Final Reflection

Teaching (40%):

I think I met and exceeded expectations for the teaching portion of this course. During the peripheral segment I was able to initiate discussion with parallels to modern day examples (media, technology, well known figures, etc.). I think with these comparisons I was able to to spark discussion on a piece of literature that may otherwise be difficult to elaborate on. I know for me, William Gibson’s style of literature was uncharted territory and so relating it to things I was familiar with helped me a lot, so I brought that into my lessons.

During the coding portion of the course, I may have not excelled as much as the peripheral or major project lessons but simultaneously, I knew what to do to still be effective and beneficial to others in my lessons. I was able to effectively teach a more basic concept (i.e. syntax errors) and I broke down the steps piece by piece in a powerpoint and included a practice activity at the end.

screen grab from syntax error powerpoint:

I struggled a lot when I ventured into the more difficult concepts in the text, and while trying to put together a lesson I realized I didn’t fully understand it myself. With this in mind, I decided to teach on what I knew I did understand and I took the lesson outside the realm of physically coding. For example, in the sentiment analysis chapter, I understood the concept of sentiment analysis and its use of vocabularycept. I ran with this concept and explained it with my own examples of vocabularyclept.

screen grab from sentiment analysis powerpoint:


Lastly I ended with pedaling backwards to chapter 5 lecturing and lecturing on “computing is cultural”. I found this the most interesting because I was able to explore how coding directly effects todays world with programs that kick a** coders make. I decided to speak about a few different apps provide social/philanthropic benefits (HTC Power to Give & Get Rich or Die Smoking).

With the coding segment of teaching, I knew I had to think outside of the box to complete the assignments effectively. I’m really a horrible coder and I don’t enjoy it, which you can read more about in my coding manifesto:

I do not like Coding Manifesto


Finally we have major project portion of the teaching segment. This portion I was most excited about because I was able to teach something I genuinely enjoy. Using Adobe Premiere Pro was a vital part of my major project, so I knew that this made the most sense to teach to my peers. I’ve been using this program for a while and so teaching the basic concepts came naturally to me. I did a demo on the flat screen of concept like clip trimming/splitting, image stabilizing, audio overlays, graphic overlays, and rolling credits.


Programming Manifesto (10%):

For my programming manifesto I submitted a GIF essay:

Coding Manifesto

Looking back on this submission now, my expectations in comparison with the reality of the coding portion of the course did not exactly line up. The fact that the text was self taught/taught by peers definitely presented some difficulties for me. As I elaborated in my 2nd coding manifesto :

I attempted to learn coding through the instruction provided in our text, but I think the author wrote the text assuming that the readers know more than they do. The lessons provided by peers were definitely helpful, but again I do not think it brought me to a level of legitimate competence. I think I was more partial to the concepts regarding cultural approaches to coding. I loved learning about programs that successful coders were able to create that brought aid and awareness to social issues.

Both of my coding manifestos were very thorough (and honest) and fully met the expectations of the assignment. I also took creative liberty’s with my inclusion of gifs in these manifestos. 


Learning Journal (7.5%):

My learning journal was updated through google docs and submitted in the assignment tab. The learning journal was a good way to stay updated on my progress over the course of the class. It also served as a hub for all the important graphics and links used through out my assignments, which I could also find through slack but the document was a more direct way to view them. I made my learning journal a private document as opposed to a blog post because I viewed it as a medium that served for personal benefit as opposed to something that should be visually pleasing. This document served its purpose and fully met the expectations of the assignment. 


Participation (7.5%):

I think participation goes hand in hand with collaboration, which was clearly the foundation of this course. With out the collaboration of the peers at my table, it would have been very difficult to progress through applied digital studies. Most notably, we were able to bounce idea’s off each other for our major project. Although, for the most part the mediums we were using for our projects were completely different so at times it was difficult to offer specific or targeted aid. Even with these differences we were able to offer each other creative input. Outside the subject of the major project, my group was very active in our discussions of the peripheral especially when discussing modern day parallels to the text. In regards to the coding teaching, even if it was often difficult to understand the concepts that were being taught by peers I still made every effort to ask questions when confused. With all this in mind, I do believe I met and exceeded expectation for the participation portion of the course. 


Major Project (40%):

(click to view)


Progress Report 3

Progress Report 1 & 2 documents submitted on canvas

Working on this major project was by far my favorite portion of the course. Like any project this big, your bound to have to make some alterations to your original proposal. I originally hoped to interview subjects of all ages, from different backgrounds, and walks of life. While I definitely checked the different backgrounds box, I ended up having to lessen my subject pool down to just members of the UMW Community for my immigration documentary. One of the biggest struggles in my project was arranging interviews, it was often difficult to arrange times that worked with both mine and the subjects schedule. Nevertheless, I was able to do it even if that meant filming interviews and b-roll at the very last minute. One of the most fulfilling aspects of this project was meeting and learning so much about new people. When asking people personal questions about their background your eyes are opened to the struggles of the people you walk past every day and don’t think twice about. The editing was one of the most frustrating parts of my project, especially when going through and trimming several interviews that were over 15-20 minutes long each. Thankfully, with the precise edits I had to make on this documentary I was able to vastly improve my skills in Adobe Premiere Pro through necessary online tutorials as well as trial and error. It was awesome to have my film selected for the digital showcase and have the opportunity to share it with my peers. I even had a professor in attendance reach out to me through email and ask for the link to the documentary to share it with his wife who is an immigration attorney. It was really cool to see that people really enjoyed it:

My Instagram post with photos from the showcase:


Final Project (click to view)


I think it is safe to say that I exceeded expectations for the major project portion of the course. 


***** Considering my reflection and all the bolded self evaluation conclusions, I do believe I deserve an A in Applied Digital Studies.*****


Progress Report 3

I am still in the process of filming the subjects for my documentary as well as B-Roll. If time permits, I’ll be looking to add additional subjects to the documentary. I want to make sure I have  diverse perspectives presented in the narrative.

The premise of my project has not changed since I first proposed it but the responses I receive during interviews are definitely not what I expected. This does not change the purpose of the documentary, if anything it makes the process more interesting. It has been eye opening to hear the stories of my subjects.

My most recent accomplishment is confirming the content of, as well as filming the b-roll for the different subjects. My next step is continuing to conduct these interviews. I am gone from campus for a week as I am in florida with family for thanksgiving, so this limits the time available to film content. Although, I am also filming my grandparents (Cuban immigrants) while here and so this week provides ample time to conduct their interviews and B-roll.

Once I enter the final step of editing all my content, I am expecting to run into issues as I am trying more advanced editing through Adobe Premiere Pro. I’ve typically been successful when using Adobe programs through trial and error, I just need to ensure that I provide myself enough time to edit.

screen grabs from some filmed content:

(Professor Jose Sainz)


(Student, Christine Ayad)


(Christine Ayad, B-roll)


I do not like Coding Manifesto

I still stand by the statement that coding is a digital art form, where users can create functional programs through custom permutations of a programming language. Now, I would expand that to say that coding is an art form that requires a lot of memorization of permutations and consequently a lot of work and frustration just to move past the most basic functions. To some extent, I think being a successful or even functioning coder requires a mathematically inclined frame of mind. I do not and will not ever enjoy math, so I have once again realized that I thoroughly dislike coding.

During this coding segment of the course, I understood small concepts within the chapters but honestly I do not think I could effectively re-apply these concepts if asked to present them after the initial teaching days. I know more about the mechanisms that are required to code, but I do not think my competence genuinely showed much improvement from when I promptly decided to drop computer science two weeks into the course.

I attempted to learn coding through the instruction provided in our text, but I think the author wrote the text assuming that the readers know more than they do. The lessons provided by peers were definitely helpful, but again I do not think it brought me to a level of legitimate competence. I think I was more partial to the concepts regarding cultural approaches to coding. I loved learning about programs that successful coders were able to create that brought aid and awareness to social issues.

To be frank, I do not see myself pursuing coding any further. Simultaneously, I will continue to seek proficiency in digital programs that coding played a fundamental/crucial part in creating. Working with adobe programs and online tools (i.e., Hootesuite) has played a major part in my coursework through out college and I thoroughly enjoy it. Knowing this, I owe thanks to coders who have made it possible to thrive in a digital content related field, but I will never be joining them.


Major Project Proposal- Digital Studies


For my major project I would like to do a documentary about immigrants and their life in the US. I would like to speak to immigrants from both ends of the spectrum, undocumented and documented, old and young, and of a wide range of nationalities. I want to expose the truths about their reality and what may have brought them to this country. I think this effort matters because there is a stigma that needs to be broken regarding the place of immigrants in our society. Many see this as an issue of politics/economy, my documentary would serve as a force to humanize the topic. As a first generation Cuban-American, I come from a family of immigrants and so it is an issue that is close to my heart.

Risks & Rewards:

When taking on  a project this large I do expect to run into trouble. Most notably, this project pushes me out of my comfort zone in regards to potentially needing to speak to perfect strangers about very personal topics. With that being said, it’s important to have my questions completely prepared prior to interviews. In addition, I know that a few of my subjects will be Spanish speakers and not proficient in English, and while my skills acquired as a Spanish minor will be helpful, it will not be enough to conduct a perfectly accurate interview. Taking this into account, I need to have a translator at hand for those subjects (i.e, my mom). If this project goes well, It is my hope that it puts a positive face to the topic of immigration in this country.  If I could change at least one heart on their opinion of the issue, it will be worth it.


The resources are likely the least of my worries. To film I will be using my canon DSLR, and temporarily I will rent a tripod from the HCC until I purchase my own. I have a ring portrait light for filming as well. For editing I will be using Adobe Premiere Pro which is available on all school computers. The biggest time commitment will be arranging and conducting the interviews with the subjects of my documentary. First and foremost, I need to find willing individuals and have their interview time and date confirmed in writing. I have not decided the number of subjects I will include in the film, so that will likely be decided depending on how many people agree to an interview. The only interviews that I am absolutely sure about is my grandparents. I will be visiting family in Florida over thanksgiving and so I will be conducting interviews with my grandparents during that time, since it was their decision to bring my parents to the US as children.



Wednesday,  October 18th-  format for documentary drafted


Friday, October 20-25-  all interviews confirmed


Sunday October 22- Interview questions ready


October 26th – November 30th- Conduct/Film Interviews


December 1st-6th- Content Editing


I will know that my project is successful if my subjects share their truths, my biggest concern is for the final product to be raw. It is my intention to generate an emotional response from my audience, but I think that will be different for the individual viewer. I think it should be graded depending on if there was clearly time and effort put into the process of the film making.

Executive Summary:

I myself am a product of immigration and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have had thus far in my life if it wasn’t for the decision of my grandparents. I know that this fact will serve as my drive to complete a meaningful and quality film. I know I will run into hardships while trying to conduct the interviews to their full potential, but this serves as a reminder to be over prepared. I feel confident in my film and editing abilities and have all the necessary resources available to me. I hope to have a finished product that I can be proud of and serves as an authentic medium to share the stories of immigrants in our country.


Coding Manifesto

Coding to me is a digital art form, where users can create functional programs through custom permutations of a programming language. Endless possibilities.

The only prior experience I’ve had with coding is a computer science class I took freshman year. Although I soon realized it was not my forté.

My plan to learn coding is to invest time in understanding the readings and to reach out for help from peers/professor when needed.

I would like to eventually become proficient enough in coding to utilize it within the format of my personal domain.