3 weeks left.

We have officially reached that point of the semester. By that, I mean we have reached the point of no return. This is that moment when you kind of wonder what the heck have you been doing all semester.  This is the 5th year I have experienced this, and the 9th semester, and yet I STILL have this feeling around this point. I question if I have enough time, and I question if I have done enough to make my life easier.  Luckily it also is that point in the semester where as long as you buckle down, everything will improve.

Part of this reason this point of the semester feels increasingly difficult is because of the type of class the Capstone course is. It is the kind of class where, for the most part. everything depends on the final thing that you have to do for the class. In ways this type of class is a blessing and a curse. First of all, its’ a blessing because it makes the daily demands that you may feel during a semester earlier on in the semester are not as bad. It is a curse because regardless of how prepared you think you are, your life becomes increasingly difficult the closer the semester comes to a close.

The key to this point of the semester will be the next 3 weeks. It might not seem like it right now, but 3 weeks is a lot of time to do a project. It just means you have to have the dedication to creating content. My project has the potential to be unbearably long, so if I want to actually get it done,  I have to just do it. The amount of work that I will need to do seems daunting, but as long as simply sit down and focus on telling the story I want to tell, I will do everything I want to accomplish.

A Month of Content Creation

Since the start of the school year, I will fully admit that I have not been focused on any specific thing. When I say that, I mean that I have not been solely focused certain topics/assignments. Luckily, I have been able to do things slightly sporadically as I searched for jobs, went to work, and do classwork. However, I know that this is not going to be the case for my capstone project. The amount of research, writing, web developing and editing that is going to be necessary to make this project successful honestly scares me.

So to make things less scary I have made the decision to put some things on hold for the month of November. This week marks the last week I will actively look for jobs. I have to apply for everything by Sunday. I won’t deny that the worry of finding a full time job and starting my career has been at the front of my mind since school started. This has caused me to look at job boards, get depressed, and worry about my future instead of focusing on the present. I would spend hours looking at these postings, trying to find something that I thought I was qualified for, and by the time I was done or had given up the search, my free time is gone, and I no longer have the chance to do other school work.

To keep this from making my life much more difficult, I am not going to do this  and focus all of my energy on creating this capstone project. I believe that doing this will give me enough extra time to actually focus my work and let me do the content generation I need to do. If I’m lucky, I will have a much better idea as to how much time this actually takes me, and I will not have to continue this. Also, hopefully this will allow me to make my project the exact way  want to do it.

This project is for you, or maybe it’s not

The idea of delving into the audience of my project is interesting. I can’t say I thought the audience of my project before I was actually asked about it. But when I really think about it, this is actually really important. Who would actually be interested to read about what I have to say? Who would think that my topic is actually valuable to discuss and who would think it’s not?  When it comes down to it, this is a pretty interesting discussion to have.

My project is on the city of Detroit and how the city is intertwined with their baseball team the Detroit Tigers. It also focuses on how these two structures shaped my current identity. In regards to audience, I originally thought that the audience would be broad: sports fans, and Detroiters. Yet, that’s not true. At it’s core, it actually is specifically baseball fans, and specifically NATIVE Detroiters. There is a difference. A sports fan may not actually care about baseball, and there are plenty of people from the metro Detroit suburbs who call themselves “Detroiters”

Next I have to think about the people who don’t fall into these categories that may still want to read it. For the most part, there are people from certain cities that truly understand the relationship that the Tigers have with Detroit because their team’s relationship is incredibly similar. Good examples include Cleveland Indians fans or Pittsburgh Pirates fans. These teams are teams that play in rustbelt cities that have suffered in similar ways that Detroit has suffered, while the teams have been consistently up and down when it comes to winning. This may also apply to fans of teams who don’t have a serious connection with their city, such as the Florida Marlins. They may want to know what it is like for a team’s identity to be tied to it’s city.

On the flip side, the audience that I am not trying to reach are people who live in cities that have stellar reputations. Even though some of these teams may consistently be bad, the city it self is not. For example, the Chicago Cubs may not be a winning team, but every fan that lives there still lives inside one of the most bustling cities in the world. Then there are people who are fans of teams that never seem to be bad, i.e. the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis might not be the BEST place to live in the country, but if you are a fan of this team you are used to your team constantly winning, or at least being decent.  While the winning might be part of your identity, you have never really suffered a roller coaster of emotions the way that Detroit Tigers fans have.

Now that I have a better idea of who I am actually writing for, I have a better idea of how the work will be evaluated. Here’s to hoping everything goes well!

Language Barrier.

For the writer’s evolution essay, I tried to find something that was consistent throughout all of my previous assignments. To do that, I had to go back and remember how I felt about writing them. I went through each class, and kind of figured out whether or not I enjoyed any amount of writing for that course. If I did, I tried to explain why, and vice versa for if I didn’t. By the time I was done, I realized that the majority of the work I liked were topics that interested me, and it turns out, those topics that I thought would be easiest to write a story out of. In other words, regardless of what the actual assignment was, if I could some how make it seem like a story, or at least explain things in a story like structure, I enjoyed what I was doing.

However, I have a problem. If there is any topic that interests me more than any other it is sports, especially baseball. I played the sport 8 years, and was inspired to major in Spanish because I thought it would give me the best chance of finding a job in the sport. So needless to say, getting the chance to write about baseball, and how it has become a multicultural game for latinos. It was easily the most enjoyable analysis paper I have ever written. It allowed me to learn more about the history of the sport, and how the sport is constantly growing in latin american countries. I was able to make a story out of it by focusing on the history of the sport and then jumping to some of the issues that former Latino stars have faced. It was work, but it was still fun.

There is a problem though, I am not 100% sure if I can or should even use this essay for my writer’s evolution essay. This is because the entire thing is in Spanish. I did this assignment for an upper level Spanish class that gave me the chance to pick any topic I wanted and write about it. It was really rare for me to get this kind of freedom. Yet because it was in Spanish, I don’t know how I can give this as an example or a source in the essay. I can only imagine how insanely difficult it would be for someone who doesn’t remotely understand Spanish to read in english for several pages, then out of nowhere a few lines of Spanish come into play. It’s hard for me to even flip that switch in my head, and I’ve been studying and practicing the language for years.

I want to include this essay as a source, but the potential language barrier for readers is a problem I don’t want anyone to have.

My ePortfolio

Well here it is. The culmination of a semester of work. The entire process is completely and utterly done.

This is how I feel!!!!
This is how I feel!!!!

 

The writing of the portfolio was an interesting process as I had to reflect on the entire process of me as a writer. And so far I am pretty happy with the results. However, there are a few things I know I would like to work on:

For one, if I do video again, which I fully plan on doing, I know I need to start working from a script. It makes the presentation cleaner and I do feel as though it is helpful when it comes to keeping your thoughts organized. It also probably severely brings down the time of the editing process as you are not editing out as many mistakes.

I also want to continue to write stories the way I wrote my re-purposing project. This project was probably the most enjoyable piece of writing I have done, as it allowed me to not only reflect on the history of something that I love but to really hone in and find the story that is presented there. The story is honestly what makes writing sports pieces so fun for me.

Lastly, I hope that the theme of my blog is easy to follow. I want the world to know I am attempting to become a sports writer, which is something that I have not yet fully mastered. However, this was a real attempt to try and throw my hand in at sports writing while reflecting on my writing in general. I hope that the presentation came across the way I was planning.

Without further ado, I present: http://cjstonewritingminor.weebly.com

 

Hey You! Listen! – My advice for incoming students

Did that get your attention?

Good. It’s the final day of this class, and I wanted to give you some advice for the minor.

So I’ll start off by saying I came in to the minor having somewhat of an idea what to expect. I knew, probably just like you, that I liked writing, and that this would be a chance to improve my skills. Then I got thrown a curve ball. We were asked to put down what we think as writing, and comment on them. When we did this, I realized I posted several links to blogs, books and other things that use words for writing. But when I examined others peoples posts, I saw things like calligraphy, artwork, and videos. This is something that I never considered. Writing could essentially be anything you want it to be. But in order to think that way, you have to open up your mind.

 

If you open up your mind, you'll be surprised at what you might find
If you open up your mind, you’ll be surprised at what you might find

Once you open up, you might find that you want to do a style of writing that’s different than what you have done throughout your collegiate career. Having an open mind will help you get a better idea of what to do so that you don’t have to worry about the fact that the class itself is not as structured and rigid as other.

But that’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt to have a few ideas in mind before you start the repurposing or remediation assignment. For example, although I didn’t know my what my source was going to be when I started the class, I did know that I wanted to write about sports and I was going to base most of if not all of my writing about that topic. It made making decisions early on a tad bit easier.

Finally, I will say keep track of the schedule (especially the blog posts), keep track of when things are coming up and make time for them. I will fully admit I underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish the assignments, as I would be up late into the night trying to finish assignments because I didn’t realize they were due, or that the process of actually doing them would take so much time.  Then of course, when your stressed for time, your 4 year old laptop starts having processing issues. Both of these lead to a ton of stress, so try to give yourself enough time.

Panda destroying computers from pandawhale.com
What I wanted to do to my computer after it froze or was moving slowly while working on my remediation project.

However, I will fully admit that this was still one of the most enjoyable classes I have taken during my time here at Michigan. I was able to focus on what I liked to write about, and I developed skills that will make the writing process easier. I really hope you enjoy your time in the next class. It’s a great chance to become better at something you already like doing, and if you simply open your mind and give yourself ample time to work, you will be able to enjoy this class to its fullest.

Projects vs. Exams: The Nightmare that is Finals week

Well, it is that time of year. That time of year that all students despise because of the ridiculous amount of work that you have to do is quite frankly insane. This year alone, I have 2 final exams in 3 days, and 3 project/papers. And although I hate having to do both, I would rather have a paper any given day over an exam. The reason: With an exam, you never really know what you are going to study for.

Think about it. When it comes to an exam, a professor can give you a study guide, they can give you practice exams, they can offer extra study sessions, but you actually never know what will be on the exam. You do not control what is going to happen. When you take an exam, you have one shot. One chance to get the right answers, and if you make a mistake, or you come up against a question you just don’t know what the answer is. When that happens, you are wrong. There is nothing you can do to change it. Regardless of how much you studied, how well you think you know the material, you can always get tripped up on an exam and there is nothing you can do.

When there is a project, you have time. You can work on it at your leisure, and even if you are an awful procrastinator as I am, you can still at least go over what you want to talk about with your professor. That ability alone makes doing projects much better in my opinion. Although projects and essays can be viewed in a more subjective light instead of an objective one, you still have a situation you can tailer what you create to how the professor wants the project to look. Even better, if you complete the assignment in enough time, you can go over what you have with the professor and fix whatever is needed. With a project, you control your own fate.

Adapting Digital Rhetoric in the Classroom

In this essay, I have seen a few parts that legitimately make sense to me. All of these different forms of digital rhetoric from ePortfolios to blogs allow for different types of learning in the classroom. The collaboration and empowerment involved in making and planning out the ePortfolios especially is where I agree with her the most.

There were two statements in the portion of ePortfolios that I thought made the most sense. “Students use their portfolios to demonstrate an authority over their own lives and educational trajectories and to establish online identities built on the quality, content, and character of their own work.” I have to say, with writing my own ePortfolio I think this is true. As I continue to work on my ePortfolio, I feel more and more as though I have control over my own story and digital content. This is something I have created. Something that I can proudly display to many people as my own. Not to mention it looks a lot better than anything I have done on my own personal blog. This is a sense of pride I don’t have when it comes to other assignments I have done in other classes. This is something I can continue to mold, edit and present, that I feel makes me an “expert” on a certain topic.

At the same time, this statement is true as well. “This is a dramatic example and one I am glad to say has not repeated itself in my courses. However, students—and in fact most users of Web 2.0 technologies—have yet to fully understand the implications of living a publicly accessible life.” A lot of us still do not understand the full extent of what it means to “be out there” to the rest of the world. We tend to think that no one else can see what we post, but in reality everyone can. The more well-known public spaces such as Facebook and Twitter are where the serious dangers come from, but even in our ePortfolios. As I have worked on assignments, I have tried to make sure that I have not done anything that could negatively affect me beyond the scope of the class. That is why I have been so careful as to not use photos that were not already provided by Weebly’s search engine. All of those pictures are open through the creative commons website, but I am still nervous as to what I might accidentally “steal” and could come back to haunt me. Hopefully, most of, if not all of what I make is my own original content.

The Story behind The Storyboard

Storyboarding is an interesting process. To start things off, before I had to to both storyboards, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to set up the storyboard or what both my video and my website was going to look like. Then I just started working on both, and the idea just appeared to me. To start things off, for my Remediation Project, I want to make a commercial for it before I make the actual video. I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to do it, but wen I started drawing it out, this is what I got.

 

 

20141104_121048
My Storyboard for my commercial

Although it’s sideways (I can’t rotate it for some reason), I hope that it’s easy enough to understand what I want to do with this assignment. As for my actual video, the same thing happened. I really didn’t know how I wanted to set up the timing and scenes for the video. So again, I just started writing. This was the end result (sorry it’s side ways again).

20141104_121052
Storyboard part 1
20141104_121056
Storyboard Part 2

 

There’s only one issue with this storyboard. I’m still not sure how I’m going to do it. I recently purchased a camcorder, which will hopefully let me record exactly what I want, but I’m still nervous about the recording and editing process.

This was luckily not the case with my storyboard for my ePortfolio. When I was figuring out how I wanted to set it up, I was hoping for something that would read look at least somewhat similar to a book of some kind. I got lucky too. Right before we drew up the storyboards, I found a template on weebly that I believe fits what I want to do perfectly. Once I did that, the storyboard was easy. I hope that this is at least what it can kind of look like.

My ePortfolio
My ePortfolio

Now the only issue I have is that I need a cover for this home page. But I think it will be pretty good. I’m looking forward to seeing the final project will look like.

 

 

This should be interesting.

This is me when it comes to trying to make video.

 I have no idea what I'm doing meme

This will honestly be the first time I have ever made a video. I have attempted to do so in the past, but the process was so painstakingly long, I simply gave up and moved on. However, this is something I know that I cannot do for this remediation project, and I’ll admit, I am really looking forward to it. So for our #techchallange, this week I am committing to learning iMovie.

I was deciding between working with iMovie and Final Cut Pro and decided that iMovie would be better since A. It is already free on my mac. and B. I will have access to it beyond my time in school. Although I’m almost positive most newsrooms or tv stations probably use Final Cut Pro, I’m sure just general knowledge of video editing through iMovie would still be very helpful in the job market. Learning iMovie simply makes more sense.

I have a few ideas of how I will learn this program. The first place I will go will actually be an iMovie workshop sometime this week. There are a few of them here at the University, and even if I don’t have time, I will make and appointment with Informational Student Services to see what they can teach me. I also plan on using lynda.com. Although we might no longer have free access to the website, I know about a couple of podcasts who promote the website that provide a code that gives you a month for free. Even if it’s a subscription service, as long as it doesn’t cost a fortune, I’m sure it is worth the money. I feel like both of these will give me a pretty in depth look at that program.

However, I think the best thing I can do right now is go to apples website and look at their overview of the program. I know it probably will not tell me HOW to use it, but I know it will at least give me an idea of WHAT it can do. Plus let’s not forget, there’s always plenty of free help on youtube.

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