Intro to Academic Research/Martinez
Let’s face it. I am a skeptic in all things academic, and at first, I thought it was ludicrous that Roosevelt University put CCPA students into a tech-focused writing class. At UMD, I had tested out of freshman writing and was looking forward to a nice, difficult semester of Arts and Letters writing in my junior year. When it involves intriguing subjects, I rather enjoy writing traditional papers, and I have been unpleasantly surprised at just how little I have been expected to write in college. We future degree-holders will be expected to write well in the working world, won’t we? Honestly, I don’t know, so for the semester I gave up griping and made sure that whatever writing involved in the course was done with good effort.
Over the course of the semester, I learned how to make blogs, memes, Prezis, vlogs, and multimedia presentations. I might add that in doing so, I learned to use library resources and Internet databases better to my advantage. When it comes time to present some important matter to an orchestral board of directors, at least I will have some more ideas on how to engage them!
Making and writing for the blog was enjoyable enough that I plan to continue updating it from time to time. Commenting on the course blog was not exactly my forte, but responding to assigned readings was a good exercise. Watching and writing about the Digital Age documentary was particularly fascinating. One of my favorite aspects of having a blog has been being able to subscribe to other people’s blogs. There are so many wonderful theological and musical writers out there, from Todd Wilken to Adriane Dorr Heins, from the Chicago Symphony Archives to various opera junkies.
The vlog, on the other hand, was so far out of my comfort zone that I deleted it as soon as its grading was complete. I have hardly ever used my webcam or recorded my own voice. And putting my voice and face talking about Obamacare out for the public on YouTube—not fun. It was also a stretch to talk about two sources that I did not choose myself.
Finding a user-friendly meme creation site was a bit of a challenge, but I enjoyed finding pictures that would communicate my message. I decided on a popular 6-photo meme with my own pictures and text. I don’t typically admire sarcasm, though. About the only memes I ever enjoyed were Mozart memes and the Synodocat memes which are no longer, so if I never make another one, I won’t mind. I did enjoy learning about the coining of the term “meme,” but the group discussion on society and memes was doomed to be inconclusive from the very beginning.
I still don’t have a good grasp on Prezi, so perhaps I will practice with it over Christmas break in case it becomes academically important for me. I had never even heard of the program before, so I’m not sure it will ever be a huge thing in schools. Maybe businesses use it more; I don’t know. The zooming aspect of Prezi was attractive, but the instructions for use were not quite enough.
The multimedia presentation was quite a hurdle and took many more hours than I expected. Nevertheless, I was able to choose an interesting topic, I learned important things relating to my career, and I stored in my mind some hints for the next time I put together a research project. Squeezing an issue like the Minnesota Orchestra lockout into a 5-minute documentary is impossible, and if I do anything like that in 5 minutes again, I will try to choose a subject that is more easily summarized.
The most difficult part of this course, interestingly, was trying to relate anything to social justice. Social justice is such a vague set of words, and conversations about it seem to involve mostly social buzzwords and political clichés that confuse me. So when it came time to making my projects, I decided to relate them both to children in some way. Youth is always a nice, hot topic, so I knew it would work out.
Well, hooray, it’s the end of my first semester at CCPA! I won’t have to take another writing class until graduate school, but hopefully I will be doing more writing and research next semester in my academic classes. And if anyone wants me to learn some new technological skill, it will take me awhile, but I can do it.