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Project Report – Week 5 (Final) July 5, 2010

Filed under: For Class — aprilasu @ 9:35 pm

So it has come to an end.  On one hand, I am very proud of what my team and I accomplished in such a short amount of time.  On the other hand, I think of how interesting this project could have gotten given a more generous time allowance.  In the beginning, we were a bit nervous about “messing” with the Bible.  Let’s face it, when it comes to books, few can claim to have had as much influence on society and how people live their lives as the Bible.  Even those that are not of a Christian based religion are still affected by the Bible in America.  “In God We Trust.”  “One nation under God.”  So many of the values this nation was founded upon started with “In the beginning…”  It was important to us, as a team, to accomplish the goals of our project without lessening the integrity of the original message.  I believe we did just that.

By placing our project on Facebook, we certainly made it accessible to our target audience.  The young social networking crowd who is used to being served their information in bite sized posts and tweets, is precisely who we were targeting.  Working on this project, I found myself having a renewed interest in the Bible, and wishing that I could have the rest of it served to me in bite sized manageable pieces.  I began to realize, that even as a christian, I had never sat down and read the Bible.  I have read parts of the Bible at a time, but never the whole thing in sequence.  Instead, I had been fed bite sized chunks by Baptist preachers, sunday school teachers, and youth group leaders my whole life.  In thinking of it that way, what we did, didn’t seem to be quite so scandalous or brave.  Instead, I contend that we perhaps introduced the Bible to an audience that may or may not have ever been exposed to it.  We, in essence, made the book of Genesis less intimidating, easier to follow, and easier to understand.  I am very excited about our finished project.

By “finished,” of course, I mean our final submission for class.  To truly feel like we finished it, I think we would have had to have completed rewriting the entire book of Genesis.  Even then, though, I think might have left me with an unfinished feeling.  I would love to see the entire Old Testament, or even the whole Bible, broken down in a similar way.  I would like it to have links and indexes to make it easier to find references to people, places, and things.  Given the time and resources, the scope of this project could have grown to be something quite impressive indeed.

As for my work this week, I spent a large percentage of my time trying to solve our Facebook issues.  A lot of our feedback pointed out that they did not like that our posts were listed in reverse.  Admittedly, we didn’t like it either.  I spent a lot of time trying to debug it and make the chapters start at 1 and got to 45.  Unfortunately, I could not find an easy fix.  Instead, I wound up re-posting all of the posts in reverse order, and then deleting the original posts.  It took a while, but I think it was important and worth it.  I also spent some time reading over everything just to make sure everything was to my liking.  As a whole, I think we worked pretty well together, everyone filled their niche in our group well, and our final project reflects that.

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Project Report – Week 4 June 27, 2010

Filed under: For Class — aprilasu @ 11:25 pm

This week, we, as a group, tossed around ideas about what we wanted our finished product to be.  We have the information in a .pdf and a .doc file, but since one of the major goals of our project was to make Genesis more accessible to  the texting, im’ing, social networking generation, we wanted to use a media that was a little more…hip.  (That seems like a very old-fashioned, lame word to use there.  How old am I again?)  We decided to do something a bit risky.  (Why not, right?  After all, we are already taking a bit of a risk with our project subject.)  We  considered several options.  We considered creating a website, but that left us needing to find a place to host it and potential web hosting and domain name fees.  An additional concern was the short amount of time we had left to complete this project.  Our second consideration was a blog, like this one, on Word Press.  We decided that this was a very viable option, but eventually decided to go with a page dedicated to our topic on Facebook.  Facebook, being a social networking site, is a large, networked collection of our target audience.

My first step in getting our Facebook page up and running was to create a free email address for our project team through Google’s Gmail.  I did this for a few reasons.  First, you must have an email address that is not already associated with another Facebook page to sign up for an account.  Secondly, with a new dedicated email account, all of the team members could have the password to check and send mail without having to give out the password for any of our existing personal or school email accounts.  Then, I set up our Facebook account.  I wrote a brief tag line explaining who we were, and what the purpose of the page was, changed some privacy settings, and started uploading data that the team had compiled.  In the “Photos” section of our FB profile, I created two albums.  One is for  clip art (graphics that I created specifically for this project) and one for family trees.  I uploaded some of the graphic files into these albums.  The next obstacle was to decide how to display the project information.  I started by creating notes, as they offer the option to display graphics and pictures along with the text.  Each note also displays a title and the first portion of the text which helped us to display the information in bite sized chunks.  I liked this option, because it also allows visitors to submit comments about and/or “like” what you have written.  I copied and pasted the beginning passages from our first draft into separate notes – one for each heading or chapter.  (Jeanette, added the later chapters while I was at work the following day, as Kevin was still working on finishing his chapters up when it was bedtime in my time zone.)  Since Jeanette had finished uploading and pasting Kevin’s information by the time I got home, I began reading through all of the stories that we had posted (again) for the purpose of editing and revising.

Our biggest obstacle this week was probably our varied time zones and schedules.  I think we managed to muddle through pretty well, though.

 

Project Report – Week 3 June 20, 2010

Filed under: For Class — aprilasu @ 11:11 pm

This condensed Summer semester sure is flying by!  Our group project is coming along nicely, although a lot of it is still admittedly behind the scenes.  This week, as a group we divided up the workload and more clearly defined each member’s responsibilities.  The hardest part about this week was that it is difficult to be patient when we are communicating almost solely through Blackboard’s discussion board.  It is nice, though, that we keep all of our communications in one place that way, because I don’t have to go searching all over to find information.  It does, however, mean a bit of lag time between posting a question, everyone having an opportunity to provide their input, and then for us all to reach a consensus.

My contributions for the week include:

First, I read each of the chapters that had been assigned to be rewritten so that I could sketch out plans for what graphics I needed to create.  I took a lot of notes and did pencil sketches as I planned.

I created a family tree beginning with Adam & Eve all the way down to Noah. (Genesis chapter 4 & 5)

I created 3 additional family trees.  (One to cover each of Noah’s sons’ descendents as listed in Genesis 10 & 11.)

I created a family tree to cover Jacob’s family.  That one took a pretty good while, as it has 76 or so people on it.  The family tree also gets a bit interesting in places, and I had to do some creative figuring to illustrate some of the crisscrossed branches.  This family tree covers Genesis chapter 46.

For all of the family trees, I used Microsoft PowerPoint, because the connectors tool saved me some time.  I then exported the files as .jpg files.  Depending on what type of media we decide our finished product will be, I may have to do some tweaking of these files, as PowerPoint is not the most ideal place to create a file that will be used as an image file.  For instance, I made a note on the bottom of a few of the graphics that items in green represented the names of clans rather than individuals.  When I exported the files, the green doesn’t look very green anymore.

I created a graphic depicting God’s creation calendar as described in Genesis chapter 1.  For this graphic, I used Adobe Illustrator.

I also created a graphic using Adobe Photoshop, of a snake slithering out from behind an apple, for use in Genesis chapter 3.

For my last graphic this week, I used Adobe Illustrator to “paint” a picture of an ark with a rainbow behind it to used as clip art on the page(s) about Noah and the great flood.

Once Jeanette had posted her first draft of her rewrite of Genesis 1-9, I read over it and offered minor edits and feedback.  I then took the information that she had submitted and combined it with my graphics into a format that I was tinkering with for the layout of our finished product.  I posted that file in the file exchange so that my teammates could take a look and offer feedback.  Kevin had some scheduling issues, and I did not have the opportunity to add his information to this file, though.  The draft that was turned in as our first draft did not include any of my graphics or layout work (only the raw text drafts written by Jeanette and Kevin), however, we are well on our way to our next draft.

Next week, I will incorporate Kevin’s contributions to the formatted version of our project draft.  Then, as a team, we will continue to edit and contribute to its completion.  There were some last-minute changes to the scope of our project just before our first draft was submitted.  Kevin rewrote additional stories that were unplanned, so I will need to get with him and also read those chapters of Genesis to get an idea of what graphics I need to get finished to support those pages.  I hope to have those illustrations sketched out by Tuesday afternoon so that I can have the electronic versions done by the end of the week.

Our most important goal for next week, I believe, is to clearly define the scope of our project and deliverables.  We need to finalize our decision on what type of media our finished project will be. (i.e. a website, presentation, or .pdf file.)

 

Project Report – Week 2 June 15, 2010

Filed under: For Class — aprilasu @ 10:38 pm

Wow this class is flying by.  So far, I have been assigned to the team formerly known as “Team 2,” but now formally known as “New Beginnings.”  We are a team composed of seemingly interesting people.  Our first task was to elect a project team coordinator.  We were very fortunate to have Jeanette volunteer for the position, as she seems to be the one of us with the best grasp of deadlines.  Our biggest obstacle so far, I would have to say, is our missing teammate.  We have had no contact from one of our team members, and are assuming that he is no longer in (or never actually was in) our class.  According to our team bylaws, which were established in our first group assignment, he would be booted from the team by now anyway, as he has surpassed our number of days with no contact limit.

The most successful thing we have established so far is communication.  My teammates and I keep in touch via the group discussion board.  We also have, what I believe, is a very clever project idea.  We batted around a few ideas before settling on the rewrite of the book of Genesis that Jeanette suggested.  She was understandably hesitant at first, as the topic has the potential to be offensive or controversial, and she wasn’t sure what she would learn about being a technical communicator from such a project.  We exchanged a few messages covering both concerns, and we eventually came the consensus that it would be a valuable learning experience.

My contributions so far would be that I made  a few suggestions for a team name.  I provided feedback on the team’s project idea.  I provided feedback on the team memo, and I volunteered my graphic design services to the project.

We have already started hammering out the specifics for the scope of our project.  I have made suggestions, and once our plans are finalized, I’d like to construct a written plan for my role in the project.  Instead of just generically saying “I’ll do some graphics,” I’d like to nail down exactly what the team needs most from me.  For example, a logo for our website (if we create one), a family tree to simplify chapters of the book of Genesis, and/or graphic representations of biblical characters.

As far as the new Blackboard goes, I honestly don’t really notice it being any easier or harder.  It hasn’t really affected the way I use it as far as I can tell.

 

Wish Me Luck! June 5, 2010

Filed under: Kiddos,Random Thoughts — aprilasu @ 9:16 pm

I spent today on a cleaning rampage.  For those of you that know me, cleaning is SOOOOOOO not my thing.  My daughter’s soccer team (about 8 little girls ages 5-6) plus their parents and siblings are all coming to my house for a cookout tomorrow.  It is supposed to be around 106 degrees, so we went today and picked up this giant inflatable water slide from the rec camp.  It took us a couple of hours to get that thing set up.  It was so hot and the slide was so heavy, that I thought we might all pass out from heat exhaustion before we got it functional.  Apparently we got it right, though, because the kiddos took it for a test spin this evening and described it as fun and “way cool.”  Tomorrow is bound to be chaotic.  I’m a little nervous about having everyone over.  I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something…  Is it inappropriate to have beer available for the adults at a cookout to celebrate the end of a children’s soccer season?  I’m thinking we may need it to get through the day!

 

Why am I so indecisive? I can’t decide. June 4, 2010

Filed under: Random Thoughts — aprilasu @ 4:56 pm

I find that as I get older (older being the ripe old age of 32), I am becoming more and more indecisive.  Perhaps it is because I have a better understanding of consequences than the younger more carefree version of myself did.  Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that I have become set in my ways-comfortable with the routine that has become my life.  Maybe my indecisiveness has more to do with fear.  Fear of rocking the boat.  Fear of making decisions that could change my life’s current course.  An even more terrifying thought:  Is it harder to make up my mind, because I have lost touch with who I am and what I want?  Yikes!  Would it be irresponsible to leave it all up to chance?  A toss of a coin or the ever faithful magic 8 ball?  Wow.  Now I can’t even decide how best to make decisions.  This could get ugly.

 

Look out world!

Filed under: For Class,Random Thoughts — aprilasu @ 3:56 pm

Hey, look at me.  I’m blogging.  Suddenly my head is filled with random thoughts I feel like the world must hear.  Where to begin… Stay tuned.  I’m sure I’m on the verge of thinking of something witty and terribly clever to say.