The software I utilized during the semester was WordPress and Squarespace.

WordPress was used for my blog and Squarespace was used for the creation of the SJC website.

WordPress served as a very useful tool in the creation of my blog.  Each week I was responsible for writing three blog entries:

  1. Weekly In-Class Reflection
  2. Weekly Roundup
  3. Practicum Update

In- Class Highlights:

A highlight for me this semester was an interview with a group of students from Ross Roads Elementary School in North Vancouver.

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Eleni McLaughlin, Saoirse Pontin and Madeline Williams are the sixth-grade students who created the Hike-Safe mobile app, which functions to inform hikers on the safety of various hikes in regards to trail length and daylight hours.

When applied Burke’s dramatic Pentad, which tool for analyzing rhetoric and the rhetor’s motives for a situation, one can see that McLaughlin, Pontin and Williams have effectively addressed the ART, SCENE, AGENTS, AGENCY and PURPOSE of creating the app.

  1. Act —The central focus of the Hike Safe app is to provide a practical tool to hikers so that better safety can be attained on the mountain
  2. Scene-The girls saw a need in their community and choose to address it.  In living in North Vancouver they saw lots of search and rescue helicopters going out to help hikers who hiked too late in the day
  3. Agents–  Mclaughlin, Pontin and Williams are the agents of this cause.  They spent many hours learning about coding and designing each aspect of the app
  4. Agency –  The action took place through the mentorship of Cher Main
  5. Purpose – The purpose behind this app is to create positive change and bring safety to the hiking community of North Vancouver

Social Justice Centre Practicum Highlights:

During the first class of English 4300 we were presented with various practicum options.  I was placed in Mike Ma’s group and began the journey of creating a new website for the Social Justice Centre (SJC).  I look forward to presenting our new website with you!

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  1. Talking with advocates for social justice
  2. Taking my learning outside of the classroom
  3. Learning how to use Squarespace
  4. Working along side Jenn and Mike in the creation of the SJC website
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Wish Centre Visit- Connecting with Advocates for Social Justice
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Touring the Wish Centre
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The Surrey Drug War Survivors Workshop

DHSI Highlights:

  1. Participating in the grant proposal process
  2. Putting rhetorical theory into practice
  3. Presenting at UVIC
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Poster Presentation Group
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Poster Presentation

Our DHSI group was featured in the Kwantlen News

Practicum Update: Week 13

This coming week is a BIG week in my practicum experience.  It is the week that our practicum comes to it’s conclusion.

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Over the past week Jenn and I have been in email communication with Greg Chan concerning the final product of the practicum.  He has given us a list of considerations and suggestions for change.  Jenn and I have read this over and look forward to implementing and fine tuning the site this week.

We have run into an issue with giving a face (or faces) to the SJC page.  Mike has asked that we do not feature those behind the cause, but rather keep the focus on those who are being helped.  Social justice is for everyone.  Jenn and I did not want to exploit or jeopardize the privacy of those in need; therefore, instead of putting pictures of people in need we decided to feature images of our region.  The downside to this is the site could be seen as less personal.  So over the coming week (and during class this afternoon) we will seek to solve this issue.

We also will meet with Mike Ma to discuss his impression of the site and different ways for us to improve the overall appearance and function of the site.

A big part of our practicum (which also serves as our final exam) will be the DH showcase.  The showcase will occur Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 from 10:00am- 1:00pm.  Jenn and I will present our final product to those in attendance.  We plan to walk the guests through each tab of the site and to explain the process we took in creating the site.  Along with presenting the site itself, we will share the overall experience we have had within our practicum placement.

Jenn and I feel very fortunate to work with Mike and his team of people!  We are blown away at the opportunities we have had to visit different events and social justice organizations.  Walking into English 4300 I thought I would be taking my writing beyond the scope of the classroom.  I expected to be responsible for writing content for organizations.  I did not expect to use technology to create avenues to present information.  My perception of English 4300 was wrong.  The scope of work was much broader than I had thought.  In English 4300 I was given the opportunity to learn how to create a website, to talk to members of the community and learn about the many aspects of social justice and harm reduction.

I look forward to bringing this website to the finish line!

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Weekly Roundup: Week 10- Identity

Timothy Borchers states: “Our conception of what it means to be human is constantly shifting because the categories we use to create and establish identities are constantly shifting.  There is no essence to our identity.  Foucault adds that discourse and disciplinary practices create certain kinds of beings” (Borchers 303)

Essentially, “what it means to be human has varied over time” (293).  Applied to my personal life I can see that my experience as a Canadian is vastly different than the experience held by Canadians years ago!  While my experience differs from past generations of Canadians many core values have remained unchanged.

What categories create our identity as postmodern Canadians?

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In visiting friends in the southern states I was able to gain perspective on what makes up my identity as a Canadian (both from differences I observed and observations they made).  My little Canadian-isms that came second nature to me were foreign to them, which leads me to believe that I act the way I do because of the rhetoric that has been taught to me.  I was born a Canadian and subsequently trained to be one.  This is seen in my core cultural values all the way to more simple and non-consequential things (like word pronunciations).

One thing I know for sure is, I am proud to be part of a nation that has core values that honour and respect all people!

We are POLITE

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We are MULTICULTURAL

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We value INDIVIDUALITY

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We value POSSIBILITY

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We VALUE the world around us

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Sources: 

Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.

In-Class Reflection: Postmodernism

The following is from a slide from English 4300 on July 6, 2016.

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We are Very 2016— We are a product of our generation and the rhetoric that has been taught to us.

In discussion of Michel Foucault we discussed the case of a young girl who had to go to the bathroom while on an airplane.  Because the rule says that passengers must remain in their seats when the remain seated light is on.  The little girl ended up peeing on her airplane seat.  Her mother (along with other passengers) were outraged that the little girl was not permitted to use the washroom.

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The full story can be read here.

The modern perspective says: The rule serves the fast majority and therefore can not be changed.

The postmodern perspective says: Anti-burocracy and there are exceptions to rules.

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Is the above image the final word on whether or not a small child can use the bathroom?  Why do airlines have rules?  Should there be exceptions to these rules?
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In consideration of the story and all the factors, it would seem that the child was unjustly held to a rule.  To allow her to be above the “law” and go to the bathroom would have been inconsequential to everyone involved.  Safety would not be put at risk by getting up.   The only risk was a herd mentality of thinking.  If the child can go to the washroom, then why can’t everyone.  To say that she can bend the rule is to say that everyone can– which defeats the purpose of having the rule in the first place.  But really?  As humans we have the ability to put the needs of others into consideration.  We are capable of seeing the value in allowing some to bend the rules while staying within them ourselves.  Sometimes “fair” is not equal.  Fair is ensuring everyones needs are met.

I think that rules are put in place and expected to be followed.  But (as a postmodernist) I believe that rules need to be evaluated and adjusted as seen fit.  There needs to be flexibility and understanding.  There is no question in my mind, the flight attendant should have let the young child go to the washroom.  The purpose of the rule was to ensure safety and order.  Safety and order were not jeopardized by allowing her to go to the bathroom.

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Practicum Update: Week 10 – UGM Visit

Jenn and I visited the Union Gospel Mission (UGM).  

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We felt a visit was necessary after a conversation we had with a representative of the WISH centre.  Both Jenn and I were shocked to hear that the UGM does not condone harm reduction methods.  They do not support or hand out condoms and clean needles.  Having learned the benefits of harm reduction we could not believe that any organization would reject its benefits (religious or not).  We did not intend to argue the benefits of harm reduction; we merely wanted to hear what UGM had to say and to learn about the AMAZING services they offer.

There are two sides to every story.

We half expected to hear that WISH was misinformed; however, they were not.  UGM does not offer harm reduction.

With reflection it is evident that harm reduction would not be beneficial in the outplaying of their vision, mission and goals.  The UGM and WISH can not be compared because they offer two very different services.  Their target demographic is different.  WISH and UGM function in different roles in society.  Both roles are necessary.

The Union Gospel Mission is meeting people where they are at and are providing resources for change.  Organizations like WISH keep people alive so that they are able to one day utilize resources like UGM.

As is found on their website, the mission statement of UGM is: Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.24.40 PM.png

As is found on their website, they offer the following services:

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More details about these services can be found here. 

To advocate for and support harm reduction would be spreading themselves to thin.  They cannot be all things to all people.

While at the site we were blown away by the care and support shown by each volunteer and employee!  They genuinely care for everyone who walks through their doors.

There is thought and reason for everything they do.  For instance, recently they decided to switch their main meal from dinner to breakfast.  The reason for this is the potential the morning brings compared to the potential the night brings.  They found that dinner meals enabled people to face the night with the full stomach (which the local police argued increased crime).  Breakfast meals enable volunteers to encourage and point people to supports during the day.  When an individual is hungry they are not able to effectively think through the possibility of change.

Recently the centre started construction in their basement.  They will have a room where local organizations and supports can set up tables and information.  Staff can then direct people (who request it) to this room to speak with representatives about options.

In visiting the UGM I was spurred on to consider the possibility of taking some youth kids I work with down to volunteer.  The UGM does not simply look for people to come give of their time.  They seek to educate their volunteers on the facts of poverty and homelessness.  Therefore, volunteering is not only beneficial for the organization – it is extremely beneficial to the volunteer.

 

Weekly Roundup: Week 9-Discursive Practices

In Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers explains DISCURSIVE PRACTICES and the rules, roles and power that accompany them.

Discursive practices “refers to the discourse that, because it follows particular rules or has passed appropriate tests, is understood to be true in culture” (Borchers 287)

He presents the following table: FullSizeRender-1.jpg

Borchers then goes on to apply the theory of discursive practice to Disneyland (290-1).  The rules, roles and power that function throughout Disneyland function in such away that they shape the experience had by the visitor (290-1).  Furthermore, the discursive practice that takes place at Disneyland impact the way in which the visitor is permitted to interact with he park (291).

Discursive rules, roles and practices result in predictability and trust.  The consumer is able to trust that the product is always the same.  When someone walks through the gates of Disney it is guaranteed that employees will appear and act in a certain manner.  There is wholesome fun and respect throughout the park.  The discursive practice results in Disneyland being known as the happiest place on earth.

When organizations lack discursive rules the result is a product that is not dependable and therefore can not be trusted as true.  An example of a system that lacks effective discursive practice is Facebook.

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When applied to the above table one can see that Facebook does not qualify as trusted discursive system:

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With consideration of the various aspects of discursive practice it is evident that Facebook does not rule or govern its user in such a way that structure and truth is guaranteed.  The validity of information shared is dependent on the person who chooses to share it.  Unlike Disneyland, Facebook carries no guarantee.  When you log on there is no telling what you will encounter.  There is potential for uplifting, truthful and interesting information– however, with this possibility is the risk of false information, criticism and offensive content.

Sources: 

Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.

 

 

 

 

In-Class Reflection: June 29, 2016

The following is a portion of our class notes in English 4300 on June 29, 2016:

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In considering the 8 word principle, Greg instructed the class to critically analyze a sample of personal writing.  I pulled up a paper that I wrote for Kim Larsen’s English 3336 class (Spring 2016).  I was surprised to learn that my word count spanned from 15 to 45 words.

My paragraph structure looks something like this:

24 words

15 words

30 words

15 words

17 words

15 words

23 words

31 words

45 words

The following is a visual representation of the sentences in my paragraph: 

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The paragraph that I chose to evaluate was an introduction paragraph to one of my Victorian Literature papers from English 3336.  Within this paper I compared two characters and their differing roles within the novel.

According to the 8- word principle: 

3/9 sentences are 90% understandable

1/9 sentences are 85% understandable

2/9 sentences are between 50-80% understandable

3/9 sentences are less than 50% understandable

I do think that variety in sentence length adds to the complexity of a educational paper; however, to much complexity results in a decrease in eloquence.  The purpose of an educational paper is to convey a message or argue a point.  It is imperative to use the most effective use of communication in the presentation of the argument.  The most effective type of communication is the type of communication that is most understandable.  Therefore, sentence length is a crucial element to consider when editing ones writing.

With this knowledge in mind, what changes do I need to make in my approach to educational writing?

  1. I need to be more concise in my writing
  2. I need to use periods to break up and break down thoughts
  3. I need to ensure that every word within my sentence contributes to the main point of the sentence