The final project:
http://www.christopherlovelljones.com/depaul_fall/
The portfolio:
http://www.christopherlovelljones.com/sites/NMS_504/

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What did you accomplish last week?

Last week I wrote almost all of my tutorials. I also captured screenshots to integrate into the guides to make them more readible, and made some edits with the copy on the other pages to have a more cohesive (and engaging) voice. I’m using more humor than before, as I think it’s an easy way to keep the reader engaged with the writing. I think this will be more apparent in the ethical posts.

What are your goals for next week?

Simply put—my goals are to finish the project. I have to finish the articles, proofread and make any edits for the site, and start promoting the site once I have content worth showing. Needless to say, I think I’m going to be quite busy for the next few days, but I think I can handle it.

What’s going well?

So far things have been going fairly smoothly. I was able to grab screenshots from a new utility that is included in Windows 7. I have finished several of the tutorials, and just need to move forward on a few other aspects of the site and I will be satisfied with the content as the final project. I’ve also taken some of the feedback from class and applied it into the final project.

What’s not going well?

I’ve had some problems with my web server and image hosting, which I resolved but not in time to add images to this iteration of the project. Writing these articles has proved to be more time consuming than I expected, and I feel a bit behind schedule. Since this is due next week, I need to get everything in order as soon as possible, so I can start the portfolio and final documentation of the project.

What help do you need from classmates and the instructor?

In a perfect world, I would have more time to focus on the project, but I have to make the best of what I can. At this point, I don’t know what help others could be, as I need to write all the posts for this project myself. Although, I would like the opportunity to present this in the future, but probably not until after I have finished the portfolio aspect of this course, and I have more time to spend preparing some form of a presentation.

What did you accomplish last week?

Last week I finished writing the first posts about “A Brief History of Media” and made some final changes with the layout and aesthetics of the site. The week before I built the site, based on a template using the content management system “Joomla!”.

What are your goals for next week?

Next week I hope to have most if not all of my tutorials finished. If I can get them finished within the next week or week and a half I think I will be in good shape to have the project finished well in time for the end of the quarter. Also I need to start expanding and promoting the project on various social media channels, and investigate the potential of working with the career center to provide this resource to others.

What’s not going well?

I think I should start by saying what IS going well. At this point I have clear direction with the project, and I am confident that I have the tools necessary to finish it.  I haven’t hit any technical limitations as of yet, and I don’t forsee any. This is good because I want the project to be focused primarily on the content, and not negotiating a new technology.

What isn’t going well, is that to finish this project it will take quite a few hours, and I don’t know how many I will have available from now until the end of the quarter. Outside of this class I am taking two other graduate courses, in addition to working part time, and looking for a full time job, while I plan for more graduate study as a personal contingency plan. I feel stretched somewhat thin and it looks to be a very busy next 4 weeks. Also along those lines, I don’t want to present anything that isn’t my best work. I take a lot of pride in my writing and I don’t want the project to be anything substandard. To create relevant, funny, and informative content takes a lot of time. It’s difficult to be able to sit down in one session and write jokes, and make my points without having to go back and revise. The revision process takes me a very long time. Ultimately, I think I’ll be able to create something worth showing off—it will just take me until the end of the quarter.

What help do you need from classmates and the instructor?

I don’t know if I need any help with the actual project, but if the instructor or students could facilitate an opportunity to present it to an audience that wasn’t the instructor or students, that would be helpful. I always try to create something with my coursework that will be used after the class is completed, so I would appreciate any opportunity to share this with others.

I thought the Graves lecture was very interesting, especially for someone who ultimately doesn’t study rhetoric or the pedagogy of rhetoric. What I found very enlightening about the differences between American and Canadian modes of instruction was how much they were influenced by history. It’s easy to forget that much of Canada’s original population came from British loyalists during the revolutionary war in the United States. Many of those loyalists were aristocrats who would go on to found college’s in the British academic tradition. I assumed that Canadian higher education was more or less the same as American, yet I learned that there are many differences, and in fact Canadian higher education more closely resembles coursework in the U. K. The idea of a Liberal Arts education, that is taking many general education requirements in conjunction with focused study doesn’t exist in the same form in Canada. In many cases, coursework is purely focused within the major. Writing in general, isn’t taught with a theoretical framework so that students can focus it within their major (such as taking a composition class as a freshman, and then applying it to technical aspects when a student studies engineering later), but rather it is taught within the major. So in the case of an engineering student, they learn technical writing last, and that becomes their writing education. I also should point out that from a multimodality perspective, there can be different “modes” of writing. In Canada they seem to separate and focus on these modes within a major, whereas in the United States, we don’t make this discrimination. Worth noting too , before a revolution in the 1940’s-1970’s, writing instruction made a shift from teaching literature first, and rhetoric last, to the opposite. It’s an interesting way to approach the study of writing.

Below is the link for the site:

http://www.christopherlovelljones.com/depaul_fall/

Below are the links for my project prototype.

The build of the website.

Shared schematic on Google Docs.

For the final project I am proposing a multimodal initiative aimed at educating new college students, and invariably high school seniors on social media. I will focus primarily on teaching how to use various types of social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogging, LinkedIn. I will also look at some more ancillary types of social media, such as FourSquare, Posterous, Vimeo, and Scribd. In “teaching” I want to focus on not just the pragmatic functions of setting up an account and using the media, but also the ethics and social norms that have been set in place. It would be naive to think that young college students are not currently proficient to some degree at social media, but not as many may understand the ramifications of using such media. As I explore the questions about ethics, I hope to start a discussion with my audience about what this new shift in communication means for us. While I will temper my focus to social media application, training, and ethics; I would be remiss in my role without including some content on media history. To truly understand what exactly it means to use a website like Facebook, one needs to know how this technology evolved from its predecessors.

In terms of the media used in this project, I will use several modes, but primarily will rely on text (in the form of written blog posts) and images (non-moving pictures that accompany the blog posts). To make this project multimodal, I will incorporate some video and perhaps a podcast in addition to the blog posts. Given the longer post-production time needed for video or audio, and due to my desire to provide relevant content, the primary medium will be traditional blog posting. But that isn’t to say that the blog will not take advantage of multimedia or have multimodal characteristics. As our working class definition states, “What makes multimodal communication unique, compared to mono-modal communication, is the intersection and integration of various modes of communication to achieve the desired communiqué as the message would not be received properly if any of the modes used in multi-modal communication were split up.” Because of this property of multimodality, I will be sure to understand the multimedia that I am working with, and fulfill the requirements of said modes to communicate effectively.

This will all be hosted on a website. If the opportunity arrives during the course of this project to do some in-person facilitation of these topics, I will be eager to take advantage.

Through the progression of all of my projects initiatives, I will explore through the lens of media theory. I will aim to make turn the theoretical questions that we ask in our class, and in others I have taken, and turn them into practical ideas that can be applied to our use of Facebook. While this proposal and the final paper will be written in academic style, the blog will have a more conversational approach in its texts and conventions. Going further on this topic of academic writing style versus blog writing style, particularly in my use of the words multimedia and multimodal, I would like to turn to the Claire Lauer reading. She states that “As a result, the use of multimedia in industry remains dominant, while the use of multimodal within composition scholarship has grown. The definition of a term should be driven, in part, by the audience who will encounter and use it” (237). In this regard I will use the terms multimodal and multimodality for my academic project requirements, and multimedia for the practical applications.

In terms of defining and attracting an audience, I will use my existing connections on social media as well as exploring other avenues. If possible I will work with any LA&S or Media studies faculty that may find this project as a valuable resource for their students. Additionally I am a contributor to the Career Center blog, and as this topic is relevant for that blogs audience as well, I will use that tool to gain readership. Additionally if any other tools or ideas come up during the course of this class and my graduate study, I will incorporate and amend this project so it is the most effective in educating and fostering a discussion about social media and the ways that people can now communicate.

Sources:

Claire Lauer, Contending with Terms: ‘Multimodal’ and ‘Multimedia’ in the Academic and Public Spheres, Computers and Composition, Volume 26, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 225-239.