Saturday, April 28, 2012

Using Yola

 I will be using to create an academic web portfolio that will showcase all of my work from WRT 234.  I just created a Yola account, and I’ve begun creating my site. So far, I think Yola is easy to use and navigate, since it walks you through creating your site step-by-step. Today, I will focus on the design and will try to upload some of my revised work. I didn’t think creating a final portfolio would be this enjoyable, but it is!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Helpful Reading About Putting Together a Portfolio

The reading offered a lot of helpful information and tips. I actually wish I had read this when I first started college because it could have really helped me with portfolios I’ve done in the past. The reading got me thinking about how I’m going to approach my final web portfolio for this class. Right now, I’m creating a storyboard to plan how I want to put the whole thing together. One part of the reading discusses the reflective letter, which I will focus on first. I have a lot to reflect on for each project, since I’ve learned so much and they have all helped me improve as a writer in different ways.  

Looking back at what I’ve done in this class, I think the enthusiast blog has been my strongest work. Not to mention, this blog has been my favorite thing we’ve done in this course. What makes it strong is the overall design of the site, the 90s pop culture and nostalgic topic, and I think my posts pretty well written as well.

As for my process blog, I’m not completely satisfied with it. I wish I had posted more for every project. In order to make up for those missed posts, I plan on doing reflective notes for those projects, so it won’t feel so incomplete when I incorporate it in my final portfolio.

Right now, I’m starting to put together my portfolio and analyzing all my work carefully. It’s actually interesting to go back and see the work I’ve done and think about the strengths and weaknesses of each project. I want to make sure I make the revisions necessary for the final product that will be put in my portfolio. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Project 4 is Complete

We finished Project 4, and I must say we are definitely happy with the final product. We added a lot after our peer reviews and their helpful suggestions of how to improve our site. I wish I could have contributed more written material to our site, such as posts to the discussion forum and blog posts, but it was difficult since I didn't feel I knew enough about our issue to write a lot about it. However, I tried contributing as much as I possibly could being an invasive species amateur. I did learn a lot about it, and I'm glad I did since this it's an important issue to address, and many people aren't aware of the fact that these invasive species pose a serious threat to our eco-systems. Not only did I learn about the issue of invasive species, but I also gained a better understanding of SocialGO, social networking sites (in general) and the all the elements these kind of websites entail. 

Project 4 Peer Reviews

We got a lot of great feedback about our SocialGo site from our peer reviews. Some of the suggestions they gave us to improve our site included adding more events, which is something we’re aware needs work. It’s difficult to find events concerning invasive species, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, but we’re continue searching for some events that somewhat relate. Another suggestion was to add more videos and other types of media to our site. Actually we used their suggestion and we’ve added more media to our site since the review. One person suggested adding more topics to our discussion forum and writing more blog posts, which we already have planned on doing before the project is over. Lastly, someone suggested that we add more groups to our group page, which we will do as well. Overall, we are happy with our peer reviews and all of their suggestions have been incredibly helpful as we finish this project! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project 4- Slight Problem

Project 4 is really coming along nicely. My group and I have found a lot of information about invasive species and great material for our SocialGo site. The only problem we've had is finding events related to invasive species, since it's not a well-known issue. If we can't find events concerning invasive species, we'll have to find an event that relates in some way- maybe something to do with agriculture or plants. Today, I'm going to keep searching for events that we could add to the site. I'm glad everything else is going smoothly with this project. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project Four- We Chose Invasive Species

For Project 4, our SocialGo site is dedicated to the issue of invasive species. One of my group members chose the cause, and I had no idea what invasive species were, until now. After doing some research, I found out that invasive species are
“1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and
2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions,” (

At first, I wasn’t sure if this was the greatest topic for the project, but I quickly found that invasive species do pose a serious threat to our ecosystems and it’s important to raise awareness about this problem. The more research and learning I- the more concerned I am about the issue. I’m glad that I’m able to help this cause with this project.

 So far, our site is looking good. My group members have been contributing a lot of great stuff. I’ve contributed some videos, a blog post, articles, pictures, and I plan on contributing more. Thus far, the project is going smoothly, and I think for once, we might finish early!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Experience with Social Networking Sites

Currently, the social networking sites I’m involved with are Facebook and Twitter. The first social networking site I was ever involved with was MySpace, but once Facebook got popular, I deleted my account. It seems over the past 5-8 years, social networking sites have exploded and it changed our culture and the way we communicate and connect with others forever. I believe these sites have provided advantages and disadvantages to those who use them. Take Facebook for example: You can express yourself and electronically scrapbook what’s going on in your life, communicate with friends and family at your own convenience, find and contact friends and family you haven’t talked to in years, and you can even organize events and join different interest groups. Facebook also has its setbacks: privacy has been an ongoing issue. Some users have not gotten jobs or lost their jobs due to inappropriate pictures, videos, or statuses that they posted on their profile page. Another recent issue is that Facebook has enabled harassment and bullying, and we have been seeing this especially with the younger generation on Facebook. As for Twitter, I actually just created an account, so I’m still learning how to use it. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Response to Danah Boyd and W. Lance Bennett Articles

“Can Social network sites enable political action” by Danah Boyd and “Digital Natives as self-actualizing citizens” by W. Lance Bennett, are two interesting articles that discuss the idea of whether social network sites could be used for political action and speaking truth to power.

Boyd’s article suggests that using SNSes for political action are nothing but mere “daydreams,” particularly when it comes to young people, who are more concerned about engaging with their friends and updating their statuses than they are with participating in a political cause. Boyd also suggested that it is “this lack of motivation that we need to understand and address to improve our democracy and government.” While Boyd sees this as an issue, Bennett sees it as “changing patterns of engagement and opportunities that will reshape the notion of citizenship in this new century. According to Bennett, the reason young people aren’t using SNSes as platforms for political action is because of the contrast between old century “Dutiful Citizens” (DC) and the new century “self-Actualizing Citizens” (AC). DCs (adults) “are unaware or unappreciative of the civic identity shift that has occurred among many young people.”  Bennett suggests that when adult-run institutions do attempt to build media projects, it seems that they “impose limits on what young people can and ‘should’ do,” thus these projects often fail.

Both articles suggest that we need to understand young people’s lack of motivation behind using SNSes for political action. Both discuss that the solution lies in finding a way of reaching all young people, or what Boyd calls the “unmotivated groups;” not just those who are already politically involved. According to Bennett, the DCs need to adopt and correctly utilize online environments as a way of reaching young people and successfully motivating them to get involved in all aspects of our democracy. Boyd makes a strong point that “the infrastructure is available for people to spread information, but the motivation is not there to either share or receive it. That’s the problem we need to solve, and we’ll know we’re successful from the messages that will be written on Facebook and MySpace.” 

Project 3 is Complete!

It’s official! My group and I have finished Project 3. Overall, I think the website redesign was a success. Compared to the original site, the redesign looks professional, clean and organized, and easy to navigate. It took a lot of effort and at times my group and I felt a bit overwhelmed with all that we had to do; however, at the end of the day, we are proud of the final product and it seems that all our hard work paid off in the end. Although this was a challenging project, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what elements make a website well designed and what makes a poorly designed site. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Received a Peer Review of Our Redesign

My group and I received a lot of helpful feedback from our peer review for project 3. Some of the things they suggested was to straighten the pictures, rather than have them slanted since it will help make the website more professional. Another helpful suggestion was to put the bar of links (about us, home, links, etc) on top of every page. Their final suggestion was to break up the writing content more so it doesn’t look like a huge paragraph. These are definitely some useful suggestions and I think my group and I will definitely take their advice.