Saturday, March 31, 2012

Are we going to accept fanfiction?

This post is a little late for the topic--for some reason, it saved as a draft instead of being published two weeks ago. Anywho...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thoughts on Colors

After today's class I started thinking about the meaning of being able to see. And being able to enjoy what we see. Eyesight is indeed a very important sense. And I would agree that it is the most important. A picture can tell more than a thousand word and so on. Just by opening our eyes we can acquire tremendous amounts of information about the word. And I think that is pretty unbelievable.

I myself am a visual person. Every time I come across to one of those tests which will find out whether you are a visual, auditory or a kinesthetic learner, my result is visual, and to a great degree. I can memorize facts by seeing the page containing the information in my head. And I can dig that information out of my brain. On the other hand, I rarely remember what the teacher said in class. Unless I write it down or see it on the chalkboard.

Therefore, internet is also a very visual experience to me. If I open a web site that has horrible 80's colors and images straight from bad advertisement campaign, possibly older than my mom, I do not bother to stay at the web space for long. Images are important, but colors are (usually) the key. Even the most confusing content can be saved by using clear and appropriate colors. The colors have to be pleasant but they cannot be too prominent. The colors should not be the protagonist, they should take the supporting role. When they are well chosen, they are in a way invisible: not too weird or bright to annoy the reader but not too bland and boring to make the reader fall asleep. And of course, it would be suitable to find colors that would represent the theme of the issue: distortion.

Response to study on collaborative writing

Noel & Robert examine perceptions of collaboration in documents.   It looks at how individuals utilize the various writing tools to write and communicate, which is termed groupware.  The researchers concluded “most productive writers rarely wrote collaboratively and rarely asked comments from colleges,” so I am convinced that individuals are not taking advantage of the resources offered by technology.  Most individuals prefer asynchronous writing, and I understand that writing can be a personal activity, but if it is shared collaboratively, benefits may be gained from another’s interpretation.   This study examines how individuals collaboratively write documents by exploring the types of tools that they use.  Academic writers in this study are not taking full advantage of technology.  They are married to outdated procedures, and could produce better documents by taking advantage of more computer supported collaborative tools.    It concurs with my belief that writers write only for their discourse community, and furthermore I found it to be biased towards academic collaborative writing groups.  I am more inclined to the constructivist school of thought, and the constructivists believe that learners with different skills and backgrounds should collaborate in tasks such as writing and discussions about writing to arrive at a shared and better understanding.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Color for web design

I found this educational video Color for Web Design, which I think compliments the article we read on color. Some of the points made on the video, which I think could be helpful for DIN is using color as a way to brand our product as well as using it to evoke emotions or a feeling of distortion. The article we read, explained color illusions, which I also think would be fun to use given our theme.
Along those lines, I think the notion of simultaneous contrast is an interesting consideration given this year's theme.
Here's another video from a web consultant, which explains how to choose and use color for web design:Color Selection and Web Design .


This article was interesting, because color is one of those things that I like when it is done well, but I don't like when it is not, although I couldn't tell you why. I see so many advertisements, projects, and things at work that are done horribly because of the color scheme used. Visual rhetoric is just as argumentative as text when it is done right, but can be just as detrimental when done wrong. For example, if I see any neon on a webpage, advertisement, anything really, I automatically trash it or close the webpage. I hate neon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Color [theory] of the wind

Howdy all,

So, after this week’s reading on color, I thought it might be helpful to share this poster I use at work. You can find it free here. (It’s pretty sweet.) 
Color theory is very interesting to me, because we see it in our everyday lives. Branding particularly comes to mind. Here are some funny ones (or somewhat devious) that I found…

I found the notion of "Protected Spaces" in the KAIROS article to be very interesting, as it puts a term to a phenomenon that I'm sure we have all observed at one time or another in ourselves or each other. It's simply the tendency to shrug off blame, really. The "protection" that it claims really lies only in the eye of the beholder. Any student that fails to learn curriculum could blame the professor and vice versa, but it doesn't mean that either is correct in thinking as they do. Further complicating this relationship by placing technology as an additional medium between student and professor (or student and student) simply provides an inanimate scapegoat that either group could blame for the failures of a course.

Sorry, kind of just thinking about the idea here. The real value is in discovering how we release teaching, learning, and technology all from any protection and see them (and ourselves) as they are. Having nothing beyond question or reproach. But I guess that takes honesty with oneself and if we'd figured out how to that as a species then...well, things would be pretty different anyway.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In response to week 9's facilitation article

In response to week 9's facilitation article, I thought it was interesting the difference between “collaborative learning” and “cooperative learning.” To summarize here:

Cooperative learning
  • “can be more efficient than collaboration,”  
  • knowledge is shared rather than constructed, and the instructor maintains authority over both the students' processes and learning. 
  • “in this method of learning, students typically are assigned (or may assign themselves) roles toward completing a task for which the instructor has an end result or "answer" in mind.”

Collaborative Learning:  
  • empowers students, all the authority over both the process and the product is transferred to the groups,
  •  the "answers" are not predetermined, knowledge is socially constructed through meaningful conversations between students.
  •  The article authors conclude that instructors using this type of learning “need to be able to explain, interpret, and guide our students to a place where these processes become deeply embedded and no longer have to be learned and relearned with each new course and instructor.”

This made me think of all the online/semi-online courses I’ve taken. I wondered which type of learning we used. A couple came to mind…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I knew the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.  The three most popular monsters on Sesame Street are Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird. That is part of the attraction for preschoolers and other children. I knew that color can be symbolic both positively and negatively. There have also been studies proving that color can affect individuals' moods, but until I read this article I did not make the connection between color and walls.  

On his talk show, Maury always sends suspected fathers to the "GREEN" room while they await the results of paternity tests.  I can only imagine the panicky  possible fathers-to-be who thought they were just having sex with an able bodied female, who doesn't walk on all fours,  just to find out she may be expecting his baby! Just think, the green room was instrumental in the relief felt when news came that he was not the biological father of her bastard child, and to further add to his triumphant mood, he received the news in front of a nationally televised viewing audience of possibly millions of other trashy, unemployed viewers.  Indirectly the color green is responsible for the falsely identified, biological sperm donor's new celebrity status, ability to afford his next case of Budwiser, and the fact that he is so getting laid when he gets back to his trailer park!  

Truly this talk show scandalizes and takes advantage of (and makes light of) the seriousness of this situation, and it is revolting.  Maury capitalizes on a fraud perpetrated when a woman who knows, or who should know, or who has reasonable grounds to know the true identity of the biological father of her child, and for viewers pleasure (and Nielsen ratings) falsely identifies the wrong man as the biological father of her child.

Possibly Maury would benefit from also offering a "WHITE" room for the mother.  Although white is not a color, it is the culmination of all colors - the energy of light. It represents justice and truth. Hopefully white can provide clarity and honesty for the mother, since the energy of white is symbolic of new beginnings.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Response to teaching with Blogs

I am not so sure that the key to student engagement is the "blog," however, I would argue that the key is technology.  Technology enables students and teachers to engage in various ways, and can  create an organized structure to the instruction.  
Face it, technology is not boring, rather technology makes things exciting!  Technology also makes things faster, and if handled correctly, makes less busy work for students and teachers alike.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

13 Blog Ideas Response

To respond to Michael Hyatt's "13 Blog Posts for Novelists," I'd like to start by saying this idea seems more purposeful and effective after receiving publication. In fact, I think it's even more effective if you have multiple publications and an established fandom. That said, I think his prompts for novelists are smart and I think the exercise could be valuable to a person who is working on their thesis or simply in the process of writing their first novel. Most of the aspects of the process he addresses are things that you should have some familiarity with intuitively, regardless of whether or not the novel is complete. Also, if you get stuck during the writing process, I think asking oneself some of these questions might serve to unstick you. For example, sometimes you start a novel in Madison Wisconsin, when you work the nightshift and have a full time internship at a publishing house. Before you finish, you move to your hometown and are encumbered by all manner of new variables that effect your psyche and as a result, your writing process. Therefore interrogating yourself about what inspired the novel might help one recreate that psychic/mental environment that has temporarily stalled out. This is a good way of what Robert Olen Butler would term, "reopening the passageway to the dream space." Additionally, I think these are exercises that could be minimized to relate to a short story, and can help young writers take a step back from their work and really consider the message of their content from a more objective stance. All in all, writing is thinking, and I think anything designed to help one evaluate the merit of his or her writing work is sure to yield positive results.

The Death of Fiction? (The Death of Racism, Classism, and Elitism in Publication) /Boohoo.

I admit having a reaction of shock and disgust to Mother Jones's publication of Ted Genoway's "The Death of Fiction?" My previous encounters with the Mother Jones site have usually proved rewarding and insightful. However, this article radically changes my stance. I perceive their willingness to foster this article as indicative of alignment with the ideas presented in it, a way of sanctioning an elitist perspective.

I'm going to try to remain coherent and as diplomatic as possible in my critique of this article, but frankly I promise nothing. I think that the beliefs about literature that Genoway espouses are dated and traditional to a fault. In the paragraphs that follow, I will present my reading of Genoway's work as a dialogue between myself and the text.

In the first paragraph Genoway introduces his topic through an anecdote about how people react to his profession -- his status as an editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review. He explains, through generalization, that some people (of an unidentified demographic or particular class/race/age bracket) fail to take what he perceives is the appropriate amount of interest in his profession. The way he describes their reaction implies that he expects he, and his job position, should be recognized as valorous or impressive.

 To this, I would argue that -I- am impressed when I meet someone with a job in publishing, having experienced the difficulty of breaking into the industry, and knowing how difficult it is to be published in an acclaimed literary review. I have an education that impresses upon me I MUST BE PUBLISHED IN SOME LITERATURE REVIEW, otherwise I will lack competitive edge when I pursue my teaching career at a university.

  However, 18 year old Tammy who works at the grocery store and spends more time on her Kindle reading commercial fiction may not have a similarly awed response to Genoway's overwhelmingly all powerful position. Shame on her. Tammy probably lacks exposure to the intricacies of publication and what it means to burgeoning writers. REALLY THOUGH, who could blame her? Today, literature lives in her computer, her blog, her Amazon ebooks, on her iphone. Tammy, and everyone else in the United States middle class, has more access to literature than ever before. Tammy probably doesn't even need a formal education in literary tropes to appreciate, value, and understand that which she chooses to read. It seems as though Genoway's initial argument-- that his profession lacks recognition, stems from an insecurity that he is no longer part of the social elite.

I have no sympathy for him.

First and foremost, everyone reads for different reasons. Some may read purely for entertainment, while others read to understand another life perspective, another social situation. Purposes for reading are exactly as varied as the people who read. I barely read literary journals because for the most part, I understand them to contain much of the earlier work of authors who will later go on to continue and thus publish more widely, or will fade into obscurity and pursue something else. Literary journals also contain shorter works from multiple authors. I prefer to read collections on a theme. Additionally, the world around me is rife with texts whose interests reflect my own, and I can seek them out. I'm not dependent on university publications to direct my search. Also, I have a biased opinion of most lit journals. It is my feeling that their primary function is to bolster the confidence of new writers, as well as provide a document for future employment demonstrating that faculty or visiting writers have been published and are therefore credible. Its a cog in a machine, to me. However, in my undergraduate career, literary magazines organized under a specific purpose were very exciting, because it was a testament to the value of our community and what we were capable of producing. I can appreciate literary journals, but I don't often actively pursue them.

What Genoway is really writing about, it seems, is his dissatisfaction with a shift in what is considered valuable to society. He explains that writers have a responsibility to the WORLD, as if all contemporary fiction is purely self involved -- and furthermore, that involvement with oneself cannot possibly reflect a particular worldview. Moreover, the claim that fiction writers should turn their eyes on the world implies that a single voice can effectively speak for the experience of the world at large, which is absolutely untrue. This entire article smacks of condescension and elitism. What Genoway is describing here is NOT the "Death of fiction" but more accurately the DEATH of priveleging a singular voice (which, by looking at the examples he uses in the text, is ostensibly male). He seems to be disappointed that literary journals have relented in their rigid gatekeeping status and permitted the emergence of trans, queer and feminist writers. It seems that to Genoway, permitting new voices a space in which to breathe is somehow encroaching too much on the space which he has claimed for people who are "good" writers.

Again, Genoway is working under the assumption that there is ONE singular "good" and ONE reason to write, and ONE reason to be published. He mourns the death of hierarchy. I, however, celebrate all of the things that Genoway bemoans. A cultural Polylogue trumps the elite world of university publications any day.

Because "good" is so variable -- (for me, it means equal representation of gender, sensitivity toward matters of race, art that recognizes feminism, etc/ while for others it might mean exclusivity and representations of traditional power structures) I think it's very important for DIN to consider the motivation or message or purpose or function of our publication. A journal that has a mission, and then publishes work that reflects that mission, is smarter, more valuable, and more influential than deciding ALL THINGS MUST BE WHAT I HAVE DETERMINED AS GOOD (Genoway's stance).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Response - Blogging

I am currently writing a blog about my exchange year here in the US, and therefore I was eager to see what kind of advice Robert Lee Brewer had to offer. He may not be serious but the first point in his list is a bit, well, self-evident. Yes you have to start a blog in order to write in it. “If you don’t have a blog, get one.” Right. Or maybe the keyword of this first tip was “today”. Start your blog today instead of just thinking about it. That’s the biggest advantage of blogs in my opinion: everyone can start a blog. It can also be a disadvantage though. Not everyone is interested or needs to know what you are doing or what is on your mind every single day. But then again, who decides what is valuable writing and what is not? Are artistic and professional photos more important than someone’s vacation snaps from Hawaii? In theory, everyone can get their voice heard in the blogging world.

Design Team's Meme

Electra, Jordan, and Joyce

response to 13 blog ideas

As a writer, I think that this subject is very important to all of us. Using a blog to give background information on your novel is a good way to get the audience engaged into your novels as well as keeping them interested if you were to be writing a trilogy. An example of an author doing something similar is J.K. Rowling announcing Pottermore. This not only gives more information on the story but it requires the reader in order to continue the story


Monday, March 12, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog...

The readings for today made me rethink blogs. I have always been under the impression that people are too open on blogs - letting anyone on the web glimpse their personal lives. I realize not all blogs are personal, and I personally enjoy exploring cooking and equine blogs, among others. But, you have to consider that public element - you don't know who will read your blog, and what they will do with that information. 

Response to visual rhetoric/typeface

Branding is one of the most important parts of a product or website. It makes it recognizable. I also agreed with the author that making a logo, slogan and website simple works to an advantage because every client or visitor feels included.

            I also think that while some of the points made throughout the article, such as keeping everything simple and having icons that represent the brand’s goal, mixing rhetorical semiotics, works for a brand like Nike, a literary magazine can go any direction. It can be extravagant or simple, but keeping in mind its audience and theme.

Typefaces do “convey moods and personalities,” which could be used in branding as well, to convey the goals of the brand or the mood of the website. Looking over last year’s DIN, I think branding was successfully achieved. I think this year’s theme gives the web designers a lot of freedom to use fonts that convey distortion, while keeping it simple and user-friendly.

“Social Media Strategy”

The “Social Media Strategy” article gives some great insight into the influence readers have on blogs and the media as a whole.

One of the facts that struck me is that Forrester’s research predicts “that within two years half of all the newspapers will have ceased production.” The journalist in me thinks is sad and refuses to acknowledge that it will become a reality. Yet, as a consumer and the audience, my trends are contributing to the depletion reading the actual newspaper. I don’t have the local newspaper deliver to my house, I read it in my Kindle. This way I not only have access to local news, I also have access to my favorite national newspapers and blogs. I am actually more willing to pay a fee to have it delivered to my Kindle than to my house: I don’t want to have a stack of papers sitting in my apartment. I think this is a reality for a lot of people. We are used to quick access to information, and relying on personal service, especially for local newspapers, is a drag. Internet is simply more reliable.

            Another thing that I thought could be important to DIN, especially for future publishing, is creating conversations, creating buzz. I remember when Twitter began to take force as a social network; it dictates the future of movies. People twitted on what they thought and that would influence if people went to see it or not. As far as DIN, I think that with content and social media, we can create conversations that could hopefully extend to next year’s edition. This also relates to what the article outlines on influence. It states that “those who can cause others to take action, change perception and/or behavior,” are truly influential online. I understand that DIN is not the type of magazine that necessarily cause change of behavior, but I do think that it could be a magazine that can spark conversations about art and writing, such as the ones we have had in class. Our audience are writers, students, professors and their family members, so DIN’s reading community could spread the conversation, and the magazine’s potential to reach people is huge.

Facebook as storytelling

I am fascinated by Facebook and the sharing of information, from engagements, birthdays, heartbreaks, what people are reading, eating and where they are travelling.

There are million pieces of stories that can be put together from posts.

The everyday things and how people respond is fascinating, and Facebook gives us a very public, yet very private space to share and vent and shout about anything. And, anything can be turned into a story.

I am actually doing a character study based on a friend and her posts. I have altered her life situation, but it is fun.

It is interesting to see, for example, how some of my high school friends' lives have progressed, and if they have or have not done what they dreamed of in high school. It is a little window into very personal stories. Also, there is a sharing of feelings that keeps everyone in your list of contacts connected. You can share or like their posts, and if you get tired of them, well, you can defriend them. There is always new and exciting information flowing every single second. It is passing along your everyday stories and sharing them with friends and family and you get to experience theirs in a very vicarious and unique way.

It is a new way of passing along our stories and feeling like you are leaving a little mark when people respond and the conversation expands and influences more than you thought it would.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Future of Publishing. Should I Have Written That Backwards?

I came across another cool video about publishing. It was created by a UK-based publisher for an intracompany sales conference, but, as all things interesting do, it went viral. It speaks for itself, so I'll just say to be sure to watch it the whole way it through.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Response - Nike

In “Rhetoric of Branding”, Nike’s clever branding is analyzed piece by piece. I think that as we are about to publish an online magazine, we can learn a lot from Nike’s approach. When designing an online environment, we have to think about the reader as well as the writers/photographers etc. who we choose to publish, as well as find solutions that we as a team feel comfortable with. Yes, not an easy task. But in this analysis of the branding of Nike, several clever and usable ideas are presented.

Firstly, Nike’s logo is brilliant. Why wouldn’t we come up with a logo too? The logo, with or without the word “Din”, could be repeated on all of the pages, sort of keeping it together and this way we could brand us as an online magazine as well.  Nike has found a logo that “rhetorically represents success and visually ties into the ancient gods of sport explains its success as a successful, simple and recognizable trademark. This clear logo is a perfect example of mixing rhetorical semiotics (recognizable links to wings of gods and the check of a job well-done) and simplicity (the logo is one swift brush stroke) to create a rhetorically strong brand basis.” Indeed, we rarely think about ancient gods when we see Nike’s logo, but it’s all there. There is really something clever in that logo in my opinion. I would say that many people are not even familiar with this reference to Greek god’s but nevertheless, the logo still conveys a certain message of success and victory with its shape: far from clumsy, awkward or difficult, full of energy, velocity and power. To me, Nike’s logo is a Jedi mind trick. And the logo combined with the message “Just Do It”, is a very effective image in our eyes. As it is said in the article, the actual message behind the words is a lot more: “don’t think, don’t ask, don’t talk about it, don't regret it, just do it!” That’s a whole lot of meaning from three words. Could we use the word distortion as a “slogan” like this, as someone pointed out, “Din” can be drawn out of it: DistortIoN?

Nike is also trying to reach women through the “Real Women” campaign, which I also liked very much: the colors, layouts, design. I would say that women could relate to that. With “Din”, the lesson learned would be aspiring to layout and design that would appeal to both men and women. Not too girly but not too plain or high-tech or whatever men prefer (Call of Duty/Terminator etc...).

Finally, the most important point in my opinion: simplicity. Nobody wants to be lost in an internet page. Clear navigation, colors that are repeated (or that are logical in some other way), finding “a sense of cohesion where everything relates and everything flows together”. It is also said that “the site attempts to tell a story about the different aspects of this brand, essentially saying that there is something for everyone”, which is something important too: it needs to be approachable and reader-friendly: who would like to read something that is too difficult to reach? From the features that do not work on Nike’s website, jargon and occasional difficulty in navigating the site was one point made. Simplicity is the key when dealing with these problems too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Death of Fiction? - How about Rebirth instead?

As I was sick last week, I was scrolling through a double load of readings this week. And I ended up being the most intrigued about Ted Genoways's article just as most of the others as well.

I liked Genoways's writing, I found it extremely hilarious and deliciously sarcastic. The tone seemed refreshingly un-American to me. Yes, I get chills from overly positive and praising writing style that the Americans seem to be so fond of. It makes me roll my eyes every time. Sorry. Genoways's dry style made me giggle to myself several times.

I agree with Genoways view on literary publications struggling to find funding and becoming extinct one after another. A few years ago when I begun my blossoming university career, I had never ever heard of literary publications. I would say it is because they are not necessarily "out there". They are not sitting on the bookshelves at bookstores under a big sign saying "NEW". To me, they are found through exhausting search engines accessed through the university web pages. Sometimes you get lucky and find something interesting. Mostly you just find yourself staring at unbelievably-hard-to-read articles that cease to grasp your interest. Your eyes feel tired after ten seconds and you start to feel sleepy. Yes, literary articles are for homework and essays. Boring. Who would want to edit stuff that makes the reader fight agaist falling asleep?

As Genoways states in his articles, the future seems glum for printed press. True. But change is not always a bad thing. Wouldn't you rather drive a new convertible with all the latest gimmicks and technology, than an age-old Volkswagen that should be in the museum and steer clear of the highways? As society changes, we will adapt to changes, some do it very fluently, some with less grace, but most of us will get there eventually. Therefore, also the printing press needs to adapt to the need of these modern times. I used to read the Sunday paper. Nowadays I read every day rather than only on Sundays. But my reading experience takes place online. I enjoy well-designed web pages and it does not take any value away from my experience. It's just a different way of consuming the words. And who knows, when we get fed up with all the gadgets and the endless firework of technology, we might go retro and march to the bookstore.