This break…

This break I am planning to write for myself. I have a twelve-hour car ride to North Carolina and I think I am going to work on my short story and possibly actually read something of my own choice.  It’s sad that during the school year I lose almost all of my interests outside of college. I do my schoolwork, participate in clubs, go to football games.. It’s weird that I’m basically a void for cultural information while I’m in school. Kind of counter intuitive.  Let’s compare myself at UofM to the summer me. Comparatively, during the school year I do not: read for pleasure, write for pleasure, watch the news, read the newspaper, and probably other things that I can’t even think of cause I’m in school mode.  However, I could tell you: the definitions of countless psych terminology from my three psych classes, how to write a convincing essay, and our football record.

I guess there isn’t one set of knowledge/activities that is necessarily better for my life, but I would definitely enjoy myself a little more if everything could be incorporated together.  Maybe I need to finish up school before I expect to do anything for myself again.  But for now, I will be riding in the car to NC, taking some well-deserved me time.

My recording disaster

Love/hate relationship

Man, I feel like such an idiot. I was so excited about recording my podcast for the remediating project and it seemed like it was all coming together and BAM. I didn’t save it correctly.  There were like no directions for how to save audio files onto your computer from the manual; it only told you how to upload them.  I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult and I saved the files as a shortcut on my desktop.  That was the wrong thing to do.  When I went to send the files to my email so that I could edit them on GarageBand in the lab, it said that there was no file available.  Of course, this induced a panic because I had done the entire interview plus my own talking parts already.  So after speaking with Naomi, I decided to go to the tech deck to see if they could somehow do some butt-saving for me.  Well, they couldn’t.  So on Thursday I had a full-blown freak-out because of how much work I had to do for all of my classes.  Psych250: Exam on Monday, Psych 280: 8 page research paper due Tuesday, Psych 457: 4 videos to code and an article to read, and now Writing200: rerecord entire interview and leave voice comments.  It just seemed like a lot. But, over the weekend I studied for my exam, finished most of my research paper, re-recorded my voice parts for my podcast (re-interview is tonight!), and finished the videos for Psych457. It was a busy weekend to say the least but I feel so much better.

I have now learned how to save audio files onto my computer.  Its about the easiest thing on the planet.  If I had dragged the file into “My Music” instead of the desktop, a break-down could have been avoided.  But, it will only feel that much better when I have it all done.

Electronic Portfolio Proposal

I would like my portfolio to have a very clean, organized look and feel.  That does not mean that it necessarily needs to be simplistic, I just want it to be very easy to operate and look classy.  I think that I want the primary colors of my portfolio to be black, white and red (a very modern look).  I have not yet explored the templates on Weebly, where I will be posting my portfolio, but I am sure they will have something that can accommodate my needs.   I want to strive for my portfolio to look very professional, nothing that could be misconstrued as childlike.  I definitely want to include a picture of myself, though I am not sure exactly sure which picture I will put it yet.  My page will include an “About Me” section which will explore my personal life, hobbies and recreation activities.  I want to present myself as a professional writer and I think that my ideal audience would be an employer someday.  I plan on attending graduate school for psychology but I think that when I am applying for jobs, having a background in writing will be extremely beneficial.  This portfolio will be a supplement to my actual resume.  I will categorize my pieces of writing into separate groups to try to maintain the organized feel.  The groups will be: psychological writing, creative writing, and other academic writing.  This way, the reader will be able to only read the essays that they so choose.  If I am applying for a psychologist position, most likely they will not be interested in my creative writing.  However, if they want to get a feel for who I am as a person, reading this may be extremely helpful.  I am not going to merely include links; I will have the entire piece on the page for them to read.  I think this looks more professional.  I am not going to include any sort of Web 2.0 into my portfolio because I do not think that is very professional-looking.  I do not want comments on something that will be a part of my resume to a job and I surely do not want my future employers to look at my Facebook or Twitter feed.  I think it would be cool to have some light classical music playing in the background while the users are exploring the site.  I will also include images that complement my writing pieces and include them in the actual essays themselves.

It’s all starting to come together!

Wooh! Yesterday, I completed my interview for my remediating project. I was oddly nervous before it began, perhaps because this was the first piece of my podcast that I was recording and I wanted it to be absolutely perfect.  I could tell that the person that I was interviewing was also nervous – her body language was slightly more awkward than usual and at the beginning of the recording, her voice wavered a little.  This makes total sense because of the awkward topic that we were talking about.  It was weird though because Claire (the fictitious name that I assigned to my interviewee) has been my best friend for years and there isn’t pretty much anything that we hold back from each other.  But now, when it was formal and being taped we were both nervous.  Just kind of an interesting observation, how quickly someone’s comfort level can drop.

Anyways, with the interview finished, now I just have to make the rest of the podcast.  Because the interview turned out unbelievably shorter than I had anticipated, I definitely am going to have to take Erica’s advice and add in some expert opinions.  I think this will add a lot more than time though. I am hoping that giving expert opinion will legitimize my claims and also help to analyze Claire’s story.  After completing the interview, I feel so excited to move forward. I can actually see where my project is going and that’s a very nice feeling.

Re-mediating Project Update

I just finished my storyboard and it’s so exciting to see my project start to take form! I actually have a script and a plan for what I am going to do. I didn’t realize until just now how heavily this project was stressing me out. I guess it’s better to be unconsciously stressed and then have it relieved because then you get to feel the benefits of that stress being removed.  I think it has to do with the fact that when I have an idea, it tends to cloud over my brain and makes it really hard to do anything else until I have dealt with the idea. Well, now I’ve dealt with it. I know that I still have an insane amount of work to do: finishing up my re-purposing project, beginning my re-mediating one (the first step would be to actually go rent the equipment, Jordan), and to start thinking about my portfolio. Oh boy, I am just a huge range of emotions because now I’ve gotten myself all stressed out again. Well, I guess the only way to fix this is to get working…

It's my own fault that I make myself like this...

Yancey

The Yancey article really got me thinking about reflective comments and their purpose.  It definitely made me see a reason for putting them into every paper we’ve done so far in this class. I think it was most interesting to read this article from the perspective of a student who has been assigned reflective comments for a paper because he writes with the voice of a teacher speaking to other teachers.

I think that self-reflective comments serve many purposes. They allow the writer to voice some internal thoughts and reasons for doing certain things in their work.  This usually makes the writer feel more comfortable with their work.  I know that for our class, the self-reflective comments were something that most people said they enjoyed when asked during the mid-term assessment.  The reader (and normally the person assessing the paper) can have some clarity for possible confusion.

So why don’t more teachers take advantage of this?  Yancey touched a little bit on the fact that it is difficult for some teachers to allow their students to self-grade, which is understandable based on the fact that most students would give themselves an A.  However, having them place in comments on things that might not be working in their paper would be a great way to help guide discussions and begin a basis for grading.

I really enjoyed this article and if I were a teacher, I would definitely begin to employ a self-reflective comment feature to most of my assignments. Even though it isn’t required, I just might start doing that on my papers.

Video Editing Project by Jordan and Joline

Why would you need to edit videos?

-class projects

-edit home movies

-amateur film

-promotion for a club or event

-make an advertisement

-practice skills you may need later in life

What can you do?

-cut out parts of clips

-add music/sound effects

-add text

-crop

-fade out

-green screen

-distort the image

– iMovie: http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/

What are your options?

Most likely, your computer comes with some type of movie editing. Macs come equipped with iMovie while Windows comes with MovieMaker.  There is a wide range of software available, ranging from free downloads to expensive professional-quality software.  A few that we found online include: pinnacle, adobe premiere pro, final cut pro, VirtualDub, and wax.  For the purposes of this class, we will mostly be focusing on iMovie because of its accessibility to the majority of the class.

Different ability levels:

iMovie and MovieMaker are very user-friendly and easy to use.  Most people would be able to figure them out by playing around with their different options.  Tutorial video for iMovie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EXanBq68mI

Final Cut Pro is definitely for the dedicated movie editor.  In June 2011, Apple cut its price from $1000 to $300 for this software. Even with the drastic price drop, this is still pretty expensive.  However, with this more expensive option comes more abilities and specialties.  Apple’s Final Cut Pro website: http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/top-features/

Pinnacle Studio software is for someone who has an interest in video, but it not as invested as someone who would use Final Cut Pro.  Pinnacle products range in price from $59.99-169.99.  This allows you to shoot videos in HD and gives you more options than iMovie or MovieMaker.

What options are supported by the University:

The Computer Showcase offers discounts on many types of video editing software.

On University computers, they are equipped with either iMovie or MovieMaker (depending on Mac or PC) and they also have Adobe Premiere Pro.

 

What are your favorites?

Jordan’s favorite is MovieMaker because she has a PC so it is easily accessible. Also, she is a beginner and is not ready for more advanced software.

Joline’s favorite is iMovie because she is familiar with it and it is on her computer already.

Wow, it’s been awhile…

As I was sitting at work (bored behind a desk), I realized that I hadn’t blogged in a really long time.  And seeing how I usually have the most free time  while I’m at work, I decided to post.

So, to give an update about my repurposing piece: I guess it’s coming along.  It definitely has a shape and form, though still is slightly all-over-the-place.  I definitely have a place that I’m going, I just am not exactly sure how/when I will get there. I want my Huffington Post article to be believable and legitimate but I also want to make sure to get my point across.  I guess I have this fear that my paper will be a giant failure and sometimes it’s easier to just not think about it.  I have this paper looming over my head and even though I try to push it out with other projects for other classes, it’s always there.  I also fear that I will never be satisfied with my paper and will forever just hate it. So many issues.

What I need to do: Fix it!  Learn that it’s okay if I’m having a hard time but giving up on it won’t help anything.  I need to look at my draft and revise, revise, revise. I need to stop thinking that if I don’t think about it, it will just disappear.  Because it won’t.

I know I’ll make it, I just have to keep going.  This turned out to be a much more depressing post than I meant for it to be…

My reflection

It’s a really really odd feeling to go back and look at my own writing.  I find myself laughing at things that I meant to be seriously talking about and overall, judging my writing.  I guess I’m too much of a critic, but I always see something that could be improved.  A lot of the time I’m embarrassed at the fact that I put something out there for others to read.  Why did I think that topic was important enough to write about?  I don’t want to subject them to something that isn’t absolutely perfect.

And that’s totally irrational compared to the comments I get, usually positive and insightful.  I don’t know why I have this insecurity, this need for whatever I put out there to be perfect.

I think that might be why I’m having such a hard time with the repurposing essay.  The voice of the author from the publication that I’m shooting for is very different than one that I normally use when I write.  It always strikes me as odd when I get feedback that says that I have a strong voice because I’m not exactly sure how that happens.  It’s not that I’m purposely trying to sound a certain way, it just turns out like that.  I guess that is just truly a natural voice.  As I am writing the repurposing essay, I am learning that apparently I have a very strong voice because I am having such a hard time changing it to fit the needs of this assignment.

Speaking of assignments, I found that the blog post that I wrote on my own about writing things that interested me was the easiest to write and, in my opinion, the most interesting.  I was engaged in what I was writing and therefore I put in the extra effort to make the post really fun and engaging for the reader.  That’s when I do the best on assignments for school as well.  If I like the assignment and am struck with a really good idea, I get an A.

Even though I hate looking back on my pieces of writing, it’s a good thing to always seek to improve.  It only makes me better, though I may be decimating my self-esteem in the process.  I guess at the end of the day I have to know that I do have some talent in expressing my thoughts/ideas on paper and though I always want to improve, others aren’t judging my work nearly as hard as I am judging it myself.

My awful time with this repurposing essay…

This re-purposing assignment was really exciting to me at first.  I had actually picked two pieces of writing that I thought I could possibly use for this project and that is what I brought to class however, once I got to class, I had an idea for a totally different project.  Let me just say this now: I should have gone with one of the two that I had originally brought in.

I guess the biggest thing that has sabotaged my project is the fact that I am super excited for the remediating assignment that comes after this and I want to try to keep these two projects separate.  Which is difficult to say the least.   How can I put all of my energy into one paper when I continuously think of new ideas for the other one?

Source: bookchums.com

And it didn’t help that the words seemed to be stuck in my head.  Usually when I’m writing a paper, the words seem to fall out of my fingertips and just appear on the computer screen.  Not this time.  I caught myself alternating between staring blankly at the screen, checking my Facebook, checking my email, and then forcing myself to type something down on Word.  Then after I read what I wrote, I would realize that everything I said was either really confusing or just generally all over the place.  I would delete everything, stare blankly at the screen and the cycle would repeat all over again.  Maybe if I tell you more about the project, you’ll understand why this is so hard for me.

I’m writing (or attempting to write) an article for the Huffington Post about the relationship between mothers and teenage daughters and the daughter’s sexuality.  The first hurdle that I had to jump through was the fact that I had never heard of the Huffington Post before and had no idea the style in which they write.  This online newspaper/blog was suggested to me by one of my group members and sounded to be like the perfect pop culture-type setting that I wanted my piece to fit into.  I wanted to run as far away as I could from a strictly academic paper, I write enough of those for other classes and they are not so fun.  So first, I had to read up on the Huffington Post to make sure that I could try to adopt the clear voice that is shared by most of their writers.

 

It seemed pretty do-able.  Their articles all seem to integrate this personal/narrative quality which I think is pretty cool.  Plus there was a section for parents of teenagers so I thought that would be the perfect place for my article to fit in.  At this point, it seemed like things had turned around.

Source: 123RF

Until it came time to start my first draft.  In class, Naomi said that it could be a mess of ideas, bullet points, blurbs of writing.  It didn’t have to be a formal first draft.  I definitely took advantage of that option.  I did some research and found six different psychology articles that I thought fit into my topic.  I started writing down ideas and had a ton!  I was really interested in what each of the articles had found – stuff about what parents teach their children about reproduction, stuff about the changes that adolescent girls go through, stuff about how parents’ views on premarital sex affects their kids, and stuff about how the type of relationship a mother has with her daughter can affect the daughter’s sexual behavior.

So I guess now I have to decide exactly what I want to focus on – yesterday in class I think I overwhelmed the peers in my group because there were so many places that I wanted to take this essay.  Oddly, just writing about it has somewhat helped me clear my head.  Maybe I can actually write something now…