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Behance: A Creative Portfolio Site

by | Posted May 12th, 2014

Behance.net

“Take creative control,” says the About page on Behance.net. There is a disconnect between creative individuals and the employers that seek their talent. Part of the Adobe family, Behance is an innovative site utilized by creative professionals that aims to not only help construct their portfolios, but also to showcase their work for employers. When the site formed in 2006, their goal was to create a platform that doesn’t mask talent or hinder opportunity but that connects companies and creative minds globally. The site is also connected to other online gallery websites so that portfolios reach the widest audience possible. If you’re a budding designer or looking to hire one, make sure to check out Behance. Don’t let bureaucracy keep you from your creative potential.

Also, if you’re a graduating this year, there’s a six-month paid internship position available with the Behance team in New York. Check out the details here.

10 Free Infographic Tools

by | Posted May 9th, 2014

Source: Creative Bloq

Source: Creative Bloq

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage have premade templates, themes, and icons to choose from. If you’re looking to share and connect with other designers, Visual.ly would be your best bet. If you’re a Windows user, Get About allows you to track and record social media activity and creates infographics with the results. From visualize.me’s revolutionary infographic resumes to Piktochart’s easily customizable infographic templates, there’s a free alternative for any infographic project you can dream up. Explore your options at Creative Bloq.

The Shame Tree Dead: Life as a Literacy

by | Posted May 7th, 2014

Never would have made it
Never could have made it without You
I would have lost it all
But now I see how You were there for me
 
And I can say
Never would have made it
Never could have made it
Without You

The crowd is silent. The only sound is her voice belting these words, her hand tapping against her hip, the sounds of affirmation, “Yes! Amen! Mmhmm,” from the crowd. Elaine Richardson’s rendition of Marvin Sapp’s inspirational gospel song “Never Would Have Made It” makes us all witnessing her performance reflect on those raw moments where only grace could comfort our deepest shame, and only love could begin to ease our pains. Both her performance and the words of her fellow presenter, Rhonda DeShields, reinforce the power of stories, particularly their ability to heal, inspire, and teach.

In their 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) session titled “The Shame Tree Dead” both Richardson and DeShields demonstrated how their experiences—both from books and on blocks—from pimps and professors—through graduate degrees and drugs addictions—contributed to their current understanding of the meanings of literacy.  Richardson specifically brought up the concept of shame, and how many stories—particularly those stories that point to low or failure moments—are often cloaked in feelings of worthlessness, inferiority, and exposure. While listening to DeShields talk about the tension between her and her father, which was a catalyst for her struggles with alcoholism, and Richardson share an excerpt from her book, PHD to PhD, about leaving the streets of prostitution to return to school at Cleveland State, I reflect on my own stories of shame—struggles with anxiety and depression—and how they have contributed to my own knowledge and learning experiences. Although stories of shame can be hard to face, what these speakers taught was that moments of shame don’t have to be debilitating; treating these truths as vital contributors to our life literacies can help us ‘kill shame dead’, while providing ourselves tools (new literacies) for coping with the stigmas, pressures, and “cockeyes” fixed on our pasts.

I’m stronger
I’m wiser
I’m better, much better

For those who were unable to attend this emotional and empowering session, I would say that these women bridged worlds, emphasizing the overlap of writing classrooms and street corners, #2 pencils and daisy dukes, literacy and survival. Perhaps this session could be a valuable reference when thinking about our own teaching philosophies and understandings of literacy, particularly how these scholars used their stories to embody what it means to “value outside knowledge/the knowledge students bring with them,” as opposed to simply talking about it. This session reminded me that life is composed of literacies that cannot be confined to words, books, or these academic walls.

I made it.

 

Ronisha Browdy is a WRAC PhD student interested in the literacy, rhetorical, and everyday practices of Black women. Through a womanist lens, she approach her work as an opportunity to explore, discover, and share stories about  (and for) Black women’s experiences. Her current work focuses on Black female centered reality TV and its use by and influences on Black women viewers. Follow her on Twitter_ @RonishaBrowdy

John Monberg wins CAL Alumni Award for Innovation and Leadership in Teaching and Learning

by | Posted May 5th, 2014

John Monberg

Photo by G.L. Kohuth from MSU Today

We would like to formally congratulate WRAC’s very own, John Monberg, for winning the College of Arts & Letters Alumni Award for Innovation and Leadership in Teaching and Learning! Monberg is an Assistant Professor in the WRAC Department who has shown tremendous innovation inside and outside the classroom.

“I’ve worked hard to identify activities that both enrich the educational experiences for students and help to create enduring resources for communities,” Monberg says. “When the complex details of a real community are brought together with the wide variety of skills that students bring in terms of visual design, user experience, video production and writing for specialized audiences, wonderful things happen.”

Jeff Grabill, Chair of the WRAC Department and Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing, expresses the challenges of rhetorical education, “How [do we] provide students with compelling ways to learn how to participate as public citizens?” However, Grabill says that Monberg has tackled this question quite well. “He thinks carefully and deeply about the new resources and infrastructures needed for us all to meet the challenges of participating as citizens in a complex, global world.”

Monberg is enthusiastic about the department’s commitment to joining together teaching, technology, and community. “This commitment allows us to understand some of most significant questions our society faces as our world is transformed by changes in technology and culture.”

In regards to Monberg’s leadership in the education world, Grabill says, “I have never seen a colleague engage in such a sustained project of innovative teaching and learning, and it has pleased me a great deal to see the attention his work has received from the larger university community in addition to the accolades from the greater Lansing community.”

Bad Science

by | Posted May 3rd, 2014

“Studies suggest that literally everything causes cancer”

“Are bagels killing your kids?”

“Brain scans reveal that tiny demons are to blame for ADHD”

Everyone wants to write a good headline. A catchy headline drives clicks, ad views, and thus revenue and recognition for the writer. And nothing catches the eye like a well placed scare tactic or hyperbolic generalization. But when it comes to science journalism, misleading writing can be more than a faux-pas; it can be downright dangerous. Miscommunications can propagate quickly, and it can be hard to bring people back around once they get an idea stuck in their head.

Journalists face a tough situation. As a non-expert, it can be hard to accurately understand what is happening in a scientific study. On top of that, results that sound promising at first can turn out to be rather unsensational when studied with a fair, rational eye. But writers have a responsibility to convey this information with accuracy and as little bias as possible. For this, compoundchem.com has created an infographic outlining some of the pitfalls commonly seen in science writing. It’s a great resource for both science writers and science readers alike. Some of these pitfalls are already well-known even among laymen, like the correlation/causation trap, but even if everyone knows of the pirates/global warming fable, it is an easy trap to fall into. Others are more obscure, or harder to avoid when reading casually – how can you tell if results are misinterpreted? Where do you look to find information about sample size? Nonetheless, it’s a writers job to find this information and relay it to the best of their ability.

While you can’t change the way we write and read about science single handedly, just changing your own habits can be a great first step. As a reader, try and keep a healthy balance of skepticism and curiosity, and try to check original sources when possible. As a writer, make sure you follow through on research and value accuracy the same way you value every other part of your writing process. Conscientious readers and writers make the world a better, more informed place.

Marina Keegan’s “The Opposite of Loneliness”

by | Posted April 30th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACarl Sagan asserts that books are proof that humans can work magic. It is with this concept in mind that the story of Marina Keegan makes the most sense.

Marina was a 22 year old writer and a Yale graduate when her essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness”, was published in a special edition of the Yale Daily News. Today, “The Opposite of Loneliness” has been viewed over 1.4 million times at the Yale Daily News website. Her book, which came out this week, is published under the very same title.

Unfortunately, she will never get a chance to hold this book with her name on the spine – she died in a car crash in May, 2012. The book is a posthumous collection of her essays, short stories, and other non-fiction works. Her words live on, breaking the shackles of time, carrying her voice forward, and reminding us (as she writes in one of her poems) that “everything is so beautiful and so short”.

You can read her original essay, her book, or this moving article by her friend to find out more.

The Gap: Developing Taste into Skill

by | Posted April 28th, 2014

Ira Glass’ advice on creative work has been gaining momentum for months, but even if you’ve read or heard the advice before, these two gorgeous typographical videos are worth a look.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

One of the most resonant things that Glass addresses is “The Gap”. Creators usually get into their craft with a sense of taste, and a desire to be great. But beginners often forget that taste does not translate to skill right off the bat. There’s going to be a period of time, quite possibly a very long period of time, where the work does not live up to the level that your taste would dictate. It’s going to fall short.

Luckily, there’s a solution.

Unluckily, it’s a solution we’ve all heard before. It’s a solution that we avoid, because it sounds like too much work.

The solution, of course, IS work. Work hard, work often, and work until the gap looks a little less intimidating. And in the meantime, remember the gap, and don’t let it scare you into giving up.

Accepted an Internship: Here are the Do’s & Don’ts

by | Posted April 25th, 2014

You open your email and the first thing you see is, “congrats on landing the internship.” You jump for joy and began to prepare for an amazing summer with your dream company.

Many questions and awkward moments will come up, how you find answers and deal with these moments are critical. Hercampus.com suggests “8 things to do after accepting an Internship.” Start of by reaching out to the company online networks, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you haven’t done so. Also, reach out to current or former interns; they will be able to answer any questions about the position. Most importantly don’t procrastinate about making plans or responding.

Follow these tips and you’ll start your new internship with confidence!