Annie Learns.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

in case you were wondering...

I do have another blog that I prefer to post to. So if you at all see this blog and are wondering, you can find me over here.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our ebook has arrived!

Writing about Literature in the Digital Age is a free eBook by students at Brigham Young University who are pushing boundaries of traditional literary study to explore the benefits of digital tools in academic writing. This collaborative effort is a case study of how electronic text formats and blogging can be effectively used to explore literary works, develop one’s thinking publicly, and research socially. Students used literary works to read the emerging digital environment while simultaneously using new media to connect them with authentic issues and audiences beyond the classroom. As literacy and literature continue their rapid evolution, accounts like these from early explorers give teachers and students of literature fresh reference points for the literary-digital future.

During the webinar, we invite you to hear the authors discuss their work and the making of their eBook. You will be able to download your free copy of Writing About Literature in the Digital Age during or following the webinar launch on June 15th, 2011.

Contributors: Alymarie Rutter, Amy Whitaker, Annie Ostler, Ariel Letts, Ashley Lewis, Ashley Nelson, Ben Wagner, Bri Zabriskie, Carlie Wallentine, Derrick Clements, James Matthews, Matt Harrison, Nyssa Silvester, Rachael Schiel, Sam McGrath, Taylor Gilbert, and Gideon Burton.

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What it was like to be on "the design team"

Being on the design team was A LOT of work. I already had a base knowledge of working with the InDesign program, but I know that my team mate, Sam McGrath, spent a lot of time getting familiar with the program before we even started. InDesign was the program we used to compile the entire ebook, and I know that it's a great design program when you are completely familiar with it, but when you aren't, you confront of little quirks that sometimes turn into big frustrations.

Another program that was very helpful in our work was dropbox, which allowed us to compile all of the individual work that we were doing. I had never used it before, so I'm glad that I have come away with this familiarization of this online service.

To compile our book, we had to create a uniform style within InDesign to format all of the chapters. We had to create each chapter as a different file, because we didn't know the order of the chapters yet--this was kind of annoying considering we had to import paragraph and character styles for every new file. We also had to create our hyperlinks and what we hoped would have been an interactive table of contents. Unfortunately, this didn't happen because nothing we did would work the way we wanted to and we just didn't have enough time.

The hardest part about this process was that things that looked great on InDesign would for some reason look completely off in the epub format. This caused A LOT of grief. This is where a better knowledge and familiarization of InDesign would have been helpful. But I know that Sam shared a lot of tutorial videos that we would follow, and still not get the results we needed.

The moral of this story is that two weeks is not enough time at all to write, edit, compile, format, and publish a publication. It really taught us patience and skills in how to work effectively and skills on how not to throw the computer out the window after countless times of it not doing what we want.

I have to say that this experience wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't have had the chance to work with Sam and Ben Wagner. They were great to work with. They put in so much time into this project and they helped me learn so much.

I'm glad that I have come away with these skills now of working with InDesign and becoming more familiar with epub formatting. With the way things are going, it will definitely come in handy for the future. It also is rewarding to see your finished product. It also makes you feel giddy in a way to think that you have published something somewhere!
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What I have learned this term

The course outline we had for this class was to become more familiar with and appreciate the changing modes to reading literature and writing about it. This expected outcome was hard for me to see at first, because I was so used to the cookie cutter English major expectations. Starting a blog for a class to turn contribute our writing ideas was so new to me, and I enjoyed that aspect of the class.

As far as writing styles go, this class was surprising and sometimes confusing about what kind of writing styles were expected for this class. I was so used to an academic writing style, so being more free to bring in my personal voice and opinions was liberating. But then my professor told us that a lot of our blog posts were not academically-based enough. I loved putting together my chapter for our class ebook, which was to be personal and not restricted to any writing style. And then the requirement was given that we had to compose our chapter in a specific structure with a pull quote, sub-headings, and a "tweethis," which essentially made every person's chapter very uniform. So these kind of things confused me about the learning outcomes for this class.

I have come away from this class with a much greater appreciation for all the modes of online learning that there are. And I have come away with a greater perspective on the changing technology and how we can use it most effectively to help us in our acquisition of knowledge. I have especially enjoyed being involved with my classmates and getting to see their ideas and research along the way: it definitely gave me many new ideas to approaching research.

I plan on still trying to actively put out daily content on the web because I have learned more about the importance of a positive and active online presence. And I really hope that my classmates will do the same, because this has been a great class of students, with a lot of cool ideas and cool things to share.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

The digital age kind of depresses me

I've been thinking about this for the last few weeks as we have been discussing literature and writing in the digital age, and today we talked about it more in my Print Publishing class today and it made me kind of sad.

Remember the movie "You've Got Mail"? I love that movie. And as I watched it a few weeks ago, it made me sad to see the irony of it. Tom Hanks puts Meg Ryan's adorable neighborhood bookstore out of business with his book superstore a la Borders, but they still find love in the end. If they were to make a sequel to the movie it would now involve Hanks's huge bookstore declaring bankruptcy because of the "big bad" Amazon and the eReader revolution (and hopefully they still love each other).

I love the new technologies of today. Call me a traitor to the good old fashioned bookstore, but I love Amazon, I own a Kindle, and I love the modern resources there are to writing about literature like blogs and on-line forums. But I just wish that it were possible for me to still enjoy these things without Borders or Barnes and Noble to have to close stores or declare bankruptcy.

We talked about the future of print publishing today in my class, and it gave me a little hope for publishing. My favorite point of my Professor: novels still have a chance in print publishing because when you go to the beach and want your cheap reads to enjoy, are you going to take your fancy ipad and get sand all over it? I don't think so! What about giving books as gifts? Will people rather get a book electronically? That's an interesting thing to think about as well.

So I guess that we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I plan on going to Borders this week to purchase my beach read novels this week for my honeymoon (!!), and maybe buy another kindle book to read on the airplane over there. So it's win win, I guess.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

My chapter, bio, photo, and "Tweethis" statement

Here's my bio photo:
My chapter can be found here.

My tweetable statement: Modern writers are connecting with readers through modern means of communication: essentially creating a living, working, and involved relationship.

character count: 148. it's good?

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Mastering the Art of Class Project Combining

As a graduating senior, I have learned how valuable it is to connect your classes to create content for your class projects and assignments. I'm not talking about using the exact same paper for two different classes. Not exactly. What I'm talking about is using different aspects of your research or learnings in one class and using them in your other class projects.

This term, I was especially successful at doing this and it has really helped me connect my classes and get the most out of all of them.

So, for eng 295, we had to choose a personal work of literature. I am also enrolled in eng 495 right now which is all about Toni Morrison. That's why I chose Song of Solomon as my novel (luckily, I really like Toni Morrison, so it's been a win win).

Because of the different types of research I have been doing for this class, like using non-conventional secondary sources like blogs and on-line forums, I plan on writing my final paper for 495 about Morrison's readers coming together and connecting through these different modes. This will also include a more in-depth analysis of Morrison's literature, but I am excited to do this critical analysis using these new, non-conventional sources. I'm excited because I really think it will make my paper unique.

And last but not least, I am also enrolled in my capstone class for my editing minor, which involves the final project being a completed published book containing my edited manuscripts, cover design, page designs, etc. The idea is to keep this physical copy of the book and show it to employers as part of my portfolio. I plan on doing this, but what I am really excited about doing is taking my book and converting it into an ebook format, like I am doing right now for our class ebook. I think that this will be even better to show employers or refer them to look at, rather than having them quickly flip through my physical copy. That's what I hope for, anyway!

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Just finished

Annie's bookshelf: read

The Bluest EyeSulaThe GiverThe Devil Wears PradaEnder's GameFahrenheit 451

More of Annie's books »
Annie's  book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists
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What I'm Reading

Annie's bookshelf: currently-reading

The GiverThe Devil Wears PradaEnder's GameFahrenheit 451Gone With the WindSense and Sensibility

More of Annie's books »
Annie's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

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