Friday, April 13, 2012

Learning Outcomes Revisited

Dr. Burton asked that we provide a summary of our work this semester in connection with the expected course outcomes that were discussed at the beginning of the semester. Here it is.

  1. Gain “Shakespeare Literacy.”
    Objective: Demonstrate mastery over fundamental information about Shakespeare’s works, life, and legacy.
    • Breadth: This is the area that I feel I fulfilled least this semester. The course required reading some texts that I hadn't before (Love's Labour's Lost, ) so I did expand the breadth of my own Shakespeare Literacy to some extent. But I have to admit that these additional texts were not my focus so I read through them quickly or incompletely and feel like I probably did not fully appreciate them.
    • Depth: I focused on The Tempest this semester. I had already read the play before the class but my inclusion of Jungian theory in the study of The Tempest added greatly to my knowledge of the play.
    • Performance: I did not fully meet all of the requirements for this learning objective. I did find BYU's performance of Love's Labour's Lost an interesting experience. I had a hard time embracing the change in setting that BYU's adaption used but I particularly enjoyed a couple of the actor's performances. I feel like watching that play introduced me to some ideas about the complicated process of adaption that I had not considered.
    • Legacy: I felt like I did learn a lot in this regard, mostly through my own research and discussing my brother's research with him. My research focused on the relevancy of Shakespeare's works in contemporary film and Josh's research focused on Shakespeare's adaptation of works that preceded him.
  2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
    Objective: Interpret Shakespeare’s works critically in their written form, in performance (stage or screen) and in digitally mediated transformations. This includes:
    • Textual analysis: My research on archetypes in The Tempest helped me understand how Shakespeare utilized specific formal elements to produce powerful works. I looked specifically and imagery and setting in the play and how the play contains significant archetypal imagery that still resonates with us today.
    • Contextual analysis: As noted above in the section on Legacy, I felt like I learned a great deal this semester regarding context. I hadn't considered Shakespeare as an adapter of previous works and that linked directly to my own research on Shakespeare and his relevance in contemporary society.
    • Application of literary theories: I focused on the application of C.G Jung's theory to Shakespeare and specifically The Tempest. I found this approach very worthwhile.
    • Analysis of digital mediations: Our primary focus this semester was Shakespeare and digital mediums. Our final project dealt with the adaptation of academic works to more digitally appropriate mediums and all of our examples focused on Shakespeare.
  3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
    • Performance: In addition to watching Shakespeare adaptions on stage and screen, I also had the chance to create some small projects that may be considered performances. Our 90 second trailers aren't necessarily creative in the same way these other works are but I did feel that creating the 90 second trailer in the TED format did require some level of performance.
    • Individual creative work: Josh and I worked together on this project. In addition to finding and bringing together various creative projects by other people we also did some of our own. My favorite was our short xtranormal video in which two characters engage in a discussion on Shakespeare.
    • Collaborative creative project: As a class we worked on creating 90 second trailers that could be displayed along with our other larger works all in one Prezi presentation.
  4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully This includes engaging in the following:
    • Formal Writing: I really enjoyed the research I did for my paper this semester. My final draft can be accessed here.
    • Informal Writing:  While I don't think that I completed 100% of the blog post assignments, I did do a good job of consistently posting about my experience throughout the semester. It was beneficial to have to take the time to write about what I was learning consistently rather than just at the end of the semester.
    • Connecting: In addition to my work with Josh I ended up collaborating quite a bit with Ellie. I also feel that as a class we did a good job of sharing our work with each other and I know that I personally received some helpful feedback from other students.
  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. Those skills are grouped under the following categories.
    1. Consume - I spent more time exploring online than I ever have in any other semester. I enjoyed many of the links that classmates found and thought it was really beneficial to better understand additional resources.
    2. Create - We created a lot this semester. The best representation of this is our final project that essentially brought all of this little projects together:
    3. Connect - I connected quite a bit with students within our class. I also connected with Dr. Lundquist about my research paper and her help was extremely important to my paper. I had a hard time connecting with those outside of our campus, however. My Tweethis did not yield any meaningful results. I did make a really meaningful connection with a professor at Northwestern University regarding my Video Essay project but because I didn't end up incorporating the video essay directly into my final project for the class, that connection ended up being less relevant to the class.

Repurposed Content

My brother Josh and I worked together on our final project. Both of our research dealt with the adaptation of Shakespeare's works so we decided to focus on adaptation for the repurposed content. We created a new blog that charts much of what we've been doing as a class this semester so far as it relates to adapting elements of the traditional academic process into more audience friendly mediums. You can check that blog out here:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Tweethis

The visual quality of the archetypal symbolism found in Shakespeare's plays offers one reason why Shakespeare is so often adapted into film. There is an extra power when the written text is transformed into the audio and visual medium of film. This process has application to academia as well and early attempts at moving beyond the traditional research paper are proving that the text might not be the ideal end product of academic research.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Final Trailer

Here is the final version of the 90 second trailer. Josh and I decided to do our trailers separately but we stuck to the same format we followed on our last one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Audience Research

Because both Josh and I wrote papers that dealt with the idea of adaptation, and specifically film adaptation, we've been looking into alternatives to the typical research paper that involve adapting that traditional form into a video medium. Dr. Burton pointed us to one interesting source called "Dance your PhD". Essentially it is a contest for PhD students to produce a video of their science based research as some sort of interpretative dance (the link includes this year's winner and a more thorough explanation of the contest).
Another interesting place we found is simply titled Video Essays. I came across this as part of my work on the video essay project mentioned in an earlier post that involved making short films from personal essays. These video essays are more academic so it is more applicable to our focus but I was unable to find any information about who brought them all together and what their reasoning was.
On a related, but slightly less applicable note, we found a story on NPR that talked about high school seniors that are using video essays to apply to colleges. It doesn't exactly apply to our focus of exploring alternatives to the traditional research paper but I thought it was relevant to our discussion to see another example of the medium of film being applied in new ways.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Second Draft of Paper Intro Video

My brother and I have been discussing a slightly different approach to the "video trailer" for our research papers. We are both big fans of TED and thought it might be interesting to take that approach. TED has become increasingly popular and their tag line, "Ideas Worth Spreading" seemed to apply to what we're doing in our class. Also, just as TED talks are abbreviated versions of people's larger bodies of work (books, extensive studies, etc), our intro videos are abbreviated versions of our 10 page research papers.

This is a pretty rough draft but we think it is an approach that might be worth considering as a class. If each student prepared a 90 second presentation on their paper and presented in an auditorium setting we could place those videos all together on one webpage and then include links to the individual papers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love's Labor's Lost Response

We've been studying Love's Labor's Lost as a class and were assigned to attend BYU's production of the play. I am not a regular play goer so my opinions regarding the play aren't really informed by much. In other words, take this all for what it's worth.
The play is an adaptation of Shakespeare's original work, the most fundamental change being the setting. BYU's production set the play in the 1940s at an Allied Forces Canteen. The dialogue, however, was left untouched. Now I realize that this is a fairly common convention with Shakespeare adaptations but for this play it ended up just being distracting to me. Everything we were seeing was 1940's war era but everything we were hearing was Elizabethan English. Maybe I'm just not accustomed to this convention, that's very possible. But it didn't work for me.
That being said, I think most of the acting was really well done. I thought the guy who played Costard was really entertaining. In this adaptation, Costard is a sailor but he is plenty goofy and pretty funny.