First Year Writing Spotlight: Cultural Collaborations

Michigan State University offers many opportunities for cultural exploration and growth, but students sometimes overlook or miss these opportunities. Luckily, WRAC professor Cheryl Caesar and her teaching partner, professor Janice Stryz worked to change that. Together they led a collaborative course that paired students from WRA 1004 and WRA 150, and as Caesar explains, their goal was “to bring students of different national backgrounds together as ‘culture partners’, [giving them the opportunity] to interview each other about their cultures of origin.”

This is easier said than done at times, and there were distinct challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges was putting together the groups. “A student who tends to participate minimally, or to arrive late, must be counterbalanced with a more outgoing and punctual student, or you end up with two partners from the other class cooling their heels and wasting their time,” said Caesar.

Despite the challenges, Caesar still recommends the experience overall. “Anyone who’s thinking of a collaborative venture should give it a try. It does involve some additional planning and setup, but the new energy and ideas it brings to your classroom are worth it.”

For more information on this project, check out the PCW workshop by Caesar and Stryz in 107 Linton on February 28, 2014 at 3 PM.

Keep Your Audience Engaged and Plugged Into Your Site

When managing a website one of your objectives is to keep your audience engagement up. It is important that your audience revisits your site, remains active with links, and tells others about your page. Copyblogger offers three ways in which your web design can better connect you to your audience.

One way to interact with your audience is to dig into their emotions. Emotions have a big influence on most of our decisions. Therefore, we can’t ignore emotions when designing websites. Choosing the proper font, shape, icon, or colors can affect the way people feel about your products and services. Try giving your brand soul. For instance, if you are aiming for light-hearted and funny, consider using joyful colors, smooth shapes, funny characters, and animations. It’s important to cater to the theme of your brand. For instance, Mailchimp is one website that has the light-hearted and funny theme with an amusing cartoon chimp as the mascot, and it works.

Keep in mind that you are designing for real people; it’s okay to include emotion, and tell a story. You might be wondering, “how can I tell a story on a website”?  One way is to design a layout in which your visitors can easily explore. Let your website lead your audience on where to start and how to reach the end. It’s okay to divide your content into different sections that still connect to your overall theme or service. Dividing your site into different sections will take the burden off your audience’s eyes. Don’t be that site that bores your audience with long paragraphs of text. Include graphics and videos when possible to keep your audience engaged.

With these concepts your website will be enjoyable, clean, fun and professional, and you will definitely better connect with your audience. Keep in mind the tips suggested by Copyblogger, and brainstorm what you can do to make your site more interesting and audience friendly.

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Source: copyblogger.com

How To Stay Awake In Class

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Blah…blah…blah! You sit in lecture hall as you suddenly realize your professors’ words are becoming a blur, and you begin to doze off. WAKE UP! You don’t want to bomb the pop quiz or have a bad impression on your instructor. Staying attentive in class can be a challenge at times, but HackCollege offers a few tricks to help you stay focus, and I don’t mean the Internet. Instead, why not move to the front, second or third row. If you sit where the professor can see you, you will be more in tune and interactive. If the front seat isn’t for you, try participating more in class. Professors always remember the ones who ask questions or comment. There is nothing wrong with being the teacher’s pet, at the end of the day the grade is your goal. The next time you’re in class put these techniques into practice and you ‘ll see staying awake is no longer a challenge.

Do It Yourself Workstations

Source: www.homedit.com
Source: www.homedit.com

Are you always exhausted, feeling back pain, or tired of a stiff neck after working at your desk? Stop letting your workstation control your productivity. Most likely your workstation isn’t organized in a way that can increase production. Lifehacker offers 10 DIY office upgrades guaranteed to give you a better working experience.

For example, you can make a pretty awesome, large desk out of an old door, which you can customize to fit your room perfectly. Another tip is to avoid bad ergonomics and save a few bucks by building your own monitor stand using a wooden shelf and some doorstops or furniture legs, which is pretty cool. If your curious to see how crafty you can get, take a moment to DIY, and enjoy an incredible office that fits your personal needs and conveys your creativity.