times • Ferris State University • Fall 2010 •
T a s h a :
The face of the new Torch
w h e n
Entering the Blogosphere
p r i n FacebookeMe! d ,
Academic Service Learning: Does Technical Writing Fit In? written by
Emily Leask A recent and important aspect of gaining an education at Ferris State University is the structuring of courses through Academic Service Learning (ASL). As explained on the Ferris website, ASL is a teaching and learning method that replaces traditional classroom techniques “with community service that is relevant to the subject material and meaningful to the community.” One of the visions of Ferris’ founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris, was for students to be involved in civic engagement. The Academic Service Learning Initiative at Ferris does just that by reconstructing courses to include projects that get students involved in the community and provide students with the skills to continue civic engagement after graduation. So where does technical writing fit into this new Ferris initiative?
t h e
Cont’d on page 3
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Reviving New Media: The Torch Creates a Stronger Online Presence written by
Antonio Coleman Providing campus-wide news since 1931, the Ferris State Torch has gained a larger audience with the
Fleming. “The web can be viewed from anywhere and can be updated at anytime.” Fleming said the Torch is currently attempting to create more online
“Online content supplements the
content. He said the unlimited space
newspaper by allowing us to provide
provided through the web allows for
timely information we cannot
convenient decision-making when
provide through our print version,”
choosing which content goes online.
Pre-pharmacy major Jessica Hoang
launch of its newly redesigned
Thayer also said being able to relay
said she prefers to read the Torch’s
information through various media
online content. Hoang said the
has allowed readers to experience
timeliness of the web content allows
news more creatively.
her to receive faster information.
via the web hosting browser
“The Torch website benefits the
“I prefer the Torch online because I
DreamHost. Providing its online
newspaper greatly,” said Thayer.
have better access to it,” said Hoang.
readers with user feedback options
“We can provide more photos,
“I think most people find it easier to
and a weekly poll, the newly
videos and other forms of media that
read the Torch online.”
designed website gives users a
are not possible in print.”
First created in 1999, the Torch website was re-released Dec. 2009
much more interactive online experience.
Thayer said the Internet’s ability to
Multimedia Editor Michael Fleming
provide news quickly will be essential
said he agrees with the benefits the
to the evolution of web-based media.
Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Thayer has
online content provides users.
been working for the Torch since
Fleming said he sees the future of
2009 and said the website has
journalism as being expressed more
gained a lot of popularity since first
premiering in 1999. Thayer said the
“Online journalism will be the future,” Thayer concluded. View the new Torch website at www.fsutorch.com.
Torch’s online version has allowed
“I think online content can give more
for much faster, breaking news.
visually than a print newspaper,” said
“Relaying information through various media has allowed readers to experience news more creatively.”
TPC Times :: Fall 2010
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Academic Service Learning Cont’d from page 1
Communication Seminar (ENGL
Some projects the current class is
Professor Erin Weber explained,
working on include the College of
“At a glance, our classes are not highly ASL structured, but many components of that pedagogy are found in our courses.”
“Technical writing classes are perfect places to incorporate service learning,” said Professor Dr.
Arts & Science’s newsletter and posters for the Higher Learning Commission Awareness campaign.
Sandy Balkema, who teaches
Balkema believes that ASL is
The Technical and Professional
many of the previously mentioned
important because “Client-based
Communication program offers
courses. “We've always called it
projects give students real-world
several ASL-oriented courses,
‘client-based projects’ or
experience and a chance to
including Advanced Technical
‘professional field-based projects.’”
apply what they're learning to
Writing (ENGL 311), Proposal Writing (ENGL 323), Professional Technical Communication (ENGL 411) and the Technical
In her 411 classes, she works with students to brainstorm and write proposals for real projects on campus or in the community.
realistic tasks. In the process, if we can provide a useful service to local groups (campus and offcampus), that's tremendous.”
What Can Your Blog Do For You? written by
Jake White Blogs became popular in the
communicate with others through a
invaluable statistics about a
network of personal web-based
late nineties. The word “Blog”
In the last decade, the blogosphere
started as internet slang for the
has evolved into a limitless platform
of free expression and an ever-
Livejournal.com and similar websites allowed users to
expanding archive of popular interest.
work experience to potential employers, or even end up making a living for themselves, online. Today’s employers are blearyeyed from reading applications,
Today, anyone with access to the
and a well-managed blog can
Internet can blog about any topic
demonstrate work ethic and
imaginable. In the “blogosphere,” a
consistency. While it can make a
fledgling journalist may find an
great addition to a portfolio,
audience for a unique subject that
anyone can create a blog.
he or she wants to cover. A conscientious organization might use a blog to convey breaking information to employees, customers, or clients. Corporations can draw significant marketing data from blogging statistics about consumers. Politicians can observe trending topics and gather
TPC graduates can showcase their
Fortunately most bloggers are not writers by trade, so TPC grads have the advantage of their chosen craft. Those working in the communications field have an opportunity to use their skills and stand out as professionals – an opportunity that TPC grads should consider taking advantage of.
TPC Times :: Fall 2010
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Where In the World Are Our Interns? gathered by
time, they expand upon their
chosen program focus in a real work setting.
Internships create the perfect
Show” in New York City, Road and Track magazine in Newport Beach, CA; GM; Chrysler; Michigan
opportunity to explore and apply the
These internships are completed
Christian Campus Ministries; the
technical writing skill set developed in
any time during their college career
Ferris Office of International
but are most often fulfilled during
Education; and a holy host of
their senior or junior years.
As part of the graduation requirement, all TPC students engage in a four- to
In past semesters, students have
eight- credit hour internship. During this
interned in some interesting places
Check out some of our most recent grads’ internship adventures.
Degree: Technical and Professional Communication
Degree: Journalism and Technical Communication
Degree: Journalism and Technical Communication
Internship location: Citadel Broadcasting Group, Lansing
Internship location: Women’s LifeStyle Magazine & TheTorchOnline.com
Internship location: Daily Herald, Chicago
Internship title: Radio Broadcast Intern
Internship title: Editor and Writer
Internship title: Reporter
A quote from her final report: “Internships create different experiences for every student who
Currently: Graduate school ~ Brighton, England
Sales Assistant ~ Citadel Broadcasting
A quote from his final report: “There wasn’t anything about this [internship] I really didn’t like. It was fun and challenging – it helped that from the start, everyone at liked me and I was able to make a good name for myself. Though I am not a fan of working the 5am shows, they in themselves are enjoyable. My [internship] prepared me for the future I hope to have in the industry; this three-month period gave me what I needed to move forward and to learn what I need to do to get to the position of ‘on-air.’ ”
that include “The David Letterman
indulges in them. For TheTorchOnline.com internship, it was pure virtual work; I brainstormed ideas for my supervisor, wrote what he picked from my ideas and submitted them in return for his critiquing, but helpful, words. Working for Women’s LifeStyle Magazine was also done virtually, but I was able to visit the office twice a month to participate in the final edits of the local and syndicated editions of the magazine. Having mostly virtual internships was both beneficial and difficult. I was able to work on my own time and work at my own pace - I was a freelancer.”
A quote from his final report: “My summer internship at the Daily Herald was an eye-opening experience, and I mean that in both a positive and negative way. I went into these past few months with the idea that this would help me gain a better perspective on what I ultimately want to do with my life. There were some very fulfilling moments during this time: I wrote about a woman who felt she had been wrongly fired for her newly discovered cancer; I wrote about a mayor misusing public resources; and I covered my first murder trial.”
TPC Times :: Fall 2010
Status Updates: a Facebook Shout Out gathered by
Katie Rowley Mimi Miles traveled to Kenya in August as part of a tenmember mission team seeking to bring water and food to the nomadic Pokot tribe. Mike Potter works as the website coordinator for the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment. In addition to assisting with the day-to-day structural updates of Pistons.com and Palacenet.com, he also gathers/edits content and manages the team's social media marketing efforts. Shanna Reynolds is a content developer and being mentored in project management at Media1 in Grand Haven, MI. In her free time she makes art out of duck tape, is learning the ins and outs of digital photography, and spends time with her husband and 3 dogs. If you would like to see a duct tape project, you can see one here: www.duckbrand.com/Promotions/stick-ortreat/Entries/pimp-heartstealer-00231 Nicole Raymond is working as an editorial intern with SMITH Magazine. Check out the six-word memoirs at smithmag.net & add your own! Sidebar, reapplying to Emerson College in Boston - Second time around might be the charm! Ted Johns moved to Virginia Beach, VA after graduating from the TPC Program in 2000 (thank you, Sandy!). He began his career in Information Technology as a Front End Web Technology Specialist. From then until now, he has worked for a variety of online companies including Reynolds Web Solutions, Homes.com and Traderonline.com. He has now continued his career with Operation Blessing International in Chesapeake, VA as a Web Specialist. He can't say enough about his time at Ferris with the TPC program. If not for the staff and program, heâ€™s not sure where heâ€™d be today.
Steve Orlowski now works in Troy, MI, writing training material for Ford dealerships. It's a lot of fun getting paid to write about cars everyday...he says he never thought he'd enjoy it this much. Mary (Huhtala) Hartman now works in catering management and lives along the Colorado front range with her husband, Matt. Penny Bouman is enjoying retirement, making pottery, and camping with her husband in their new-to-them motor home since she closed her consulting business. Jenna Petroskey is a senior course developer for Siemens PLM Software which provides product lifecycle management and engineering software to companies in every kind of industry. Jenna has spent the last fourteen years customizing online and instructor-led training for automotive and aerospace/defense customers. She (rather gleefully!) noted that her long daily commute means that she spends more than 10% of every workday in her car! Dan Hamilton is currently in Brighton, England, studying at the University of Sussex for an MA in Social and Political Thought. When not in the library or lectures, he is soaking up English culture and roaming around Europe as much as a grad student's financial situation will allow for. Kristen (Schmidt) Hines was married on August 13, 2010, to Charles Hines, and they celebrated with a Cirque du Soleil wedding (Ed: check out their incredible wedding photos www.pritchardphotos.com/) J. Harrison Carpenter gave a presentation at Quinnipiac University's 3rd International Critical Thinking/Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in early November (John teaches tech writing at U of Colorado/Boulder.) Sarah Erlewine currently lives in Ann Arbor where she is employed at the University of Michigan producing ESL tests. She intends to pursue her Master of Public Health degree in Health Communications. In her spare time, she is busy planning her upcoming wedding.
Join the Ferris TPC Facebook group to reconnect.
TPC Times :: Fall 2010
A Note from Sandy Balkema TPC alums, friends, and family:
English 411, Fall of 2010 was: Dr. Sandy Balkema, Antonio Coleman, Jake White, Natasha Berryman; (bottom row) Kelsey Cleveland, Emily Leask, Katie Rowley
Another year, and another chance to catch up with old friends, celebrate our successes, and look to the future. I love this opportunity to show off the skills of our current students – and to give them a chance to learn about your contributions to our program and your successes in the “real world.”
and we’re encouraged by the evaluations we received from our students, our grads, and our alumni board members. We’re also encouraged by the signs of renewal in the job market for professional writers. We feel more confident about sending our grads into careers as writers and journalists.
A few words about our program progress: first, the TPC Program is alive and well! The TPC Program has about the same number of students that we’ve had historically: about 25-30 students in the six TPC “options” (the TPC BS, the Journalism BS, the two minors, and the two certificate programs). Second, we’re in the process of finishing our latest Program Review self-study process,
We love hearing from all of you and encourage you to send emails and to find us on Facebook (search for our individual pages and our TPC Program page). Stay in touch! Once a member of the TPC family, ALWAYS a member! (You know, you can choose your friends, but not your family!) Erin Weber, Steve Fox and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season! - Sandy
The newsletter was marketed to alumni and students who were interested in or were already studying Technical and Professional Communication...