My Capstone Project!!!

After a semester of working on this, I can’t believe how far this project has come. AND that I can finally say that it is pretty much done – I still need to change a few things on the capstone site, but it is almost in its final form!!

As you can see in the image below, the home page for my capstone site turned out pretty cool. In live mode, the clock ticks and the background changes, too.

The final website creation process ended up being a huge overhaul of the website I had originally created in the gateway course, with a link from that site to the new site I created exclusively for my capstone. Essentially, I had the task of creating two websites (AKA huge headache for Amanda).

But, I am SO pleased with how it turned out. I feel that keeping my “home site” separate from the capstone plays well to the fact that I truly want my capstone to be an educational resource on goals and resolutions for undergraduate college students. In addition, I went a lot into college health, which I think is a relevant addition to the goals and resolutions theme. As a way of researching and putting together my portfolio, I primarily used observational and secondary research, as well as including my own personal health story and experience with resolutions.

Since they are different websites, I did have the issue of deciding on whether or not to have “about me” pages on both, (since I didn’t know which path the viewer would take to see each site). Because of this risk, I included one on each site, in the chance that the viewer goes straight to my capstone portfolio instead of my home site. I hope this choice is effective and doesn’t come across as repetitive. I’d love any input on this!

Some questions I have for feedback: Is the transition from my home site to my capstone a smooth one? Do you feel that the layout of the capstone site does my project justice? Are there any sections I should expand on?

Overall, I am super pleased with how this turned out! Feel free to check the sites out!

This is the link for my home site

This is the link for my capstone site

 

Thank you,

Amanda

Seeing Rebecca Solnit with Fellow Minor

This past Monday, Shannon and I went to listen to Rebecca Solnit’s talk, “Hope and Emergency.” Shannon suggested we go listen to her speech after reminding me how helpful analyzing her video in class was at the beginning of the semester. As she mentioned in her blog post, I was also a little hesitant about watching the speech. Her soft-spoken nature did not come across very strongly to me via video, and I was worried that this would be the case in person, as well. After all, the video we watched for class did not positively impact my thought process about my own project until I discussed it with fellow minors.

Luckily, this was not the case when listening to her in person. Her soft, calm voice was extremely strong. And this strength in it was only furthered by the fact that she was standing in front of a completely full auditorium that was silent, listening eagerly to every word she said. Every so often, she would take a short moment to take a sip of her water…and it was at these moments that she allowed her last spoken words to linger a little longer. This smooth, natural execution is what made her in-person delivery that much more impactful.

What stuck with me the most from her talk was when she talked about shortsightedness being such a huge issue. She addressed this by speaking of recent protests and how it is important to deal with power by not solely focusing on the past or present. Rebecca commented on how the focus always has to be the future. And how what we do now DOES make a difference.

This particularly resonated with me with regards to my project.

I find myself focusing on my past research. I also find myself focusing on where I am now with it. Sometimes I struggle to get past my current frame of mind regarding my progress, and I feel as though what I’m doing now is not as important or groundbreaking as I would like it to be. But keeping Rebecca’s advice in mind, I know that the parts I am working on now ARE extremely important.

Sticking to my production plan.

Continuing my research and annotated bibliographies.

Preparing and delivering my presentation pitch.

All these items, although not in a final deliverable state, WILL help me get to my end goal. Yes, there will be challenges and obstacles that may alter my path I initially laid out for my work. But, as Rebecca spoke to, reminding myself that everything I am doing now has importance in my final deliverable will continue to drive me.

Guess who’s back

Hi Friends!

I’m really excited to be a part of the MiW Capstone course with you all!

My quick elevator pitch about who I am (it’s really quick, I promise): I’m originally from Novi, Michigan. I’m currently a senior in the Ross School of Business and have always had a passion for writing. Post graduation I will be moving to Albany, NY…this scares me more than I’d like to admit since I know absolutely no one there. BUT, I’m excited to make the most of my last semester and make it one that counts.

Reading and writing has been my escape since a young age. Whether it’s letters to friends and family, essays in class, reading famous novels, or merely reading guilty pleasures, written words have always provided me with comfort in an inexplainable way. Words give me a voice and allow me to understand others. Words also allow me to get lost in worlds of fiction and other’s realities and truly feel as though I am that dreamy character going on intense adventures and handling dangerous, high-pressure situations seamlessly. I wish.

During my time at UofM I’ve had an interesting juxtaposition of various writing communities. I started off in the Honors College, joined Ross two years later, started the MiW that same year, and also juggled with potentially throwing in an English major. Just to spice it up a little more, you know? Although this may seem sporadic, being in these various communities has given me a lot of appreciation for various forms of writing styles.

When people hear what I’m studying, I always get the “ohhh you’re doing writing AND business? That’s an interesting combination…”

They say it as if it is the strangest thing they have ever heard.

Which if that’s the case, they really need to get out more.

I’ll admit, there have been some challenges being in both communities. In running from English classes to Business classes, I have found myself juggling to switch my written voice more than I’d like. I’ve been told in my English classes that some of my writing is “too concise.” Yet, I’ve also been told in my Business communication classes that I need to be “more concise.”

Yet, although this has given me a headache time after time, I am ultimately very grateful for being challenged in this way. Switching into these differing voices has allowed me to work on my skills in ways I originally couldn’t imagine.

I’ve learned how to write prose.

I’ve learned to write with the sarcasm that I am told drips from every sentence I speak.

And I’ve also learned how to write a kick-ass cover letter and resume at the same time.

So, yes, it has been an interesting adventure with some setbacks. And I don’t just mean the countless times I have wiped out on ice running back and forth from Ross to Mason Hall.

But, kidding aside, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

-Amanda

 

 

 

Never-Ending Eportfolio

Eportfolio – what’s that?  KIDDING.

Besides final exams, the ePortfolio has basically summed up my past couple of weeks.  I constantly find myself drifting to my Wix website to make another edit as another idea pops into my head.  It seems like an endless process.

But, what do you expect from a perfectionist?

I am so happy with the final product.  What is really surprising is that it is nothing like my original vision.  Let’s just say my original vision didn’t go so well (for lack of better terms….it kind of sucked).

BUT, this led me to create a new design that I am absolutely in love with.  The layout describes my personality and my overall theme of gratitude very well.  If I could change anything, I would maybe shorten some of the paragraphs.  I had trouble doing this since I wanted to give the reader as much background information as possible.  But, I feel that in a couple of instances I got a little carried away.

This process was very stressful to me since, once again, it was uncharted territory.  This seems like a theme this semester, trying new things.  I’m basically an explorer now…watch out Dora and Boots.

I found that I really enjoyed exploring all the different features the website offered and I liked adding little touches here and there to make it more personal.

One of the things I am most proud of is getting my video to fit onto my Remediation page.  Originally, I wasn’t sure how to make it work, but I think that it is great that the viewer can click through to the YouTube site if they would prefer to watch it there.

So, without further adieu, here is the link to my ePortfolio.  Enjoy!

Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Advice for the “Youngins”

Dear Future Cohort,

First and foremost, congrats on getting into the Minor in Writing!  I hope you are prepared for a very exciting semester.

I remember being in your shoes on my first day.  My thought was that I was going to have a semester filled with grammar, essays, and nit-picky grading (I wasn’t exactly thrilled).

Grammar
Grammar

Surprisingly, (and luckily!) this was not the case.  If you have a journey anything like my own, you will have the opportunity to repurpose short passages into a magazine article, create a movie based off of a case study, and eventually make a website showing who you are as a writer.

Pretty exciting, right!?

I know this can seem like a lot.  If you would have told me this upon entering the minor I would have probably been very overwhelmed.

But don’t worry!  It all comes together and makes for a memorable semester.

Here are a few tips to having a successful time in the Gateway Course:

1.  Meet with your professor in office hours!!  I can’t say enough how helpful this was.  My professor, Naomi Silver, was so helpful with all of my projects.  It is nice having someone to chat with who is just as thrilled about your idea and its progression.

2.  Make a point of getting to know your blog groups.  During the semester, you will have a chance to meet so many different writers who are passionate about various topics.  Use this to your benefit! Bounce ideas off of each other and don’t be afraid to give your honest opinion.  It was through many of my conversations with other students in my class that I had “Aha” moments in my writing.

3.  Challenge yourself to try something new.  Never produced a video before?  Try it!  Don’t let the fear of not being an expert in a certain field keep you from trying.  There are resources on campus to help you and the other members in the cohort are oftentimes struggling with the same problems so it helps to collaborate.

So, enjoy your time and get ready for a semester where you learn about things such as exigence, pathos, ethos, and kairos.  (Don’t worry about not knowing those things now!)

As Yoda would say, “PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE my young padawan.”

 

-Amanda

An Unconventional Thanksgiving

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and past already!  So much anticipation and here it is…already Saturday!

Anyone who has talked to me throughout this semester knows that it has been a rough one for me.  I have been extremely sick with things such as pink eye and an ear infection and every time I think I am getting better it has all turned for the worse.

This happened again over Thanksgiving.  

Upon having extreme pain when I swallowed, I went to urgent care and found out that I have mono.

At first, I was really upset.  I work out a lot, make a point of eating healthy, write down what I am grateful for everyday – yet I get this sick?

Just didn’t seem fair.

When the doctor told me that I need to get lots of rest, drink fluids, and avoid physical activity I must have looked at him like he was crazy.  Anyone that knows me knows that this is pretty much impossible.  As I write this now, I am guilty of having pushed my tired body to the gym this morning…which led to my inability to get out of bed for the rest of the day.

Let’s just say that my lesson was learned: Listen to the doctor. Got it.

Although I am exhausted, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and my topic all semester long (gratitude), I still have so much to be thankful for.  I will continue writing my list of things I am grateful for everyday, because although life may get you down at times, it’s important to pick yourself right back up and move on.

When life gets you down
When life gets you down

With finals around the corner, this means getting rest so that I can do my best on the exams.  This also means giving it my all since I have worked so hard all semester long.

I generally prefer the more spaced out final projects (as we have done in the Minor) to final exams just because I feel that these are more comprehensive of what a student has learned throughout the semester.  These are also less stressful for me since I don’t like having one moment in time determine what I know about a topic.

But, we will all push through and be done in a few weeks and before we know it it will be Winter Break!

“Eventually Someone Will Catch Onto My Genius”

Listening to Laura Kasischke at Literati on Thursday evening was definitely interesting.

Unfortunately, I showed up a few minutes late (since I was getting dinner with my Dad), so I was unable to get a seat.  As a result, I had to sit on the staircase in the back.  A lot of the sound was blocked by the wall on the staircase so the beginning portion was quite inaudible to me!

Luckily, as people left I was able to make my way further into the room so that I could hear her better.

Laura Kasischke
Laura Kasischke

My takeaways from her talk:

She talked about the importance of finding the process that works for each individual writer.  In her classroom, she implements a lot of self reflection in order to teach people to love to write.  It was interesting how much she stressed the importance of style and voice in writing – developing my voice and style is something I have found myself continually doing throughout this semester.

She also emphasized how important it is to learn what ones subject matter is.  She admitted that writing isn’t always fun, but if you find something that you are truly passionate about then it becomes fun.  I really liked this remark, because in the past I have found myself struggling with writing papers simply because I wasn’t interested in the topic.  Being able to write about what really interests me has definitely impacted my love for writing.  I find myself much more passionate about each piece I produce.

Lastly, I thought it was extremely interesting how she gave insight into her writing process.  She admitted that writing is a lot like reading – oftentimes she figures out the ending as she goes.  This was surprising to me since I had always thought that writers had it all planned out from the beginning.  It was nice to hear that other writers, like myself, enjoy figuring it out as they go.

The spontaneity of this writing makes it feel the most genuine to me.

The fact that she added humor to her talk was great – her personality shined through.  I loved that she ended with the quote, “Eventually someone will catch onto my genius.”  Besides the fact that this was hilarious, her confidence with who she is as a writer was inspiring.

How Pedagogy is Changing

Digital rhetoric seems to define who we are as writers in today’s society.  Facebook posts, tweets, texts, and emails are among the many ways we write digitally.  The audiences vary in these situations and, as a result, our voice and how we want to perceived must also vary so that we can best portray ourselves.

The Buzzfeed article, 25 Of The Most Regrettable Celebrity Tweets sums this up perfectly.  By simply saying the wrong thing, these celebrities are called out for their lack of filter.

Creating digital rhetoric in Writing 220 has undoubtedly related to the many benefits Elizabeth Clark mentions with regards to there being a “digital imperative” in writing instruction today.  From the beginning of the semester, I can see how my voice has developed as a confident writer as a result of peer feedback on my multimodal projects and blog posts.

I agree with Clark when she talks about “[…] the importance of audience and the nature of public and private writing.”  She goes into detail about how one of her students documented publicly her story of how she came to the U.S. illegally.  As a teacher, she had to make the tough decision of telling the student to take the post down.  What we have to remember, as writers in a digital world, is that as soon as we click “publish” or “post” or “tweet”, we cannot take it back.

Digital Writing
Digital Writing

Those words or images are forever public.  This convenience is great in a lot of instances, but in other cases it can be detrimental.

Although I agree with most everything Clark says, I find myself disagreeing with her view of PowerPoint and Youtube videos being “prosaic”.  Her underlying argument is that the classroom needs to be transformed as new technologies are developed.  I completely agree with this.  But, I still think that we get value out of other teaching strategies too.  As great as e-portfolios are, a simple PowerPoint or a short video clip go a long way in making a connection for a student in the classroom.

I believe that there are alternative visions of 21st-century pedagogy.

Some may feel that technology is too much of a distraction.  Some may prefer older methods of teaching since these encourage student-teacher interaction, versus student-digital.  And some may prefer immersing the student in the subject by holding class in a lab, museum, etc. (I had an art class in a museum at UofM and this was very impactful).

Regardless of these alternatives, I think that digital pedagogy is something of value for these 3 reasons:

  • It forces the student to step outside of their comfort zone in their writing.
  • It creates a great environment for peer feedback.
  • It allows a student to continually edit their online presence with work that accurately represents them.

Every Setback has a Silver Lining

My Remediation Project has changed so much since the very beginning.  For my storyboard, I originally planned to do a comparison of students in Chicago versus students in Ann Arbor (since I was in Chicago this past weekend).  I wanted to interview a lot of individuals and do a couple in-depth interviews to get a broad base from which I could draw from.  I was very excited with how my storyboard planning went; I had it all planned out with the various angles I wanted to film from and which parts I would have a voice-over for.

My hope was to find similarities and differences between these students and give a comparison to the viewer.  It was very frustrating, though, to have such difficulty filming in Chicago.  First and foremost, trying to film on a game-day weekend is never an easy accomplishment…especially when you are extremely sick.  It was so frustrating!  I went there with hopes of feeling better, but to no avail. As I sit in my bed writing this, I am still extremely annoyed at how my body cannot seem to shake this fever/sore throat/congestion.

But every setback has a silver lining, right?

Being sick has given me time to think of how I want to change my approach: I have now decided to do a comparison of students in Ross versus students in LSA.  Since I am a student in both programs, I thought it would be interesting to see if there are similarities/differences among the two studies of individuals at Uofm.  This change in thought has also shifted how I am thinking of setting up my ePortfolio; I want my ePortfolio to be representative of how I am a student in both since they make up who I am.  Luckily, my planning for my ePortfolio has not been nearly as frustrating  since I have a pretty clear idea of how I want to set it up.

My storyboard for the Remediation project will stay almost exactly the same since I am still doing a comparison of two groups of students, which was my original plan. I am even more excited now since the topic hits closer to home.  I can’t wait to feel better and get filming this week!

Storyboard pg 1
Storyboard pg 1

 

Storyboard pg 2
Storyboard pg 2
Storyboard pg 3
Storyboard pg 3
Storyboard pg 4
Storyboard pg 4

“iMovie for Dummies”

For anyone as technologically challenged as myself, you will completely understand how bold of a decision it is for me to make a video for the Remediation Project.  I have zero experience whatsoever.

Lucky for me, my Macbook has iMovie as a video editing app available for free.  My challenge for myself this week was to explore it.

I was surprised how well it went.  First and foremost, I loved that the app automatically synced up with the videos, pictures, and music I have on my computer.  This made it very easy to drag what I wanted into the editing space.  I also really liked that it has various themes you can use if you don’t want to start your project from scratch. They are professional-looking and are still editable so that one can make various changes to them.

It was made very user friendly by offering tabs for music, text and pictures. By simply clicking on these tabs, this program offered an array of options.  Also, editing a video clip was not as hard as I expected; by clicking on the clip, the selected clip would highlight and then you can drag on the sides or click in the center to make various edits.  This will probably be the most challenging part of video editing for me, though, since I have the habit of accidentally deleting the clip instead of shortening it.  Very frustrating!

Since my sister’s wedding is in the spring of 2015, I used some pictures of her and her fiancé and a theme to get a feel for the program.  Adding slides with text could be done by clicking on the “T” tab, and editing the text simply required you to click on the yellow par above the video clip and then type in the space to the right.  The separation of music, text, and video, made it easily visible how each component was working in the process.  Below you can see how I set up my edits:

iMovie
iMovie