Sunday, April 27, 2008

Advice for Angie's Fall 2008 English 304 students

In my opinion, there's not much advice to give when it comes to Angie's class because doing well in there is pretty much common sense; with that being said, all you have to do is do your assigned work, come to class as much as you can, and put forth some effort in assignments and group work.

This is one class that I actually really enjoyed this year because it's practical but also not too difficult. You learn things about business communication that you really will need to know, so it's important to take the writing assignments seriously. Also, keep up with your blog! I thought that if anyone I would be the person to slack off and forget about my blog, but I actually surprised myself. If you check the to-do list that Angie puts up one or two times before the end of the week, you probably won't forget - at least I didn't!

The 3 major Portfolios are also a large part of your grade, so it is important to take time with them also. I didn't spend as much time on the first one as I should have, and I didn't get that great of a grade. Angie gives you comments to revise it, though, so I took her advice and did a lot better on the second one.

Like I said, this class is fun and is really beneficial for students planning to enter the business world. I thought I knew how to make a resume, but I found out in this class that I had no idea what I was doing. Come to class, do your work, and take big assignments seriously; doing well in Angie's English 304 class is pretty easy if you try!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ethics Research: Nation of Islam & Human Experimentation

Regarding our ethics research, Micka and I found two totally different topics both of significant relevance: Nation of Islam and human experimentation in the U.S. What we found when we researched though, is that it is extremely hard to find original writings from these documented examples of ethical lapses because the creators have done a great job of concealing them.

We couldn't really find any good original documents or speeches by leaders of the Nation of Islam, but the "rules" of the organization are proof enough that it is an example of an ethical lapse in itself. For instance, "The Muslim Program" rule number 2 reads "
2. We want justice. Equal justice under the law. We want justice applied equally to all, regardless of creed or class or color."
This sounds great, right? Then you go down to read rule #4, and the organization's true motives come out.
4. We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves, to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own--either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally rich. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years--until we are able to produce and supply our own needs."
In other words, they believe white people of TODAY owe the black people of today because of what white people did 100 years ago. That's not justice; it's racism.

Since I couldn't find any historical documents for NOI, I decided to research about human experimentation in the U.S. I came up with lots of examples, but the government has done a good job trying to hide the documents (I can now see why). The U.S. government tried everything on people, from LSD to radiation. I found a few original documents, but most of the words are blacked out (to hide stuff I assume).

All in all, even though we didn't come up with much, the lesson was learned.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ethical Lapses in the Workplace

I was actually shocked about some of the statistics concerning unethical practices in the workplace; but I have to say I wasn't THAT shocked. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past oh, I'd say fifty years but mostly the last fifteen or so, then you know that this country's ethics (as projected by the media anyway) have been on the decline. I say this from a semi-conservative point of view, but although I'm not conservative at all, I'm also not unrealistic. Sexual innuendos and obscene language is included in just about every single thing on television; I'm not saying I care, but it's evidence that America's standard of "good ethics" has been significantly lowered in the past ten to fifteen years.

With that being said, I'm not surprised that almost three-quarters of working Americans have encountered ethical lapses on the job; in fact, I'm one of them. I mean think about where some people work; if this LRN place was being totally random and unbiased it would have covered all the bases of the term "workplace", from strip joints to high-rise office buildings. And we all know that sometimes the buisness men in suits driving Lexus's are the same creepy old guys visiting strip joints and violating the young women there in the early hours of the morning. It's sickening, but the facts are there: unethical practices take place everywhere.

Like I said, I've seen my share of these so-called "unethical practices" - anything from using old vegetables in food, to picking up food and putting it back on plates, to stealing, and even to sexual harassment and other illegal practices. Was I one of the one-third of Americans who actually reported the unethical incident they had witnessed? Nope, because I knew that my management wouldn't do anything about it. However, I do think that more people should report those kinds of things because they aren't good for the employees and they aren't good for the company.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Writing on Paper vs. Writing on the Web

First, I just want to start out by saying that I actually found Chapter 15 interesting and relevant to my life. I sort of laughed as I read through it, thinking about all the websites I see every day that make the kinds of mistakes my book is talking about. With that said, let me get started on the topic at hand.

Okay, so how is writing on paper and writing on the web the same? When writing on the web, such as when one creates a website, you want to use plain language but still try to be formal. As the book notes, the web often invites informality in writing and communication, and with tools like chat rooms and AOL Instant Messenger, it's hard to NOT be informal. However, when writing on the web, you should still try to be as formal and professional as possible while still being clear and concise, just as you would when composing a document on paper. Similarly, you still have to document the sources used on the web, and you still want to make sure to organize your thoughts, like you would in a hand-written paper.

Although these two types of writing have some similarities, they also have substantial differences. When designing a web page, advertisement, or any other document on the web, one should use the "inverted pyramid" organizational plan, where the conclusion/most important points are stated first. Because web users' attention spans are often short, you want to make sure to catch their attention quickly. Once you have it, then you can expand on your main ideas. Also, one the web you want to avoid directional cues, i.e. "as shown in the example below", that you would perhaps normally include in a paper document. I know that I always hate it when I have to scroll and find the example or diagram the paragraph is talking about, and the book suggests using hyper links to make browsing quick and easy and avoid losing frustrated customers, like me. :)

What if you want to transfer an existing paper document to the web? One of the things you need to do is make sure you have permission from the author/owner of the document to publish it on the web, including any graphics or images. For example, our group proposal contains multiple images of the Clemson University Tiger Paw logo. Since the tiger paw is a copyrighted logo, our group would need to get permission from the University before publishing our final proposal on the web for public viewing. Another thing you need to do is contact the web master of the website that the document will be viewed on. Make sure you confirm the electronic format of the document (PDF, Microsoft Word, etc.) and ask the web master to correct any slow-loading graphics or pages. Finally, make sure to preview the website before publishing and correct any mistakes or problems!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Free Topic - Random Thing I'm Thinking Right Now

Okay, so I admit that I watch a lot of TV - probably more than most people. However, this is beside the point of my rant, but it helps to explain why I am so passionate about my views concerning my blog topic for today. The thing that I hate most about television these days is the commercials - a specific type of commercial actually. I absolutely cannot stand those stupid commercials about weed or cigarettes that pop up on my TV every what seems like fifteen minutes. I'm not saying that I don't agree with their messages; I'm also not saying that I do.
Maybe I'm a bit biased because I wrote this incredibly awesome (if I do say so myself) and extremely well researched paper my senior year of high school comparing the dangers of alcohol abuse (alcohol being a legal drug) to the dangers of marijuana abuse (marijuana being an illegal drug). It would take me about four hours to write out all the findings of all the tons of research done, but I can tell you this: I've never heard of or met a person that ever died from smoking too much pot. I have, however, had friends who got paralyzed in drunk driving accidents and died from alcohol poisoning on their bathroom floors.

Maybe the commercials suck so much because the creators have obviously never been drunk or high before in their lives, and half of what they say is blatantly false. Maybe they suck because they are shown WAY too much. Whatever the case may be, I'm tired of seeing them. I can't say that they don't make me laugh sometimes, but I can say that they don't get any kind of serious message across to me. If "TRUTH" or any other NPO wants to warn teens about drugs, they should start with alcohol; at the very least, they should change it up a little because I'm sick of hearing about pot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Article Response: Lying On Your Resume

Although I found this article pretty interesting, it didn't tell me a lot I didn't know. It's hard to believe that nearly half of all employees have lied on their resume, but I for one don't find it that hard to believe. One of my friends was just telling me the other day how her boyfriend had lied on his resume that he recently submitted for a position up north somewhere, but he made sure to cover himself, at least for the time being. He's friends with his manager where he currently works and asked if it would be okay if he just put he was an assistant manager on his resume even though he's not. Sure, that works for now, but what about when his friend leaves the company? Will the boyfriend remember to change his resume, or will he just take the chance of not getting caught?

After reading this article, if it were me, I wouldn't even take the risk in the first place. Not only will he most likely get caught in the future, but what he's doing is unethical and dishonest. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy, but he knows that he is lying about his credentials, and this article suggests that he will probably end up getting caught.

I know that I don't really have a lot to put on my resume as of now, but I have never even thought about lying about its content. For one, I'd feel bad. Two, I'd be paranoid every day at work hoping somebody didn't find me out. All in all, the article taught me that lying on your resume just isn't worth the risk and the guilt, and the falsified information probably won't help you out as much as you might think. I agree!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Presentations - My Favorite(s)

I couldn't pick just one presentation as my favorite because two from my class really stood out to me. First, I really enjoyed the presentation on Edie Sedgwick because she is someone I hadn't heard of but now find really interesting. I think she's someone I'd be friends with if I was around back then; she seems like a fun girl who knows how to party, and I love that! She was a trend-setter in the fashion world and beautiful girl, and it's a shame that she had to die so young.

Another presentation I really enjoyed was the one on mules. To be honest, at first I didn't think it would be that interesting because really, who thinks mules would be something you'd want to hear about. But the charisma of the presenter won me over; he was really good! He made the mule seem like the greatest invention on earth, and after his presentation, I was believing him. I never knew mules were so strong or smart, and I now have a greater appreciation for the animal. I really enjoyed all of the presentations; all were really interesting and informational!