Last but not least...Blog Portfolio 4

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As we wrap up the semester, it's time for my final portfolio. We've been focusing on creating functional websites this last quarter, and I've learned a lot. There's so much more that goes into a successful website than I realized!! My Site Map kicked off the process as I learned how to plan out a website. It was similar to planning an essay, but a lot more informal. Then, we started getting into the basics of site creation and I learned to make links the same as the titles of their correlating pages. That way, visitors know exactly what they will find when they click on a particular link. In my tweet about this particular aspect, we used Shel Silverstein's website as an example because his site was still fun and kid-friendly, but followed this link rule. Kompozer turned out to be a great tool for creating websites, but I had some major issues with color which I made sure to warn my classmates of when I tweeted. In the end, I came up with a fairly simple site that accomplished a lot.

Interaction

I was surprised by the comments that my Site Map received, but it helped to know what message I was conveying. I also talked with Erin about my frustrations in History Does Repeat Itself.

Depth

My entries Shut Down and A Final Farewell could be considered entries with a little more depth.

Discussion

I talked with Kaitlin on her entry I've been there! about feeling connected with media because you have been to certain places. I also commented on Kelly's blog about favorite Christmas presents and where we see ourselves in the future.

Outside Material

In my post about the softball team being shut down, I included a link to some of the NCAA's rules. I also referenced a few of my classmates' blogs in A Final Farewell.

Ethos

I think I established my ethos as a writer in my entries about history repeating itself and my final entry for the semester.

Convention

Creative titles: History Does Repeat Itself, A Final Farewell, Shut Down

Paragraphing comes in handy with longer entries: Shut Down, A Final Farewell

A Final Farewell

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We've finally reached the end (of the semester anyway), and my blog will most likely go untouched for at least a month or two as we all return home for Christmas break and some time off from school. So for my final farewell, I thought I would reminisce a little bit about the best and the worst of this semester's blogging.

For classes before, my blogging has been strictly academic. Mostly I responded to pieces of literature or discussed journalistic issues. With this Writing for the Internet class, however, we had the opportunity to write about whatever we wanted: a suprisingly new concept for some of us. I thought it was great to be able to choose our topic, and it allowed me to enjoy the blogging just a little bit more than before.

I think some people blog for other people. They want to hear other people's thoughts and want that input or feedback. They want their work to be seen and read by as many people as possible. With this assignment, because we were allowed to personalize it, I think I ended up using it more for myself than for others. I found it to be a great venue to tell the story of our team as we went through countless changes. Whether I was ranting, venting, or praising, I didn't care. It was just good to get our story out there along with my frustrations as well as my satisfactions.

As far as what I learned this semester, I've come to the conclusion that there is no right way to blog and that it is what you make of it. Just looking at the list of blogs created by my fellow classmates, it's fascinating to see the different topics that we all came up with. There's Kaitlin, who blogged about anything and everything that struck her as interesting. There's Kelly, who got us thinking about the meaning of pictures and what they can tell us about people. There's Kiley, who showed us her passion for Pittsburgh Penguin hockey. There's Guy, who chose to share with us personal stories about a friend who taught him many things about life. The list goes on and on. Each blog is unique in its own way, and I'm sure each person took something different away from their experience as well.

It doesn't necessarily matter how many people follow your blog or how many comments you get. It matters that you are getting something out of the experience, be it small or something bigger.

So I guess I will end by asking my fellow el236ers, what will you take away from this nonconventional blogging experience?

History Does Repeat Itself

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As I have mentioned in previous entries, last years softball season was nowhere near where it should've been. Most of us spent more time being miserable than we did enjoying ourselves. The incompetency of our former coach completely ruined our 2010 season, which I believe is a shame.

And here, many months later, we find ourselves in a similar position, as we dread our season before it has even begun.

We cannot understand how we came to be in this place and state of mind again after such promising progress this fall. It's so frustrating to be let down again and again. We're tired of not getting the respect that we deserve and being treated like children. We were given false hope and it has pushed some girls to their wits end. They don't see the point anymore. We thought it couldn't get any worse than last year, but here we are. If we aren't going to be taken seriously, why should we take anyone else seriously?

It's a valid question don't you think?

Shut Down.

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Seton Hill Softball has been shut down.

All of our hard work may end up meaning nothing as the NCAA has laid down their punishment.

 

I understand that you all may not be aware of the NCAA rules for softball teams in Division II, but they are pretty straightforward and strict. For the conditioning part of the fall and winter seasons, which we are in right now, each college softball team is permitted to practice as a team for 8 hours every week. As for the specifics, I am not sure. Because there are certain allotted hours for individual instruction and team instruction that I have been unable to find in a document somewhere. What I am sure of, however, is that our team went over hours. For several weeks, we were over by more than an hour, which according the NCAA apparently is unacceptable.

And so now, we are not allowed to practice as a team, at all, ever, for the remainder of the semester (as of Friday, November 19th). Our other more impactful punishment is the NCAA's right to make us forfeit up to 5 games for our spring season and we could be potentially unable to attend the Conference Tournament (our playoffs). Basically, our season could potentially be meaningless.

Some say it's the players fault for not bringing the issue to the coach's attention. Others blame the coaches who should be aware of the rules and regulations of the sport that they are coaching. But who to blame should be the least of our worries at this point in time. We are in serious trouble right now and in jeopardy of losing a season that we have worked so hard for. So there are two outcomes that we could have in the next few months:

1. We could give up. We could find out that whether we win or lose, a championship season is not going to be allowed and figure "What's the point?" Our seniors could quit, based on the opinion that they might as well enjoy their final year instead of working for an impossible goal.

2. We could fight. We could take our punishment in stride and work twice as hard on our own as we would've with the team. We could say that whether we go to the Conference Tournament or not, we're going to play like we know how and prevent other teams from moving onto the tournament by winning everything we can.

I know that there will be a few girls from our team who choose option 1. I can't blame them, it's the easiest and most sensible way to respond. But I would hope that the majority of us would choose option 2. It doesn't matter what our coaches think, or what the NCAA thinks, we can only control ourselves. I don't know about the rest of my team, but I'm not ready to give up on the game that I have been playing for so many years.

 

P.S.-Check out some of the NCAA bylaws in the document below.

2004-2005NCAABYLAW17GeneralRules.doc

My Site Map

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I was actually fairly happy with the simple website that I created for step one of our Web Portfolio project, but I know I can make it even better with the use of KompoZer. It will also be a lot easier!

Home Page

-a welcome/introduction/why I made this site

-links, links, and more links!

   -blog

   -Twitter

   -teaching page

   -journalism page

   -softball page

   -contact page

Teaching Page

   -sample lesson plans

   -sample activities created for lesson plans

   -philosophy of education statement

Journalism Page

   -sample articles

   -sample photographs taken

Softball Page

   -photographs of me playing

   -introduction including my experience as far as playing and coaching

   -statistics from previous years?

Contact Page

   -contact information (if I don't use this page, I will put my contact information on the home page)

   -sample resume created for previous class (created as if I have already graduated from school)?

 

A little more Ethos with a pinch of HTML

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Another fourth of the semester over, and many more interesting internet techniques learned.

In this section of the course, we began by developing our Multimedia Stories, where I learned how to convey ethos and emotion in 60 seconds through pictures and video.  It was somewhat difficult to achieve our purpose, but I think we were successful in the end. One of the biggest struggles I think was the unavailability of a MacBook. The programs on my PC were faulty at times, and I think using iMovie would have taken our project to the next level, and I tweeted my frustrations. We also began working with jEdit and HTML code to create our future webpages, which is a new topic to me. I've never used HTML before, but it's straight answers and concrete distinctions are welcomed after an overload of writing this semester. I'm continuing to learn new techniques and how to blend them with ones that I already know to create something really great.

 

Interaction

One blog post in particular, concerning softball stereotypes, received a lot of discussion recently despite it being posted for my last blog portfolio. I was really happy to receive some support from Josie Rush, who is not even a member of our class. It shows that my blogs are reaching more people than before, which I am excited about. Guy and I also had a discussion about the anxiety of athletic conditioning, which was comforting.

Depth

My blog about the anxiety that surrounds a sport's conditioning coincidentally was one of my longer entries.

Discussion

I commented on Kaitlin's blog where we talked about how getting up in the wee hours of the morning has its small advantages. I also talked with April about the quality of blog writing in her post Blogging as Goal Fullfillment.

Outside Material

In my post that served as a clarification of a previous post, I linked back to the original article that I responded to, as well as the original post itself. In my response to the Multimedia Story project, I linked to Kelly's post of our project which appeared on her blog, as well as the SHU Athletics Website.

Ethos

I think that my clarifying blog post said a lot about who I am as a writer. I wanted to make a statement in response to some comments that were made on my Stereotypes post, and I felt like I showed the ideas that I really am trying to convey with my blog.

Convention

Creative Title: I'm about to hit the wall.

Blogging Etiquette: My comment in response to Jered's in my blog A Stereotype That I Just Can't Seem to Shake (I thought that I handled his criticism respectfully.)

Paragraphing: It's Conditioning Time!

More than just a Challenge

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In response to the Griffin's Challenge and a class assignment, Kelly and I created a video "advertisement" for Seton Hill Women's Athletics, accompanied by a short newspaper section about those different sports, which Kelly posted on her blog Picture of the Week.

Honestly, I thought that creating this video was going to be a pretty boring process. I like being allowed creativity in class, but creativity usually requires more time input, and this particular project seemed like more work than I was up for at the time. After its completion though, I was glad that we were asked to do it. I knew beforehand that athletics were a big part of the Seton Hill experience, but I had never really thought about what it meant to me to be a Seton Hill athlete. I've evaluated several times why I play the sport, for myself and my teammates, but until now I hadn't considered what it meant to play for Seton Hill. I've learned that it's about having pride in where you come from and being more than an athlete. Seton Hill athletes do it all. They help the community, they're good students, they're good people. We try to represent this University in the best way possible. Playing our sports is just a tiny portion of what we do everyday, and I think that is the way that it should be. In thinking about athletics, I realized that it's more than just athletics. How crazy is that?!

Hopefully you will appreciate the female athletes of SHU and all that they do day in and day out after watching our video.

 

(p.s. Of course the men of SHU are important too! Being girls though, we wanted to highlight our teams in particular. You mean just as much to Seton Hill though as we do!)

I'm about to hit the wall.

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It's Week 2 of conditioning and I'm beginning to hit that wall.

Week 1 wasn't so horrible, I made it through pretty smoothly. But now the exhaustion is starting to set in. I can feel myself slacking and not paying as much attention in class as I should be. When I should be working ahead or finishing necessary homework, I am catching up on as much sleep as possible. With a big essay due on Monday, I can't seem to find the motivation to get it done ahead of time before Sunday rolls around and I have 8 pages to write. It's all accumulating and I am about to hit that wall.

With the stress and exhaustion starting to overcome me, of course my immune system is bound to become compromised, hence why I have been coughing and hacking for the past week or so. As if my busy schedule wasn't overwhelming enough, everything is made ten times harder due to not being 100%.

I know, this sounds like I am just complaining over and over again. Which, I guess I am. But my life is controlled by softball, so in order to know about me, you have to know about this. You would have to understand that each day I spend twice as much time at practice than I do in class or doing homework. It's all that I know right now, so it makes sense to write about it, whether it bores you or not :)

And once I get through next Monday, everything will be a little bit easier, and maybe then I can find something less depressing and complaining to discuss.

Not a Reprint, a Clarification.

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After receiving several interesting responses to my blog titled A Stereotype That I Just Can't Shake, I've decided to follow up with some clarification (not for those who responded negatively, but for myself and my own beliefs).

My intention in responding to the ESPN article about Lauren Lappin was never to insult anyone or to make it seem as if my struggles were greater than anyone else's, but rather to emphasize the fact that sexual orientation does not matter when it comes to a person's character or talent. I felt as though my opinions were clear enough in my original post, however, maybe these beliefs did not come through as strong as necessary.

I do not hate anyone for the life choices that they have made. It all comes down to a person's character, not their sexual orientation. The stereotype that "haunts" softball (quoted from Graham Hays' title) is not frustrating to me because I do not want to be labeled as something that I am not. As I said previously, the softball stereotype angers me because it overshadows girls' talent when it should not even factor into the equation. I want to be known for my ability to play softball, not because I am or am not gay.

I understand that everyone struggles due to stereotypes, some more than others. To some this may not seem like an issue, but to me it is a problem near to my heart. I've dedicated my life to this sport and that should count for something.

My hope is that in the future this can be discussed maturely and openly.

It's conditioning time!

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It's that time of year.

 

Not Christmas time or leaf-raking time or pumkin-carving time or a time to visit with family.

Nope, it's conditioning time.

After a short 2-week hiatus, we're back to the grind as our 6 weeks of Hell have begun. The anticipation built as we had our two week break from anything and everything softball. We had already experienced a more intense program in the fall than before, and could not even imagine what the coaches had in store for us. Having not been told which day conditioning would start, every time we received an e-mail from anyone, my heart would drop down into my stomach as I assumed it was from Coach telling us that we were about to die. The day finally came when we received our schedule and we learned that Monday, November 1st was the day that our lives would be changed forever.

As Monday rolled around, I can speak for my whole team in saying that we were each a total ball of nerves. I think that I almost threw up several times that day at the thought of the torture that was about to ensue. We all said our goodbyes to our friends and family, who we thought that we would never see again, and met at 4 p.m.

Off to a good start, we panicked not knowing whether we were in the correct location. Conditioning was going to be painful enough, we didn't want to add to the hurt. But we ended up being in the right place, after a frantic sprint to the field house from McKenna, and it began. We started just by learning what lifting exercises we were going to be doing as the weeks went on, which calmed our nerves slightly. We had finally settled down when Coach said, "Okay, we're just going to do a short timed mile to see where we're at."

Complete silence.

I think some of us wanted to laugh. Last year, a timed mile was one of the hardest things that we were forced to do all year, and now it was seen as an easy, short run? I remember thinking we were in for a wild ride. Oh, and we weren't allowed to use iPods either. How was I supposed to run without music!? Well, we managed somehow. Although the coaches seemed to think it was a leisurely run around the track, we all sprinted and busted our butts to get the best times possible. Everyone even made a time better than last year's best! We had made it through Day 1.

After surviving Week 1 of conditioning, I have come to the conclusion that we may have overexaggerated just a little. Has it been difficult? Yes. Am I sore? Beyond sore, more like immobile. But have I died? No! I have made it through.

Of course there is always next week :)

 

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