Assignment #1: Developing a Concept

January 9, 2017

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the winter semester of JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s a John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation. It should be noted that this piece came BEFORE the 2016 presidential election, so things are even more up-in-the-air now. As up-and-coming mass communicators, what do you think of the media world you’re inheriting?

For your first assignment, you’re going to think about how to cover some aspect of that strange new media world. We’ll start this one in Monday’s class, and you’ll bring the finished product on Wednesday (remember that we’ll have a guest speaker, Thomas McBee, editorial director for growth at Quartz). Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts (write these as a bulleted list) that are interesting enough to cover for fifteen weeks (two posts a week)
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
    • NO reviews, diaries, advice, tips, recipes or anything else I say is off-limits (trust me, I’ve taught this class many times, and the list is always getting longer)
  • Choose your TWO best concepts
    • Do they follow the rules?
    • Can they be linked to timely and newsworthy events?
    • Can you find an active online community to connect with?
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total) – Again, bulleted lists are fine, but they must be complete sentences explaining why the pitches are relevant and timely.
  • PRINT and bring to Wednesday’s (January 11) class
    • If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

So that’s it – well, that and the read & respond (I post those on Thursday; they’re usually due Sunday night, but you have until Tuesday night this week due to MLK Day). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!


Read & Respond week 16 – Best of US!

December 4, 2016

Here it is: Your final read & respond! This one will be easy. You’ll be assessing your own work, based on the material you provided me. Based on the following examples, you’ll be voting (via this Google Forms ballot) on the following categories:

Group Blog Honors

Note: You can’t vote for your own group unless otherwise indicated

The Groups (group-selected posts are linked):

The Categories

1. Best Post on a Group Blog (can’t vote for your own post, but can vote for a post by your group)

2. Most Improved Group Blog

3. Best Group Blog Overall

 

Personal Blog Awards

Note: You can’t vote for yourself

The Personal Blogs (best posts provided by you)

Lydia Alexander Post 1 Post 2
Brittany Angus Post 1 Post 2
Jaz Brown Post 1 Post 2
Alexa Ciattarelli Post 1 Post 2
Clarissa Cottrill Post 1 Post 2
Ryan Decker Post 1 Post 2
Kameron Duncan Post 1 Post 2
Carolina Lewis Post 1 Post 2
Sarah Marino Post 1 Post 2
Michala McCullough Post 1 Post 2
Andrew Perez Post 1 Post 2
Carly Perez Post 1 Post 2
Jay Rudolph Post 1 Post 2 
Bobby Surella Post 1 Post 2
Sasha Tarabanova Post 1 Post 2

The Categories

1. Best Post on an Individual Blog

2. Most Improved Personal Blog

3. Best Personal Blog Overall

Superlatives

Nominate another blogger for a “Most/Best ____” category (e.g., Best use of GIFs, Most Likely to Proofread Everyone’s Work)

Nominate yourself for something at which you think you excel (e.g., Best Interviewer of Homeless Persons) or perhaps are notorious for (e.g., Most Likely to Get Caught Texting)

The usual deadline applies, but you don’t have to respond as a comment. Instead, complete the ballot on Google Forms by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.


Welcome to JRL 430 (now get to work)!

August 18, 2016

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall semester of JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s the promised link to that John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation, which we started watching in class. As up-and-coming mass communicators, what do you think of the media world you’re inheriting?

I’m also including here your first assignment, which we went over in class. It’s an easy one: I want you to come up with ideas for the personal, media-focused blog you’ll be maintaining for the duration of this class. Here’s the details:

Assignment #1: Getting Started

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
    • NO reviews, advice, tips, or recipes
  • Choose your two best
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total)
  • PRINT and bring to Monday’s (Aug. 22) class
    • If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

So that’s it – well, that and the read & respond due by Sunday night. Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started.


Temperatures in workout rooms rise during the most rigorous group exercise

April 28, 2016

By Samantha Clarkson, Ashley Gonzalez, Kalea Gunderson and Madalyn LaMastro

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Spinning class 5:30 p.m. featuring the Arduino

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With the increase in heart rate that comes with exercise, there is also an increase in temperature in many West Virginia University Student Recreation Center group exercise rooms.

During group exercise classes at the WVU Rec, temperatures during high-intensity workouts increased by at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas low-intensity classes seemed to remain consistent or even drop.

This data was collected with temperature sensing technology through the use of an Arduino microcontroller. An Arduino is an open-source platform used to prototype coded inputs. It can read data input from sensors, in this case the temperature in the room, and output that data to the user via a personal computer.  

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The arduino and breadboard connected to temperature sensing code

The data showed that group exercise classes where temperature increased were the high-intensity classes Body Pump, Spinning and Zumba. Both Body Pump and Spinning increased by 2 degrees, but Zumba increased by 3 degrees from beginning to end making it the class with the greatest temperature increase.

Yoga had the highest recorded average temperature of all. The class, which began at 6:40 p.m., was 75.45 degrees, making it the hottest class recorded. However, that temperature dropped throughout the class to 73.7, possibly due to factors such as the outside temperature drop in the evening.

rec temps graph

Group exercise class instructors try to keep their classes at consistent temperatures to ensure a comfortable experience for students.

“I want to keep everyone as cool as possible during the workout,” said Body Pump instructor Jaclyn Stamile. “I keep the fans on blast and remind my class to take constant water breaks.”

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Body Pump 5:30 p.m.

According to Spinning instructor Melissa Henry, her class also keeps the fans running, but turns the lights off to attempt to keep the workout room at a cool temperature.

Regardless of attempts to control the temperature, these high-intensity classes rise in degrees throughout the workout. However, low-intensity classes don’t typically feel a change.

“I’ve only taught January, February and March in that room so I don’t really notice too much of a difference, maybe a couple degrees at the most because of the windows,” Yoga instructor Jayne Harris explained.

Each of the three workout class rooms at the Rec Center have big windows, allowing for nice views during group exercise, but also for sunlight to heat up the space.

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Yoga 6:40 p.m.

“It gets really hot in here when the sun is streaming in,” Stamile said. “I wish the Rec would install shades for the windows so my class could stay cooler while they’re working out.”

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Yoga 6:40 p.m.

Zumba instructor, Leah Skrypek says the room where she teaches class might have something to do with the increase in temperature.

“It definitely gets hot, especially in the upstairs room. In the winter, the heat’s on overdrive,” Skrypek explains. “I don’t think we get the heart rate levels that body pump or spinning would, but I think it’s a good beginner’s class.”

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Zumba 7:50 p.m.

In addition to room structure, the time of day and year also affects the temperature in the exercise rooms.

“It’s definitely hotter in this room in the summer and when there are more people in the class or back-to-back classes throughout the day,” Henry said.

Data was retrieved from the Spinning class when it was 61.84 degrees outside in the middle of March. It was 5:30 p.m. with little sunlight and only 3 people in class, likely due to the timing before spring break. It was also the only class in that room that day.

Body Pump was also recorded in the evening, which could have affected the data.

“Although we try to keep the temperature as cool as possible, people tend to feel their exercise is most successful the sweatier they get,” Stamile said. “So, maybe the temperature increase isn’t too bad – it all just depends on what people want from their workout.”

 

To learn how to use the Arduino to sense temperature, watch this video.


Group blog teams

February 29, 2016

Here they are, your group blog teams for 2016! I went through your existing blogs and the comments you left on last week’s assignment to sort you by complementary interests, styles, and so on. The more detail you provided, the better a fit I was likely to find. Regardless, you’re in this boat together now, so get to know each other!

Group 1

  • Ashley
  • Sierra
  • Angie
  • Kaitlin D.
  • Audrie

Group 2

  • John Mark
  • Craig
  • Emily E.
  • Kaitlyn P.
  • Patrick

Group 3

  • Jade
  • Preston
  • Corey
  • Caitlin W.
  • Molly

Group 4

  • David
  • Kristen
  • Sarah E.
  • Matt
  • Emily M.

In today’s class, you’ll be meeting to work out the initial details of whatever it is you’ll be doing for the final five weeks of the semester. Next Monday, March 7, your group will present its concept, along with a list of story pitches (at least two from each member) and a tentative schedule (don’t create an actual blog on WordPress yet – that comes later).


Welcome to Blogging and Social Media Journalism!

January 11, 2016

Here we are, ready to kick off another semester of Blogging and Social Media Journalism. This mostly placeholder post will serve to get things going (I’m going to upload it in class as an object lesson). This blog is where you’ll find weekly readings, post assignments, and interact with each other’s personal and group blogs. More to come!

Get familiar with our Twitter hashtag: #WVUblogJ


Welcome to JRL 430 (and Assignment #1)

January 12, 2015

Here we are: Another exciting semester of blogging and interactive journalism. In this class, you will learn to use social media (a term under which I include blogging for its often-interactive nature) as a tool rather than a toy. You will create and curate a personal, media-focused blog (this is the College of Media, after all), pursue and create stories using various social media, and design a focused group blog on a topic of significance.

Some things to know:

  • You’ll be creating your personal blog next week (Monday, Jan. 18) using WordPress. If you have an existing blog, you may use it as long as it meets the course requirements.
  • This blog is a kind of living syllabus. It’ll be the home for assignments, reading responses, student work, and more. If you have questions about what you’re working on, check here first.
  • You’ll need a Twitter account if you don’t already have one – sorry, holdouts. If you’d prefer to keep this separate from an existing personal account, feel free to create a new one for this this class. Our course hashtag is #WVUblogJ. I’ll use it to share course material, and you should be using it too.

Assignment #1: Getting started

Part 1: Pick a topic

Write up the focus of your blog (about a paragraph) and post it as a comment to this post by 10a Wednesday, Jan. 14. Your blog must have a clear MEDIA focus that goes beyond your own opinions – it can’t just be a diary or your movie reviews. To that end, some restrictions:

  • No diaries
  • No cat/dog/cute animal pictures
  • No recipes (yes, I’ve gotten this)
  • No sports, entertainment, fashion/health tips, and so on. You CAN use these subjects if your focus is clearly on their media angle – for example, if you covered issues in sports journalism – but your opinions on the Dallas Cowboys are not relevant here.
  • No pink dragons

Also: Don’t forget to give it a title!

Part 2: Write your first post

Write up a good first post for your first blog, print it out, and bring it to class on Wednesday. You might describe the different arguments being made about a subject relevant to your topic, linking to each. Don’t just list, though. Provide evidence and synthesize something new: What are the bigger themes going one in these posts?

Some more requirements:

  • At least one high-quality link is required in every post for full credit. This means links to CONTENT, not links to Wikipedia, Facebook, or the CNN homepage (yes, I’ve gotten all of these).
  • The key here is to report on the conversation. What’s being said? Can you get at the discussion and tell us something new about it? Use links and evidence strategically – it doesn’t need to be long.
  • Mark links with the URL in brackets, e.g., “Miranda July’s newest novel is getting some good reviews [http://www.avclub.com/review/miranda-julys-first-bad-man-first-great-novel-2015-213144].”
  • Don’t forget a headline – try to make it something that would catch YOUR interest.

BOTH are due by 10a Wednesday, Jan. 14.