More Amazing Student Bloggers

I’ve finished the evaluations of student blogs for the second five weeks of the semester. (Can you hear the angels singing?) The evaluation form I used held expectations for not only  blog content, but  use of Twitter, and Facebook pages created specifically for their professional blogs. It’s been a LOT of writing for the students, and therefore, a lot of reading for me.

This is my first experience teaching new media writing skills, and the use of social media tools as a platform for those skills. It has been an incredibly valuable educational experience for me, not only as an educator, but as a writer too. It’s also been an incredible amount of work. But just like I tell my student’s, “anything worth doing takes effort and time.”

As I read some my student’s work, I am impressed by their passion and talent. All of the students are “traditional college age”. This means they are the future. Some college Juniors and many Seniors on the edge of graduation, they are getting ready to launch into their careers and begin taking on the role(s) of leadership. What a privilege for me to be able to influence these future leaders and help them refine their talent. Add these student blogs to your reading list and you will understand exactly what I mean.

Jessica Drogemuller: Jess’s blog, “Fact or Pintion” expresses the heart of one of the latest social media tool superstars, Pinterest. Her casual, witty narrative style, personal photos, and use of Pinterest to promote her blog is making a mark on the blogosphere. She was nominated for an award by a fellow novice blogger; a first for our class. Congrats to Jesse.

Jerracah Heibel: Jerracah’s blog, “Paws for a Cause” reflects her passion for animals. It presents a wonderful introduction to the diverse issues related to animal cruelty, advocacy, and local (Cleveland, OH) concerns. Jerracah has partnered with a local shelter in hopes to help them with placement of dogs and cats needing forever homes.

Chris Perry: I’ve bragged about Chris and his blog, 216Artist before, but what can I say. Within two months, this kid has acquired 106 Twitter followers! He said in his reflective essay, “…I have seen great success in the first few weeks of my blogging experience, and look forward to the future of what my writing and social media can do for me as a young professional in the workforce.” You go Chris!

Olena Orlova: Olena’s blog, “Wine & Dine: Eating Your Way Across the Cultures” is an excellent mix of education, culture, and food. Don’t read it on an empty stomach. I learned so much about wine, crepes, and Ukrainian holidays while I perused (evaluated) her blog. It is truly inspiring and delicious. Our family dinners will never be the same.

Ryenn Lyons: Ryenn’s blog, “A Peaceful Panic” focuses on informing readers of news, concerns and  life experiences of those  suffering from anxiety. Although she is still working on connecting to Twitter and Facebook, start following her blog now. It’s artful design, well-researched content, and delicate treatment of a common health problem will make a large impact on readers.

 

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Blog Check-In Report #2

Another five weeks have passed, and the anxiety level of my students mounts daily. I’m grading their Blogging Check-In Report #2- a chronicle of their second five weeks of blogging, tweeting, and posting on their professional Facebook pages.

Some students worked hard and are learning, growing, and developing their new media writing expertise. Others, stuck in college student apathy, have not. My reviews of their work are a tough, bitter pill for those still waiting to commit to the learning process. As with all learning experiences, this one comes with a struggle.

For those embracing the struggle, their work is beginning to blossom like a rewarding sign of beauty after a winter of sleep deprivation, research and revision. My students and I discovered the following truths from our class experience during the middle five weeks of the semester:

  • Blogging is hard work
  • Twitter is an amazing networking tool
  • Not as many readers (in their target audiences) interact on Facebook
  • Readers will follow and respond to quality content
  • Connecting to the outside world through social media takes time, but is incredibly rewarding
  • It takes practice to find your voice (niche) in the blogging community
  • Once you determine a way to manage this crazy world, it can be addictive, awesome, and empowering
  • Citizen journalism requires a great deal of critical thinking, reading, and consistent observation and awareness

Some blossoming blogging experts to honor this five weeks include:

Chuck Frate: His blog focuses on family recipes as identified by a local expert, his mother Pam. Chuck’s narrative thread of  family life, traditions, and other cultural aspects offers readers a unique voice that is just beginning to show up consistently in his posts. He is finding his niche in the plethora of food related blogs on the web. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Theodore Darden: This guy is serious! A soon to be graduate of Notre Dame College, Theodore has a passion for discussing issues related to the world’s supply of fresh water. Darden is developing a refreshing mix of information, passion and entertainment to keep readers scrolling and hoping for more.

Jacob Bunner: This blossoming sports journalist knows how to engage concerned parents. His blog examines youth sports issues including a variety of sports related injuries detailed by sport, the great concussion discussion, and breaking news related to youth sports. Although he needs to work on remembering to edit and pound out tighter leads, this blogger is definitely someone to follow if you love sports and kids.

I’m only half way through the grading and hopeful to find more incredibly talented citizen journalists. Stay tuned…..

#216artists?

All local artists! Check this out

the216artist

The216Artist is now accepting submissions for it’s #216artists series. This series will profile a new creative mind from Cleveland. Arts, music, fashion, drama, all apply, just send submissions to the216artist@gmail.com.

 

Or let us know in the comments below who you think should be our first #216artists.

Let the games begin!!

-c

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Passion is evolving..

Students are blogging. Some are really good. Some are still, well, let’s just say, developing. I’ve noticed that those who tapped into their passion are leading the pack. The visual design and quality of content is evident. Gina-Bella demonstrates this with her blog, Conserving Marine Life. A native of Hawai’i, Gina-Bella’s passion is clearly evident in each of her posts.Writing Passion 

Our next big challenge in class will be to work on writing tight, concise copy filled with passion. My goal is to help these developing writers find their voice and make sure it is well developed and heard. Wish us luck!

Let the Blogs roll….

Before having the students dive in to the blogosphere I had them take Poynter Institute’s FREE online class designed to teach bloggers the ins and outs of online Media Law. The great thing about this course, besides being free, is that it covered the important topics of copyright infringement, defamation and invasion of privacy in an engaging format. At the conclusion of the course, the student is led through a brief 20 question quiz and provided an immediate evaluation of the content of the course. Students can email their scores to whomever they choose (me) and within the space of about an hour, complete a hefty assignment designed to prepare them for journalistic blogging.

Students are beginning to create their blogs, slowly, but surely. Most have worked through their Blogging Commitment Sheet, but only a few brave souls have actually created their WordPress blog and written that first post. I’m wondering if they are suffering from Writer’s block or Snow Day doldrums. 

Lucky for us, most of our class readings and assignments can be done virtually. We have missed two class days thus far this semester due to inclement weather. Our small college resides in what is affectionately known as the “snow belt” of NE Ohio. Yeah. We have managed to stay true to the spirit of deadlines, however, despite the absences. Blogs are popping up.

The collection of work is as diverse as the student body. If you would like to follow these young writers I know they would love to chat with you. Check out: The216Artist or Pawforacauseblog for a sampling of their work.

 

Off and Running…

We have spent the past two weeks reading about the transformation of print media to on-line. We have read, discussed and analyzed the concepts of citizen journalism and the future role of journalists in our culture’s constantly shifting on-line media consumption. Now, it’s time to get to work.

Over the past weekend, students were asked to examine a social advocacy blog, Girls’ globe. This blog, created with a mission to “raise awareness and educate others about global issues concerning the rights, health, and empowerment of women and girls”, represents my goal for the students. I have charged them to find a charity, issue or social concern that they are passionate about and which to design their blog’s content focus. They are, hopefully, pondering this.

Next Monday, they will commit to their passion. Along the way they will read helpful advice from WordPress regarding naming their blog, and write a brief self-reflective essay detailing their plan of attack for research, identifying sources and story ideas for their future, life-changing blog adventure. I’m hoping I can tap into their passion and they will take this assignment with serious energy and focus. 

Stay tuned.