Judaism

A certain aspect of Judaism that interests me is on page 276, Smith quotes a book, “In The Brothers Karamanzov” saying, “I don’t accept this world of God’s, and although I know it exists, I don’t accept it all. It’s not that I don’t accept God, you must understand, it’s the world created by Him I don’t and cannot accept”. When I read this it reminded me of my own Christian beliefs. The Bible states something that seems to be a parallel with this quote. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. I think both of these sayings go hand in hand. They both do not accept worldly things or this Earth, although they know it comes from God. What they do accept is God and all his teachings. Therefore they concentrate their thoughts on higher teachings.

ReBoot Camp

Starting another design class coaxes out funny feelings. What will I leave with at the end of this semester? By the end of Spring, I hope to stretch myself and continue developing my individual design philosophy, while branching into unfamiliar territory.

To date, the publications course assignments have been fairly basic: general design principles, a smattering of blog posts, a lighthearted scavenger hunt and typesetting exercise.

Nothing the in the course’s initial three weeks has shattered my design paradigm or pushed my skillset to the limit — but I’m still excited and loving the chance to learn.

Looming like a forboding stormfront, the prospect of creating something fresh, eye-catching and functionally sound intimidates me. I’ve never been a sketching prodigy or pastel tour-de-force. (My handwriting is only just legible. Sometimes.) But I find a satisfying challenge and satisfaction in graphic design — and I’m determined to use this semester’s design opportunities to double my output.

I love pushing myself to improve. For me, creative work has traditionally teetered on a fine razor between “things I love to do” and “things I’ll master eventually.” This semester, I take design by storm. This isn’t a publications boot camp for me — it’s a reboot camp.

New “Comment Training” Strategy

Well, I have been terrible at documentation for the new semester. I get all caught up in the fun and excitement of the classes themselves, and that means I run out of time for documentation. It's not that documentation is totally un-fun and unexciting... but it's never as exciting as getting to meet all the new students and trying to make sure the class is going well for them!

Anyway, it is now the end of Week 3, and one of the new experiments for this semester is going even better than I expected, so I wanted to write it up here: My New "Comment Training" Strategy.


First, some background: 

In the past students have struggled with giving comments to other students. There was no lack of enthusiasm, and the comments were always encouraging, but they were often vague and, as a result, not very useful to the authors. When I asked the students last semester about what kinds of comments were most useful to them, the universal response was that they wanted more critical feedback, comments they could actually use. You can see some of those student responses here: Thoughts about Comments.

Ironically, the students who were frustrated by the vagueness of the comments they received were also probably guilty of leaving vague comments themselves because, overall, the comments did tend to be vague. Enthusiastic, friendly, encouraging... but vague, very generic, without a lot of detail.

The new experiment:

So, I decided to try something different this semester. In the past, there were several weeks devoted to helping students get used to using Google Sites. I decided that I could actually fold the Google Site practice into another assignment (I'll explain about that in a separate post), and thus find room for a kind of "Comment Training" series of assignments. It's a four-week sequence that works like this:

Week 2: Holistic and Analytical. In this assignment, I try to get students used to the idea that when they read a story for the purpose of leaving a detailed comment, they should read the story twice: once holistically for an overall impression and THEN analytically, focusing on specific features of the story. To practice these skills, I ask the students to leave 150-word long comments on three students' Storytelling blog posts (their choice). I was amazed at how well this went! It was a night-and-day difference compared to the kinds of comments I typically saw in past semesters.

Week 3: Format and Function. In this assignment, I provided a list of more technical features that students might want to comment on. I used the word "format" to refer to web presentation (fonts, colors, layout, etc.), and "function" to refer to web links, navigation, etc. I then asked students to leave 150-word long comments on three other students' Storytelling blog posts in which they read holistically and analytically while also checking on format and function as appropriate. So far, the results of this assignment also look excellent. (Most students will be doing this assignment tomorrow, on the Sunday of Week 3.)

Week 4: Author's Note. In addition to having trouble with comments, students also had trouble writing their Author's Notes. It's a similar problem: in the same way that they were not used to providing critical commentary on other students' writing, they were not very skilled at providing critical commentary on their own writing. I am really optimistic, based on the success of this experiment so far, that with a little training and practice I can help all the students to write better Author's Notes (and, of course, they will benefit from that as readers because they will get to enjoy better notes at other students' stories). For this assignment, I'm asking students to go back to the Author's Notes they wrote on their stories so far this semester and expand/improve them.

Week 5: Final Practice. This is the last week before students start writing comments on each other's Projects. So, this assignment actually has three parts: (1) students set up the Comment Wall at their blog for incoming comments (their Storybook Projects are separate websites, but the peer comments on those websites come in via the blogs), (2) they review the methods for keeping track of incoming comments at their blog, and (3) they write one last practice comment on another student's Storytelling blog post, practicing the skills they learned in Weeks 2, 3, and 4.

Preliminary results:

Although it is still not even half-way through this experiment, I am so excited by what I have seen. I'll update this post when I can report more confidently on the overall success of the experiment, but I am really pleased about this! I always thought it would be too difficult for me to take on the task of really "teaching" students how to do comments, and instead I relied on my comments as a kind of model for students to follow. For some students, that modeling was enough, but the majority of students needed something more. So far, it looks like this simple four-week "course" in commenting will make a big difference.

Even better: if students can learn to do a better job of commenting critically on other people's writing, it might also help them become more critical readers of their own writing.

So, there is a lot of great potential here, with lots of good indications so far. I will report back in a few weeks about the overall experiment, along with some ideas about what I will need to do differently next semester.

In order to see what's going on in the class right now, I've embedded the live comment stream below: you can see how it is going for yourself! If you browse through the stream (also available as a webpage of its own), you will see some of the detailed comments that people have left, along with the more informal weekly blog comments that are much shorter and more casual. Both kinds of comments are useful and important: the short, casual comments are the chit-chat that makes the class fun and friendly, while the longer, more detailed comments are important in helping people to revise and improve their writing. And yes, this is a class where students revise... and revise... and revise some more — hopefully based on comments from many readers, not just me! :-)




New “Comment Training” Strategy

Well, I have been terrible at documentation for the new semester. I get all caught up in the fun and excitement of the classes themselves, and that means I run out of time for documentation. It's not that documentation is totally un-fun and unexciting... but it's never as exciting as getting to meet all the new students and trying to make sure the class is going well for them!

Anyway, it is now the end of Week 3, and one of the new experiments for this semester is going even better than I expected, so I wanted to write it up here: My New "Comment Training" Strategy.


First, some background: 

In the past students have struggled with giving comments to other students. There was no lack of enthusiasm, and the comments were always encouraging, but they were often vague and, as a result, not very useful to the authors. When I asked the students last semester about what kinds of comments were most useful to them, the universal response was that they wanted more critical feedback, comments they could actually use. You can see some of those student responses here: Thoughts about Comments.

Ironically, the students who were frustrated by the vagueness of the comments they received were also probably guilty of leaving vague comments themselves because, overall, the comments did tend to be vague. Enthusiastic, friendly, encouraging... but vague, very generic, without a lot of detail.

The new experiment:

So, I decided to try something different this semester. In the past, there were several weeks devoted to helping students get used to using Google Sites. I decided that I could actually fold the Google Site practice into another assignment (I'll explain about that in a separate post), and thus find room for a kind of "Comment Training" series of assignments. It's a four-week sequence that works like this:

Week 2: Holistic and Analytical. In this assignment, I try to get students used to the idea that when they read a story for the purpose of leaving a detailed comment, they should read the story twice: once holistically for an overall impression and THEN analytically, focusing on specific features of the story. To practice these skills, I ask the students to leave 150-word long comments on three students' Storytelling blog posts (their choice). I was amazed at how well this went! It was a night-and-day difference compared to the kinds of comments I typically saw in past semesters.

Week 3: Format and Function. In this assignment, I provided a list of more technical features that students might want to comment on. I used the word "format" to refer to web presentation (fonts, colors, layout, etc.), and "function" to refer to web links, navigation, etc. I then asked students to leave 150-word long comments on three other students' Storytelling blog posts in which they read holistically and analytically while also checking on format and function as appropriate. So far, the results of this assignment also look excellent. (Most students will be doing this assignment tomorrow, on the Sunday of Week 3.)

Week 4: Author's Note. In addition to having trouble with comments, students also had trouble writing their Author's Notes. It's a similar problem: in the same way that they were not used to providing critical commentary on other students' writing, they were not very skilled at providing critical commentary on their own writing. I am really optimistic, based on the success of this experiment so far, that with a little training and practice I can help all the students to write better Author's Notes (and, of course, they will benefit from that as readers because they will get to enjoy better notes at other students' stories). For this assignment, I'm asking students to go back to the Author's Notes they wrote on their stories so far this semester and expand/improve them.

Week 5: Final Practice. This is the last week before students start writing comments on each other's Projects. So, this assignment actually has three parts: (1) students set up the Comment Wall at their blog for incoming comments (their Storybook Projects are separate websites, but the peer comments on those websites come in via the blogs), (2) they review the methods for keeping track of incoming comments at their blog, and (3) they write one last practice comment on another student's Storytelling blog post, practicing the skills they learned in Weeks 2, 3, and 4.

Preliminary results:

Although it is still not even half-way through this experiment, I am so excited by what I have seen. I'll update this post when I can report more confidently on the overall success of the experiment, but I am really pleased about this! I always thought it would be too difficult for me to take on the task of really "teaching" students how to do comments, and instead I relied on my comments as a kind of model for students to follow. For some students, that modeling was enough, but the majority of students needed something more. So far, it looks like this simple four-week "course" in commenting will make a big difference.

Even better: if students can learn to do a better job of commenting critically on other people's writing, it might also help them become more critical readers of their own writing.

So, there is a lot of great potential here, with lots of good indications so far. I will report back in a few weeks about the overall experiment, along with some ideas about what I will need to do differently next semester.

In order to see what's going on in the class right now, I've embedded the live comment stream below: you can see how it is going for yourself! If you browse through the stream (also available as a webpage of its own), you will see some of the detailed comments that people have left, along with the more informal weekly blog comments that are much shorter and more casual. Both kinds of comments are useful and important: the short, casual comments are the chit-chat that makes the class fun and friendly, while the longer, more detailed comments are important in helping people to revise and improve their writing. And yes, this is a class where students revise... and revise... and revise some more — hopefully based on comments from many readers, not just me! :-)




New “Comment Training” Strategy

Well, I have been terrible at documentation for the new semester. I get all caught up in the fun and excitement of the classes themselves, and that means I run out of time for documentation. It's not that documentation is totally un-fun and unexciting... but it's never as exciting as getting to meet all the new students and trying to make sure the class is going well for them!

Anyway, it is now the end of Week 3, and one of the new experiments for this semester is going even better than I expected, so I wanted to write it up here: My New "Comment Training" Strategy.


First, some background: 

In the past students have struggled with giving comments to other students. There was no lack of enthusiasm, and the comments were always encouraging, but they were often vague and, as a result, not very useful to the authors. When I asked the students last semester about what kinds of comments were most useful to them, the universal response was that they wanted more critical feedback, comments they could actually use. You can see some of those student responses here: Thoughts about Comments.

Ironically, the students who were frustrated by the vagueness of the comments they received were also probably guilty of leaving vague comments themselves because, overall, the comments did tend to be vague. Enthusiastic, friendly, encouraging... but vague, very generic, without a lot of detail.

The new experiment:

So, I decided to try something different this semester. In the past, there were several weeks devoted to helping students get used to using Google Sites. I decided that I could actually fold the Google Site practice into another assignment (I'll explain about that in a separate post), and thus find room for a kind of "Comment Training" series of assignments. It's a four-week sequence that works like this:

Week 2: Holistic and Analytical. In this assignment, I try to get students used to the idea that when they read a story for the purpose of leaving a detailed comment, they should read the story twice: once holistically for an overall impression and THEN analytically, focusing on specific features of the story. To practice these skills, I ask the students to leave 150-word long comments on three students' Storytelling blog posts (their choice). I was amazed at how well this went! It was a night-and-day difference compared to the kinds of comments I typically saw in past semesters.

Week 3: Format and Function. In this assignment, I provided a list of more technical features that students might want to comment on. I used the word "format" to refer to web presentation (fonts, colors, layout, etc.), and "function" to refer to web links, navigation, etc. I then asked students to leave 150-word long comments on three other students' Storytelling blog posts in which they read holistically and analytically while also checking on format and function as appropriate. So far, the results of this assignment also look excellent. (Most students will be doing this assignment tomorrow, on the Sunday of Week 3.)

Week 4: Author's Note. In addition to having trouble with comments, students also had trouble writing their Author's Notes. It's a similar problem: in the same way that they were not used to providing critical commentary on other students' writing, they were not very skilled at providing critical commentary on their own writing. I am really optimistic, based on the success of this experiment so far, that with a little training and practice I can help all the students to write better Author's Notes (and, of course, they will benefit from that as readers because they will get to enjoy better notes at other students' stories). For this assignment, I'm asking students to go back to the Author's Notes they wrote on their stories so far this semester and expand/improve them.

Week 5: Final Practice. This is the last week before students start writing comments on each other's Projects. So, this assignment actually has three parts: (1) students set up the Comment Wall at their blog for incoming comments (their Storybook Projects are separate websites, but the peer comments on those websites come in via the blogs), (2) they review the methods for keeping track of incoming comments at their blog, and (3) they write one last practice comment on another student's Storytelling blog post, practicing the skills they learned in Weeks 2, 3, and 4.

Preliminary results:

Although it is still not even half-way through this experiment, I am so excited by what I have seen. I'll update this post when I can report more confidently on the overall success of the experiment, but I am really pleased about this! I always thought it would be too difficult for me to take on the task of really "teaching" students how to do comments, and instead I relied on my comments as a kind of model for students to follow. For some students, that modeling was enough, but the majority of students needed something more. So far, it looks like this simple four-week "course" in commenting will make a big difference.

Even better: if students can learn to do a better job of commenting critically on other people's writing, it might also help them become more critical readers of their own writing.

So, there is a lot of great potential here, with lots of good indications so far. I will report back in a few weeks about the overall experiment, along with some ideas about what I will need to do differently next semester.

In order to see what's going on in the class right now, I've embedded the live comment stream below: you can see how it is going for yourself! If you browse through the stream (also available as a webpage of its own), you will see some of the detailed comments that people have left, along with the more informal weekly blog comments that are much shorter and more casual. Both kinds of comments are useful and important: the short, casual comments are the chit-chat that makes the class fun and friendly, while the longer, more detailed comments are important in helping people to revise and improve their writing. And yes, this is a class where students revise... and revise... and revise some more — hopefully based on comments from many readers, not just me! :-)




Looking Back at Bootcamp

After two days of intense immersion in the ways of InDesign and Photoshop, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the two programs even though I’ve used them before.

I feel a tad overwhelmed by information, which is to be expected. As this is the beginning of a new semester, Photoshop and InDesign are hardly the only things I’m learning right now. Still, I feel I’ll be able to retain most of what I learned this week and take it with me as we begin our actual assignments.

My InDesign experience, before this class, was limited mostly to editing documents that people had already made. At the athletics department, for instance, I often had to replace the logos of rival schools or edit statistics in InDesign documents that were later printed as programs or notecards.

Although this work gave me a solid introduction to InDesign, I would have been lost trying to create a document from scratch. I don’t feel quite so lost anymore.

Photoshop, on the other hand, is that one program I learn how to use every three years or so and then immediately forget for lack of practice. I hope that doesn’t happen again.

At the athletics department I sometimes had to use it to cut out athletes or edit graphics, but my Photoshop use was far lower than InDesign. So going over its features again was very helpful.

I’ve always been a little resentful about the way I’ve been taught these two programs. Just because, it seems to me, they’re pretty much the most important tools a PR practitioner can have, and their uses extend far beyond public relations. They’re basically the essential tools of the Millennial, a Microsoft Office for the digital age.

Yet my instruction has consistently treated these programs like an afterthought, as if they were of little importance. It was stunning to me to see how many people in our class had little or no experience with them.

So though these programs can be challenging, I’m honestly excited to be in a class where I really feel like I’m going to be able to practice with them. I know what I learn in PR Pubs will come in handy for years to come.

New “Comment Training” Strategy

Well, I have been terrible at documentation for the new semester. I get all caught up in the fun and excitement of the classes themselves, and that means I run out of time for documentation. It's not that documentation is totally un-fun and unexciting... but it's never as exciting as getting to meet all the new students and trying to make sure the class is going well for them!

Anyway, it is now the end of Week 3, and one of the new experiments for this semester is going even better than I expected, so I wanted to write it up here: My New "Comment Training" Strategy.


First, some background: 

In the past students have struggled with giving comments to other students. There was no lack of enthusiasm, and the comments were always encouraging, but they were often vague and, as a result, not very useful to the authors. When I asked the students last semester about what kinds of comments were most useful to them, the universal response was that they wanted more critical feedback, comments they could actually use. You can see some of those student responses here: Thoughts about Comments.

Ironically, the students who were frustrated by the vagueness of the comments they received were also probably guilty of leaving vague comments themselves because, overall, the comments did tend to be vague. Enthusiastic, friendly, encouraging... but vague, very generic, without a lot of detail.

The new experiment:

So, I decided to try something different this semester. In the past, there were several weeks devoted to helping students get used to using Google Sites. I decided that I could actually fold the Google Site practice into another assignment (I'll explain about that in a separate post), and thus find room for a kind of "Comment Training" series of assignments. It's a four-week sequence that works like this:

Week 2: Holistic and Analytical. In this assignment, I try to get students used to the idea that when they read a story for the purpose of leaving a detailed comment, they should read the story twice: once holistically for an overall impression and THEN analytically, focusing on specific features of the story. To practice these skills, I ask the students to leave 150-word long comments on three students' Storytelling blog posts (their choice). I was amazed at how well this went! It was a night-and-day difference compared to the kinds of comments I typically saw in past semesters.

Week 3: Format and Function. In this assignment, I provided a list of more technical features that students might want to comment on. I used the word "format" to refer to web presentation (fonts, colors, layout, etc.), and "function" to refer to web links, navigation, etc. I then asked students to leave 150-word long comments on three other students' Storytelling blog posts in which they read holistically and analytically while also checking on format and function as appropriate. So far, the results of this assignment also look excellent. (Most students will be doing this assignment tomorrow, on the Sunday of Week 3.)

Week 4: Author's Note. In addition to having trouble with comments, students also had trouble writing their Author's Notes. It's a similar problem: in the same way that they were not used to providing critical commentary on other students' writing, they were not very skilled at providing critical commentary on their own writing. I am really optimistic, based on the success of this experiment so far, that with a little training and practice I can help all the students to write better Author's Notes (and, of course, they will benefit from that as readers because they will get to enjoy better notes at other students' stories). For this assignment, I'm asking students to go back to the Author's Notes they wrote on their stories so far this semester and expand/improve them.

Week 5: Final Practice. This is the last week before students start writing comments on each other's Projects. So, this assignment actually has three parts: (1) students set up the Comment Wall at their blog for incoming comments (their Storybook Projects are separate websites, but the peer comments on those websites come in via the blogs), (2) they review the methods for keeping track of incoming comments at their blog, and (3) they write one last practice comment on another student's Storytelling blog post, practicing the skills they learned in Weeks 2, 3, and 4.

Preliminary results:

Although it is still not even half-way through this experiment, I am so excited by what I have seen. I'll update this post when I can report more confidently on the overall success of the experiment, but I am really pleased about this! I always thought it would be too difficult for me to take on the task of really "teaching" students how to do comments, and instead I relied on my comments as a kind of model for students to follow. For some students, that modeling was enough, but the majority of students needed something more. So far, it looks like this simple four-week "course" in commenting will make a big difference.

Even better: if students can learn to do a better job of commenting critically on other people's writing, it might also help them become more critical readers of their own writing.

So, there is a lot of great potential here, with lots of good indications so far. I will report back in a few weeks about the overall experiment, along with some ideas about what I will need to do differently next semester.

In order to see what's going on in the class right now, I've embedded the live comment stream below: you can see how it is going for yourself! If you browse through the stream (also available as a webpage of its own), you will see some of the detailed comments that people have left, along with the more informal weekly blog comments that are much shorter and more casual. Both kinds of comments are useful and important: the short, casual comments are the chit-chat that makes the class fun and friendly, while the longer, more detailed comments are important in helping people to revise and improve their writing. And yes, this is a class where students revise... and revise... and revise some more — hopefully based on comments from many readers, not just me! :-)




Reflection

InDesign

Well, I survived boot camp! For this assignment, we were asked to replicate a project on InDesign. As a newbie to InDesign, I was immediately nervous but also, ready to tackle the assignment. As Professor Croom walked the class through the InDesign process, I was completely shocked to learn how truly simple it is. I was impressed and excited with the work I was able to complete and how easy the process is if you pay attention to the steps and even use the tutorial videos online.

As I thought about the InDesign process, I was excited to learn this skill who wants to step out of their comfort zone and into something completely new? I usually don’t! I took it step by step, and will continue to learn new skills through out using InDesign.

InDesign is such an important skill to have and even improves the resume. I’m very happy to know the first few steps of InDesign and will be using these in the future.

 

Reflection on Week 3

This week, we were asked to familiarize ourselves with InDesign and Photoshop and gain a basic grasp of some of the more heavily used functions on these programs. While I’d worked with both programs in high school, the functions I performed were all very similar and repetitive. In other words, I wasn’t really used to the programs as a whole but I did know how to do specific, irrelevant things.

Learning how to do new things is always a little overwhelming, but I responded to the tasks at hand by attentively watching and trying to learn and then giving it my best shot. In the beginning, I think it’s a waste of time to be concerned with the finer details, so I tried to not get too hung up on every little button I saw in front of me and focus in on what I had to do. I found both programs to be a little frustrating because I don’t yet have the know-how to easily make things happen in them. I reacted in a frustrated way at times. I think I reacted in a frustrated way because I don’t like feeling incapable and I was a little incapable at adeptly navigating these programs. However, I look forward to using each of them more this semester and expanding my skillset along the way.