Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fall 2006 Classes Start September 5th!!!

To All New and Current M.A. in Media Studies Graduate Students:

Welcome to Fall 2006. Check out the new Blackboard! To log on, please go to to a page that looks like the following:

Once you enter, you'll see the new Blackboard:

Click on the "Student" link to get to the student page:

To check your courses, click on the "My Courses" icon at the top right to get to your courses page:

Your courses page will look like the following:

By now you should have received an email from Sally Herships, Technical Coordinator, Academic Support, NSOU, on the required books and coursepacks for your fall classes.

Where to Purchase Your Books
Books and Printed Course Packs may be purchased at the online bookstore.

FULL NSTRUCTIONS for ordering your books and course packs are posted at:

If you have any questions about your course materials please email Sally Hership at

Fall 2006 Courses List
All of your fall courses will be listed online in on Tuesday morning, September 5th. It will look like the following:

Attending orientation is highly recommended to familiarize yourself with the new online learning environment before classes start next Tuesday, September 5th. Orientation is listed under the "My Courses" section of the portal, found on the top right hand area. Once you're in the section, click on the more link in the "My Announcements" section on the right. There you'll find Brett Leveridge's post for Orientation, dated today, Wednesday, August 30th.

Welcome, all graduate students in the M.A. in Media Studies! Good luck in all your classes this fall semester!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Open Registration Starts Today, August 30th

Open Registration on ALVIN starts TODAY. If you want to add a course or drop one you're currently registered for, today is the first day you can do so.

Continuing Students
You'll need your Alternate PIN, a six digit number your advisor gave you upon approving your courses in April, and the CRN number of the course you wish to add. You can obtain the course CRN number on page two of the Media Studies Course Guide - Fall 2006. It's the red 4-digit number listed with the course.

Good luck everyone!

"What Will Your Verse Be?"

As an undergraduate, I majored in English not just so I could articulate my thoughts in a well written essay, but also to study the human condition and the manner in which we communicate and interact with each other both personally and socially.

The desire to care about other human beings and how we are intertwined in society has never left me. I extended this desire beyond my undergraduate training into my graduate studies when I chose to pursue the M.A. in Media Studies at The New School.

Following are the core values of the M.A. in Media Studies program, from Carol Wilder, Chair of The New School's Media Studies and Film Department:

"As a part of The New School, the graduate program in Media Studies reflects a commitment to a number of core values:

* An emphasis on the essential relationship between media theory and practice in the belief that a conceptual understanding of media is necessary for creating discerning productions and, in turn, that producing media messages grounds an understanding of theory.
* A respect for both aesthetic and pragmatic dimensions of communication.
* A recognition of the integrity and potential contribution of all media formats.
* An awareness of the ethical imperatives of communication throughout the "global village".
* An appreciation of the ways in which media theory and practice can contribute to intercultural understanding.
* An acknowledgment of the challenging marketplace conditions that face today's graduates.
* A belief in the importance of openness to change and innovation."

Carol further writes, and this is the reason why I chose an M.A. in Media Studies:
"As the "communication revolution" unfolds everywhere around us, it is easy to agree with Jean Baudrillard that "we live in a world where there is more and more information and less and less meaning." At the New School Media Studies Program, we learn to make both messages and meaning in the hope that we can all become more mindful and humane citizens of tomorrow."
These are the very reasons I chose to further my education in the M.A. in Media Studies -- because the core values of the M.A. in Media Studies program continues the compassion and caring I have for other human beings that is, and always has been, at the very heart of my core and personal values. With that said, as I complete the graduate program in Media Studies, I ask myself what contributions can I make to become a "more mindful and humane citizen?"

This question is ever more important as we move forward. We are a fast-paced high-tech society in the center of a rapidly evolving Web--a great boon to our ability to communicate instantly, locally, nationally, and globally. High tech gadgets are also coming out of the assembly line by the drove--iPods, palm pilots, blackberries, treos, laptops, cell phones with photo capability...the list goes on--created to meet the need for faster, more efficient communication and instant gratification required by today's consumer.

With so much electronic gadgetry becoming available every day, it is easy to lose site of things that matter in life, including appreciating art, nature, poetry, literature. We need to step back and take time out from the daily grind to appreciate these things. Though life exists and our daily lives move forward in time, we are all still human with basic needs for love, a need to get back to nature to regenerate, a need to appreciate the beauty in the world around us. It's important to remember that these are what we are alive for.

Tom Schulman said it best when he raised the question, "What will your verse be?" in Dead Poets Society:

"We read and write poetry because we are members of the human
race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine,
law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and
necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love,
these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, 'O me! O
life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless
trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the foolish; what
good amid these, O me, O life?' Answer. That you are here--that
life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you
may contribute a verse.

That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse...

What will your verse be?"
--Tom Schulman, from The Dead Poets Society

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Pirate" of The Caribbean Revealed!

I used the following screenshot...

and the following... order to create the final digitally manipulated image in my Digital Design class during the Fall 2004 semester with Professor Philip Kain. See previous day's post, below, to view the final image.

Digital Design is a required core class in the M.A. in Media Studies program at The New School. It was one of my favorite courses in the program!

Graduate students have the option to continue with Advanced Digital Design,which currently is only taught on campus in NYC.

Friday, August 25, 2006

"Pirate" of the Caribbean? Avast, Ye Maties! Arrgghh!

Digital Design
One of the most fun projects I completed in Digital Design in Fall 2004, my first semester in the M.A. in Media Studies program, involved learning advanced digital manipulation techniques in photoshop which included layers and masking, along with the study of design concepts both in print and visually on the digital media.

Who's the pirate in this "Pirates of the Carribean" shot?

Above is one of my favorite creations, which had the entire class least the ones who recognized the face immediately. I learned digital manipulation at its best with this exercise!

In my next post I will reveal the two original images I used to create the above image. Stay tuned!

In the mean time, it's Friday, have fun--go out on the town and spend some time with other students or family and friends. Get out into the real world and enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Day of The Long Tail

You may be wondering just what do M.A. in Media Studies students study? Well, we study many things related to media. We look at media, the emergence of various mediums and the ways we communicate with them such as with the evolution of Web 2.0, and we study how all these changes affect us both behaviorally and socially. More on what we study will be coming in future posts. We also study emerging social phenomenon resulting from big media's effects on the masses, such as The Long Tail.

The above segment on the Long Tail phenomenon was shared by Derek in our class blog during our summer course in The New, New Media: Weblogs, Wikis, RSS and Emerging Social Media. Thanks, Derek!

You've got to see it through the end. The mood is foreboding but in the end as the segment suggests, "The audience is up to something." A must see for the masses!

Ha! Yep. That's us. The masses. We're watching. Check us out in Day of the Long Tail.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Very Fond Farewell and Best Wishes to Our Own Tony Laing

Tony Laing, MPA
Senior Graduate Student Services Coordinator
Department of Media Studies and Film
The New School

Our very own Tony Laing, Senior Graduate Student Services Coordinator, is moving to Boston and accepted a position at Massachusetts College of Art as the new Diversity and Programs Exchange Advisor. His last day at The New School will be on Friday, August 25th.

In my lifetime, I have met and gotten to know many people. There are the star performers who put in just a little bit of extra effort and sometimes a LOT of extra effort in their jobs because they want to do a great job or get ahead not just in their jobs but also in life. And then there are those who won't put in just a little bit of extra effort and stay where they are in life.

Tony is definitely a star performer. He puts in the extra effort in his job and in his dealings with students. His efforts shine through and become obvious immediately to any one who's had the honor of interacting with him. He goes the extra mile for every one -- something that is rarely found today.

While we are all sad that you are leaving, We are also very happy for you and wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor! I know they'll love you at the Massachusetts College of Art as we do in the M.A. in Media Studies Program at The New School! They are very lucky to have you.

We think the world of you and we'll really miss you. Thank you for all of your help these past two years. You've helped me feel connected to the program and to the University.

Tony, You're da bom!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Medium Builds Outstanding Students

While in an online class, the medium is such that everything you say is a written record. This has the great advantage that you'll never miss what was said in "class" and you have a permanent record from which you can refer to at any time. It also is very apparent to your professors how much or how little you participate, so it isn't easy to just sit in class and read what others have written without thoughtfully saying anything. Regular participation is a crucial part of taking the courses remotely.

In most of my graduate courses, our professors required a minimum of logging in 3 days a week and participating with a thoughtful, well-thought out post that shows you've done the reading at least twice a week, and more if you want that "A." Not too bad. The pressure is on, however, when you have high caliber classmates who post more than that and participate more. I found this to be the case in all of my courses in the graduate program.

Students who participated often with well-written academic posts stood out in class. The star performers, they were the chattiest, posted the most, and commented on other students' posts in class, keeping the discussions lively, thought-provoking, and insightful. These are the markings of an online course, and I've found all of the courses I've taken online were very high caliber in this way. Thus, I think the quality of the online classes are outstanding. Additionally, the medium is such that it forces you to be a better or more hardworking student. If you participate less or you're not prepared, it becomes very apparent in the medium.

Accelerate Through the Program at a Rapid Pace
Since I was accepted into the M.A. in Media Studies graduate program in 2004, I was able to accelerate through the program quickly on a full-time basis while also working full-time as a Web Developer. I had a great job that wasn't stressful, great professors, and started off my very first semester on the right foot.

If it were not for the asynchronous nature of the online classes and the very "virtualness" of a cyber class, I would not otherwise have moved forward through the program at such a rapid pace. One student completed the program in less than 2 years while working full-time. She was able to do this because she also took a full-time load during the summer semesters. I would not recommend this to those who have many other life obligations, especially those who have a family because at this pace, you can burn out very quickly. But she was highly motivated, single, and wanted to get through the program at this rapid pace and move on with her life -- which is always an option for any graduate student.

Connect Physically Even if You're an Online-Only Student
Because I attended graduate orientation in NYC on campus, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to connect with the University, the faculty, and other graduate students who were just accepted into the M.A. in Media Studies program. The day after the early evening orientation for new graduate students, I was able to take advantage of onsite counseling on the best combination of courses to take my first semester. I fell in line outside the faculty offices with other graduate students to wait my turn for academic counseling. Then I had my picture taken for my I.D. card, checked in at the Bursar's Office, and made a final visit to the Financial Aid office to accept my Federal Stafford loan. I had to follow a software program that tells you in so many words that you have to pay your loan back when you graduate! After that, I spent a couple more days in New York, excited about seeing the city for the first time, and learned the subway system.

There is so much energy in the city! I highly recommend a visit if you're a new graduate student in the M.A. in Media Studies program. As I recommended in a previous post, attend graduate orientation for new graduate students if you possibly can. Even if you're not a new student, I recommend it, especially if you're feeling remote and removed or you are an online-only student. Introduce yourself to the faculty so you can place a face with a name. Meet other students in the program and exchange email addresses. Ask questions. Get to know the new graduate student coordinator who will be replacing Tony Laing.

Just remember that we're all in this together and it's important to network, get connected, and help each other out. These are the very reasons I started this blog.

Any Way You Like It
Some students take most of their courses remotely from all over the United States as well as globally. Other students choose to physically move to NYC to finish their last year in the program on campus while also taking online courses. Others will complete the program remotely but come out in the summer to spend the summer semester completing the production sequence on campus. This is particularly important for students completing a film/video production sequence because all of the equipment you'll need to learn as a documentary film maker is on campus. Even on campus students living in New York City take a combination of on campus and online classes because the online classes make it convenient to complete courses at home in the evening if they also hold jobs -- whether the job is part-time or full-time. Online courses really work well when you have many life obligations.

Nature of the Medium
The very nature of the online medium forces students to stay focused, work harder, and be well-prepared for classes with all the reading completed the weekend before each new week. Because everything is so much more evident in the medium, students who are not prepared or participate with minimum effort become very apparent very quickly.

The medium also enables students who are already highly motivated to complete the program become not just better students but also experts in time management. Juggling work, home, and family responsibilities while attending graduate school involves management your time wisely. It's not easy being remote, but if you're dedicated and completing an M.A. in Media Studies is something you really want without giving up your current living conditions, completing the M.A. in Media Studies online will enable you to complete it in a way that will work with your life. You just have to really want it, and it's yours for the taking.

The M.A. in Media Studies program which was founded in 1975 became available online in 2003 so that the University could reach more students world-wide. I would be surprised if this weren't the case -- this is, afterall, a master's degree in Media Studies -- the study of the rapid evolution of new mediums by which we can communicate -- and how it affects how we communicate globally and socially.

Light Years Ahead...An Understatement!
The New School is light years ahead of other traditional Universities in using the new medium of the Web to reach out globally to students from all over the world to provide the M.A. in Media Studies program -- the first of its kind -- through a remarkable University portal from which students can access their courses from anywhere in the world as long as you can access the Internet...light years ahead is an understatement!

Monday, August 21, 2006

And Just What ARE Those Darling Tag Clouds?

To the left is a screenshot of the tag clouds I created. If you take a look on the far right column of this blog, you'll see the tag clouds in their original size. They were created thanks to ZoomClouds. The way tag clouds work is the bigger the word in size, the more I've used it in my posts throughout this entire blog. It's a great search tool! I highly recommend creating tag clouds for your blog. I had the most fun designing my tag clouds. While taking The New New Media: Weblogs, Wikis, RSS and Emerging Social Media with Professor Robert Berkman this past summer semester, we were thoroughly surprised and enjoyed learning about this new tool being used on the Web 2.0 aka the Social Web. They are the next generation of meta tags that search engine optimizers used, but taken to a new and very visible level. I think they draw attention in all their colors. As a class, many of us thought they were the cleverest invention and pretty darling, too.

Definitions: Tag Clouds Further Explained

According to Wikipedia's entry a tag cloud is the following:
"A tag cloud (more traditionally known as a weighted list in the field of visual design) is a visual depiction of content tags used on a website. Often, more frequently used tags are depicted in a larger font or otherwise emphasized, while the displayed order is generally alphabetical. Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. Selecting a single tag within a tag cloud will generally lead to a collection of items that are associated with that tag.

The first widely known tag cloud appeared on Flickr, the photo sharing site. That implementation was based on Jim Flanagan's Search Referral Zeitgeist, a visualization of web site referrers. Tag clouds have also been popularised by Technorati, among others.

The first published appearance of a tag cloud can be attributed to the "subconcious files" in Douglas Coupland's Microserfs (1995)."

A great visual example of tag clouds can be seen on as shown on their site's screenshot below: defines tag clouds simply as:
"...a list of tags where size reflects popularity."
I would change their definition to:
"...a list of visual tags where size reflects popularity."

ZoomClouds offers an easy way to create tag clouds for your blog or Web site.

ZoomClouds defines tag clouds as follows:
"Tag clouds are cool, informative, appealing representations about what's happening in your blog, or anywhere else.

With ZoomClouds you can put in a matter of minutes a tag cloud in your site, based on whichever RSS feed you like."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

To Wiki or NOT to Wiki...Is That The Question?

On a lighter note, today I want to share this hilarious segment poking fun on the nature of the Wiki and Wikipedia. Check it out:

On Wikis and Wikipedia
While taking the graduate course "The New New Media: Weblogs, Wikis, RSS, and Emerging Social Media" with Professor Robert Berkman over the summer, when the week came to learn about the nature of Wikis, we were given an assignment that was a real eye opener.

In the beginning, I was skeptical about Wiki's when we studied this medium simply from the nature of the medium and how it is run--that anyone may add to, or edit, any existing entry. As a class assignment, we were tasked with a research assignment on any subject we felt we knew a lot about. Since I felt I knew a lot about Basset Hounds from having had a beloved Basset in the family for many years, I chose this breed as a means to check for inaccuracies -- I felt fairly confident as a fact checker because I have first-hand experience with our family Basset Hound along with personal conversations with breeders and other Basset Hound owners. We were to compare the entry on Wikipedia online from a traditional encyclopedia entry, whether in print or online. I chose the Encyclopedia Britannica online.

Disappointed with the limited information on the breed on Encylopedia Britannica online, I signed up for the free trial so that I could see more of the original entry, reserved for members only. I was even more disappointed. There wasn't much information beyond the original entry. Plus I was distracted by all of the ads on the page -- as shown on the screenshot below.

Encyclopedia Britannica provided the following information with one small photograph of the Basset Hound:
"breed of dog developed centuries ago in France and long maintained, chiefly in France and Belgium, as a hunting dog of the aristocracy. Originally used to trail hares, rabbits, and deer, it has also been used in hunting birds, foxes, and other game. It is characterized as a slow, deliberate hunter, with a deep voice and a “nose” second in keenness only to that of the bloodhound. …"
In contrast, the Wikipedia entry was extensive and thorough -- an entire page full of facts and interesting information -- truly I was surprised and delighted. And I liked the fact that there were no ads on the Wikipedia entry -- or any Wikipedia entry for that matter. I found the information accurate to my knowledge based on my own experiences with the breed. I was very impressed with the extent to which many individuals have contributed their knowledge about Basset Hounds on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia entry included information about the breed's appearance, temperament, history, health and care, training, popular culture, and external links. Below are screenshots of the entire page devoted to Basset Hounds on Wikipedia.

I have since changed my mind about the value of Wikipedia as a source of information. While all encyclopedias including both Wikipedia and the more traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica have their shortcomings, including inaccuracies, I will not hesitate to use the Wikipedia as a source of information in the future. As a graduate student, however, I am trained to do extensive research and not to rely on just one source, which is my advice to anyone conducting research. I will continue to research information thoroughly from a wide variety of sources including the invisible web, academic databases available to M.A. in Media Studies students through our University portal, etc., Google Scholar, etc. I would suggest the same to any graduate student. However, I will continue to use the Wikipedia as a fairly reliable source of information and look forward to continuing to use it for research and fact-checking purposes.

Although the Wikipedia has its shortcomings and inaccuracies, which are also inherent in the traditional encylopedias by the way, as a whole, the class reacted very favorably with the entries on Wikipedia as compared to a traditional encyclopedia entry. The entries on Wikipedia in most researched cases appeared to be more extensive as well for several students. The Wikipedia, I learned, is a great example of the phenomenon James Surowiecki talks about in his book, "The Wisdom of Crowds." Fascinating phenomenon!

Class Wiki
We also created a class Wiki which will eventually be integrated as part of the M.A. in Media Studies program -- an important addition that will help students be more "hands on" about studying the various emerging social mediums on the Web. It is a vital part of being a graduate student in the M.A. in Media Studies program. Any and all media studies graduate students are encouraged to contribute to the class Wiki.

If you are a current graduate student in the program, please feel free to contribute to the class Wiki any knowledge you have about the M.A. in Media Studies program, any inside information you may have about student resources such as the best coffee shops to hang out and meet other students, any favorite local restaurants, etc., -- anything you'd like to contribute to help other graduate students who reside in NYC or live remotely. This is what the class Wiki was created for and what it is all about -- helping each other feel more connected with the University and with each other while providing another voice that is at the same time many voices.

You may also add your personal experiences and reflections about the M.A. in Media Studies program in the class Wiki under "Student Experiences and Testimonials." We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Just a Little Bit of Extra Effort Will Get You a Lot Ahead in Life...

As I headed home yesterday afternoon from a beautiful drive north of San Francisco and a very important meeting, I approached the ever so beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, an Engineering feat and beloved gem of San Francisco. At the toll booth, I stopped and rolled my window down about 5 inches, which is as far as I can roll that window since it broke a couple of months ago. I pulled up to the toll booth, looked to my left and saw the same guy who took my money the last time I was there a couple of weeks ago. As my window rolled down, it stopped as it made the usual loud sound with the motor stuck, leaving me only 5 inches of space to extend my arm.

I said, "I'm window won't go down any's broken."

I then reached my left arm out the window as far as I could to hand him my $5.00 bill and I noticed he never once made eye contact. He saw me struggling and simply extended his arm out to reach for my bill, but he did not so much as budge his body even half an inch to take the bill out of my hands. So I ended up reaching even further left as much as I could to extend my arm to try to hand the bill to him. He never budged from his original position. I think that's the position he maintains all day. It was a struggle to reach and stretch out as far as I could to get the bill to him, but it finally reached him enough that it touched his finger tips and that's when he finally made an effort to take it out of my hands. I don't even want to think about what would have happened if the bill flew off into the air during the exchange!

Heaven forbid if someone needs change from this man! The exact same incident happened two weeks ago with the same man. I had forgotten that this was the lane I wanted to avoid in the future -- three lanes in from the far right. Noted. Ugh.

I drove off, rolled my eyes in utter exasperation, and thought about how unfortunate it was that I picked the same lane with the same man who refused to make any extra effort, however tiny, to do a better job. To say I was frustrated over the experience is an understatement.

When I got home, I was determined to blog about my experience. It occurred to me that you may be wondering why I would blog about this in a blog geared for helping graduate students? I think I have an important point to make.

For any human being who wants to better his/her life, it's important to come up with some life goals, follow through, and be willing to put forth some extra effort to achieve those goals, while staying motivated. But even more important than staying motivated is knowing that you want to better your life and wanting to badly enough that you'll make the extra effort to get ahead--whatever it takes. This is one reason students go to college and obtain a Bachelor's degree.

However, as the stakes get higher such as in advanced learning where coursework increases in difficulty as in a graduate program and students are required to think and write even more critically about the world around them and to back up those views with credible, accurate research, the number of students who complete or go after the advanced degrees drop dramatically.

I remember attending two graduate ceremonies at Cal Poly for two of my sisters who each have an MBA--one also simultaneously completed a dual MBA/Master's Degree in Engineering Management. Both are Cal Poly undergraduate Alumni. At both commencement ceremonies for the College of Business, there were hundreds of students being recognized for completing their bachelor's degrees--a very admirable accomplishment worthy of recognition. When the graduate students were recognized in the same ceremony, there were 10 students...sometimes less. The contrast is striking. For example, for the Cal Poly graduate ceremony photograph below of a specific school (not the entire University), I counted only 3 graduate students in the photograph. They are wearing the distinctive green Cal Poly hoods reserved for graduate students.

Not all students who complete their bachelor's degree will go on to obtain a graduate degree for one life reason or another. Some have told me they hate school. For some it's not a life goal. For some, it takes too much effort. For others, it's physically not possible due to family and work constraints. For others, it's not enough of a priority to want to put in a little extra effort for a program that requires a LOT of effort from students, and even more so for those students who are remote and removed from the University.

Graduate students in the M.A. in Media Studies program at The New School who are not on campus students and work remotely are subject to additional difficulties:

1. Students have to be exceptionally motivated and really want to complete the graduate degree or it would be very easy to slip away from the program and lose motivation;

2. Much more preparatory work, writing, and participation is expected of online students; being unprepared and not completing the week's reading assignment ahead of time is not an option because it becomes readily apparent in the medium;

4. Students have the added disadvantage of feeling remote and disconnected from the support of the University and other students because of the "virtual" nature of the cyber class.

For these reasons and others, online-only students in the M.A. in Media Studies program at The New School who do complete the program are highly motivated students who put in more than just a little extra effort. They have to because the medium is such that it weeds out those who are not as motivated and do not want to put forth the extra effort, from those exceptional students who do.

These characteristics are the markings of successful graduate students completing the M.A. in Media studies remotely--they work hard, prepare for class, are motivated, and are more than willing to put in the extra effort--even despite some of the challenges they face in the medium. And, more important, they really want the master's degree. Truly, the medium builds outstanding students.

As I finish writing this post, I am reminded of the man at the Golden Gate Bridge toll booth who had no desire to put forth any extra effort while on the job. And I am sorry for him. Sorry that he won't ever be a star performer. Sorry that he has no desire to make a little bit of extra effort to get ahead in his job...maybe even in life.

Putting forth that little bit of extra effort is what distinguishes those who move forward and do great things with their lives from those who stay where they are. It's the difference between the star performers in any company who will contribute greatly, evolve, grow, and get promoted within the company from those who are the 9-5 workers who stay where they are their entire careers. It's what makes people who contribute great things to our society vs. people who don't. And it's what distinguishes any and all students, particularly graduate students who work remotely on their own, who get straight A's from those that get average grades--at any University. It's the difference between getting ahead in your life...and staying where you are.

Just a little bit of extra effort will truly get you a lot ahead not just in graduate school, but in life. Trust me. I know about this one.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Last Few Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Well here we are, already a couple of days past mid-August! The summer has certainly flown by. As we near the end of the week on these last few hazy days of summer, I just want remind students to start getting ready for the upcoming fall semester.

Soon the hustle and bustle from new and returning graduate students returning for Fall 2007 semester will be upon us. My friend and colleague, Melissa, is also looking forward to the start of the semester. We're both in a holding pattern -- just doing projects, writing in our blogs, working, etc., as we await the excitement of the upcoming semester. Even though we both took a summer course, we are still excited! I can't wait!

Get Your Housing Plans in Order
For on campus students, I recommend you firm up your housing plans if you haven't already. The Media Studies department should have sent you a packet on housing information. If you are still looking, a great resource is for NYC. Hopefully you're not all running around like crazy finding housing though I have heard from many friends who live in NYC that housing can be hard to find and for a lot of money, you get a teeny tiny space. But hey, it's New York City! That's the way it is. There are other benefits--like great places to eat with great food and reasonable prices, a great subway system, art museums, culture ... you get the jist.

Graduate Orientation
Whether you are an on campus or online-only student, or a combination, I highly recommend attending graduate orientation. It is well worth the experience to connect with the M.A. in Media Studies department and to place a face with a name. You'll meet some of the core faculty and other new students.

In 2004, I am certain I was the only online-only student who attended and it's made such a difference the duration of my graduate studies. Plus it was fun to visit NYC -- a place I had never visited but heard much about. I've returned every year in August to connect, to say hi to Tony Laing, and to enjoy the energy of NYC. New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude. I never found this to be the case at all. They are straightforward and upfront, outspoken to a T, gracious even though they may sound cranky at times, but they always smile back when I smile at them and they say "You're welcome" when I am courteous and say "Thank you." As they say, you either love New York or you hate it. As for me, even though I am a California girl, I love NY!

Open Registration on ALVIN is August 30th
Open registration on ALVIN starts August 30th, so it you're looking to add or drop classes you're currently registered for or make any additional changes to your course schedule, that is the day to get online and make the changes. Of course, current students will have priority according to number of units completed, and I am so looking forward to getting in there and adding one class that will apply to my M.A. in Media Management. Of course, the class likely won't be dropped by anyone since Competitive Strategies is a popular class for those students pursuing the Media Management Certificate, but I thought I'd give it a shot and even beg Professor Charles Warner to get in. Ever the optimist, I've got my fingers crossed!

Some Courses I Really Look Forward To
My seniority status will also help me get into Photography and Social Change, with William Crow, a class I couldn't get into in the Spring 2006 semester, even with my seniority. Will teaches it just once a year in the Spring, so I've decided to stay behind one more semester just to take the I may have to anyway if I'm not able to get into or add Competitive Strategies (it is currently full). Yes, I'm staying behind to take Will's class--the topic is important to me and worth waiting one more semester--even though at the present time as I write this, I need just one class to graduate with the M.A. in Media Studies. Competitive Strategies is the last class beyond the one I'm already registered for in the fall (Media, Corporate Responsibility & The Law) to complete the 12 units needed for the Media Management Certificate, and the course, Photography and Social Change is for ... well ... life enrichment on a personal level!

I am very happy to say that I was very lucky to get into Visual Storytelling in the Fall with Shari Kessler. I'm looking forward to Shari's class, Visual Storytelling, and learning as much as I can from her. Most inspiring is what Shari shares in her biography:

"Shari Kessler (MA. New School University, Media Studies; BS. M.I.T., Photography & Visual Design) is an editorial/documentary photographer and visual media consultant. Her artistic and corporate work in Latin American and Asia has given her a diverse and exotic portfolio, including assignments for the National Geographic Society; the Smithsonian Institution; Citibank; the BBC; Thailand Tatler magazine; US Agency for International Development; the World Bank; Operation Smile, and McGraw-Hill publishers.

Shari's images have been exhibited and published internationally; she was the first American to be invited to exhibit in a solo show in Hanoi, since the Vietnam/American war. Shari studied fine art black-and-white photography with American guru photographer Minor White; spent 15 years in the darkroom; and while now, she loves photoshop and good digital scans, she is happiest with her trusty old Leicas and color transparency film, shooting everything, except wars and weddings!"