Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Comm 226: Blogging and Contemporary Connections

Dear Class, one of the things that this blogging should be about is making the things in class more relevant to your life. As we are in the middle of the 6th week I will need more participation on your part to make this class energetic and blogging is one way to do that. There were a number of really smart posts that connected issues of brand loyalty to discussions made in class last week by Dan on the NHL lockout and another Brand Loyalty and one's Jeans by Erin. Another was on how ads often have to take on Nationalist airs in order to reach its audience and Derek makes this point on Canadian Advertising. That reminds me of one of my favorite ads of all time, this ad for Molson beer about being Canadian (quicktime). Really wonderful stuff about Canadian culture. Anyways, notice, that and each of these posts and others like them that have taken soemthing discussed in class or the readings and made it relevant. That's a big positive and it will help better get the main ideas in the class. It will also help your peers.

As you blog think of this as the opportunity to make contemporary connections. This class deals with the past, but it is a very relevant and pertinent past, one that is little over 140 years. That isn't much time and we are still dealing with many of the issues and concepts. Technologies and standardization, PR and advertising are all issues that you must deal with each day of your life, even if you do not necessarily think about it.

On Friday I think I am going to show you a film about needing to control information in a time of chaos where the stakes are high. It is titled Control Room and is about how the allies CentCom worked to put out their story and Al Jazeera is putting out another. I will show the first 55 minutes or so and will give you a writing exercise to turn in later. We will relate this back to PR, so please finish the first four chapters by Friday.

Take care and see you later!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Comm 226: Quizzes for Study

Class, I promised you the quizzes and here is a copy of the fourth quiz and the fifth quiz. I hope that you can find some time to help each other through discussion and study groups and look forward to seeing you next week Monday for your exam. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Comm 200: Quantitative Keyterms

Dear Class,

Up until now you have done the readings and taken notes without keyterms. I don't believe in giving keyterms until after people read and listen since they are often mistaken for "the only terms you should look out for". Still, I expect you to be able to learn the vocabularly and given that there is quite a bit in the book, I would like you to begin to think of your projects with certain terms in mind. I have made a list of keyterms, terms that you should have an understanding of in both definition and how to use them in a proposal, in a word doc that is available here. I will add some more terms later and let you know when I have updated it, but I think that this is a good time for you to begin to test yourself and your peers. Remembers use this language and you should be able to use it if you want to communicate as a researcher in any field. And the only way to learn a language is practice, practice, practice. Use these terms in your blog, when discussing your survey, etc. It will take some time but they will stick if you practice!

Comm 200 and 226: More on blogging.

Dear class members,

Many of you are reporting that you are running into bugs with blogger. All I can say is that if you cannot post, give it some time an make certain to cut and paste your code into a word or text doc and try later. Blogger has bugs and it jams up. I wish I could do something about itr, but I can't. That's the sad truth.

In other cases I am hearing about students who are having trouble with their hypertext links. I think this is often the result of bad coding, although I am not always certain. If your code is off even just one character inside the quotation marks, you will not be able to retrieve your desired text. Computers are dumb and they only do what we tell them to do. So always double check your code if you are having problems.

Finally, you guys are interested in another couple of hours of blog help this Friday could you write me back tomorrow by 10am in the morning? If I have enough interest I can put aside some time to assist like I did last week. There was a decent turnout in the lab last week, but it was mainly Comm 200 students. If you 226ers want some help, then let's do it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Comm 200 and 226: A Time to Practice Blogging and a survey, for you!

Hey, Guys. I want to offer you a chance to come work on your blogging skills with me on Friday not only in class, but also from 2pm to 4pm in Higley 325. I have reserved the lab to spend a few hours with you and we can work on making your blog more "personal" or informative. I can give you a number of tips I have picked up in the last few months. And if we have few people, then you will get more attention. It should be fun!

Also, and especially for students in Comm 200, if you could take a minute to do this survey, I would be grateful.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Comm 226: Modeling Your Research

Hey class, I am getting a lot of questions about your dossier proposal, which is a good thing. Keep em coming! I will answer them as soon as I can. But one of the things that I want you to do is begin to conceptually model your project by keeping the "triangle" that I introduced in class in mind. Because many of you seem to have forgotten this triangle, and because I feel it is one of the more important ways to think about communication in general, here is is as a pdf file for you to download. Please check it out and plot out how your topic and question might fit in this triangle. We can always walk through it in my office hours, so download it and begin to think about how this applies to your dossier.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Comm 200: Permanent Fatal Errors Q&A

Hey Class. One of the things that I want to do tomorrow is think about the article "Permanent Fatal Errors". This is a discussion about the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election. Elections are our most interesting and dramatic "Cross Sectional Surveys" for they measure public opinion at one point in time. But, they are not very sophisticated and one of the things that is hard to discern is "what does it mean that someone voted for X candidate". The way people try to find out is through another form or cross sectional surveillance: exit polling. Not only do they ask "who did you vote for?" but they ask a another set of questions in order to find out why people voted the way they did. After the election many pundits thought that the reason that Bush won was he was able to get a "morality" vote. The problem is that this is really vague: what is "Morality"? Despite what some people in our society believe, the term "morality" is rather undefined and squishy. As you read this article that is critical of the exact nature of polling, please pay attention to why Menand is critical. What is it about polling that makes it a less-than-exact science, but still a valid method?

You should have a bloglines account by now and be ready to do some "cross posting" next week. I will ask for your first quality post next week. If you do not know what is a quality post, please see the portion under the headline quality post by clicking here.

Finally, we will spend time redefining your RQ, yet again. Please come prepared to discuss these questions for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Look at what you have already posted and think about how you could be even more refined in your questioning. We may look at a few in class.

Take care.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Comm 226: Thoughts on Technology

Hey guys, I hope that you are beginning to get something of an idea on how blogger works. I know we haven't posted anything, but we will next week and shortly thereafter you will have a number of assignments that help you get accustomed to working together on the internet. If you do not have an idea what you are doing and have not found a sense of ease by sometime next week, please come meet with me. If you have not even made a blogger account and have been added to your group's blogsite, then you better get on it. Ask them how to do it or, again, come see me.

Also, I hope that you can use the mass society and technology website I have posted in order to better frame the lectures and the readings. We will discuss Chapters four and six on friday after the quiz and a brief few notes. Please come prepared for discussion.

If you have misplaced the handout I gave to you today, you can get the pdf file of the proposal needs here anytime.

Finally, even if you think that you may not have a good idea of what you want to study, I hope that you are formulating research ideas soon. If you want to come and just chat with me, write me so we can schedule some office hours time or just drop by. If no one is in then we can most definitely chat. If you want to schedule a time outside of office hours, let's do so.