Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reflecting on the past 16 weeks.

Before this week I had never created a podcast before. Now, because this is a once off, I wrote and read my script and then converted the resulting file into an mp3. I then uploaded it to, and used the embed code from their site.

I have never really gotten into listening to podcasts. There are tons of great ones out there, and I have listened to a few of them here and there. As a knitter, I felt like I should really like these, but I was such a late adopter that I felt like I was on the outside, looking in on what was a new clique that I wasn't really part of. I had only one podcast I really listened to regularly, and it was a very different creature than the audio essay I created below. I used to listen to Pod Runner, which was a beats per minute, all music podcast, which was designed to help keep your pace as you ran. It was fantastic!

Works Cited
"Brian Tracy." Xplore Inc, 2014. 13 December 2014.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lessons on Conducting Analysis

Conducting analysis is an art and a science. No amount of reading about analysis really replaces the experience of conducting analysis. In this project, I needed to explore what I learned about analysis and about how I conduct research in the form of a speech. Using the speech as the communication vehicle was an exercise all its own. It gave me experience writing, and in some ways not writing, in a clear, concise way. The speech format was like Twitter. Each word counts when you are trying to make a time limit. This is a great practice for giving a speech in the Ignite format.

Works Cited
Phelps, Shelbie. Personal Interview. 2 Nov. 2014.
Sommer, Robert and Barbara Sommer. “Social Facilitation Effects in Coffeehouses.” Environment and Behavior 21.6 (1989): 651-666. Sage Social Science Collections. Web. 22 Oct 2014.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Personal Observation, Analysis and the Research Paper

When I first read the general instructions for the analysis essay I will admit that I felt a bit of trepidation. The project felt too open ended, and I really didn't have the foggiest idea of where to start. However, like watching the plot of a movie unfold, the exercises we did as we started the project made it easier to find direction.

I have loved coffee since I went to Klekolo in college during a trip to Middletown, Connecticut. I had a drink called the Mardi Gras, a gateway drug of sweetened espresso beverage. I had gone to Coffee Times in Lexington once, and my friend's drink, Campfire Cocoa, had made a bit of an impression. We were supposed to choose a relatively small space, and while Coffee Times is technically only two rooms, the place is huge. It definitely was a bigger task to observe and write about this place than I initially thought.

If you have the opportunity to go to Coffee Times, I recommend going to find a seat near the back. You might feel like you are too close to the restrooms, but you will be next to the large glass window that looks over their coffee roasting area. It is a unique view that isn't common to the rest of the coffee shops in the area.

Note: Robert and Barbara Sommer's work on social facilitation is available to read via UKY library site with a student ID. The full citation information can be found via the linked page or the Works Cited linked below.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Value of [Foreign] Words: An Exercise in Personal Narrative

The art of the personal narrative was something we explored in our first project. We did brainstorming, wrote segments, and did peer reviewing on our route to a competent story. In this we were explorers, some of us more than others. I am nearly 40 years old, so my narrative essay about my pathway to learning foreign languages and making them part of my life was a bit more like delving into the past. I wish I had treated my writing in high school more like Samuel Pepys, and written about this journey as it was happening. Instead my daily writings were full of my typical teenage angst and only the most tangential comments.

Of course, this essay wasn't just supposed to be an exercise in writing about a choice. We were also supposed to write in a way to make that choice applicable for other people. I will let you be the judge of how well I succeeded in making studying foreign languages interesting and valuable to you.

“Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why a blog?

I have been writing blogs since 2004, when I started my first knitting blog. My writing has changed since then, and I have participated in a few other blogs over the past 10 years. Each forum has its own challenges and opportunities. Sentaku ni is a blog about communication, the overarching theme of WRD 110 at the University of Kentucky. In this course, I am exploring the elements of rhetoric, analyzing both myself and my audiences in order to craft messages for the various constituencies I write for.

As a non-traditional student, writing is part of my daily life. I work in a corporate law firm. In that capacity I write informative emails, documentation, and occasional presentations to various members of the firm. That writing takes skill, but it isn’t the same as writing a research paper or a narrative essay. As such, this course is a useful exercise in learning to write in a more educated way.

The first step in writing well for me has always been constant practice. This course has a number of skills exercises – short writing assignments of 100 to 300 words – that provide an avenue to that practice. It removes the self-discipline that makes improving my writing so difficult on my own. In high school I had an experience that was similar. I had these large blank books: Write in Here. I was required to fill up one of these blank books each term, but my teacher did not care what I wrote inside. If I had a lot of space left the temptation was always to write angry song lyrics instead of practicing my writing.

Our short assignments are that book without the temptation to fill it with teenage angst. The core assignments are proof that the small assignments are working. I hope that they are interesting to someone other than me.