Shakespearean concepts. Omkara was probably the most interesting because it wasn't necessarily a strictly accurate adaptation but it did provide some interesting insight into Indian culture. As a group we focused on how digital mediations of Shakespeare's works can be brought into the classroom to enable easier teaching/learning.
3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
  •  Performance: This isn't something I necessarily focused on a ton but I did go back to a few sonnets I had once known and re-memorized them, particularly sonnet 116 and sonnet 147. I also "performed" in my vlogs in which I discussed Shakespearean works and prepared trailer videos for our final work.
    Individual creative work (literary imitation, art, music)
    Collaborative creative project
  • Individual Creative Work: Well, I'm no artist but I had a good time creating "character cards" that helped me connect all of the characters in the plays. I did this for several of the plays but only posted examples for one (like I said, I'm no artist). Doing this really helped me as I approached the play because I already knew how the characters related to each other. I also made little posters to sort of advertise for our final project, they featured a classroom full of students focused on their laptops or playing games and the caption said "does your classroom look like this? we can help."
  • Collaborative Creative Project: For the past few weeks Tara, Alicia, and I have been working on a Prezi presentation about why digital media should be brought into the classroom in order to better help students understand Shakespeare. We've made several videos and tried to incorporate the work of other students in our class so we can demonstrate the successes our class has had with looking at Shakespeare in a non-traditional way. We've highlighted examples like social proof, how to incorporate technology and why it is important. Overall I think it has been a great learning experience for all of us.
4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully
  • Formal Writing: The research paper that I worked on throughout the semester is probably the best example of Formal Writing that I did for this class. It was great to get real feedback on it. We put our ideas into circulation but linking our blogs to a google doc of the paper. I really appreciated the peer reviews we did because it made me feel like my paper mattered. 
  • Informal Writing: This concept was accomplished through lots of blogging and social media interactions. The tweethis statement was just one example of informal writing. While some of my blog posts were a bit more formal many of them spoke casually about Shakespeare in a tone that makes them more accessible and understandable. I'm sure there were a couple of posts that I missed but overall I tried my best to get in all the posts and to make meaningful comments on other people's posts. 
  • Connecting: I got in touch with people as far away as India and interacted with them about Shakespeare's works. This class helped me to open up to professors of other classes and discuss my ideas with them and get some validation from them. I also connected closely with Alicia and Tara as we met several times outside of class, g-chatted lots, and really discussed our project on a deep level. 
5. Gain Digital Literacy
"Students use their study of Shakespeare as a way of understanding and developing fluency in 21st century learning skills and computer-mediated modes of communication."
  • Consume: I felt like I did a pretty good job with the consumption thing. I felt like I took in so much information from so many different sources that it was difficult to decide on a research topic - everything was interesting. I looked at tons of different social media websites and also did a lot of scholarly research. I watched clips, adaptations, read articles, stalked professors, etc. It was also really helpful to connect via blogger with other students in the class.
  • Create: This class is probably the first that has stretched me to create something in conjunction with what I'm reading and studying (something that isn't a traditional paper). I feel like the biggest thing we "created" was our final project because it involves videos, links, references to students and professors and is pretty much a collaborative project of everything we've covered this semester.
  • Connect: This was the learning outcome that I thought was the most exciting/engaging. I loved participating with other professors from other schools because they treated me as equals in a lot of ways because they weren't entirely sure who they were interacting with. I really like connecting with others in our classroom, not just Alicia and Tara but those that I connected with via blogging or in class discussion, even when our projects didn't coincide. This is what made Shakespeare meaningful for me.

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