Friday, January 07, 2005

First class

"Start out like you can hold out."

My first class was last night in Room 338. Sixteen students gathered around the conference table to listen to the pearls of wisdom from me, the teach. Oops, I forgot to tell them that they can not, under any circumstances call me Dr. Mason, since of course, I didn't go to medical school.
I gave my first day of class speech where I tell them all about me and my opinion writing career. I started off with the Rush Limbaugh 15 minutes of fame story, covered column writing for the T-News and worked my way to the present although I failed to mention some of the recent dopey women's mags where I've published essays about my teenagers. Enough about me though.

The students seem to be very motivated and intelligent. There's the usual law school bound and newspaper/sports writing bound along with English and Spanish double majors.
The first assignment, a 500 word CW piece of their choice is due via email before next week. This is the piece I tear up, rip to shreds, open a vein and let it bleed. Not really. But it's heavily edited which will take a great deal of time and cause a great deal of angst, possible tears and the occasional, who does she think she is? That's okay. I wish I could do it for every piece but it's not possible with my schedule.

I'm excited about reading their first assignments. It's pure pleasure to pour a cup of coffee and read through a stack of opinions. I love to get into the mind of 21 year-olds, find out what they are thinking and what they face in their life. It's not that much different from when I was 21 although I must admit, the music is better and the toys are cooler.

I'm also pleased to have an older student this semester. Returning students, married students, student parents, diverse students and students outside the JN program always bring a lot to the table. They have different life experiences that add to the mix.

This blog experiment is complicated. I want to have a place to showcase the students' work and an opportunity for them to comment on each other's work. This will automatically raise the level of their writing by the power of peer pressure. And it will be an interesting experiment in emerging media and education application. Patrick Beeson, an intern at Randall Publishing has offered tech support and plans to follow the progress of this blog. I plan to write a freelance piece about the experience.
So far, the stumbling blocks are:
No Mac support ( is aware of it and working to fix the problem)
Difficulty in setting up sidebars.
Have not followed the tutorial to hyper-link.
Other than that, things are perking along.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Emily Kornegay said...

Okay, so I guess I should share my first class impressions, too. I'm going to admit -- this is my last journalism class, and it seems like it going to end my undergrad career with a bang (or leave me whimpering, whichever way you want to see it.) Seriously, I think it will be quite the writing adventure, although I'm not sure how much I'm looking forward to seeing my first piece reduced to a bloody mess. All for my growth as a writer, though.

The blogger has been a bit of a challenge for me as well. I'm definitely not the tech-savvy type, but I'll work on it -- honing my blogger prowess as I go.

My search for the first columnist on which to comment has been fun. I read a great Anna Quindlen piece, and I'm writing a response email to her. Hoping I'll hear back. I may have an advantage that brings a response -- I'm good friends with her much younger cousin, who is a sophomore at UA. We shall see...

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Becky said...

I confess: I'm a blogger virgin. We didn't have stuff like this when I was first in college a million years ago. What makes us think everyone wants to read what we think? Who has time to read so many opinions? Guess I can't say I'm "boldly going where no man has gone before" (only Star Trek fans will recognize that paraphrased quote) since so many are "doing it". But I'm certainly boldly (sort of) going where I have never been before!

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Buddy Hughes said...

My first impression was that I am going to learn a lot in this class. I'm looking forward to the criticism of my writing because now that I'm the one giving criticism to my reporters, I'll have someone looking over my writing and giving me feedback.


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