Posts tagged: UNG

Student Spotlight: Mario Sheats

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By , May 28, 2014 9:50 am

20140528_094132Hi, my name is Mario and I am a junior General Studies major concentrating in Business, Humanities, and Social Studies. I am 23 years old, and for most of those years I have been very interested in the music industry/business. More so than the actual music, I’ve found myself dwelling into the art direction of an album cover, or the actual songwriters of the music and how they function as a team. I am interested in publishing rights and I look forward to gaining valuable insight into the field here at the University Press. I’m curious to see where I will go and what I will learn on this avenue on my journey in life!

Some background information about me, I am from Athens, GA. I was born October 8,1990. I have two older brothers and an older sister. I’m a comic at heart. I am a member of the Recording Academy Student Association. My favorite books have been White Fang, The Metamorphosis, and The Giver. My favorite movie to date is The Raid Redemption, I love action movies and their sound effects/choreography. I like to dance.

The Creativity of the Crowd

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By , July 29, 2013 5:28 pm

The Crowdsourced Poetry Project is under way! We have three lines so far and are excited to see more contributions to our sestina. Go to our Facebook page to submit your contribution for the next line. Our poem so far:

I began to ask myself the questions
With answers hanging in the air
What is here is noise, above which we can hear

For those of you who don’t already know, the Press is doing an experiment in creativity where we are hoping to harness the wisdom and imagination of the public to create a stunning poem. We have chosen to use the sestina for our form, mostly because it requires no rhyming or syllable counting, making it more accessible to contributors, while its use of repeated end-words gives it just enough complexity and structure so that it won’t spin off into a wild dervish. A sestina is a poem of six stanzas that are each six lines long and then a final, three line envoi. The stanzas all end with the same six words as the first stanza, though in a very specific order. In “Sestina: Altaforte” Ezra Pound uses these words at the ends of the first six lines: peace, music, clash, opposing, crimson, and rejoicing. According to the form they reappear in the second stanza in a new order as: rejoicing, peace, crimson, music, opposing, and clash, and so on throughout the next four stanzas. The repetition of these words both allows and forces the writer to use them in new ways and with new meaning imbued each time, creating a rich tapestry of language where the pattern continues to reveal itself throughout. Please join us in our quest to crowdsource a poem; the results are sure to be interesting and possibly very beautiful indeed.

A Sestina by Everyone

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By , July 8, 2013 7:20 pm

A Sestina by Everyone

A few weeks ago I was talking with some colleagues about the changing face of literature.  Everyone knows about e-readers and online publications by now, and even blogs are getting a lot of attention.  We started talking about an author who is writing a novel one chapter at a time, publishing it online like a blog, and then getting her readership to send her input on what should happen next.  She then takes all that input and writes the next chapter.  It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book but in real time. The author is literally catering to her own, specific audience.  Joking, I said, “Can you imagine writing poetry that way?  Gross.”  Because poetry is so personal, so visceral, there’s no way it could ever be written by a group of random, loosely strung-together strangers, I thought.  But the idea of a crowdsourced poem had gotten into my head and it wouldn’t get out.  What if we did compose a poem with a bunch of random, loosely strung-together strangers?  What would happen to the creativity level?  The personal aspect?  Could it be done?

To understand what we’re talking about, it may be necessary to take a couple of steps back and actually define what crowdsourcing is and how it’s been used in the past. Crowdsourcing is a method of outsourcing work that is thought to get better results by spreading the work around to as many people as possible, especially people who are not necessarily specialized in a particular skill.  The idea is that while expert knowledge is held by a few, wisdom is held in the collective conscience.  The term crowdsourcing was coined by Jeff Howe in an article for Wired Magazine in 2006, but the method itself can be dated much farther back in history.  The editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, Sir James A. H. Murray, faced with the daunting task of recording and defining every word in the English language from Middle English forward, as well as finding the earliest known examples of each, put out an “Appeal to the English-Speaking and English-Reading Public” asking anyone who was willing to read works of English and gather data for this huge etymological endeavor. These contributors would then send in slips of paper for each word researched and Murray and his colleagues compiled the lot of them into the most extensive dictionary we have to date.   The more people you have working on a project the more input you get, and, with an intellectual endeavor, as opposed to a mathematical or scientific one, more and varied input is valuable. But, what about with a creative or an artistic endeavor?  Will the crowd’s wisdom be a contribution to the work or will it detract from it, leaving you with an unfocused, overreaching mess?  I have decided to find out.

Over the next several weeks my colleague Victoria Capaldi and I will be driving a new project that, for now, we are calling “The Crowdsourced Poetry Project.” We, as in Victoria and I and you and anyone who chooses to take part, will be writing a poem, one line at a time, together.  To do it we will post a single line on our facebook page, and then in the comments we will accept submissions for the next line. As the comments come in, Victoria and I will be compiling and editing the submissions, and each time a new line is chosen we will post it and accept for submissions for the next line.  For our  form we have chosen a sestina, originally a French form of poetry divided into 6 sestets (six line stanzas) and 1 triplet called an envoi, a concluding stanza half the size of the rest. The distinguishing feature of a sestina is that the words ending each line in the first stanza are repeated as the end words for the other six stanzas in a specific order: ABCDEFG, FAEBDC, CFDABE, ECBFAD, DEACFB, BDFECA, (envoi) ECA or ACE.  One excellent example is “Sestina” by Charles Algernon Swinburne, reprinted below.  While he chose to rhyme his end words, it is not required.  Some other notable examples are “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sestina/) and SIX by Charlotte Mandel (http://winningwriters.com/resources/critiques/2010/urc_1005mandel.php#.UdruFG12GM1) .

Stay tuned to our page at https://www.facebook.com/UPNGA to take part in this exciting and terrifying new project.

Sestina by Charles Algernon Swinburne

I saw my soul at rest upon a day
As a bird sleeping in the nest of night,
Among soft leaves that give the starlight way
To touch its wings but not its eyes with light;
So that it knew as one in visions may,
And knew not as men waking, of delight.

This was the measure of my soul’s delight;
It had no power of joy to fly by day,
Nor part in the large lordship of the light;
But in a secret moon-beholden way
Had all its will of dreams and pleasant night,
And all the love and life that sleepers may.

But such life’s triumph as men waking may
It might not have to feed its faint delight
Between the stars by night and sun by day,
Shut up with green leaves and a little light;
Because its way was as a lost star’s way,
A world’s not wholly known of day or night.

All loves and dreams and sounds and gleams of night
Made it all music that such minstrels may,
And all they had they gave it of delight;
But in the full face of the fire of day
What place shall be for any starry light,
What part of heaven in all the wide sun’s way?

Yet the soul woke not, sleeping by the way,
Watched as a nursling of the large-eyed night,
And sought no strength nor knowledge of the day,
Nor closer touch conclusive of delight,
Nor mightier joy nor truer than dreamers may,
Nor more of song than they, nor more of light.

For who sleeps once and sees the secret light
Whereby sleep shows the soul a fairer way
Between the rise and rest of day and night,
Shall care no more to fare as all men may,
But be his place of pain or of delight,
There shall he dwell, beholding night as day.

Song, have thy day and take thy fill of light
Before the night be fallen across thy way;
Sing while he may, man hath no long delight.

This article was written with assistance from UPNG interns Victoria Capaldi and Patrick Brehe

E-Textbooks with Engagement Index: Good Idea or Not?

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By , April 15, 2013 2:09 pm

 This week a New York Times article was released about CourseSmart’s new technology for universities—e-textbooks with an engagement index. The Engagement index allows teachers to monitor whether a student is reading the textbook and taking sufficient notes. The purpose of this is to help teachers see how their students study in order to better address their teaching styles and student’s learning abilities. This new development also sends feedback to publishers about what chapters students are reading the most and can help their revenue. However is this new technology beneficial to the students? After reading the article, here are what some of the study body at University of North George (UNG) have to say about it.

Christopher Shull’s first reaction was “Wow. Just Wow.” An English Literature major at UNG, Shull had a few opinions. “I have three distinct opinions on this:

The slacker-student in me cringes at this: I’m so used to not doing the reading or, more regularly, doing a portion of the work, but not nearly all of it, but still excelling on tests, quizzes, and essays because of honed interpolation, inference, etc skills. If a teacher could pull up information that I haven’t been reading, even though I’ve been excelling, I don’t know how that would affect my grades, but I’d bet it wouldn’t be positive.

The future-teacher in me is all for it: this idea could add another dimension of examining students and their learning methods, thus allowing for better tailoring of lessons to them. I only wish to caution against relying too much on the scores because of all the reasons mentioned in the article.

The scholar in me sees this as potentially positive, but more likely as another in the long wave of “data-based teaching,” a bane on the educational system. Collecting more data on students CAN lead to improved and customized teaching, but it typically leads to the lazy teachers just incorporating secondary and tertiary data, like this, into their grading.”

Similarly, another student, Kimberlee Zabawa, believes that this technology shows promise. She states, “The CourseSmart E-Textbooks have potential benefits as well as potential limits. I agree that it could be useful for teachers who want to track their student’s engagement efforts. They will be able to access the student’s progress outside of class in a way that has never before been possible. I also think that if the grade of the student is affected by their “engagement index,” the student will find ways to improve their score without putting in the effort which will skew the results and undermine the findings. Overall, I think the technology can help the teachers as they will be able to pinpoint where the student needs to improve concerning preparation and studying. The findings of the CourseSmart technology, however, should not be relied on too much; the teachers still have to be prepared to address student’s engagement progress. How will they get the students to apply themselves given the information they will be provided with? Hopefully, the publishers will use the information they gather to improve the textbook and make learning fun for the students.”

However, another student, Amy Sprague, believes that this program could potentially be too invasive. “As a college student, I have the right to do my assignments and the readings as it benefits me. Professors should not be allowed to monitor students so closely. I understand that it does have potential benefits such as helping struggling students, but that is as far as it should go.”

Bryan McCloud sees both the benefits and faults to the systems. He states, “This article presented an interesting innovation, with a lot of upsides and downsides. The most important boon this system provides, as far as I could tell from the article, is that it gives publishers valuable information. With this they could change the publishing industry, at least in regards to educational books, for the better. The downside, though, would be if the teachers took the information received at face value. As the article noted, it’d be easy to cheat the system. Being college students ourselves, I’m sure we know many who would do just that, whether it is a slacker or someone diligent that doesn’t have time to change their study habits. Overall, I believe this could be a very handy system, depending on how they choose to ultimately use it. There’s a variety of ways to effectively implement this system, not just in the school system, because it’s a powerful tool to gather information with.

So far four universities have adapted the new e-textbooks and have found it to be overall beneficial although there are still issues, such as students not taking notes via the e-notes or leaving their book open while doing something else, that CourseSmart intends on addressing. What do you think of this new technology? Please comment below and let us know your opinions.

Visiting Authors: Quentin Falk Talk

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By , April 10, 2013 7:27 pm

photo (2)Tuesday, April 9, UK film critic Quentin Falk gave a talk entitled “Cinema, Celebrity, and the Courtroom,” in Shott Auditorium. After a brief introduction by Dr. Austin Reide, Falk began by discussing the different celebrities, both British and American, that he has interviewed throughout his career; celebrities such as Britney Spears, Barbara Streisand, Burt Reynolds, Madonna, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood. Many of the American movie stars he met were in England promoting a recent film or shooting a current one.

 He then discussed some of his books including Biography of Anthony Hopkins: The Biography, Mr. Hitchcock, and Travels in Greeneland. He noted that he is the only person to ever write books about both Anthony Hopkins and Alfred Hitchcock; especially after the recent movie, Hitchcock, in which Hopkins played the title character.

 He then discussed his most recent book, The Musical Milkman Murders which is about a murder that occurred in his family cottage in thephoto(2) 1920s. George Bailey, a milkman, murdered his wife and sent his daughter to live with his sister. Although he claimed that he simply assisted her with her own suicide, he was found guilty and sentenced to death via hanging. Years later the judge, head prosecutor, and a star witness all committed suicide, which seemed like an odd coincidence to Falk. In the late 1960s after finding out the truth about her parents, Molly, the daughter, returned to the cottage in search of answers. Falk discussed that through speaking with her he became interested in writing the story about the murder. He also mentioned that his two favorite trail movies are To Kill a Mockingbird and A Few Good Men.

photo(4)After the talk, Falk answered questions from the audience. His favorite current movie is Argo directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and his favorite interview was with someone he has enjoy watching in the films for years, Tom Hanks. He ended the talk with the quote, “Celebrity is a mask that eats the face.”

Wednesday, April 10, he will be giving a talk about the film The Fallen Idol, which is an adaptation of Graham Greene’s “The Basement Room,” in the Special Collections room in the UNG Library Technology Center at 7:00 PM.

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