Before I leave and face one of the most stressful exam weeks in a long time, I just wanted to leave you guys with this (hopefully) short response note that explains my reasons for writing a blog for this course, why I chose the blog as my final submission format, the challenges I faced, learning experiences and my take home message. It might be a little boring, but in case you’ve been wondering what I’ve learnt and why I did what I’ve done, this will clear things up for you!
Also I did receive some recommendations for plays I should review! Thanks guys, keep them coming!
The final assignment involved a few big decisions to ensure a successful outcome. Deciding on the format wasn’t much of a tough decision for me; I love writing blogs, and have had some experience with writing and editing blogs in the past, as well as I enjoy posting my own opinions and reflections about a topic and seeing how others react to them. I’ve created blogs for previous literary studies courses and found it to be a great learning experience, so I thought that a blog would be an ideal format. Then it came to deciding what exactly I wanted to blog about; this took a few weeks for me to figure out; at first I wanted to review plays we did in class or I went to see but then I realized that that might not be enough to show for an entire semester and besides, reviews for plays happen all the time, what sets my work apart?
After much thought I realized, I could document the entire course in terms of how it’s proceeded, what we’ve been doing, the play’s we’ve read, discussions we’ve had, assignments, my reflections and further research into topics I’ve found interesting and so on. This sounded like a great idea because it would ensure I was actively working on the final submission throughout the course, and constantly thinking about what we were doing in class-essentially the blog would give me a podium to express my opinions and thoughts on what was being done, be it different plays, theories or just what I felt about the progression of the classes. Most of all though, it would be interesting to look back at where I started and how far the learning and knowledge acquired through the course has taken me. The blog was a good way to document the course as it also allowed a coherent and structured format for organization of the posts.
It was around the second week of the course that I created my blog and began writing. I had laid out a concrete plan that I intended to stick to; I had to write a post for almost every class, unless what we’d done in class hadn’t interested me at all, which was unlikely. Additionally, I had to post twice a week, and include at least one ‘reflections’ post-it summed up how the course was progressing, my likes and dislikes and so on. The general posts would comprise of extra research conducted on topics I’d found especially fascinating, my thoughts, notes taken in class, videos and pictures and any assignments written during the duration of the course.
However, as I continued writing I realized writing a blog wasn’t as smooth a process as I’d expected it to be, and I encountered a few challenges along the way. The main challenge was to make the blog appealing and entertaining while at the same time making sure it retained some academic semblance and content. Although I enjoyed writing posts on the theory we did and discussions we had in class, it was difficult to write a post that was entertaining and absorbing. Another big challenge I faced was making the posts interactive, so that they’d have elements that involved the person reading the post. I tried including pictures and videos wherever I could to make posts interactive and appealing, and made an effort to ensure the posts were ‘reader-friendly’ (I did this through use of points instead of long essays for most of posts, and simplified language). In one of the posts (Ghashiram Kotwal) I changed the structure in a way that I hoped motivated people to go back and do some additional research for themselves and come up with their own viewpoints. It became hard to consistently write posts and stick to my plan due to cancelation of classes, holiday’s scheduled on class days, and because of this I sometimes went at least a week without blogging at all. Furthermore, sometimes for a few of the discussions we’d have in class it would be difficult to find reliable sources to back them up (for example-Brecht’s relation to the Indian context) and I’d have to rely entirely on my class notes. Conversely, a lot of the materials we had examined in class had many papers and articles written about them so it was also a tough task to make my posts sound original and one of a kind rather than a repetition of the sources online.
Blogging was easy, convenient and provided a good structure for my views; looking back from now to the beginning of the course I understand that having a well-organized piece is important if you want to be able to trace the trajectory that the course has taken. I have tried to be consistent with my writing, but due to missed classes, assignments and other work, occasionally I haven’t been as consistent with my writing as I could have been, however, I have done my best to ensure that each class was documented despite shortcomings. Much of the information on the blog has been derived from my class notes, online research or educational videos.
I feel like writing a blog allowed me to reflect and react constantly throughout the journey of the course. It encouraged me to conduct more research on topics that sparked my interest and gave me a chance to voice my beliefs to others. In a sense it allowed an active dialogue between me and the readers and because I knew other people would be reading my work on some level it motivated me to make sure my writing was up to certain standard.
I received a few emails concerning a few posts on the blog, people wanted more information on certain topics as well as wrote in to inform me of their take on my writing which was great since my blog was doing exactly what I wanted it to; not only was I documenting the course and people were actually reading my writing, but I was also driving other individuals to explore new areas of interest and receiving feedback on my posts. All in all, the course itself exposed me to many new works of writing, theater and clearly illustrated the strong relationship drama and drama performance has with society. It was an amazing learning experience, a glimpse into the wide, never-ending world of drama and taught me to observe and reflect on what I read more closely as ultimately behind many plays are messages being passed onto us and others within society.