That’s a Wrap

social media tree

Colleen Cavanagh

What a fun semester in Journalism 215! Professor XXXX taught us many lessons about the real world, from learning how to empower ourselves to learning how to use Plans B, C and D after Plan A does not seem to work out, as well as ways in which to better ourselves as students.

Looking back over this past semester, I realize just how much I have learned. Before starting this class, I had never put videos or audio clips together, I had never edited video, and I had barely ever used a nice camera. Now, I feel confident in my ability to shoot video, take photos, conduct interviews and record sound.

Assignment One, Getting to Know Your Camera, began with shooting video, mostly just for practicing shooting angles, high/low shots, zooming in and out, etc. I remember being so nervous while setting up my tripod, as I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up taking photos and videos of flowers and other plants outside my house. Some of my shots were shaky, others were not focused. But overall, I think I did alright for my first time using a tripod and nice camera! Check out my first shot at shooting video here!

A close-up shot.

A close-up shot.

For Assignment Two, we were instructed to create a photo essay. For our photo essay, we had to take still pictures and create a story from those pictures. I decided to do my photo essay on my typical morning routine, which includes waking up, brushing my teeth, making cereal, and walking to class. Here is my photo essay.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 11.14.40 PMAssignment Three went right along with Assignment Two, because we simply added natural sound to our photo essay, which gave life to the photos of my morning routine. I had a lot of trouble with deciding what my topic would be, so I feel like I almost took an easy way out with this project and did something that I actually did everyday. Looking back, I probably could have done something a bit more interesting or fun. Here is my photo essay with sound.

Moving right along to Assignment Four, a Video Essay, which was one of my favorite assignments. I decided to go shoot some wildlife and the grounds at Farm Lake, where many U of I barn dances are held. At Farm Lake, I captured peacocks, the lake, birds, paths, and many other beautiful outdoor footage. I enjoyed this assignment because we were given an extremely broad topic, so we could do with it what we wanted.

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Here is my compilation of wildlife at Farm Lake.

Assignment Five brings me to my favorite project, probably because it included my wonderful dog. Assignment Five was our How-To piece. I thought long and hard about something I could teach to our class, and had the hardest time coming up with something. Thankfully, I went home the weekend before the project was due, and realized how terribly trained my three-year-old dog was. I brought my sister and my dog into the backyard and told my sister to attempt to teach our dog how to sit. My sister, loving the camera attention, gladly agreed.

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Check out my video here to see if my sister was able to teach my dog to sit!

Assignment Six brings us to our first audio package. For this assignment, I decided to focus on the upcoming U of I Homecoming festivities. I conducted several interviews about the preparation and safety measures taken for Homecoming Week and Weekend. I really enjoyed this project because I was able to sit down and talk with people, and learn about the inner-workings of an event I have participated in, but never knew how much planning went in to. It was especially interesting speaking with a University Police Officer and hearing what he had to say about the precautions taken during homecoming.

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Check out my audio package here.

Assignment Seven was our Advanced Audio Package, which mainly focused on my final topic: social media usage in classrooms. The most difficult part of this assignment was dividing information between the audio package and the full video package (coming later!), since they were both on the same topic. I think I did a good job in making the audio package about the overall usage of social media in classrooms. Check out my advanced audio package here.

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Assignment Eight was the most time-consuming, yet the most rewarding. My full and complete package is finally finished. After hours of interviewing, shooting, and editing, I feel confident that I put my best work into this final. My final project is about the resistance faced by T.A.’s and professors who decide to use social media in their classrooms, and also about the response students have for using social media in their classes. Here is my final video package of the semester.

Lastly is my publish.illinois.edu website. On my website, I created a news story using the information I gathered from teachers, professors and students about how social media can be a negative and a positive while using it as a way to further teaching. My story incorporates information from all my sources, as well as from a study that discusses social media use in different age groups. Here is my very own website!

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I’ll close with a note of advice to all of you beginning your semester in Multimedia Journalism: Be prepared for a lot of work and many, many deadlines. Maybe eight projects in a semester does not seem like a lot (I know for me at the beginning it didn’t seem like too many), but it truly takes a lot of effort and lots and lots of time. Take it from me, as I’ve been in the lab for six plus hours tonight, do NOT wait until the last minute for your projects! Space them out as well as you can and put all the effort into them that you can. This class is a ton of fun, and you come out of it with an immense amount of knowledge. I wish you luck as you embark on your journey in Multimedia! Don’t forget to empower yourselves. Standby.

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