Friday, June 15, 2012

The End

"There is no real ending. It's just the place where you stop the story."- Frank Herbert

This is my last post! At least for awhile. But it is important to reflect about the things you learn, otherwise they go in one ear and out the other. So for my English class we were given a set of learning outcomes that we were supposed to achieve. While I looked at these periodically throughout the term, now that I am finished with class it surprises me how much I have actually accomplished. While I wrote a little bit about his in one of my posts, I would like to speak once again about the many things I have learned from this class. Throughout the term we were continually minded about the ideas of Consume, Create and Connect. I did this by reading new literature, blogging about it, and then relating it to my ideas about literature and the digital media. While doing this I followed the learning outcomes, which are:

1. Follow the BYU-I Model of Learning, which is Prepare, Teach One Another and Ponder & Prove: Everyday I would think about the things I learned in this class. I felt like the internet was an unknown land that I explored, hoping to find some little bits of treasure. I blogged all term long about the things that I discovered. However, my topic was one of endless worry and debate. There were so many directions it could have gone, and some days I was very frustrated. By talking to my brilliant cohorts, Jam Jenkins and Erica Oldroyd, they talked to me about my topic and helped me narrow it down to what I wanted to say. They not only helped me research and think more narrowly about my topic, but Sam also taught me how to resolve my many technical difficulties. In return I also thought deeply about Sam's and Erica's papers, and even connected our books through a Guest Post on Erica's blog. Eventually all this thinking (or pondering) led to the final creation of my paper, which proved that the social media can greatly affect the writing process.

2. Write Substantially and Publicly about Literature. While writing my blog posts, I was continually absorbing new research from different sources and connecting it to Anne of Green Gabes. This post in particular helped me to really understand how blogging about our ideas on literature can really help us move past the boring usual ideas that we shoot out in our writing. When we are writing continually about our ideas, and letting other people read and comment, it makes our topic relevant, and gives it new life.

3. Develop Research Skills. This was one of the most useful aspects of this class. I never realized how many research tools there are on the internet. I have discovered so many new sites and online tools that I will continue to use. Throughout the term I used Diigo online bookmarking for saving all of my sources. I used facebook group pages, goodreads, google scholar, the library website, fanfiction, youtube, google+, google search, wikipedia, chat forums, literature blogs, and so much more. By using a variety of different sources, I felt like I got to know my topic from every available angle.

4. Perfect Ideas Socially. This was the most difficult part of this class. It was hard enough just figuring out what to write about, let alone trying to be brave enough to put my ideas out there and get others to respond. But by proving my ideas socially I was able to connect to other people and their ideas, and it really changed the way my paper turned out. If I had more time in this class, I would have tried to start social proof MUCH earlier. However, the contacts that did get back to me were very insightful about my topic of imagination. I had one contact, Darcy Cowan, that wrote me back several times, with many ideas about how imagination and blogging relate to one another. Without him, I would have felt like my topic wasn't relevant to anyone! I also got a few responses on facebook, goodreads, and fan pages.

5. Gain Digital Literacy. Gaining digital literacy had such a major learning curve. Often I felt that I was drowning in the sea of new information. But slowly, I began to get used to the ideas that were common in digital culture, such as openness, wich reminds me of Erica's topic of confession on the internet, and information. By thinking about the different digital resources and ideas behind them every single day, it often felt that everything in my life could be related back to these core concepts. I now feel that the internet is no long my enemy, or a monster, but a place of infinite resources. Just like anything though, digital media isn't perfect, and has its own set of issues. But if we take advantage of the good parts of the digital media, then it allows us to consume new information, create new creative products or ideas and connect our own ideas to the ideas of the entire world.

6. Address Changes to Literary Study. This topic was prevalent in everything that we did this entire term. My book, Anne of Green Gables is a book that is well represented among the internet crowd. It has been transformed into plays, movies, audio books, video books, and is discussed on blogs, goodreads, facebook, twitter, and many more sites. By using these sources, it helped me understand how each new medium was something different from the last. Instead of just reading a book and understanding it according to our own experiences and perspectives, we can connect to other people's ideas. This gives us insight to characters and themes that we might not have previously connected to. By using many different sources, we can have a well rounded experiences with literature. Digital Media is making information more readily available, as well as changing the way we read and write. It is important to keep the academic rules and regulations, but by branching out and using all resources it allows students to make our topics relevant and useful to the world, instead of something that is read, graded and then thrown into the trash.

This class was fast pace and chaotic, but I felt that I have learned so much within the past 2 months. I have a renewed love of learning and writing and I no longer fear using all the digital media sources available! I have grown to love writing, and I will miss writing down my thoughts about books and literature. But as my quote says, my journey with literature and digital culture is not ending, it is just the place where the story stops.

Reflections part 2

SO, I accidentally combined my last two posts together, and instead of just deleting the post entirely, I thought I would stick with one of the main ideas of my English class and make it about the process, not the end product. Not to say that it isn't important to polish your work and have completed ideas, but really, showing how you got to that final product is just as significant as the product its self. When I first began this class, I was very skeptical about using the new media sources as a way to connect to literature. I am very attached to paper and pen, and I still feel like I respond better to the printed page, rather than online sources such as videobooks. However, I had never thought about how we interprete literature differently depending on which medium we choose to access. Over the course of time, I slowly began to think more and more about how media changes the way we think and respond to the things we learn about. While writing this blog this term, I have thought more in depth about my research than ever before. Usually when I begin writing a paper, I look up some online academic sources, I sit down and write my paper all at one time, and then I go back and edit. Thats all there is to it! For this class, we began by blogging about our books and the main topic of literature and the digital culture. Next, we started researching a little more using media tools, not classic academic sources. Then we began to connect to different levels of people that were related to our topics. This included bloggers, Professors, fans on fansites, our friends and families, and pretty much everyone that would listen to us. As we began to learn from our contacts, our blogs began to reflect the new interest we found in our topics and become a little more narrow in topic. Next, we found traditional academic sources, and blogged about those as well. Next we converted our ideas into the different medium of a book trailer! This forced us to condense our topics and think about them in a different way. Finally, we combined all our blogs, different sources and contacts, every communication we had ever had, and wrote a paper using every source available to us. The conclusion was a rough mash up of ideas and people. But even though my paper wasn't perfect, it was also more well thought out, more in depth and more relatable to a wider audience. It had the potential to become something that was important, rather than just another paper written on a topic no one cares about, that only the professor reads. 

One of my really good friends passed away this week, and I found out from facebook. It immediately hit me how much our social media has influenced the way we connect to other people and ideas. This tragic thing happened, and immediately people in Counties thousands and thousands of miles away knew about it. This connection to the world and people is something that changes the way we think and live. So it makes sense that the way we connect to fictional people and worlds should change as well. While I don't think that this lengthy process of writing and connecting to literature is applicable to every paper and class that I ever participate in, the things we learned in this english class are certainly something to consider every time we pick up a book or try to write a paper. In my head, I have always pictured the inside of my brain to look like a room with a desk. The desk has stacks and stacks of papers on it that represent everything I have ever learned. The things I learned first are on the bottom of the pile, and the more recent additions stay on top. Each thing I learn just adds to this pile of knowledge, building on and adding to it. I hope that the things that I have learned in this class will stay with me, to be built on and added to. While this way of learning and researching is time consuming and is not the easy way out, I have found that the things most worth learning are sometimes the most difficult and frustrating. While it will be challenging keeping up with all the new digital media, hopefully by participating in this way of thinking and learning, I will be able to make my work something more worthwhile. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Ok. So the webinar was a little rough for me. I get VERY flustered in front of cameras. It is almost like all the millions of thoughts I had swirling in my head immediately disappear the minute that camera focuses in on me. But despite all of that, I really enjoyed this webinar. It was uch an interesting way to present all of the ideas that everyone had over the entire term. While it was a little chaotic, it definitely had some quality conversations going on. It was just another way to reinforce all the ideas I have had about blogging and the internet and how they relate to imagination in Anne of Green Gables. Just like when we did the post with our book trailer,  in order to present in the webinar, we needed to rethink our topics and exactly how we wanted talk about them. The questions people asked made me rethink about everything I have just written about! When presenting, I began to think more and more how the internet really does change the way we think and reimagine things on the internet. It makes me wish we had done this earlier in the term as social proof. The people that show up at the webinar are really connected to the topics and ask fascinating questions, unlike a lot of the feedback I got when originally looking for social proof. So all in all, I would call this a very successful first webinar! I would be interested in trying it again, now that I know what it is like. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


  Looking back on this term, so much has happened in such a short period time. While this class has been fast, and chaotic, I also feel like I learned so much. However, because of the time constraints, this learning process has felt a little like my head would explode from too much information all at once. Like this:

  • This class has been very interesting, because even though I felt a state of panic the majority of the time, I realize now how much I have actually processed. While writing my paper, I was suddenly aware of how much work we have done over this short term. Instead of getting a topic, and trying to come up with something interesting to say about it while jamming some scholarly sources in there randomly, the process was drastically different. I began by coming up with a book that I have always loved- Anne of Green Gables. No matter what I had to write about, at the very least I knew I would enjoy rereading this book. Next we began to explore our books through different media resources, like this. I also found that there are many different ways to read the text, like online audiobooks.  After getting WAY too many ideas about possible topics, I found myself kind of wandering around through a million different topics. At this point it was important to get some feedback from my cohorts, so they could help me narrow down my ideas. Talking to Erica Oldroyd and Sam Jenkins really helped me discover which of my ideas were worth pursuing, and which ones really were at a dead end. Eventually, I came up with my thesis for my paper, and began to write about it in short spurts. Like so. This entire time, I was also working to get social proof about my ideas, or to contact many different people in order to get feedback. I did this by hunting down different bloggers, posting on facebook, talking to fans who had written reviews on goodreads, and even emailing many, many different professors that had taught classes on Anne of Green Gables. Some of my contacts really had great ideas about my topic and really made me think more in depth about what I was writing about. In particular, my contact Darcy Cowan had some wonderful things to say about imagination. As my ideas and paper was progressing, I also tried to think about my topic and how I would talk about it differently if it were in a different medium, compared to a scholarly research paper. This line of thought lead to the creation of a book trailer! This really helped me to think about what the most important aspects of my topic were. Along the way, I was also looking at scholarly sources and seeing how m interpretation of the text was different hen looking from scholarly sources to social sources. Eventually, all of this information led to the creation of my paper. This process was lengthy, but it really made me view research papers in a different light. When I actually started writing my paper, I felt like I had pondered my topic, by using every available resource, including ones that I had never realized existed before this class. I had talked about my topic with many different people, and had compared my own topic to my fellow classmates. When we got in a group and discussed our ideas, I felt like I learned so much from my cohorts, and also helped to shed some light on their own theories. Then by taking these ideas and proving that people were interested in them by getting them to contact me to talk about it, really made me more interested in my own topic! This way of writing, while long and complex, really made me feel like I did everything I could to write about a relevant topic, as well as engaging a larger audience than just my Professor. Although I wouldn't typically take this long to prepare for a paper, I will definitely use some of these new skills to write in the future. Although my paper definitely wasn't as smooth as I would have liked, the process was more important than the end result. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Final Draft!!

This is my final draft!! Yay! 

Makenna Phillips
English 295
June 3, 2012

Imagination in the Blogging World

Since the beginning, myth and imagination have influenced how humanity sees the world. History books are filled with the romanticized ideas of events that actually occurred. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne is consistently known as a character with a knack for imagination. While many think that daydreaming and imagination are a way to hide from reality, this is not true.  Imagination is a product of human labor. For some, this comes easily, but for others they struggle to see beyond the scope of their own realities. By using creativity and ability to re-imagine our own personal world, today's technology allows each person to take part in the transformation and growth of modern culture.
There are many definitions and ideas that surround the broad topic of imagination. While one common definition is the producing of ideal creations that are inconsistent with reality, or in other words, the ability to picture our lives differently than they are, imagination is also the ability to face and resolve difficulties, or having resourcefulness (“Imagination”). Greg Bayles, a student and Brigham Young University wrote:
“What's really inside of people -- inside of every individual -- is the ability to think and to create, to call forth a little piece of our imaginations or our dreams into reality. We don't have to chase after the age-old aspirations of our grandfathers or follow the trends of our neighbors and friends, and it just doesn't make sense to waste our time living out someone else's second-hand dreams when we might, with a little effort, attain that which we ourselves desire (Bayles).”
Imagination is something that is important that we develop, because it allows us to “live in a subjectively colored world unlike the gray world of reality (“An Experimental Study of imagination”, 422).” While imagination often has an emphasis on the ‘power of invention,’ it is important to have a broad definition in order to encompass all the small facets of the nature of imagination. In one particular article, called "Do you use your Imagination?" by Remez Sasson, he questions the definition of imaginations and declares that it isn't a useless waste of time, but the capacity to visualize different situations and events. By using this tool, people can prepare themselves for different problems that may arise, plan for the future, or create something completely new.
 In a more romantic sense, one blogger named John claimed that there is a traditional "understanding [of] imagination as the spiritual heart of the human person (Granger.)" By combining both of these ideas, it can be argued that imagination is both useful and romantic. It covers every aspect of human life. It allows us to be practical and accomplish things that we need to do daily, while still allowing us to show a reflection of what lies within our hearts.  There is a new study about the sociological aspect of imagination called the sociological imagination.
“The new sociological imagination is a search for satisfactory ways of understanding the contemporary world in a rational, communicable, telling and coherent way, while also contributing to the development of the public sphere and a collective understanding of social issues (Solis- Gadea, 113).”
 If we apply this definition to our total understanding, then “our perceptions of reality become the blueprint for our lives (Chen.)”
Anne of Green Gables is the perfect book to exemplify the power of imagination in our daily lives. The story begins with a young, unloved orphan named Anne, who is quick to love, and quick to hate. She is talkative and willful, but she is filled with a desire to be good, despite her tendency to make dreadful mistakes. In Anne's case, her imaginings affected her everyday life; she was a dreamer, constantly trying to form her world to fit the way she saw things inside her head. At one point she became so enthralled by her dream world that she started a Story Club in order to cultivate her imagination and get all of her dreams out of her head and onto paper. Anne influenced so many people because she dared to dream big and spoke of the things in her imagination unabashedly. People today are still dreaming, and imagining things that they want to happen in their own lives.  By taking part in online media and allowing our imaginations to grow, we are participating in the modern history. This culture is fast growing and has a life of its own, but by each person taking their own ideas and showing their interpretations to the online world, it gives each person a part in the vast online culture.
In Anne of Green Gables, one of the main characters, Matthew Cuthbert, is known for being shy and unable to speak his mind to women. He is stuck in his own boring, daily routine. When he and his sister, Marilla, plan on adopting a young boy to help around the farm, they accidentally get a girl instead- Anne. While Marilla wants to send Anne back to the orphanage, Matthew imagines what his life would be like with a talkative young girl around. From the moment Anne and Matthew left, her imagination began to change the way Matthew saw the world around him. In that one instant where he allowed his imagination to run free, he let his heart open to this love starved little girl, and it ended up changing his life forever. Anne is known for saying, “It is delightful when your dreams come true, isn't it? (Montgomery, 21.)" Anne had a way of not using her imagination just to escape the world, but to influence her life and the lives of others. While Anne didn’t have media tools to help her spread her creative spirit, everyone that came into contact with her was changed by her ideas and infectious spirit. By using her creative energy for good, Anne managed to transform her own community into a place that was more willing to accept new ideas and ways of thinking.
Marilla Cuthbert is severe and believes in duty and decorum above all else, although she does have a sense of humor.  While it takes awhile for Marilla and Anne to find a sense of balance between their two opposite personalities, Anne found a way to help Marilla see the lightness and joy in the world, while Marilla gave Anne the ability to use her imagination for useful things.
“But Anne with her elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth's own optimism. All the Beyond was hers, with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years — each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet (Montgomery 286.)”
While imagination is a tool to take advantage of, in the beginning, Anne only used hers in order to dream of fanciful things that could never actually true. Under Marilla’s influence, these imaginings and daydreams turned into ambitions that made Anne work hard in order to become a college graduate, school teacher and writer, all in a time period where women were supposed to stay at home, get married, and have a family. Imagination is something that can lead to the creation of creative content, but it can also be used to inspire ambition for our daily lives.
In a literary criticism on Anne of Green Gables it says, [while the writer] “cautions against letting the female imagination run wild, [the writer] does not deny the power of imagination nor suggest that a woman’s life can be negotiated through reason alone (Miller, 125.)” Our ability to imagine is also our ability to create, to wonder, to inspire, and to influence the real world. In order for change to happen, it has to start with someone thinking about how things can be different. If we stick to our old routines and never picture anything other than our real lives, then everything stays the same. Inventions, and new ideas all begin with imagination. However, this does not mean that we should ignore our real lives, but use imagination and reality in a perfect balance, allowing each to play a role in who we are and what we do. A blogger named Darcy wrote:
"Imagination is not an unalloyed good, and neither is instant access to everything anyone ever wrote on a topic. But it's probably better than the alternative. Looking directly to the use of imagination, it's true that broadly defined imagination is essential. Arguably we couldn't function without it, the ability to envision a situation different from the current one doesn't just allow us to change our lives in significant ways, it helps us to simply get through the day. But not all imagination is of the same quality (Cowan.)"
In the digital age, we are now capable of spreading our thoughts and ideas to the entire world. The hope is that our own perceptions of reality influence someone else and their own perceptions. We aren't speaking to ourselves, but to the entire world. The only problem is everyone wants to be unique and to put their every thought and feeling out there for everyone to see. Dr. Burton, a Professor at BYU wisely pointed out that a lot of content on the Internet is inert and doesn't really have a point. However, the digital media has the potential to act as a medium for our own ideas to become the blueprint for other people's ideas about the world. Blogging is one of the many useful tools that the Internet provides for creative expression. In today’s media culture, blogging is the perfect outlet for our thoughts and ideas to turn into creative content, because it is a space with no rules. While other social media does not allow for much creativity, blogs are a blank space. It is in this forum that people represent their creations, rant about their inner thoughts, display their personalities, and write about the things they love.
By reading blogs, we become well acquainted with the individual that writes them. Blogs that we keep coming back to have a common theme of allowing us to see behind the words and pictures, and letting us see the person that is writing them. This has changed how we read literature today, because now we have the ability to relate our own personal connections to the text online. Each person understands literature according to their own sphere of knowledge and their own unique perspective. Online media, and blogging in particular, lets these perspectives to be brought out into the open, which changes how we approach different ideas.
Even more importantly that how blogging changes how we connect to literature, blogging has changed the way we create, and even the nature of imagination by allowing the world to comment on our thoughts and inventions. This "social proof," that our ideas are relevant and interesting to someone other than ourselves changes the way we think. By allowing others to engage in our imaginations, we transform the way we ruminate. Our imaginations have the ability to move our lives in different directions than we originally expected. It is important to use blogs not just as an online journal, but also as a way to really express the way we think and to be creative in a social atmosphere. By allowing the two-way street of letting our ideas influence others, and others creations spark our own ideas, the online culture of letting imagination run wild and free directly affects our lives. “The Internet gives mankind the ability to enact his creative visions by providing access to both the resources and audiences necessary to realize his specific creative endeavors (Bayles.)”  By using the power of the Internet, each person is adding to the unique medium that has come to define our modern age and culture.

Works Cited

"imagination." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.   
          HarperCollins Publishers. 08 Jun. 2012.          

Bayles, Greg. “At One with our Creative Ideal: Paper in a Post.” New Horizons.                    
 30 May 2012. 3 June 2012.

"An Experimental Study of Imagination." The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 3(Jul., 1910), pp. 422-452.

Sasson, Remez. “Do You Use Your Imagination?”
           14 May 2010. 25 May 12.

Solis-Gadea, Hecter Raul. “The New Sociological Imagination: Facing the Challenges     
          of a New Millennium.”
          International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 18.3-4 (2005):113-122

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. London: Bantam Books. C. 1908.   

Cowan, Darcy. “Imagination in Reality.” E-mail to Makenna Phillips. 25 May 2012.

Miller, Kathleen Ann. “Haunted Heroines. “The Lion and the Unicorn. Vol.  34 (2010)
          pp. 125-147 c. The John Hopkins University Press.

Granger, John. “Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter.” Hogwarts Professor
            Thoughts for Serious Readers. 18 January 2010. 25 May 2012.

Chen, Minjie. “Critical Evaluative Essay on Text.” Anne of Green Gables by L. M
         Montgomery. November 2004. 16 May 2012.

Monday, June 4, 2012

If I imagine writing this paper to be fun, will it come true?

This paper writing experience has been very different from previous experiences. In this case, I feel like we have used every single resource available to us, and it has allowed me to see how wonderful social proof actually is. I don't know what I would have done without my cohorts to keep me on the right track! Here is the very first draft of my paper. Many things will be changing, but this it where it all begins.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Ideas!

While the majority of my contacts haven't been super helpful, it has been useful for me to put my ideas out there. Just writing to all of these different professors and bloggers, has helped me work through my own ideas. I have found that when I write down my topic, I write it in different ways when I am trying to contact different people. This has helped me understand how many little tiny facets and sides there are to the idea of imagination leading to creative content. 
One of my contacts, a blogger named Darcy, wrote:
"Imagination is not an unalloyed good, and neither is instant access to everything anyone ever wrote on a topic. But it's probably better than the alternative.Looking directly to the use of imagination, it's true that broadly defined imagination is essential. Arguably we couldn't function without it, the ability to envision a situation different from the current one doesn't just allow us to change our lives in significant ways, it helps us to simply get through the day. But not all imagination is of the same quality."
This definitely helped me to realize that imagination isn't something that is misunderstood or good versus bad. As with everything, imagination is what we make of it. While my thesis is staying the same, this as well as talking with my cohorts has helped me direct my call of action to those who use the internet and blogging as an "online journal." It is important that we try to use the power of blogging and the internet for good, rather than content that isn't helpful or pertinent to anyone.