Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Advice to Future 304 Students

English 304 has been a very worth while class, and taking the class with Angela Rogers has been great. It seems that this class is very applicable to the "real world," and I feel that I will take away a lot of knowledge that will help me in the future.

There are just a few things that you should be aware of before you begin the class. It is extremely important that you come to class to get the daily points that Ms. Rogers offers. Another thing is make sure you ask questions if you are confused about something. She is always willing to help you and usually can answer any question that you might have. In regards to the assignments, make sure that you follow the given instructions. Don't try to be overly creative; business writing is about getting your point across in a clear, concise manner. If you pay attention in class, stay up-to-date on the "TO DO" list, and communicate well you should be fine.

The last bit of advice I have is for the client-based project. Make sure that you find a group of people that you relate to and can work well with. My group was able to do a lot of communicating through e-mail, and we found times that worked for everyone to meet. The project was much more enjoyable because of the people that I worked with.

I hope that you find this advice helpful, and good luck this term!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ethics Assignment

We were given the assignment of researching ethical lapses, and my partner and I came up with the idea of searching for ethical lapses in prisons. There did not seem to be that many reported cases or ethical lapses in general because people usually try to keep the mishaps quiet. However, we did find cases in Canadian prisons where inmates were involuntarily given shock and other drug treatments. There are also many cases of inmates being submitted to tests to work out new pharmaceutical drugs. The problem with this is the prisoners really had no choice of whether they wanted to participate in the tests or not. I realize that prisoners lose some rights when they go to jail, but they should never be submitted to such dehumanizing treatments.

Another case we looked at was the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Photographs and videos were discovered of detainees being sexually humiliated and badly mistreated. One photograph shows a detainee cowering at the feet of a military dog while another shows a prisoner standing with a hood over his head with wires attached to his genitals. The guards who were involved in the mistreatment are up for court-marshall. They say that they were given orders, some from as high up as the White House, to "loosen up" the prisoners for interrogations. Those claims have been refuted, and it was pointed out that most of the prisoners had no importance to military intelligence. Most of the prisoners were common criminals and had no terrorist affiliation. The guards did it for fun.

There are many other cases of ethical lapses that are never reported. These just happened to be released. There are times when desperate measures are called for, but the cases described here do not warrant the treatments.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ethical Lapses

It is very disheartening to find that seventy three percent of Americans with full-time jobs encounter ethical lapses on the job. The world would be too perfect if things were done the right way. Many of the ethical lapses that occur are never discovered because people do not want to bring scandal and disruption to their company. The ones that have been brought to the attention of the public, such as Enron, have been catastrophic to the company.

It is a hard to figure out what to do when encountering an ethical lapse. The study said that forty three percent of people who encounter ethical lapses handle it themselves, and forty eight percent involve company management. The way that I see it, if the problem that you are facing can be handled without involving management you should try to solve it yourself. However, a person should have the resources available to him or her if the problem is severe enough to involve management. There seem to be too many cases in which a superior can take advantage of an employee because there are no means to stop him. Employees should be made aware of the options they have to receive help.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Writing on the Web

Writing on the web is slightly different than writing on paper. The audience that reads items on the web usually scans and skims the computer screen to find topics that interest them. They don't necessarily read word-for-word unless they are attracted to a topic. It is important to list the main ideas of the article first in order to attract attention. After you have the reader's attention, then you can expand on the subject matter. A helpful tool to use when writing on the web is including links to sources and supplemental information. This will add to the writer's credibility, and it will enhance the reader's knowledge.

It is important to be careful when transferring a document written on paper to the web. You want to make sure that directional cues are not confusing when reading on the web. For instance, "at the top of the page" might make sense on paper, but it would not necessarily make sense on the web. If your document is extremely long, it might be beneficial to shorten it if it is possible. One final piece of advice is to convert documents to PDF style so that all readers can access the files.

Writing on the web and on paper is different, but the main objectives are still the same. You still want to have a target audience, carefully organize your thoughts, and use language that the average person can understand. The web is a great place to post work for the world to see!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Free Write - Spring Practice

It doesn't really feel like I am half way through with "Spring Practice 2008." We finished the eighth of 15 practices on Saturday, and I am already counting down the days until I finally get a break. It has been a long year full of football and school and the end of spring practice is the culmination of it all.

Spring practice is broken up differently this year than it was last year. Instead of having two weeks of practice, spring break, and then two more weeks of practice we had one week of practice, spring break, and then finish with three weeks of practice. The first week of practice wasn't that hard because we had something to look forward to. Spring break was merely a tease of what freedom felt like and now it is back to work. It does feel good to be half way done, but the next two weeks are going to drag on. It also doesn't help that teachers are piling on work as the semester nears an end.

The next two weeks are going to be a challenge. I am going to have to follow a strict schedule to make sure that I get everything done. The good thing is the finish line is in sight. A month of relaxation and laziness is drawing nearer, and I know now that I can make it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lying on Your Resume

The work force is becoming a more and more competitive atmosphere, and it is increasingly harder to get a job. It is sad to find out that over 50% of resumes have false information in them, but it does not surprise me. People are trying to find a competitive advantage, and when they can't find one they turn to fiction.

It is no surprise that more people are being caught with false information on their resumes. With technology expanding at an exponential rate, it is easy for employers to discover if information is true or not. I would not be surprised to see new programs in the near future to help combat false information on resumes.

People who are honest don't always come out on top. A person who has lied on his or her resume might get a job over an honest person because of the credentials that are listed. One of the facts of life is "life is not fair," but when it comes to circumstances like this, a person should not be forced to embellish to be successful. I would hope that more extreme measures are taken when exploring whether the information on a resume is true or not, and the punishments should be to the extreme when false information is found.

I hope that I am able to be successful enough to have a great resume, but if I don't I hope that I have enough character to accept my resume for what it is. Things eventually work out for people who do the right thing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Response to Presentations

I really enjoyed the presentations that took place in class. It was interesting to see what types of interests different people had, and it was easy to tell what people felt comfortable talking about in front of the class. When I found out about the presentation, I knew that the easiest topic to talk about would be football because I am involved with it so much. Other people talked about hobbies and interests that consume their lives, and it is safe to say that the class is very diversified.

I enjoyed all of the presentations. Etta's presentation on slang terms was fun because it involved the entire class and made people laugh. Leigh did a great job of getting the class involved in the presentation by having us perform tests to determine dominance in our bodies. My favorite presentation, however, was Matthew's presentation about music. It was short and sweet but accomplished everything that a presentation of this sort requires. The title, "Had a bad day?," grabbed me right from the start. I did not know exactly what the presentation was about, but it had me hooked. The statistics given were relevant, and the information in general was right on target. Giving away a CD at the end of the presentation was a great way to get people to remember what he had talked about, and it definitely was in the back of my mind when I began thinking back on the presentations.

The presentations were quite a success in my opinion. Once again, we performed a task that might be part of our daily lives in the near future. It is great to have practice before you have to do something for real, and it is nice to have a little fun while you are doing it.