Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don's Blogging Tutorial ~ Josephine's Perspective

Today’s mandatory blogging tutorial was held at the Hercules Public Library at 10:15 AM. Contrary to my usual habit of being 10 minutes late, I was actually there about five minutes early. Thank goodness I arrived early too: I was in need of a laptop to borrow, and because Don’s laptop loans were given on a first-come first-serve basis, I got to use the big Dell one!

Before the actual tutorial session started, all the students introduced themselves, complete with their names, schools, and which Ivy League School they were attending. There was a girl (whose name I regretfully forgot) who was part of the Hotel Management program at Cornell, which I found really interesting because I never knew of such course being offered and it sounded really fun. Nevertheless, rest assured that Brown’s Women and Leadership program was well-represented by yours truly, as well as my good friend Cynthia Yip!

Don started off the tutorial by handing each student a 27-page packet full of notes that he planned on discussing throughout the session. He conveniently followed each section exactly as seen on the agenda page, which made me wonder if he rehearsed his presentation or if he was just plain lucky enough to have remembered every one of the 37 subjects listed on the agenda. Don basically went through what he expected to see on our blogs, such as specific justification (page alignments), acceptable font sizes, photo formats, and proper titles. The tutorial wasn’t limited to the “how-to’s” of blogging, as Don also stressed the importance of responsibility and maturity as we embark on our journeys to the East Coast. He reminded us to check our emails daily, dress appropriately, watch our manners, and act like the adults that we’re seen as.

One thing that really stood out to me was Don’s use of actual “what-not-to-do” examples. He used real-life examples of students’ errors, such as one girl’s mistake of publicly blogging about having her period during the trip. Another student took a flight back home soon after arrival onto the East Coast, due to a bad case of being home sick. That student’s flaw was the fact that he or she didn’t bother to tell the chaperone, Don, or anyone else, thus causing the police to get involved in a massive search. Upon hearing these stories, I promised myself not to do anything that Don could possibly use as a future example of student bloopers.

The tutorial ended a little earlier than expected. Don’s presentation was great, as his information was well-detailed without being full of rambling. Not only do I feel even more excited about this study trip to Brown, but I also feel better prepared. Kudos to you, Mr. Gosney, and to my fellow readers and cohorts, you’ll definitely be hearing again from me soon!

Reaction to Tutorial

Saturday morning I wake up and instead of going on my computer, I got ready for the blog tutorial that was scheduled for 10:15 AM by packing it away. I put on my sunscreen, found my sunglasses and proceeded to the door at 9:00 AM, and I began my walk to the library.

Once I was at the library, I saw Don unpacking his equipment, while drivers came up to the Hercules Public Library and purchased a map for the city-wide garage sale; I still had a long time to wait for the session to begin.

We started the tutorial on time. Don explained to a group of ILCers and a couple of chaperones, which included Sarah Larson, my Session-1 Brown chaperone, how first to create a blog. Being in journalism for the past year, I had a basic understanding of how to write a blog, although this post may determine otherwise, so his recommendations were old. Yet I did learn that coordinating with my cohorts might improve the content of the blog.

The most I learned was probably the explanation for photography. I am a novice at Photoshop and at taking pictures, so everything Don told us increased my skill little by little. Later in the day, I tried playing with Photoshop, and I was less confused about it than other times. I got great tips such as bringing a card reader, steadying yourself before taking a picture and saving the correct resolution of 300 dpi.

It was also entertaining when Don told us stories from years before about absurd events like how one of the girls blogged about having her period. Overall it was a great experience.

I am thankful to Don for coming and teaching us how to write, take pictures and prepare for our trips to the east coast. Without this session I wouldn't know that I couldn't bring an extension cord or fans could be rented at Brown. I get confused a lot with these types of events so the more I know now, the less I have to stress about it later, and consequently, forget something vital.

Now all I can say is: I am ready and can't wait for more to come.

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