Docstoc

journals

Document Sample
journals Powered By Docstoc
					Seham Elmalak
ENG 352-H02
Dr.Lipuma
                                             Journals

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Write a brief history of your academic, work, and personal life to explain what has brought you
to this class. Afterwards, give an evaluation of your own strengths and weaknesses along with
your view of your own communication skills and needs.
         My name is Seham Elmalak, better known to my friends as Semo. I was born in Cairo,
Egypt on November 30, 1988. I spent seven years of my life there and moved to the United
States on February 16th, 1996. I am currently a sophomore student at New Jersey Institute of
Technology pursuing a degree in Communications and Media. I recently changed my major from
Biology. While it may seem as a drastic change in interest, it was certainly not an impulsive one.
I had been interested in writing and communications since my grammar school days. It’s always
been a hobby of mine. When I first began college, I gave myself two options to attain a degree
in, either a science-related major or an English-related major. I decided to go with the former.
From that moment on, I continued to question my decision until this past winter break when I
finally decided that I had made the wrong choice. So while this class may fulfill a General
University Requirement, that is not the reason I registered for it. I am looking to benefit a great
deal from this class, whether it be improvements in my communications or writing skills or life
lessons that I can apply in the future. I have heard many great things about this course from
former students, and I am just hoping that it will help me as well.
         I would say that one of my biggest strengths is my writing and communications skills.
Once I start writing, I often find that the words just continue to flow. It’s more than just a hobby
for me. It’s a passion. There’s just something about holding a pen in your hand and sitting in
front of a blank sheet of paper (or a blank computer screen in today’s modern world) and having
the power to create a new world, to create a masterpiece. I find that writing can be both stress-
relieving and valuable. To master almost anything nowadays, practice is a requirement. Writing
is no exception. I hope to use this class as an opportunity to practice and to acquire new skills. I
have several other interests and strengths. For instance, I look for chances to be creative, whether
it be in writing or graphic design. I am good with computers. I am polite and respectful and work
well with others.
         With strengths, however, comes limitations. I am currently working on my bad habit of
procrastination. Like I wrote earlier, once I start writing, the rest of it comes naturally. The
problem, often times, is that initial step, the “starting” part. I am trying to improve my time
management skills. I am also working on not being so passive about things that bother me. I am a
friendly person and while that may be good quality, I have found, from experience unfortunately,
that people can take advantage of that. So I am trying to avoid that.

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Define the following terms in your own words: Technology, Technical, Writing, and
Communication. You may use outside sources but I do not want you to just copy and paste or
retype what they have written.

My original definitions were as follows:
Technology- the branch of knowledge that often incorporates the use of industrial arts, science and
engineering in order to improve or invent methods or processes that affect society.
Technical- of or pertaining to an aspect of technology. Relating to an art or science.
Writing- to express or communicate by the use of words or characters
Communication- a means of getting one idea across to another individual or group. The successful
exchange of thoughts, ideas, messages, or information by the use of means such as speech, writing, or
actions.

After class, I revised my definitions to the following:

Technology- the branch of knowledge that often incorporates the use of industrial arts, science
and engineering in order to improve or invent methods or processes that affect society.
Technical- of or pertaining to an aspect of technology. Relating to an art or science.
Writing- to express thoughts or ideas by using words or characters either electronically or
transcribed onto a physical medium.
Communication- the process of using a medium to send a message from the communicator to
the target.

It’s funny how when we first received this assignment, I thought it was going to be an easy 5-
minute assignment. When I began to think about it, however, it became quite difficult to
elaborately define these four words, without being too vague or too specific. These are words
that I use daily, and I know what they mean and how to use them. Yet, when I’m asked to
explain what the words mean, it becomes difficult to word it without the often implied “you
know what I mean?” After this assignment, I gained a deep appreciation for the definitions of
words and those who create them for a living. I’m actually currently taking a course in Rutgers
called “The Development of the English Language,” in which we discuss the development and
meaning of English words, and how the English language has developed into the form we use
today. I remember discussing how long and strenuous the process is to create a dictionary set,
especially an elaborate one such as the Oxford English Dictionary Volume Set. I found myself
having such a deeper appreciate for the efforts put in to this especially after personally having
such a hard time defining just four simple words.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Today in class, we worked in groups in order to come up with a list of things we think that we
should already know, things we consider are basics that perhaps can be briefly reviewed, and
things we expect Dr.Lipuma to teach us. I worked with Khaldoon Abu-Hakmeh. Under the
“Know” column, we decided to put such tasks as following directions, how to read and how to
write, basic vocabulary, grammar and syntax, basic formats of writing, essays, plagiarism and
Microsoft Office. These are things we are expected to know from our previous years in
education. Under the “Basics” column, we listed resumes, citations, group work, oral
presentations, research, writing process, and critical thinking. These are things that we are
expected to have an idea of but not a full thorough understanding of. And last, under the “Teach”
column, we put process directions, proposals, memos, and interviewing skills. As a class, we
continued to talk about the writing process, and how it consists of four important segments,
namely creation, revision, editing, and proofreading. We also began to discuss the importance of
words, and how the words we use and how we use them are quite significant. We watched an
advertisement for bread as an example of this.

Thursday, January 31st, 2008
The major subject of today’s class was Public Speaking. Public Speaking is an important form of
communication in today’s society. It’s a great skill to have because it comes in very handy in our
everyday lives. Dr. Lipuma talked to us about the importance of public speaking and that we will
have time to practice in this course. I learned that I should see this is an opportunity for self-
improvement. A few important things to remember while presenting to an audience are
confidence, projecting your voice (boom), not worrying about others, keeping hands on the side,
avoiding too much movement, and avoiding the use of common pause words. It’s also very
important to introduce yourself at the start of the presentation. We were able to practice what we
had just learned by standing in a circle and introducing ourselves to the class. I didn’t mind this
much because I am not as afraid of public speaking as I once was. I used to be terrified of
speaking in public in my elementary school days. However, I decided to do something about it in
7th grade when I tried out for a public speaking club named Forensics. To my surprise, I made it
in and we started meetings not too long after. In this club, we had opportunities to present a
literary work, whether original or a well-known one, and compete with other schools. I remained
in this club for 7th grade and 8th grade and competed in the “Original Oratory” category both
years because I liked to write my own pieces. I placed 3rd place in the competitions. I got so
much out of this experience. I used to be overly shy. After this, however, I was able to talk to
others and talk in front of a class without major problems. Of course, I wouldn’t say that I am a
perfect public speaker. I still have much to work on. I still get nervous prior to an oral
presentation, but I figure that’s something that most experience. I find that once I actually start
the presentation, I tend to get into it and forget the nervousness. I still have a small problem with
pause words. I have diminished my use of pause words, but I am trying to eliminate them
altogether out of my vocabulary. To do this, as Dr.Lipuma suggested, my classmate who also
happens to be my suitemate, Richa Dhawan and I have agreed to signal each other when one of
us uses a pause word. Hopefully, by doing so, over time, I can become a better public speaker.


Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
In today’s class, we discussed GOOP, MIMES and TRIBES. GOOP, as I found out, stands for
Goal, Objective, Outcome, and Purpose. We worked in groups to try to differentiate these four
words. We knew this task would not be easy, since three of these words are quite close in
meaning and are often (mistakenly) used interchangeably. The word outcome stood out because
it was the odd one out. It referred to the end result of the task. Although the other three words
were more difficult, we learned to differentiate them. When completing a task, the goal is the
desired end result, what you want to end up with in the end. The purpose of the task is the
motivation to reach this goal, the reason for it all. The objectives are the steps to reach the goal.
We also discussed MIMES and TRIBES, which are extremely important in this course and in all
types of communication. MIMES, as I discovered, stands for Message (“What?” Incorporates
intent and means), Intent (purpose, target, “Who?”), Means (medium, method of delivery,
resources, “How?”), End-result (outcome, immediate result), and Success (long-term result,
whether your goal was reached). TRIBES stands for Target (receiver), Relationship (connection
to the target), Influences (audiences), Background, Environment, and possibly Situation. Dr.
Lipuma emphasized the importance of MIMES and TRIBES and how they must be considered
when creating a package. I personally never thought in this much depth when I’m sending out a
message, whether it’s sending out an e-mail, writing a letter, or creating a resume. This has
helped me realize how much I really need to think about before completing even the simplest of
tasks.
We also briefly discussed resumes, and the purpose they serve. Dr.Lipuma told us to fold our
resumes. When he said this, I remembered from being in his “Freshman Seminar” class what he
would say, that the most important part of the entire resume was the top left quarter page.

Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Today, we continued our discussion about resumes, and were introduced to the Cover Letter, that
should be attached with the resume. We worked in groups and tried to find the use of MIMES
and TRIBES in each other’s resumes. We learned about the fine line between Truth and B.S.,
and how it is okay to embellish when needed, but not to cross into the B.S. zone. We learned
about selective editing and how the resume should not include everything you ever did in your
life, only the most important, only what really matters. High school experiences, for instance,
should not necessarily be included unless they’re useful and helpful to the position you are
applying for. We discussed the cover letter, how it consists of three parts, the header, body, and
footer. The header should include the date, greeting, recipient’s name, and title. The body is
subdivided into three parts, the introduction, the focus, and the call to action. The introduction
should include the purpose and the connection to the receiver. It should let the reader know who
you are and why you are writing to them. This is also a chance to drop names, if it will help your
case. The focus should include the actual information, the details of your message. The call to
action should include some kind of instruction or direction for the reader to follow. Now that you
got their attention, what is it you want them to do? Contact information should also be given
here. Finally, the cover letter ends with the footer, which would consist of “Sincerely,” and
enclosures.
We ended the class by watching clips from the Donald’s Trump’s TV Reality Show “The
Apprentice,” which is a show I am actually a fan of. I remember when the show was first being
promoted, I thought to myself “This sounds boring. Who would watch this?” I found myself, a
week later, watching the premiere, hooked to the television screen. In class, we watched clips of
George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher, who are Trump’s assistants on the show, or as Trump always
says “his eyes and ears.” They gave tips about interviewing and the importance of experience in
the field and being natural during the interview. It’s important not to seem nervous, even if you
are, and also to ask questions. One of the things I remember the most about this clip was Carolyn
warning us, that when asked about strengths, never to say you like to work good with people. I
remember this clearly because it’s something I realize I must have said many times on various
occasions. I do like working with people, but I suppose it’s not worth mentioning, since many
possess the same strength.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Today, we got into groups and we realized that it was one week before presentations. The
presentation had to be a total of 15 minutes longs, including about 7 minutes for Question and
Answers. The primary target of this presentation is Dr.Lipuma. Basically, we’re telling him “We
want an A.” Dr. Lipuma talked to us about what must be included in the presentation and what is
important to know. The most important thing was to try, and of course you must show up to class
in order to do so.
We took up a big portion of the class time discussing format and different types of emphasis and
when to use them. Bulleting, for example, is used to give importance, while numbering gives
priority to one thing over the other. In a resume, the size should be in the range of 10-14 and the
style should be a Sera font, such as Times New Roman or Georgia. The resume should be
simple, meaning no highlighting, no color, no background. We looked at a few examples of
resumes and pointed out what we liked and we didn’t like about each one. I learned that
horizontal lines disrupt flow. After hearing this, I knew I had to edit my resume since I used
them.
We also talked briefly about how to be prepared for an interview. You should bring a portfolio,
with paper, a pen, possibly a business card, and a copy of your resume. And of course you should
also dress professionally for an interview because even though the interviewer may not care, it is
important to make a good impression.

Thursday, February 14th, 2008
         The major topic of today’s class was tone and its significance in technical
communication. Tone relates to the attitude one has when relaying a message. It gives more
meaning to the message, whether in a good or in a bad way. We broke up into groups and were
asked to discuss tone and develop an argument to present to Dr.Lipuma to convince him to give
us more time for our oral presentations. By doing this exercise, we learned the importance of the
words we choose to use and how we use them, when attempting at persuading another
individual. We also learned how tricky Dr.Lipuma is because he had planned to give us more
time all along.
Students today are not as aware of their tone as they should be. They often greet professors with
informal speech such as “hey man” or “yo what’s up?” I learned that we are not friends with
Dr.Lipuma (unfortunately). Therefore, we must have a formal tone when speaking to him. Tone
is how you say something, rather than simply what you say. It’s one’s attitude, one’s word
choice. This can vary from language, method of delivery, body language, volume, use of
emphasis in writing, etc. Any of these can dramatically change the way a message is received.
We must be careful in sounding assertive, rather than aggressive or angry.
         We also discussed the differences between working as a cohort versus working as a group
versus working as a team. Working as a cohort means sharing the same end goal but working as
individuals to reach this goal, meaning “I’ll do this. You do this. You do this. And we’ll just
stick it together.” There’s no real group work, just a group of individuals working. Working as a
group, on the other hand, involves actual group work. Rather than each person taking care of one
specific part and ignoring the rest, the group members actually work together and help each other
out. Working as a team is a more interactive type of group work. The team works share one
common goal and share the same method to reach this goal. The teammates depend on one
another and work together until the goal is successfully reached. My group jokingly came up
with a fourth category following team, family. My group agreed that we hope to become a team,
(or perhaps a family) in order to create the best presentation we could make. To do this, we
agreed to meet a number of times to work on the presentation, and at least one time to practice
the presentation before the day we actually have to present.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
We began today with a critical thinking game. We were given a situation, usually just one
sentence long and were allowed to ask yes/no questions in order to derive the meaning. Each
question we asked was considered research required to build the situation and ultimately figure
out the answer. I remembered most of these from Dr.Lipuma’s Freshman Seminar class, so I
chose not to ask questions that would give it away. One of these games was “A man leaves
home, walks a short distance, turns left, walks, turns left, walks, turns left, and returns home.
Who are the 2 masked men waiting for him when he gets there?” The secret behind this is to
think “baseball,” rather than to think literally. Then it becomes simple and easy to figure out. “A
man stops at the red hotel and realizes he has gone bankrupt. What’s happening?” I knew this
one instantly. I’m not sure if it was because we’d done this in Freshman Seminar or not. But, as
soon as I saw the phrases “red hotel” and “bankrupt” I just thought “Monopoly.” The next one
we did, I didn’t recall at all, “A man lies dead in a room surrounded by 53 bicycles” Why is he
dead?” I thought it was quite clever when we arrived at the answer that he was cheating in a
game of cards. The 53 referred to the extra playing card, implying that he was cheating, and the
“bicycles” referred to the famous brand of playing cards. We did several more of these to
improve the way we ask questions.
By the end of this exercise, the class as a whole was asking more specific and more insightful
questions in order to reach the solution. This exercise helped in order for Dr.Lipuma and for us
to analyze or own critical thinking skills. Students often lose this ability, whether partly or
completely, as we are constantly asked to memorize a bunch of facts without asking why.
Teachers often tell us what to believe and call it “education.” This doesn’t so much teach us how
to think or how to analyze, as much as it simply expands our memory. This “Technical
Communication” class, on the contrary, challenges all that and teaches us skills we will need in
life. Dr.Lipuma can simply tell us the format to follow for each of the big assignments required
for this course and leave it at that. We would get everything done this way, and probably come
up with an excellent resume, a detailed process description, a well-done proposal, etc. But at
what cost? What would we have gotten out of the course? How much would we really have
learned? I personally love the fact that we get a chance to analyze what we do, in some cases
things that we do so naturally, and think about why we do them, and when it applies, change the
way we do them.

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
Today was the first day of the group oral presentations. The first group was supposed to, as soon
as they walked in, take the initiative and start setting up for their presentation. As the first group,
that is exactly what we did. My teammates, Donald Grote and Richa Dhawan, and I had met
outside of class a few times in order to keep everything organized and create a good group oral
presentation. The first time we met was to discuss the material of our presentation. Our topic was
“Ethics, Cheating, and Plagiarism.” Since there were three people in our group, each of us chose
one topic to focus on. Don chose “Ethics,” I chose “Cheating,” and Richa chose “Plagiarism.”
We agreed to go through each of the subtopics and as a team discuss ideas of what needs to be
included in each of them. We began with ethics, continued on to cheating, and finally plagiarism.
Each person was then responsible for using the ideas we discussed and forming it into a concrete
section of the presentation. This worked out quite well. We met our final time, the day before the
presentation to “rehearse” our presentation in order to make sure everything would run smoothly.
We put our sections of the presentation together into one PowerPoint file and we ran through the
entire presentation, helping each other and advising each other when necessary. I really like the
way we worked together as a team. We didn’t just care about our own parts. Instead, we focused
on improving our presentation as a whole. Once we were done with the run-through, we
discussed what we would use the next day for our presentation, whether it would be one of our
personal laptops or Dr.Lipuma’s computer. We also discussed possible problems we might face
and came up with back-up plans if any of these problems did arise. We agreed to use my laptop,
but then realized that we needed the wire to connect to the projector. I actually thought we would
be provided with it, but wasn’t sure. We decided that we needed to get the wire in case we were
not provided with it. Richa and I have class immediately before Dr.Lipuma’s class, so Don said
he would go before class to get the wire. Another possible problem we considered was if, for
whatever reason, my laptop did not work right with the projector. To solve this problem, we had
a copy of the file saved on Don’s laptop, on my flash drive, and in my e-mail. We would use one
of these methods in order to transfer the file to Dr.Lipuma’s computer. We also considered the
problem of no internet connection because one of our examples was a video on YouTube. To
avoid this, I was able to download the video onto my computer just in case. We were sure that
everything was taken care of. Today, when we got to class, we started setting up. Don had gotten
the wire and we connected it to my laptop. The image on my laptop did display on the projector
screen, but it disappeared off the laptop screen itself. This was a problem because we wanted to
see the screen in front of us while we were presenting. We tried to fix this problem, but since it
would have taken a long time to figure it out, we used our back up plans and transferred the file
to Dr. Lipuma’s computer. After that, the rest of the presentation ran smoothly. I was very proud
of my group and the way we functioned as a team.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Today was the second and final day of group oral presentations. My group had already presented
so it felt good to sit back, relax, and watch the other groups go. I enjoyed watching the other
groups present, and in my mind, thinking about the strong points and the weaker points of the
presentations. After each group went, we had a questions and answer session and then a criticism
session. While this might sound a bit harsh, I really liked this idea because you find out
immediately after you present, what everyone else liked and didn’t like about the way you
presented. Once we were done with all the presentations, Dr. Lipuma emphasized on the point
that the most important thing about this assignment was that we made an attempt, that we at least
tried our best to do it, even if we weren’t perfect at it. I agree with this because there’s always
room for improvement, but how can you ever improve if you never even try?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008
During this class, we were able to tie in the topics of the presentations we had just done to our
actual course. We discussed the importance of the words we choose to use. We talked about how
the words we use should be our own (Ethics, Cheating and Plagiarism), how they can be
deceiving intentionally or unintentionally (Deceptive Advertising, Subliminal Messages), how
they can be protected, (Copyright, Patent), and how they express our morals and ethics
(Engineering Ethics).
Dr. Lipuma also warned us that one of the most dangerous things we could do is to speak about
something we don’t know or use words that we’re not sure about. An example of this is the
airline pilot who was low on gas. He contacted the tower and told them that his fuel was low.
They asked “Is it an emergency?” The pilot responded, “No.” He called again and repeated “Our
fuel is very low.” They asked “Is it an emergency?” He replied with the same response. He
called again, “We’re out of gas.” They asked “Is it an emergency?” He responded, “No.”
Obviously, this man’s situation would certainly be considered an emergency. He, however,
continued to say it wasn’t because he understand emergency to mean a mechanical error or some
kind of health emergency. I found it really interesting how such a subtle difference in language
have such an impact, and in some cases, can be life-altering.
We also discussed the three parts that make up a process description, the introduction, the
instructions, and the results and what should be included in each of those parts. I chose to do my
process description on “How to Send an E-mail Using Classic Yahoo Mail.” Hopefully, by using
what I learned today in class, I can create a detailed and accurate process description usable by a
moderately skilled user.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Today we had a guest speaker, Davida Scharf, the Director of Reference of the NJIT Robert W.
Van Houten Library. She was supposed to talk to us about the Wikipedia Assignment we would
have to do in a few weeks. She told us about a few good sources and search engines, such as
Usa.gov, Clusty, Ixquick, and of course Google, which I always use. She took a big portion of
the time talking about the library database and how to use the library’s website. She showed us
how to use the Online catalog, which is the inventory of the books of the library, and the
database, which includes paid subscriptions that we wouldn’t necessarily find on google. To be
honest, I did not learn much from this, primarily because during my freshman year, my
humanities professor had a librarian speak to us about the same things. I can’t say I knew it all,
however. I did benefit from the “How to evaluate sources” site she showed us. I still haven’t
figured out what I’m going to do for my Wikipedia Assignment, but I should think of something
soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008
Today we discussed what must be put on the webpage and what can be on webpage. The resume,
cover letter, proposal, and process description have to be posted up on the webpage, while the
journal, complaint letter, individual/group comments, and Wikipedia comments are optional. We
then talked about the topic for this year’s proposal assignment. The reason the topic changes year
after year is because it gives students less of a chance to plagiarize. While plagiarism should
never be done regardless of the situation, I think it is a good idea to change the assignment so
students wouldn’t be as tempted to plagiarize since there is nothing really to plagiarize from.
This year’s topic can be one of two options. The first is to use the space at the NJIT Pub for
something you desire to do, and the second is to make the campus or the community more green,
to make it more environmentally sound.
We then looked at four sample process descriptions and tried to indicate the problems with each
one and how they can be improved. The first two we looked at were poorly done because they
were just a list of steps. The third one was better but it didn’t define any of the terms used. It
assumed that the reader knew it all. The fourth one had several fatal flaws, including spelling,
grammar, and syntax errors. We were told to do this task in order to understand the art of
critiquing and in order to understand what Dr.Lipuma looks for when grading our process
descriptions. We discussed the use of images in our process descriptions and how can it be a
good way to reinforce what was written in text. Many people actually prefer more visuals so they
can just follow the pictures. Each picture must have a label, a title, and a brief description of
what the picture is about. Pictures can serve various purposes. An image, for example, can
indicate where to go, what the screen should look like, how something unfolds, or what the final
product should look like.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
At the start of the class, we worked in groups to try to distinguish between four words,
proposing, reporting, pitching, and selling. Proposing is suggesting an idea, a plan, or a product.
Reporting is used as a way to inform an audience after something has already happened. Pitching
is making an offer, while selling is trying to persuade. We learned how reports and proposals are
actually linked because they will always have some aspect of pitching and selling. This led into
our discussion of proposals, which is our next big assignment. In a proposal, the knowledge used
should be as accurate as possible. We also talked about formality, which we defined as the level
of respect for your target, the morals, the judgment of right and wrong. Something written in a
formal manner would be more structured, would follow certain guidelines, and would consider
the target’s judgment. We also discussed internal versus external. As a group, we weren’t sure
what internal and external referred to. But, as we soon found out, it related back to the
relationship you have with your target. I thought about all the different things we learned in class
today and considered how I would apply them when doing my own proposal. I have to be careful
to propose, rather than to report, and to use accurate information to back up my ideas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
When I first entered the classroom and sat down, the first thing I noticed was the front board and
the words that were written. I, along with my classmates, tried to immediately solve the puzzles.
I immediately figure out all of them, or so I thought. We figured out Eyeball, Stuck in the Middle
of Nowhere, and Foreplay. It was down to the last one. I immediately said “water under the
bridge” without really paying attention to the “H2OOOH” I just assumed that it was two water
molecules. But my classmates noticed, “that’s not water.” I looked at it again and realized they
were right. So what could it be, I thought. “Maybe it’s a mistake,” I thought. “Maybe it’s
supposed to be “H2OOHH” We tried to figure out but class had begun. Later in class, the answer
was revealed, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” So I guess it wasn’t a mistake.
In class today, I was shocked to hear that Dr. Lipuma takes about an hour to grade each of our
papers. I knew he read them thoroughly, but it was hard to imagine an hour on each paper. That
boggled my mind for a moment because I thought about how many papers he had to go through,
not to mention re-submissions. We talked about the minimum requirements we must meet in
order for him to even grade our papers. This included the file being saved in Microsoft Word,
and following the Submission Guidelines, (Name/Class Section/Due Date) and of course that it is
e-mailed to lipuma@njit.edu. We talked about other mistakes as well, naming the file
incorrectly, not handing it on turnitin.com, grammar mistakes, not having 1-inch margins. I
realized, unfortunately, that I made a few mistakes on my paper, that may have caused
Dr.Lipuma some trouble when grading my paper. After today’s class, I will make sure I fix that
when re-submitting or when submitting the next assignment.
We also talked about the things we should be working on, such as improving our process
descriptions, coming up with an idea for the proposal, the Wikipedia assignments, keeping up
with journals, and starting on the webpage. This made me realize that I need to keep up with
everything, since I’ve been letting myself get overwhelmed lately with work from this and other
classes. I realize that I need to get more organized, but I know I will have everything submitted
on time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008
The bulk of today’s class was taken up by proposals. We started, however, discussing past
assignments and how they were linked and what they should teach us. One of the things that
really hit home was the discussion about e-mails. Dr.Lipuma asked us if we thought about what
to write in the e-mail we sent him when submitting our process descriptions, or if we just wrote
what came to mind. This made me think, “What did I write when sending my assignment? Did I
even write anything at all?” I actually went back through my sent e-mails to check and realized
that my e-mail was blank. There was just the attachment and the subject saying “Seham Elmalak
- ENG 352 - Process Description.” I was disappointed because I realized that everything
Dr.Lipuma had said today applied directly to me. E-mailing has become so common nowadays
that we don’t really think about it anymore, or if we do, we often use a casual tone, rather than a
formal one. This is something that will stick with me now. I made the mistake once. So I know
now to let it happen again.
During the rest of the class, we talked about the proposal and certain aspects of form. Dr.Lipuma
told us he can’t tell us exactly what to write and how to write it because each one should be
unique depending on the type of proposal and the topic. There is a basic format, however which
consists of the introduction, four parts of the body, the argument, and the conclusion. We also
talked about how the proposal actually has two targets. One is to get permission to carry out the
proposal, the Student Senate, for example. The second is to get Dr.Lipuma to give us an A
because this, after all, is still a course assignment.

Thursday, April 3, 2008
Today we talked briefly about the interview each group would have to conduct with Dr.Lipuma
about a certain aspect of his life. I had a personal reason for missing this past Tuesday’s class. I
was able to get the information I missed from my classmate and suitemate, Richa Dhawan. I also
found out that the group I would be working with consisted of Donald Grote and Khaldoon Abu-
Hakmeh. I had already worked with Don for our first group presentation, so I knew that he
would be good to work with again. I worked with Khaldoon during class, so I knew he would be
a good group member as well. We decided that a convenient time to carry out our interview
would be on Monday at 12 noon, after getting Spamalot tickets.
We talked about the webpage and how the main purpose is to convey information in an easily
accessible manner. We talked about organization, use of images, and background. The page
should be easy to access, navigable, clear and concise. Final drafts, along with rough drafts and
revisions should be posted. When links are used, it should indicate what the link is for. I think
that I will actually find the webpage to be a fun assignment because I think it’s a chance to be
creative, while maintaining organization and meeting requirements.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Today, we started class by discussing due dates. The webpage, which is the final portfolio, can
be submitted from May 1 to May 10th. The proposal is due on April 12th. The oral reports for the
Wikipedia assignments will begin on April 15th and run until the 28th. I hope to be one of the first
to go because I would rather get it over with.
The rest of the class was mostly about the Wikipedia assignment and the format of the article
itself and the report we will give. The Powerpoint presentation should be 3 to 5 slides of content
and should include Before/After Articles, why we made the changes, the sources used, and the
use of MIMES/TRIBES. We are being graded on effort, type of change, the argument we give
for the changes made, and accuracy.
We also discussed the 5 types of possible results for this Wikipedia Assignment, which are
creation Creation of Information, Revision (Addition, Deletion, Reorganization), Supporting
with Citations, Raising the level of discussion, and a Fundamental Change of Understanding
(updating the article). I decided that I will be creating a Wikipedia article about the NJIT Student
Senate because I have been a dedicated member since I started college here and I believe that
more people should know about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Today was the first day of Wikipedia Oral Reports. Five students were able to present today.
Nida Mahmood, who was the first to go, did a good job presenting. She talked about her original
topic, which was about the NJIT MSA (Muslim Student Association) and why she came to
change it to a biological article about the cAMP Pathway. She explained that her first page was
taken down because articles about school clubs are not allowed on Wikipedia. This made me
think about my own topic. I have already begun creating it, but I haven’t actually posted it up.
My topic is supposed to be the NJIT Student Senate, which is the undergraduate student
government of NJIT. It is still considered a club, so what Nida said hit me as a warning. I started
considering other possible options, perhaps editing the “Student Senate” paragraph on the
Wikipedia article about NJIT, or creating a “Student Senate” page on the NJIT Wiki instead of
the real Wikipedia, or creating a new page on an entirely new topic. I was pondering to see if
anything would come to mind. My high school, Bayonne High School, had its own Wikipedia
page, but I realized that my grammar school, Midtown Community School, did not. So I
considered doing it that, but when I tried to visit Midtown’s website, I discovered that the site is
under construction and has very minimal information.
The other four students who presented, Richa (Delta Phi Omega), Justen (Second Life Physics
Engine), Jacqueline (NJIT Reslife), and Kati (Chi Epsilon) set the bar pretty high for the rest of
us who still have to present. I did originally want to be one of the first to go because I usually
like to get it over with, but I realize that it can also be an advantage to see others present.
Dr.Lipuma, for example, emphasized on several points that are important for us to consider
before reporting, setting up the room how we want it to be, the TV turned on or off, the computer
screen turned to your liking, bringing something for your audience, printing out slides of your
presentation. These tips will help me when I present. I checked the NJIT Wiki page about
Student Senate and the page has very minimal and unorganized information. So I have decided to
edit this page, organize it, and add much more information.

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Today was the second day of presentations. Six students were able to present. Overall, I think
everyone did a good job. Their topics were well-researched, their changes were justified, and
their presentations were well-organized. Seeing these presentations makes me want to present
mine already, but it also teaches me a lot. The feedback from the class as a whole and from Dr.
Lipuma, after each oral report, helps not only the presenter but the rest of the class as well. It
helps the presenter think back about what the audience liked and disliked about the presentation.
The rest of the class benefits as well because it helps us think about our own oral reports, and
how we can use what we learned in class to improve our own work.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
What type of work do you want to pursue after graduation and what should be on your resume?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is
going.” I believe it is important in today’s society for one to know where he/she is headed. It is
only then that one can work to reach that final destination.
For many years, my path was not clear. I had many options and many interests, too many if you
ask me. How is one supposed to decide, from such a young age, what one wants to do for the rest
of his/her life? How is one supposed to predict what will make him/her happy in the future? It
seemed like a ridiculous task, like an impossible task. But then again, most problems seem
impossible at first, until one finds the solution. It no longer seems impossible. On the contrary,
I’ve never been so certain of anything in my life.
Although I have had many interests, varying from science-related fields to photography to public
relations, my passion to write would have to stand out the most. There is something about using
the power of words, the power of language to create a masterpiece. A writer has the advantage of
starting with a blank sheet (or a blank screen in today’s technological world) and making his
imagination a reality. Just for that moment, he/she has the power to take the reader wherever
he/she wishes. I want to possess that power in my future career.
I am actually still deciding on how I want to pursue this interest, but I do know that I want to be
able to write, whether it is as a journalist or working at another position in a magazine or TV
station. On my resume, I would put things that would help me get this type of position, such as
my education, the types of writing courses I’ve taken, and my experience in the school yearbook
and school newspaper. My position on the executive board of the Student Senate would also be
on my resume to show acquired leadership skills.

Thursday, April 24, 2008
Today was the final day of presentations. There were only four students left, which meant that I
would definitely have time to present today. I was ready to present from last week, but knowing
that I would most likely present today, I went over my entire presentation yesterday and again
ran through the material I would be reporting on. I made sure that the changes I made to
Wikipedia were still up and checked to see if I received any comments. My presentation went
pretty well. I reported on my revision to the “Sports and Organizations” section of the Wikipedia
article about NJIT. As I explained in class, I originally wanted to just write about the NJIT
Student Senate. This was because I have been and will continue to be a dedicated member of the
Student Senate. Last year I was Freshman Resident Representative, and this year I am
Corresponding Secretary. I enjoy what I do for Senate and I felt that more people should be
aware that there is a student government on campus, and know that we do exist. I was not trying
to promote the Senate in any way. All material that was added was strictly factual. I didn’t add
opinions, whether good or bad. I decided to edit the NJIT page, rather than create a separate page
just for the Senate because I was afraid that it would be taken down. As I also discussed in class,
I ended up making several changes because one change led to the next. The “Sports and
Organizations” section was very disorganized so I tried to reorganize it. I changed the heading to
“Student Life” and added a separate subheading “Student Government” where I would put
information about the Student Senate. When I was doing so, I realized that if I was going to put
information about the Student Senate, the undergraduate student government, I should put
something about the second student government on campus, the Graduate Student Association
(GSA). I did some research and added a section on each. I renamed “Organizations” to “Student
Organizations” and I reorganized this section. Prior to my changes, there was a small paragraph
that named some of the clubs and organizations on campus, including GSA. It had a few lines
following that about the Student Senate. So I deleted the lines about the Student Senate since
Student Government was now a separate section and I reorganized the clubs into a bulleted list of
the clubs on campus. The next section was “Athletics.” I didn’t change much in this but I did add
a list of the available sports on campus. The last type of change I did was also for organization
purposes. I created a subheading called “Greek Life” and I placed the lists of sororities and
fraternities, which were already available on the Wikipedia Article, under this subheading.
Throughout the presentation, I tried to be careful not to use pause words, which I admit I did use
a few of. I also decided to give out some kind of keepsake to the audience. Rather than food, I
gave out Student Senate pens, which I think was a nice touch, since it dealt directly with my
topic. I had fun with this assignment because it was a topic I knew a lot about and it felt good to
reorganize the page into a way that is more easily accessible and navigable.

What do you think about when writing an assignment for class? Do you think others in
class feel the same way as you do about the assignments?
Prior to taking this course, I admit that I did not think nearly as much as I do now, whenever
completing an assignment. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t put my full effort into my work. But I
would say that I didn’t consider the reader or the “target” as much as I should have. One of the
things that this course has emphasized is that it is extremely vital to consider the target, the
person or group of people receiving the package that you are putting together. I used to just think
about the topic and do my best to complete the assignment, but I never really thought about
where the paper would end up, whose hands it would fall in. That’s where MIMES and TRIBES
comes in. Now, whenever I do a paper or assignment not just for this course but for other courses
as well, or even when I send out a simple e-mail, I try to consider all possible aspects. I think
about the actual message I’m sending out, what I want the person to ultimately receive. I
consider the means, the method of delivery, how this message is going to get to the receiver,
whether it’s verbally, by letter, or via email. I think about the end-result, the outcome, and
whether my message was received successfully, whether my goal was reached. TRIBES is also
very important to consider. The target is one of the most important things to think about in all
cases. Who is going to receive this message? Who am I really writing this to? The tone and the
message can change entirely depending on who will be receiving it. The connection you have to
the person, the relationship, can change the manner in which you speak, the tone, and the
formality of your language. I also think about the influences, background, environment, and the
situation when putting together my package because the place, time, and atmosphere in which
the receiver gets the message, can alter the way the message is perceived. Like I previously said,
before this course, I never thought in this much detail about my assignments. But that is one of
the things this course has taught me. I would hope that the rest of my class now feels the same
way, after taking this course.


Write about the process you chose and explain why you chose it.
I chose to write my process description about how to send a simple e-mail to another user using
Classic Yahoo Mail, without the use of any attachments of any other advanced functions. I chose
this because I recalled that Dr.Lipuma said that the topic we pick for this Process Description
assignment should be something we know how to do well so that we would be able to write the
process without much difficulty. I chose to do this topic because I use Yahoo Mail on a daily
basis, sometimes even more than once a day. It is something I do by instinct now, so I figured
that it was something I can explain in detail to a moderately skilled user. To write the process, I
completed each step and I, then, wrote precisely what I had just done. I went through the entire
process several times to make sure I did not miss anything and to assure that were be no
misunderstandings. In the end, I gave it to someone else to use my process in order to see if the
steps were easy enough to follow. I took any feedback they gave me to improve my process
description.

What do you think of working with others in class? Do you think group work is necessary
and helpful?
I think working with others was one of the most beneficial parts of this course. I consider myself
a pretty social person so I like to listen to others and hear what they have to say. Particularly in
this course, it has helped because we were able to have discussions and bounce ideas off one
another. When Dr. Lipuma would give us a few words to define or differentiate between, for
example, it would have been difficult for us to work on our own to do this. By working together,
we’re able to share our thoughts and see things from other perspectives. I remember several
times throughout the course, while working with my group, thinking “Wow…I never thought
about it that way.” I was also able to meet new people and make new friends. Although I worked
with primarily the same people through the semester, I was able to become closer with them. I
think group work is necessary and very helpful, not in all cases, but in many cases. I completely
agree that some things just have to be done on your own. You can’t always depend on a support
group for you to get anything done. But at the same time, when it is possible, it is quite helpful to
have a group that can support and back up what you say, or argue with what you say and give
you a whole new perspective on the subject. In either case, it can help in many ways. Teamwork
can teach you many skills, such as team building skills and cooperation skills. Some group work
simply doesn’t work because the members cannot cooperate or work together, for whatever
reason. I was lucky to work with group members that allowed each person to voice their opinion
and never put down the ideas of others without thoroughly considering them.

What you feel you have learned in the class and what you feel the class has provided you as
a student?
It is difficult to sum up all the things this class has taught me. Of course, it has taught me the
straightforward requirements, the resume, cover letter, proposal, process description, but it has
taught me so much more than that. When I first registered for this course, I was not sure what to
expect. I knew others who had taken the course so I had an idea. I knew Dr.Lipuma from my
Freshman Seminar Course so I knew that he would be good to have as a professor. This course
was much more than I expected. The class time was very enjoyable. We had a lot of laughs, but
we learned a lot as well. One of the things Dr.Lipuma emphasized on throughout the semester,
was that the important thing was the process of doing something, not just the end product. When
creating the proposal or the process description, he could have easily just showed us or given us
a template and told us “Here, follow this format.” He did not do so, however. Instead, he had us
try to create it on our own and then analyze what was good and what bad about it. Ultimately, he
taught us what should be included in each of the assignments, but he did not show us exactly
how to do it. This made us actually do the work on our own and learn through the process. It may
have been easier to follow a template, but who wants the easy way out? I also learned about
MIMES and TRIBES, which was a big part of the course. It may have taken Dr. Lipuma one
class period to teach us what MIMES and TRIBES stands for and what it means, but it was
something we would use for the rest of the semester, and even in other courses. I learned that I
have to think more about the target when writing anything. If the message is going to ultimately
be in someone else’s hands, I have to consider who that someone is. I’ve also learned to think
about things from other people’s perspectives, not just mine. I may do something, for instance,
because I think it’s a good idea or it simple looks nice, but I need to consider what others may
think of it. Or when we would break up into groups and have discussions. It was beneficial
hearing the thoughts of others and how they compared to mine. I’ve also been able to change my
way of thinking. I’ve learned to question things more often and not to just take everything for
what it is. “Why are we doing this, Dr. Lipuma?” Why am I writing this journal entry,
Dr.Lipuma? I’ll answer this one. It’s a good idea to reflect on everything we’ve done this
semester, and how much I really gained from this course. I’ve learned so much from this course
that I can’t quite express it all. I would (and actually have) recommend this course to others. It
was a ton of fun, but it has added such value to my education and to my personal life. While we
learned many things that would help us throughout our education, we had many lessons that
would help us later on in life. Finally, I learned that if anyone stops me on the street and says
“Mambo Banambo,” I must instantly reply “BANANA PATCH”