Final Comments on Portfolios

Everyone had some great portfolios! Here is one of my evalutations:

1. Mitch

I love the connection between science and English and I think you’ve touched on a very cool angle for this project. The background feels very personal and maybe nostalgic of older manuscripts. I really like it, it has a very approachable atmosphere to it, but I think it deters away from your science and atoms theme. Perhaps you could try to connect it more to the theme of atoms? perhaps something a little more scientific looking. I’m thinking beakers or atoms exploding, but then again I really don’t know science

I love the theme of all the atoms fitting together as I mentioned, but I think your pages lack a little bit of connection to one another. Perhaps if you could make something consistent throughout such as text and color. I noticed you fluctuated a bit on that. Or a consistent background would be good too!

As for your capstone, I love it! Very cool subject and I think this is something people would be interested in learning more about. I appreciated the chapter-like structure of it and the personal connections you offered. You definitely have approached this in a scientific yet personal writing style so I think it connects great to your portfolio theme!

Wrapping up the Semester / Thought’s on Conrad’s Portfolio

So as I was skimming through portfolios these past few weeks, all of which are stunning, I decided to randomly pick one to comment on because I only needed 50 points and couldn’t choose which one to do. All of you are phenomenal writers and someday I might get around to telling all of you how much I love your portfolios, but for the purpose of points and finals, here are some things that I like about your portfolio, Conrad.

http://cpmahr.wix.com/capstone-project

First of all, one of the things that really stuck out to me about this portfolio was the use of animation. The moving stars and text boxes on the home page and myth page caught my eye in a good way. They really showed you taking it to the next level and really stepping up your game. Also, while I’m on the home page, I loved the map theme you had going on there. I especially like the way you can only see the map at first, so you are given some time to process and form your own thoughts about it before you scroll down and here what you as the creator had to say about the home page. This way, you are giving your audience space, but still directing them in a helpful way.

Another thing that I loved was the use of images in your essays about each myth. It made the text seem much less daunting while tackling some big issues really well. It was great to see the short bio of the people you interviewed as well. It really emphasizes just how diverse and unique the population of Detroit is and how well you got to know these people. With interview projects, it can be easy to sort of focus on what is said rather on who is saying it, but that isn’t the case here and that is integral to your project. There certainly was a great humanistic element to the project and you emphasize it well.

Overall, it is clear you are passionate about this topic, which was the point of the project. I know that you and I talked about your project at a few different points throughout the semester, so it was nice to see it come to fruition. Well done, dude.

 

And well done everyone! I share Joe’s sentiment when I say that you all worked really hard and kicked some serious booty on this project! Good luck to all you seniors out there in the real world!

 

Sam

Making Stress Exciting

So today I returned home from class and basically cried in my girlfriend’s lap for 20 minutes about the amount of work I had to do on the project. She was very helpful actually because she basically forced me to stop crying and get my shit together. The question she asked was simple, but it took me a few minutes to come up with an answer.

“What do you have left to do?”

“A lot,” I mumbled into her dress. Thinking about everything I had left to do had left a knot in my stomach that was easier to leave alone then deal with.

“Well, what specifically?” She was getting impatient, so she got out a piece of paper and a pen and repeated herself. So I started at the beginning and she scribbled everything she heard down as I went.

The end game is the portfolio, which I have up and running with a decent amount of content. But there are so many parts, right? You have the project, the essay, your artifacts, and 3 separate annotated bibliographies. I realized I had bits of pieces of each that I needed to start melding together into one cohesive unit. I have a theme for the portfolio that makes it easier to think about and situate in my mind. I have 75% of a project, an OK draft of my essay, a list of sources (some are annotated), and a link to my portfolio. So now is crunch time. I have the tools, I just need the motivation.

And I found that motivation when I sat on the couch later that day, revising my evolution essay. I picked this project. I was not assigned a mundane project that a professor thought would teach me some facet of a college education that provides me with no real skill necessary to the real world. This is something awesome that I now have the power to make or break. And, when you are passionate about a topic, it is so much easier to make it than break it. So I made a much more detailed plan of action to get my head back in the game transfer the stress of deadlines into the initial excitement that motivated me to write my proposal.

So if any of you are worried and stressed, you aren’t alone. Just write it down, take it step-by-step, and remember how freaking cool these bad lads are going to look when we’ve finished with them.

Keep on keeping on.

Making Another Writer’s Decisions Assignment

Hi All,

I am wondering if anyone would be interested in pairing up with me to complete the “making another writer’s decisions” assigment together. In order to do this assignment, you need to pair up with another writer in the class and can do this up to 3 times. The questions for this assignment are really interesting and can help us to get to know each other as well as receive some advice on our projects. Please comment on this post if you would like to pair up, or send me an email to elisner@umich.edu.

Thank you all!

What Compels You To Comment on Social Media?

For my project, I am investigating the comments on various social media communities. As I have begun my research, I have noticed the connection shared through comments. In some cases, users will really open up in their comments and share what they are feeling. While I am an avid user of social media, I rarely feel compelled to comment on others posts. I may “like” a picture or status, or even re-tweet but a comment is rare for me. I was wondering- what makes you feel like commenting? Is it based on the content, or on the user? Comment and let me know! Oh the irony..

Holy wow I am behind on this assignment pool

Sweet, innocent Mary of two days ago thought she was doing alright on this whole capstone situation.  Project website pretty much all designed, writing up content, feeling good.  Yeah, there are some “assignment pool” points to rack up, but what does that even mean, really, since I’m making good progress on the project? (I’m dropping third person, third person is lame)

“I’m a busy woman with four other classes and jobs to apply to!  I’ll breeze through that assignment pool later!” -actual record of my thoughts

Anyway, that assignment pool is looking a lot bigger this side of spring break.  I made a big list of all the assignments that it seems I could feasibly do in the next two months, and the grand optimistic total (including attendance) is 765 points.  That puts me squarely in the “Doom” grading category, as noted in the syllabus.

I’m not whining about fairness — it’s my fault for not adjusting to the grading system earlier.  I’m just wondering, how are you all doing it?  Tell me your secrets, capstone writers!  Are you doing five assignments a day?  Are you doing them in your sleep?  Did you (gasp) actually start way back in January?  Please comment on this so I can also comment and get more points and also so we can have a valuable and information conversation, obviously.

In conclusion, this is my face right now:

 

Wix Template: Descriptive or imaginative?

Over spring break, I’m going to design my project website because I know that having that template in mind will be key for my content-creating process over the next month and a half. Also, side note for some reason the words I’m typing for this post only show up when I’m highlighting them so be prepared for some typos.

As I’m looking through the Wix site template options, I’m feeling divided on what I want my site to look like. My project is on the process science fiction world-building in a story which I’m writing, and I’m conflicted between having the site open directly into the universe I’m creating with an image and different things to explore and click on, including an “About” page that describes what the project is, or opening on the about page itself. The first option is more aesthetically pleasing and the second is clearer.

Second thoughts on the proposal

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about my capstone proposal.  It might be focusing too much on the general central question of the value of writing science-fiction and abstract concepts of the sort of research, while everything I outline in my production plan is very specific work related to the scifi novel that I’m writing.  Is there any way I can re-work my central question to make it more specific to what I’m doing, or does that defeat the purpose of the capstone project?  Is it supposed to end up being very general?

Also, in the time between submitting my proposal and receiving feedback on it, I have ended up focusing way more on certain concepts within the story I’m writing.  I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about the impact of technological progress on religion, womanhood, and the way humans interact with nature, and how those things intersect in my story.  I’m thinking of re-doing my proposal to center more on that realm of things and less in the general questions of the value of writing scifi.  Of course, that could come back to the original question — the value of writing science fiction is that we are able to conceptualize the social impacts of technological changes before they ever occur.

What do you guys think?  Is this project just navel-gazing?

On the Hunt for Sources…..

Hey guyz!

So far, my sources have yet to respond to me….or they’re just ignoring me. I’m feeling a little like this poor being:

poor boy

Sad.

Anywho, I plan on contacting some other potential sources but thought I would ask for some tips from my fellow classmates first. My project’s quest is to provide the journalists’ point of view on the risks that come along with the profession. Background knowledge I’m hoping to acquire consists of journalistic ethics in local and foreign reporting, a definition of journalism this day in age, and its inherent risks. I know several student reporters but thought that interviewing people who have actually reported abroad may provide insight I, as a student reporter, obviously lack. If anyone knows of someone who has attended school for journalism specifically or has adequate experience in the professional “real world,” it would be appreciated beaucoup.

So…calling all:

  • reporters/ journalists in general (obvi)
  • even online journalists/ bloggers
  • graduate students studying journalism
  • professors who have been foreign correspondents/ journalists
  • people familiar with the basics of journalistic ethics

Just throwing this out there— suggestions more than welcome! Thanks!

 

 

Web Design Brainstorm

Hi everyone!

I’m going to be (hopefully) creating a website for my final project. I’d like to make it, both back- and front-end, myself though if that fails I might be able to settle for a WYSIWYG that has HTML editing available.

If you don’t remember, my project is going to be about wealth inequality, how Americans perceive inequality, and solutions for combatting it. I feel like this lends itself to a web format because I plan to make it so graphic heavy and I would like to allow for as much interactivity as possible.

ANYWAY I’ll soon be considering different design ideas for how to display my project material, so I have one question: what is your favorite website (design) and why? Alternatively or additionally you could tell me about your least favorite!

To start it off, I’ll tell you my favorite website du jour: turbotax.com

For one, someone has really done a great job with turbotax’s image over the past year in general. Their commercials are funny and their design choices are just generally spot on. I like this website because, for one, it makes great use of white space which means there isn’t overcrowding of ideas or options. Additionally, for most options that you do have (outside of the top menu) there is an icon representing the content of the page the button would bring you to. Rollover animations are nice. Embedded video is well-placed. Scrolling animation for comparative features of their products is fun. Generally it is just a very pleasant and straight-forward experience. Your turn!!