Category Archives: 571 Blog

571 Final Presentation

Post-script:  Although the PPT is properly embedded on my blog, I think that the settings on our course blog site aren’t the same, so my slides appear as individual images. Crud! However, if you scroll down to below the final slide and then click on “Original Post” it will redirect you to my page that has it formatted correctly. 

I just wanted to thank all of the students in 571 this semester — Alec, Ally, Hussah, Nhu, Safa, and Vincent — for helping to make the course so enjoyable. To be honest, I think that I learned as much from you as from Dr. Howe this semester (okay, well almost as much as I did from Dr. Howe!). Usually, by the end of the semester, I am glad to be done with a course. This is the first time that I honestly have not wanted it to end!

I’m going to continue to play around and experiment with my blog (like a few others, I hadn’t had a blog post prior to this semester). The task that I set for myself this morning was to figure out how to embed my final PPT presentation into the post. Initially, I could only do so by adding each slide individually as you would for a photo. That was both clunky and visually unappealing. Anyway, after a bit of experimentation, I finally figured it out!

PS. If anyone would like to embed their final presentations into their blog posts but don’t know how to, I am planning to post screenshots and quick directions, hopefully in the next day or so (right now, however, I am getting ready for the arrival of several out-of-town family members who will be in for the weekend).

More soon & thank you again to my fellow classmates!

Original Post

Student Research Conference Observations

Last Wednesday we attended the Graduate Student Research Conference at Marymount University. This is actually the first ever research conference that I attended, so it was an entirely new experience for me and I did not know what to expect. Luckily the portion of the conference of which I had attended was related to a topic that has been the theme of our EN 571 course. It was very interesting to see the many different perspectives on Mary Shelley’s Franktenstein. Even though the perspectives presented were different from each other, they were all still similar in a way. They all had a portion discussing the negative nouns associated with the creature in Frankenstein. Each presentation spoke about these negative terms in a different perspective.

What I most enjoyed from those presentations informing the audience about the names in which the creature is referred to, was when my colleague Amy, was presenting her research and created a slide in her powerpoint dedicated entirely to the names associated with the creature. I wished I had taken a picture of that slide. I think that slide is beneficial in serving an introduction to people that are not familiar with Frankenstein since those names in the slide portray the theme and what to expect from the novel. My friend that came with me never encountered this novel before, but from how each presenter spoke about it, I think they each did a great job in introducing what Frankenstein is about. They all touched base on the storyline, the theme, the negativity in it, they were each able to cover the important parts of the novel and made those that are unfamiliar with it, still understand the research, so I applaud all of the presenters.

My favorite presentation by far and the one that I most looked forward to in terms of how it progressed, was Vincent’s creative school assignment on the novel. I think his project progressed positively in a vast way from how it first started, and it is a research project he should be very proud of. It was a presentation that was exciting to hear about, it was not something that you would lose focus in easily because of how engaging his ideas were. The audience was very intrigued to see how these characters would be on social media. I genuinely wish that more high schools would create assignments like this because, in high school, it is difficult to get the students to be engaged or even like a subject that they might be weak in, but when it comes to having them associate this subject with something they use in their daily lives, such as social media, they will have a different outlook on this subject and not dislike it as much. A lot of high school students either have a strong dislike for math or a strong dislike for their English classes. If English classes were to use this interesting spin with one of the assignments, the students will not see English as that bad of a class, since it is no longer boring, they can relate it to their everyday life.

I applaud all my peers that presented at the conference, they all did a great job, especially navigating their ideas to make it fit with the tight time frame. This is an extremely big assignment and they managed to get their ideas out and explain them clearly. All of their projects have transformed into really good outcome and it was fun to just see the final or almost the final outcome of their work. (568)

Original Post

SRC Reflection


I have enjoyed reading my classmates’ reflections on the experience of presenting at the SRC, almost as much as I enjoyed their actual presentations. I found myself chuckling along when reading their observations about the effects of nervousness, particularly as I had similar physical and emotional reactions that night. For example, I discovered that my extreme nervousness at speaking in front of an audience caused two primary physical issues while I was presenting:  the first, which I was painfully aware of at the time, was that I felt as if I was continually mispronouncing words, despite having practiced my presentation multiple times; the second was that from the moment that I began to speak, I immediately suffered from a debilitating severe case of dry mouth, which made speaking impossible quite difficult. Afterwards, Alec pointed out my rookie mistake shared his tip of taking a glass of water to the podium. In retrospect, I can’t believe that I didn’t think to do that! In any event, I will definitely file his suggestion in my mental toolbox if I ever present again for the next time that I present.

Nhu’s comment that there are always going to be “unanticipated circumstances” that arise each semester really resonated with me, particularly as I struggled with many of these myself this term  (for instance, literally starting the semester off in January with pneumonia, then having a tree fall on our house during the Nor’easter in March, and finally having my son home sick with Strep and requiring constant hands-on care for a week in April). Although these issues did not prevent me from doing extensive research for my project, I did find that both my attention span, as well as my ability to write, was nonexistent severely compromised and I continually felt (and unfortunately still do) pulled in a dozen different directions.

Tree Falls on House

(Imagine this, but without the snow!)

In his reflection, Alec made an astute comment regarding the process of preparing a presentation, specifically that the process of information selection helped in terms of “thinking more carefully about the final paper.” I, too, felt that way as I was preparing my presentation. In addition, I found the questions and comments afterwards (such as the suggestion that I look up Jeffrey Cohen’s chapter “Monster Culture (Seven Theses),” which I have now read and am working on incorporating into my argument) to be extremely valuable in helping me to identify places in my argument that I still need to expand upon and develop.

I know that I mentioned this after Victor’s Vincent’s presentation, but I have really enjoyed absolutely loved seeing his project develop this semester. In particular, the visuals that he created for his SRC presentation (specifically the texting images between Elizabeth and Victor) helped to make his proposed assignment seem much more concrete. They also reinforced for me the importance of good visuals in a formal talk and what an aid they can be.

Lastly, Ally’s enthusiasm for her project was contagious. Good presentations, like good ideas, can really inspire us as scholars to explore new areas of inquiry, and I found myself taking copious notes for a potential future project (after this semester is over!). Specifically, I’d like to use Syuzhet to graph both the 1818 and 1831 editions of Frankenstein to see whether their degrees of sentiments differ, and if so, in what ways. I can honestly say that that is NOT something that I could possibly have envisioned being willing to tackle four months ago!

In terms of how my presentation has informed the direction that my project has taken, I realized that although I had the majority of my argument worked out, I needed to find a way to explain it to others. This has helped me in my drafting process. For example, I had a slide of various descriptors that Victor Frankenstein uses when referring to the creature. When I constructed this slide, I grouped the terms thematically (i.e. listing similar terms together), but while I was presenting, I realized that for my purposes, it would be more productive to focus on how those descriptors evolve throughout the text based on plot developments (I am currently mapping this out in order to revise my argument).

One of my PPT slides

Finally, although I did not feel this way in the days leading up to the conference, I am extremely grateful that we were forced encouraged to submit our work to the SRC. Had it not been for that, I definitely most likely wouldn’t have, and thus would not have benefited from the experience of presenting. It has been over 15 years since I last presented at a conference (coincidentally, my presentation was also on Frankenstein). MU’s SRC was an excellent opportunity to dip my toes in the proverbial water again, challenge my fear of presenting (thanks to some much-needed words of encouragement and support the night before), and prepare me for future opportunities to present. Because of this, I honestly don’t think that I will be nearly as nervous or apprehensive the next time that I present at a conference. From a professional development standpoint, this truly was an invaluable experience. (865)

We survived!

Original Post

Day Eleven – SRC Reflection

In my presentation, I found to be more confident in myself, the proposal, and the PowerPoint in general which made the experience more relaxed and comfortable; moreover I was able to converse with the audience and their questions/suggestions more loosely yet focused than expected. I felt I had a better understanding and position in my proposal as I gauged the reactions from the audience itself as well. I also felt it was a wise decision to print handouts of the significant documents such as the grading rubric and the assignment proposal for the audience to review upon; I was worried that the PowerPoint was not large in font or overall size for the audience to read off.

I have, however, a repeating habit of stammering or prolonged usage of nonsensical wordings like “uh” or “um” to drag on sentences while in thought. I hope to fix this in the future for next presentations, a possible solution could be making more notes with detail explanations to browse back if necessary. Furthermore, I should also develop my PowerPoint to be more specific and provide more details or examples to illustrate my points; I felt myself diverging away and missed some key elements to my presentation and proposal.

As for the other presentations, they demonstrated the strong points of oral (or vocal) skills that I should strive for in my preceding presentations (formal or informal). Overall, I believe I benefited from this experience and enjoyed myself than expected.

The Aftermath of the Conference

I think that these past few weeks show how unanticipated circumstances can arise. I did not anticipate being sick and I realize that research is nearly impossible when you aren’t taking care of yourself.

When I was first putting together my PowerPoint for the Student Research Conference, I was conflicted with how much information my audience really needed (so that I am using an optimal amount of time). My style typically consists of the use of image more than the use of text. I find that the audience can easily get distracted if there are too many words on a screen. I decided that I would attempt to give some foundation to Frankenstein, being the first presenter on that panel so that it would give some leeway to others. Due to our Works in Progress submissions turning into platform presentations, some of the audience members believed that our research was complete. One takeaway is that while I may not be able to control my audience, this is simply something that I will have to get used to, even if members of the audience visibly show a disinterest. By allowing it to affect my presentation, I felt distracted and started to ramble even though I had notes on hand.

As an audience member, I also saw the importance of keeping the presenter on track. It is important to try to ask questions that are relevant to the presenter, and not meant to discourage or deter the student from academic research. I appreciated the guiding questions from my colleagues and professors because it helped me better understand the focus as well as the significance of my research. While I initially did not intend on submitting to the student research conference this semester, I am glad that we were encouraged to feel that our research, particularly in the humanities, is notable. In my past experience with the conference, I always felt as though the sciences were more celebrated by students and professors. However, I felt that the organizers or board members were more thoughtful in putting together a conference of mixed fields and areas of studies.

After presenting, I realized that I didn’t need to include Clerval in my analysis. In fact, it served me no purpose in the direction I am headed in my analysis of Victor Frankenstein and the creature. Discussion of the texts that both characters approach is necessary in my analysis and deserves more attention to fully grasp a post-colonial analysis. I feel more confident in my ability to expand on the development of the creature and how language and culture is tied to his power over Victor (445).

Final Farewell!

The student research conference was a blast and I really thank everyone for listening and engaging with my project! It was very interesting to see what our fellow students have been working on and it makes me even more excited to hear the final presentations! It’s really quite sad to think the semester is coming to a close so soon, but it’s amazing to think about how much we have changed over the semester in our engagement with, and understanding of, the Digital Humanities.

I’ve been struggling with my research. It is a really great visual tool but ultimately I’m consistently finding it difficult to articulate exactly how useful it can be to studying novels. I think at the conference I had a mini breakthrough thanks to Amy’s mirrors and some of the questions posed after my presentation. It seems the program made nominal sense to everyone, so I am glad I was able to somewhat explain the inner workings of Syuzhet. A presentation is very different from a paper though, and my presentation did not delve into the literary aspects I was using the program to bolster—namely, the story vs. plot argument using Russian formalist thought. I am still a bit torn as to how to structure my paper, because as an English scholar my wheelhouse is interpretation which is the bulk of my current draft. Right now it is structured as an:

  1. Introduction
  2. Literary Device Background
  3. Frankenstein Introductions
  4. Frankenstein Interpretation
  5. Program Introduction
  6. Program Results Interpretation
  7. So what?
  8. Conclusion

It still makes sense to me to be set up this way, but after the conference I can see how maybe weaving everything together may also be a good idea. As you all saw my presentation I was hoping for some feedback on ways to make the info more accessible, better organized, more homogenized, etc. I know comments are not due this week, but just a heads up—I’ll be asking for help in class! J

One thing I do like about my paper over my presentation is the way I weave Vonnegut throughout. In the presentation he was my ending, but in the paper I bookend and allude to him throughout. It is sentimental (ha ha) to me because if I hadn’t been googling “Kurt Vonnegut, Digital Humanities” I would not have found out about the Syuzhet program.

I have to say it has been a wonderful experience this semester exploring the digital humanities with you all. Together we have navigated uncharted waters, baptized Vincent as Victor, and become seemingly intimately aware of everything Frankenstein. I hope you all continue to explore this area and incorporate it into your future studies!

HAGS everyone! (445)

Original Post

Frankenstein Outline

Topic: A postcolonial analysis of the 1818 edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I will be using Keywords in Context tools to identify authoritative approaches to language. The comparison will be Victor Frankenstein vs the creature and how language encourages Western power and authority.

Working Thesis: In the 1818 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s western influences are prevalent through the acquisition of language; Victor Frankenstein’s interactions with sub-characters are much different than that of how the creature approaches … (PENDING–still honing down on the best way to word it)

I. Introduction of topic (1 Long Paragraph)

a. brief introduction of post colonialism

i. mention tool that is used??

b. application of post colonialism and how it is interpreted through language (refer to relevant research; define theory) (1-2 paragraph(s)

II. previous methodology in this analysis of Frankenstein by other scholarly work (4-7 paragraphs)

a. also why my analysis is relevant apart from what is currently out there (1 paragraph)

III. Detailed introduction of tool in application with text (Voyant)

a. which aspect to use? 1-2 aspects, probably

IV. Open Body — begin to introduce comparison

(Rest of body — Comparison using multiple scenes — where language acquisition is highlighted)

a. Use tool to supplement text

b. use sources to support conclusive evidence for patterns recognized by tools

c. use own analysis


V. Discussion (2-3 paragraphs)

My apologies for the strange format of my outline. I typically have a hard time trying to outline, especially when I am continually adding on to my analysis and research.

Preliminary Outline for 571 Final Project

Zombie humor…

Preliminary Outline

1. Introduction –  explain and outline the scope of my project (apx. 1 page)

2.  Explanation of Kristeva’s concept of “the Abject” & its connection to Frankenstein (apx. 2-3 pages)

“The abject is not an ob-ject facing me, which I name or imagine…The abject has only one quality of the object—that of being opposed to I” (Kristeva 1).

“[W]hat is abject, on the contrary, the jettisoned object, is radically excluded and draws me toward the place_where meaning collapses. A certain ‘ego’ that merged with its master, a superego, has flatly driven it away. It lies outside, beyond the set, and does not seem to agree to the latter’s rules of the game. And yet, from its place
of banishment, the abject does not cease challenging its master. Without a sign (for him), it beseeches a discharge, a convulsion, a crying out. To each ego its object, to each superego its abject”(Kristeva 2).

“The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject. It is something rejected from which one does not part, from which one does not protect oneself as from an object. Imaginary uncanniness and real threat, it beckons to us and ends up engulfing us” (Kristeva 4).

3.  Discussion of naming/not-naming the creature (apx. 3-4 pages)

  • Michael Ragussis – Acts of Naming: the Family Plot in Fiction
  • Illegitimacy aspect
  • Gothic Double (Victor Frankenstein & the creature)

4.  Brief summary of main differences between 1818 & 1831 editions (apx. 2 pages)

  • Anne Mellor “Revising Frankenstein”

5.  Explanation of DH tool (most likely just Juxta Commons, but possibly Voyan’s Text in Context tool). Comparison of Shelley’s description of the creature in key scenes (still to be finalized, but I’ve identified numerous places in the text to consider); this section will include graphs from Juxta with detailed analysis/explanation and ideally, 3-4 comparisons/examples  (apx. 5-6 pages)

6.  Discussion of TEI and naming (this will be the final section of my project and time permitting, will be included. However, it is what I feel the least confident about right now, and I am still working out how/what to say in this section) (apx. 1 page)

7.  Conclusion – include questions and/or ideas for future development (apx. 1 page)

8.  Bibliography/Works Cited

Note:  Current anticipated scope is apx. 15-18 pages

Unfortunately, how I feel at the moment…

Original Post

Final Paper Outline

Title: Ready to Escape Reality and Enter the Digital World?


The digital world has always been an intriguing idea. There, one finds a whole new world that is limitless. The topic of this paper is the worldwide phenomenon teen book turned into movie, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This novel was turned into a movie by the prominent director, Steven Spielberg recently this month. For this research paper, I would like to discuss what made this book a breakout new trend in today’s society. Today’s society is considered to be a digital society due to our reliance on our technology and social media use. In fact, how I was introduced to this movie was through an advertisement on SnapChat, which then lead me to discover that it was a novel, just through a basic internet search. This is what is so fascinating about the digital world. Digital Worlds hold limitless information, and this is why many believe that in the real world, they do not necessarily fit in, but with the digital world, they can create themselves to fit into that world that they chose to role play in.

An explanation for the introduction: Discussing the topic of the paper, which is the Steven Spielberg movie depiction of the novel, Ready Player One. I will give a brief introduction of it, explain how the book turned into a phenomenon, and the culture that came behind the book, such as the fanbases. I will also explain here how I was introduced to this phenomenon. My thesis is about the emotional appeal of the digital world more than the idea of marketing. This paper will briefly explain the appeal of social marketing but will focus on the emotional appeal of the digital world by mostly focusing on the movie interpretation of the novel Ready Player One.

First Body Paragraph: Explaining a summary of the novel

Second Body Paragraph: Explaining the movie portrayal of the movie and going in depth with it. I chose to focus more on the movie due to how I felt when I watched it. I felt as though this was the best movie to explain how digital ideas such as other famous classical movies have become iconic and are present and referenced in many ways throughout the movie. For instance, when they enter the digital world in the movie, you see references to the movies The Shining, King Kong, and many others. This will be a good transition to my next few paragraphs about, the effect of the digital world, so how it affects the real world and how the real world affects the digital world.

Third Body Paragraph: Explanation of the digital world

Fourth Body Paragraph: How the digital world affects the real world

Fifth Body Paragraph: How the real world affects the digital world

Sixth Body Paragraph: Social media marketing

Seventh Body Paragraph: The emotional appeal of social media

Eights body paragraph: The emotional appeal of the digital world

Conclusion: The idea of escape and its allure which is meant to explain my title.

Original Post

Day Ten – Proposal Outline

Working Thesis:

The thesis for this project-proposal is to examine the creativity of digital humanities and their activities within a school setting. Can digital humanities rely on creativity as much as other English courses and if so, where it the evidence to suggest that in recent years? Why are there seemingly few sources that have the two subjects (digital humanities and creative writing or creativity) in the same source? Could creative writing benefit or negate the progress of digital humanities? This project-proposal will propose an ideal student-activity within a high-school setting, examining Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as an English subject and utilize digital sources, tools, and pedagogy.

Outline of Proposal-Draft

  • The Topic (1 Paragraph Drafted)
    – Elaborate on thesis
    = The creativity of digital humanities
    = Propose an ideal student-activity within a high-school setting,
    = Examine Frankenstein as an English subject
    = Utilize digital sources and tools.
  • The Context (1 Paragraph Drafted)
    – Creativity
    = Definition
    = Dialogue-Script (as example)
    -Digital Humanities
    = Definition
    = Social Media Networks (as example)
    = Synopsis/History
    = Intended Audience (The Why?)
  • The Contribution (1 Paragraph Drafted)
    – Digital Humanities vs Creative Writing
    = Separation
    = Integration
    – Student Engagement
    – Effect of Social Media
  • The Methods (3-4 Paragraphs Drafted)
    – Activity Paper
    – Activity Rubric
    – Demonstration/Example of Activity
  • The Sources
    – Bibliography