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Daniel Anderson, Author
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Garrett Botkin

Suppose that 'Unsolved Mysteries' called you with news of a long-lost
identical twin. Would that suddenly make you less of a person, less of
an individual? It is hard to see how.
- Nathan Myhrvold

Hello!  My name is Garrett Botkin, and currently I am a freshman enrolled in English 366H.  I hope you will forgive my crazy eyes and/or words -- it is finals week after all.  As a student, all classes will ask you to learn in one of two ways.  Most will ask you to learn by memorizing and then re-delivering some list of facts.  A history class may ask you to memorize some dates or causal links, while a math class may have you memorize a proof or a type of problem.  No field is exempt from this.  This is not a bad way to learn, and indeed, it's important later in life to have a good repertoire of knowledge to draw upon.  However, there is also a second way of learning, and it's equally as important to understand this form as it is the other one.  This method, instead of simply providing information to the student, asks them synthesize it themselves.  English 366H has been one of those rare classes that asks for synthesis rather than memorization.  It does not fill a repertoire, instead, it shows how to use it.

Everyone in this class has drawn upon their own repertoires, filled with their personal experiences and knowledge, to create a unique portfolio.  My portfolio will show you what I synthesized based on The Road, and this will be totally different from what every other student synthesized simply because we are two different people with two different backgrounds.  Thus, in this portfolio, I will show you what ideas I synthesized.  These ideas are not necessarily right or wrong, and they may even clash with ideas in other portfolios.  Regardless of agreement, all of the ideas presented in these portfolios are based on a lifetime of experience, and so each will be highly tailored to their author and equally as interesting.

With this out of the way, how exactly were we asked to synthesize in this class?  Most classes would have students writing traditional essays, and we certainly did that in this class.  However, we were also asked to employ various types of multimedia to convey our ideas, from text to audio to video.  Being able to create pieces that were appealing to the senses while also being informative was, in my opinion, at the core of this class.  If it was not appealing, then it might as well have been written in a standard paper format.  If it did not convey an idea, then it was vacuous.  Thus, in all of my pieces, I try to maximize the appeal of the work by making it prettier, easier on the ears and so forth while also trying to convey as many ideas as concisely and efficiently as possible.

I didn't begin the year with this idea, however.  At first, I was simply interested in communicating information effectively, and I cared little for trying to maximize the beauty in my projects.  In my earliest pieces, like the soundlist, this is particularly evident and I spend most of my time trying to communicate ideas without dwelling on trying to make it appear nice simultaneously.

Over time, particularly around the ePoem, I begin to learn this lesson and I realize that making something pretty and making something informative are not mutually exclusive.

In many of the revisions, especially of my early projects, I spent a significant amount of time simply attempting to "beautify" what was previously little more than a standard essay.  Hopefully you too can see this evolution in my paradigm as you look through my portfolio,
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