Final Week

So my time in PR Writing is coming to a close. This past week we entered the “real” world of public relations and all our work from the semester went live. I’ve got to say it was pretty stressful and nerve wracking having all the work I’ve been doing go public for the entire world to see. I didn’t know how it would be received or if it will go well.

I’ve got to say I’m pretty proud of myself, though. All the assignments I’ve been working on came together and I was able to use what I learned on a real social media account. Probably the coolest thing for me was being able to see all of the traffic I was creating and having a realtor share my posts. I didn’t contact her or anything, she found the Facebook page and shared the link with all her followers. I felt so accomplished when that happened like I actually “made it” in the world of PR.

I’m sad my time in the class is coming to a close but I’m excited to hear from my classmates about their adventures this past week and learn from their accomplishments.

Client Launch Week

This week was very challenging, but rewarding for my client. Since my client was new, it is very hard to gain traction on social media in just a week. I tweeted three times a day, and included some retweets from the national organization. The AA-ISP official, national twitter page has a large following and always shares worthwhile content. It was good to have some interesting articles that I could retweet and really draw attention to the organization. Facebook was even more of a challenge. One of the hardest things to do is start a new Facebook page and gain followers very easily. I am planning on asking some of my classmates to like the page next week, in order to get more presence.

Overall, I think with more time and effort, I can really start gaining more of a following on social media for my client. Gaining views on social media for a brand new client can often be a several month long project. I still think this exercise gave me a good idea of how much of a challenge it is to run a social media page. All in all, it was a very rewarding week and I hope to build on it more in the final days to come.


What are 3 take-aways you learned from this course and what are you going to do with it?

Community work is difficult, but important. One cannot simply take on a project by themselves and expect for the results they want. For a program to be successful and sustainable it must involve the community and have people that reside within it buying in to what is being done. Otherwise when the person implementing it leaves, the program is likely to disperse instantly.

You cannot simply look at a community and make a quick judgment call when attempting to assess it. You must look at factors surrounding the community and even dig in to the history of the area if you wish to come closer to understanding why a community is the way that it is.

Ideas often must come from within the community. Though the perspective of an outsider can be useful, if the intervention you are searching for has no grounds with the population you are attempting to serve, the intervention itself will be pointless. This is why it is important when coming up with ideas on solving issues to consult with the population involved with this solution. This is something that is often overlooked by people bringing in their ideas that they find perfect, when in reality the population perhaps does not care about what is being done.

I will take this knowledge and apply it when working in the field. When taking on community projects, I will know some proper precautions to take in order to make my attempts more fruitful for myself as well as for the population I will be serving.

BP12 Three takeways from this course

The first takeaway from the course that benefits me is the community assesment.  I really did not think I could gain anything from this assignment, because I didn’t really care for the city of Warr Acres and did not see the point in why it was a city.  However after the community assesment, I have learned how great this community is and what it prodives to its residents.  Also, learning how to assess a community is a skill that I feel I have gained.  I am able to look into other communities I notice things about that community that I havn’t notice before.  I have become more observent of community strengths and weaknesses.

The second takeaway would be the importance of community engagement.  As a social worker, engaging with the community is important to understanding what the community needs are and getting the community involved with its own development.  With community engagement, it makes people in the community invest in itself and take better care of itself.  A community should always be asking and looking to make their community better.  Also, a community needs to have several assests that it can draw on to help that community survive.  A community needs to be open to all ideas and from all its residents, so they can treat their residents all as leaders and help shape a community into a better one, and a continuely evolving one.

The thrid takeway from this course would be the importance of working in groups and being able to work with everyone.  Although, I am still lost as to why our cohort had our difficulties this semester, but I feel that I learned some lessons from those activities, meetings, and experiences.  I have gleamed that I should be more aware of peoples’ feelings and that I should try to work with anyone, even if I think that person doesn’t want my help or advice.  Also, by working with differing opinions I could possibly learn from them.   Also, this would benfit me in future political advocacy I plan on being involved in and group work.

I plan to use these takeaways in my future as a social worker.  It affirmed my desicsion to go ACP, although I was pretty much sold on ACP since day one.  I think these takeaways will make me see a community for what it is and could possibly help make a community better.  Also, it has motivated me to become more politically active and I feel that I can properly advocate for what I want personally and politically.

Contemporary African Immigrant Communities in the United States


About two months ago (yes, I know, I’m very behind), I went to a seminar about contemporary African immigrants in the United States. Though there were at least 150 chairs in the lecture room, so many people attended that several of them had to sit on the floor and lean against the wall, but it was well worth it. Our speaker was Nigerian historian and professor of African studies, Dr. Toyin Falola, and he spoke about the cultural, social, and emotional issues affecting native Africans who had immigrated to the United States.

One issue that Dr. Falola discussed bothered me more than any other: the way in which many of these African men and women admitted to feeling inferior to people who were native to the United States. Dr. Falola explained that he had studied African communities and populations in Houston, Texas, and that many of them perceived themselves as being unsuccessful, even though they had accomplished quite a lot, especially by “American” standards: For one, they had vehicles, houses, they were debt-free, and they were holding steady jobs. They had, as much as they could, adapted to life in the United States, further developed their English speaking and writing skills, and had learned to navigate a new country very gracefully. Still, they were unhappy, and he said that, after speaking with them and further studying their situations, he found that their unhappiness (and resultant feelings of inferiority) stemmed from the void that had resulted from their leaving of Africa. Even though many of them were leaving behind conflict and precarious situations, life in the United States had made them feel like outsiders.

Because I do not have any explicit religious or cultural customs and thus few ties to any particular group of people, I could not relate these problems to any of my own experiences, but I sympathized. I have been fortunate to live in a place where I am usually very safe, protected and where I feel at home, but I can imagine how isolating it would feel to have to start life in a foreign environment.

A few of the other issues that Dr. Falola described were similar to the African people’s feelings of inferiority and isolation. He said that they described a loss of social status in the United States, a status that had once been crucial to their livelihoods in Africa. Further, an environment of alienation, invisibility, and discrimination was very prevalent in their lives in the United States, despite their attainment of higher education, high incomes, and other general fulfillment (having a family and friends). Basically, the loss of culture was profoundly felt among most all of them, and they found this difficult to handle.

During the lecture, I found myself grieving for the African immigrants and what they had lost upon leaving Africa: their culture, their homes, and their identities. I wondered how they were doing and what they had tried or were trying to do to cope with these losses. Dr. Falola was optimistic, though, and told us that as more and more African peoples came to the United States and connected with others who had already come, they were rekindling parts of their old lives and creating a living environment in the United States that was more like home. Even more, he explained that awareness of African culture was growing, thanks to globalization, technology, and academia, and that our being there at the lecture was even more progress toward acceptance and understanding of African immigrant circumstances. I was pleased to hear this and even more grateful to have been able to meet Dr. Falola. I was sitting in the front row, and before he began his lecture, he walked over to me and shook my hand, welcoming me.

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Under the Tuscan Sun | Cortona + Florence

I think one of the things I’m going to miss the most about Italy is that I can take a spontaneous day trip to some of the most famous cities in the world for less than ten dollars.

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views for dayzzzzzzz

Yesterday, three of us decided to take a day trip to Cortona, a tiny hill town where the famous movie Under the Tuscan Sun  was filmed, and to Florence. Cortona is a sort of hidden gem, the kind of town that gets a few tourists who’ve decided to go off the beaten path but isn’t overrun with them–exactly my favorite kind of town.

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under the tuscan sun for real !!!

We spent the morning admiring the views, trying to get some ~artsy~ pictures, shopping in the local stores, eating gelato, and soaking in the sun.

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tiny fruit markets
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happy happy flowers
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gelato has become a very large part of my life

Lunch was pizza and salad on the patio of a tiny bar, then we took a (sort of accidental) nature walk that led us to the side of a highway where we were picked up by a bus that was full of friendly high school students. They kindly dropped us off at a cathedral about two minutes down the road where we witnessed a priest doing a mic check. We wound our way through the cemetery that was connected to the church that overlooked the hillside before walking back to the train station to catch the train to Florence.

they know what’s up

A little over an hour later, we made it to Florence just in time to browse quickly through the leather market, Zara, and H&M before grabbing dinner at a Korean restaurant, which was a much-welcome break from Italian food (I know it sounds crazy, but a girl can only eat so much pasta). We walked around Florence for a little while, just taking in the sights and sounds for what may have been the last time before we hopped on a train that took us back to Arezzo

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madonna + wine: a renaissance masterpiece

Living only an hour away from one of the art capitals of the world is such an amazing thing, and I don’t think I’ll be able to fully appreciate it until I can no longer hop on a train and go visit it. Yesterday was a simple day, but it was definitely one for the books.


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cheesin’ :)))

Genesis 4

Gen. 4 The man lay with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought a man into being.’ Afterwards she had another child, his brother Abel. Abel was a shepherd and Cain a tiller of the soil. The day came when Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as a gift to the LORD; and Abel brought some of the first-born of his flock, the fat portions of them. The LORD received Abel and his gift with favour; but Cain and his gift he did not receive. Cain was very angry and his face fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you so angry and cast down?

If you do well, you are accepted;

If not, sin is a demon crouching at your door.

It shall be eager for you, and you will be mastered by it.

Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go into the open country.’ While they were there, Cain attacked his brother and murdered him. Then the LORD said unto Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ Cain answered, ‘I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The LORD said, ‘What have you done? Hark! Your brother’s blood that has been shed is crying out to me from the ground. Now you are accursed, and banished from the ground which has opened its mouth wide to receive your brother’s blood, which you have shed.  When you till the ground, it will no longer yield you its wealth. You shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on earth.’ Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is heavier than I can bear; thou hast driven me today from the ground, and I must hide myself from thy presence. I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on earth, and anyone who meets me can kill me.’ The LORD answered him, ‘No: if anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.’ So the LORD put a mark on Cain, in order that anyone meeting him should not kill him. Then Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and settled in the land of Nod to the east of Eden.

What I Learned in April

It’s time to share what I learned in April. Thank goodness we are one step closer to summer.

April is finally over, and I’m not sad to see it go. Currently, there are two more weeks of school left. I have 5 finals to give, and I’m rising up from under this pile of papers to grade like a zombie in a really cheesy horror movie. If all goes according to plan, I will start training for a summer reading teacher position during finals week, and then spend my summer preaching the gospel of reading like some kind of book evangelist. (You can see why I’m excited about this.)


Rather than let this month quickly fade into what promises to be a busy May, I’m recounting what I learned in April and linking up with Emily Freeman.

Students will do anything for extra credit…except the regular credit.

I offered two opportunities for extra credit this semester. One was incredibly easy, and only required that students bring a draft of their formal report to me a couple days before it was due. Out of 96 students, I had roughly 10 accomplish this task. However, I offered another extra credit assignment where students had to work in groups to write the script for a TV commercial, and then film it. I assumed that editing video and getting a group of 6 students together outside of class during a busy time in the semester would be an insurmountable task.

Some of my students have found a brilliant work around though. They’ve just skipped class to do the project. They did this right before their big projects are due when I have been giving them guidance on these assignments and allowing them time to work in class. These big projects amount to roughly 40% of their grade. The extra credit? Only worth 1 percentage point.

Good choice.

I probably have some sort of blood sugar problem.

April has been my intentional month where I haven’t been eating junk. (Or, you know, trying not to. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.) Maybe my body was detoxing from all the junk that had built up in my bloodstream, or maybe I just wasn’t getting enough sugar in some form or another, but I’ve noticed that I have had some pretty insane mood swings lately. I’ve also felt really tired and unmotivated. So, for the first 3 weeks of April, I was pretty miserable.

All of this information probably means I need to go to a doctor, but that will have to wait until I’m fully done with all the extra paper grading. But it will be interesting to see if I have an actual problem, or if my body has just been so full of garbage all along that I can’t handle going off it.

Intending not to spend money makes me fantasize about shopping.

Generally speaking, I’m not a big spender. Sure, I spend a large amount of money on quality bags, notebooks, or shoes. But that is so I have something that will last a long time. I would rather have one good thing than a ton of cheap, crappy things. (That does not apply to food though. I’d rather have 40 bags of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper than a balanced meal.)

Since I set the intention not to spend for the month, I’ve done pretty well. I didn’t buy anything unnecessary, really. But just the idea of not being able to go shopping if I wanted to has really been messing with my head. And it means that I have a huge shopping list with “May 1” written at the top, like I’m going to go buy EVERYTHING the day April ends.

I won’t buy everything. But I will be stocking up on some journaling/planning supplies. More on that later.

Rimmel makes the best affordable makeup.

I have a lot of friends who only buy premium brand cosmetics at department stores. And that’s totally cool. But the majority of stuff I put on my face on a daily basis is from Rimmel, with some Wet-n-Wild, Covergirl, and Physician’s Formula thrown in for good measure. And sure, I have two really awesome Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes my mom bought me for Christmas which I love, but for everything else, I’m pretty much keeping the CVS on 12th and Lindsey in business.

And what I’ve learned in April is that Rimmel probably makes the best eyeliner you can grab at the drugstore. Seriously. I have one in black, grey, gold, and plum.

Sometimes blog posts disappear.

You guys remember the post about introvert inspiration I posted on Thursday? Well, I woke up on Friday and it was gone — all 1,300 words of it. I think it may have something to do with a hosting server migration, but I’m still waiting to hear back from the server company. Know that there was much gnashing of teeth and screaming ridiculous things about the blog illuminati when I found out.

So what about you? What have you learned in April?

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Original article: What I Learned in April.

Recapping the OU Creaties

Yesterday afternoon we held the first OU Creaties award luncheon, which was a ton of fun. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, it’s great to get to celebrate the work of your community. We wanted to simply have a way to acknowledge and showcase the work that has taken place at the OU since we started our domain of one’s own project, OU Create, via Reclaim Hosting, and I think it’s safe to say we accomplished that.

This was a major project for Anoop Bal, our Digital Learning Fellow. Event planning is a massive undertaking and one that easily goes under appreciated. It was great to see the event go off without a hitch. Not that metrics are the only way in which we are evaluating it but here’s some “unofficial” results:

  • 50 nomination submissios
  • 102 nominated sites
  • 31 finalists
  • 842 ballots casted for fan voting
  • 2,683 total fan votes
  • 38 total attendees to the awards luncheon

One of Anoop’s ideas was to ditch the regular ol’ engraved acryllic plaque and go with engraved bamboo. I really think these matched the sort of maker aesthetic of Create and were a really nice touch.


There will also be digital awards. John Stewart is taking the lead on issues some digital badges via Credly that users can throw on their blog sidebars if they wish. This takes me back to the golden age of the web where it seemed like everyone had received some award that show their community. Or site rings–just give me site rings!

We were able to kick it off with Provost Kyle Harper (who runs the HIGHLY acclaimed and I was able to brag a little on him noting that OU Create exists only because of his support. He had an idea for e-portfolios and Mark Morvant and I were able to run with it. It means a lot to me that we have the level of support we do from the Provost level and having him give opening remarks was a very fitting way to start.


Provost address at the OU Creaties

I, too, was also able to say some words about how I see OU Create. Here’s a couple of graphs from my notes:

OU Create isn’t a system where technology “does things” to the student. Students independently build because of the technology. There’s a fundamental difference. In this space, knowledge isn’t simply being “transmitted” to the student, but students are constructing their own knowledge. And the site is simply the phyiscal manifestation. Of process as much as product.

At the University of Oklahoma, my hope is that students are creators, not merely consumers. As computer scientist and educational theorist Seymour Papert once said that “the role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than to provide ready-made knowledge.”

Last, we’ve launch a new front page for the Creaties which shows and links to all the finalists and winners. Hopefully this can be a resource for other universities who need examples of the various roles domains can play at their institution.

Bragging tends be incredibly self-serving but it’s that time of the year again where I start to feel sentimental so I am totally ok with doing it today. I love the community I’m a part of. It’s one where I can brag on my team members (like Anoop), my administration (like Provost Harper), and, most importantly, the OU Create users who push this technology way beyond how I would ever think of using it. I strongly suggest you browse the work for the finalists and winners. We’ve got it good on the prairie!

Social Media is hard

After five days of running a social media source, I’ve learned three main things: this job is much more difficult than it appears, visuals are insanely important, the more personal you get with your audience the better results you will receive.

First, I knew running a social media account was no easy task. Many people assume being a social media marketer is nothing more than a graduated 13-year-old with a Facebook account. Running a social media account this week deepened my opinion that operating an account is no easy task. The constant posting, generation of new ideas and creativity required for this job is endless and it is impossible to truly understand how this process works until you take it on first hand. It is not just about randomly posting facts, it is about strategically selecting words and strategies to reach your audience.

Along with selecting words to reach your audience, this assignment showed me reaching your audience with pictures is far more effective than words. Pictures capture the eye on social media and they lock in attention. Towards the end of my week practicing PR, I learned that posting pictures, even on Facebook and Twitter which are primarily word-based social media sources, gathers much more attention than strictly words.

Finally, I realized that more than anything, social media is about being social. It’s about communicating with your audience on as personal a level as you can. During this week, I was able to send Facebook messages to 18 of the 97 followers and ask what drew them to the page. I found out that sending direct mail letters and personally reaching out to people was infinitely more effective than any other strategy I utilized. It doesn’t matter what time you post on social media if people don’t like your brand. I learned that being able to identity with your audience and connect on a person to person basis rather than some ominous voice behind a computer is what makes makes a social media account incredible.

In conclusion, this job is hard. It really is. Anyone who is a social media practitioner has a tough job. They are charged with connecting to thousands of people every day and are often greeted with little respect. Even worse, these people are asked to move mountains and no one truly understands what they’re asking these professionals to do. Social media truly is another world and it’s something that takes effort, skill and intelligence to succeed in.