If you’re a fan of all things writing, then Fourth Genre’s new podcast series “Off the Page” is for you. Each episode highlights a different author published in Fourth Genre, discussing their work and covering various issues in the realm of nonfiction as well as their writing process, the editing process, and, of course, what animal they would most like to be.
So far, “Off the Page” focuses on authors the Fourth Genre editorial staff met at the annual Associated Writers and Writing Program conference when they traveled to Boston earlier this year. In the first episode, Eric Walters talks with Daisy Hernandez, the author of “Before Love, Memory” which received a Notable Mention in Best American Essays 2013. In the second episode, Brenda Miller is interviewed about her various published pieces, especially the most recent of her Fourth Genre pieces, “How to Get Ready for Bed”. With only two episodes so far, catching up is simple! Don’t miss any more episodes; check out “Off the Page” here.
As the literary world moves closer and closer to a wholly digital reading experience, new reading devices seem to crop up every day. As delightful and convenient as ebooks can be, it’s frustrating when you can’t find the right format for a book that you want to read. Bookbub can help with that. By signing up with your email, you can receive daily offers on free or discounted ebooks. The website supports numerous digital platforms including, but not limited to: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Google Play Books. They provide links to download the book of your choice for your preferred ereader. Learn more about Bookbub at Lifehacker. Happy Reading!
If you’re like me, Thanksgiving is a time to gather around family and eat delicious food. However, as you grow older, the preparation for this holiday rests on your shoulders. You start to be responsible for a pie or two, then the stuffing and mashed potatoes, and then before you know it, you’re elbow deep in the turkey wondering how this became your job. Fear not! Lifehacker has tips on how to prepare for Thanksgiving ahead of time to avoid any disasters that might occur.
You’ve noticed it. It’s hard not to. They’re everywhere. The more you read, the more you see – the extra u’s. You may have seen them in words such as colour, humour or behaviour. The truth is this: a long time ago Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster argued over spelling. Yes, yes, Noah Webster was the Webster of Webster’s Dictionary; however, he was the one that wanted to keep the extra u’s in words such as favour and honour! Benjamin Franklin was actually the one that proposed the u’s be dropped. Webster basically scoffed and said we must “speak our language with propriety and elegance as we have it”, or whatever. Franklin laughed, published his ideas, ordered a custom type font and continued to be brilliant.
Thankfully, by 1789, Webster saw the light and changed his mind about the new spellings and by the time he published his first dictionary in 1806, he had dropped the extra u’s altogether. I, for one, am glad Franklin was around to talk some sense into Webster. Or else I would labour over my endeavours rigourously without humour or flavour. And we wouldn’t want that. Be sure to check out the list of weirdly spelled British words on Daily Writing Tips!
If you’re looking for the trip of a lifetime, this study abroad is for you. Professors Jeff Grabill and Liza Potts are heading two programs in London and Paris next summer and the study abroad sounds like a truly unforgettable trip.
Explore the streets of London and take a stroll through the museums of Paris. Work with professionals at esteemed companies and produce writing for the public. Express your condolences at the tunnel where Princess Diana died and visit the resting places of James Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Search for the infamous TARDIS from Doctor Who and take your turn at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross. Attach your love lock to the bridge at Pont de l’Archevêché or check out the Sherlock Holmes museum. Delve into the heart and culture of London and Paris and discover yourself.
Sounds good, right? Now, the programs will overlap for two weeks in London, but don’t panic, students can go on either trip or both without complication.
urban // rhetoric // cosmopolitan // learning
London: Designing Communication Experiences is the program led by Grabill (with one course team-taught with Liza Potts). The program will be a total of 5 weeks starting June 9 and ending July 11 of summer 2014. The focus of this program centers around “designing communication experiences” and it ties in really well with Potts’ program of participation in terms of communication experiences. Students will be asked to think about Professional Writing as “the creation of experiences for people.” To create an experience requires creativity, design thinking, and rhetorical theory and can be applied to writing practices such as computer interfaces, document and book design, and storytelling. Students will be enrolled in WRA 308: Invention in Writing (3 credits) where they will think about creativity, experience, and design. The other course is WRA 330: Writing Research in Communities (3 credits, this is where Potts’ program overlaps), which involves learning how to research how writing works in public spaces.
“I worry students have an overly narrow understanding of what they can do with our degree,” Grabill said. Through this program, he hopes to expand the career possibilities for students and really challenge them academically and personally. The students are going to be doing a lot of identity work, asking the big questions like “Who am I?”, “What can I do?”, “What is my place in this world?”, and “How can this major and this university help me get to where I want to be in the future?” Grabill wants to use this study abroad to help students achieve and experience things that they can’t on MSU’s campus.
Grabill contacted several companies and organizations in London to provide students on this study abroad with various learning and internship opportunities. He mentioned Avanade, “a joint-venture of Accenture and Microsoft”, which provides business technology services, and Tobias & Tobias, a user experience company that design various multimedia software and applications for organizations. Among many other groups, he talked briefly about Guerilla Science, a group that performs pop-up science events all over London with the goal to educate and engage the general public in basic chemistry and physics. Students are encouraged to get involved, as these learning opportunities are an integral part of the study abroad experience as a whole.
Grabill also explained that not only is this study abroad the least expensive London-based Study Abroad offered next year, but it will provide a sneak preview of what faculty are imagining future courses will look like for Professional Writing.
digital // memory // participation // fans
Writing on the bridge above the tunnel where Princess Diana died in Paris
Creativity and Innovation for Participatory Memory Across London and Paris is Potts’ program, a 4-week trip next summer starting in London on June 25 and ending in Paris on July 25. This program will focus primarily on Potts’ research in Participatory Memory: how do people participate in everyday memory making? How do they turn public spaces into memory making stations? How do we help the memories live on even after they’re torn down?
Students will delve into these questions by exploring physical memory spaces such as the previously mentioned tunnel where Princess Diana died, cemeteries where literary and musical icons are buried, and fan favorite spots for the Potterheads, Whovians, and Sherlockians. Since Potts has many strong contacts and connections to museums in London, there will also be evaluations of museum experiences such as how they incorporate participation and communication into a visit. By being in these places, students can discuss methods to save and digitize those moments and participate in memory capture.
Potts will be teaching WRA 330: Writing Research in Communities and Cultures (3 credits) at this point in the study abroad and it will address rhetorical and creativity theory as well as design thinking. The second course will be WRA 499: Participatory Memory Research, which will aim to digitally publicize the participation of memory.
Professional Writing majors possess a broad range of important skill sets that will help them thrive on this study abroad. In this regard, Potts’ said, “Our foundation in rhetoric as writers, we have an understanding of persuasion and audience and appropriateness and delivery. We have sort of this obsession with the context in which you write and create experiences, the content you create and the form that it takes.” This will be especially important on this study abroad with the combination of technology and public writing in the documentation of participatory memory.
It’s never too early to think about your plans for summer 2014!
Source: The Verge
The rumors of a smartwatch from Google might not be rumors anymore. An anonymous source from The Wall Street Journal said that the watch could be “ready within months” and will likely “be able to communicate with other devices such as a smartphone.” Although this new smartwatch is said to run Android, I hope it won’t be like the disappointing Samsung Galaxy Gear, which users reported had a poor battery life, substandard performance, and an incompatibility with non-Samsung devices.
The Google smartwatch will focus on the functions of the Google Now personal assistant, which allows quick updates at-a-glance. Such information would include weather updates, travel alerts, and news tailored to you from your email, Internet browsing history, and location. It all sounds great now, but I wonder if Google will address the problems Android had with its smartwatch or push the promotion of its watch in favor of releasing a new product sooner. Regardless, this technology could be less than a year away – are you ready for the smartwatch? Read more about this intriguing technology on The Verge.
Nothing could be more relevant to my inescapable future than my soul crushing anxiety about getting a job after graduation. It’s not a secret that college graduates today are facing one of the harshest job economies the US has seen in decades. Chegg, the well-known textbook rental company, organized a survey that compared how prepared students believed they were for the workplace versus how prepared hiring managers thought they were. They found that there was “a gap between the skills hiring managers reported seeing in recent graduates and the skills the students perceive themselves as having mastered.” This is quite a disturbing void. The survey covered skills such as compelling, concise slide presentations, organization, prioritizing work, summarizing data, public speaking, managing a meeting, creating a budget, and communicating clearly among many others.
In every category, there was at least a 10% difference between the student’s and hiring manager’s assessments of a student’s skills. My first reaction is to disregard these findings and reassure myself that I could survive and thrive in a workplace. However, that probably just means that I’ve lumped myself with every other like-minded, hopeful college student. But what are we supposed to do? Back down from challenging situations? Not apply for jobs because we might not be fully qualified? No. The most important point to take away from this study is that college students today don’t give up. We work hard because that’s the kind of environment we were faced with in school; it’s the kind of world we’re going to have to face outside of college too. However, there’s only so much us students can learn in college. Hands-on, interactive learning is invaluable. So, yes, maybe those students weren’t really prepared for those jobs, but they strived to excel and who’s to say they weren’t willing and ready to learn? Read the full study here and Gawker’s summary here.
Have you ever wondered why things on Buzzfeed spread so quickly among your friends? It might be because Michigan’s most popular online media resource for news is Buzzfeed. For newspapers, USA Today wins over Michigan residents at #1. For television, the most watched is ABC News and Wired is the first for magazines in Michigan. These statistics all come from Bit.ly’s Real-time Media Map, an interactive map of the US that shows the most preferred media outlets by state. The media categories include television and radio, newspapers, magazines, and online resources. You can toggle to see real-time use of the different media or see the winners in each category for every state. Play with the map here and read more about this Bit.ly feature on Neatorama.