Tuesday, 6 December 2011

One more thing ...

 Now I couldn't finish this semester without creating my very own audioboo. 


Reflecting on ALES204 (mp3)

"To utilize social media tools effectively and properly, you must absolutely generate spontaneous communications in direct response to what others are saying or to what is happening in that moment. Be yourselfBe conversational. Be engaged."
                       – Aliza Sherman, co-owner of social marketing firm Conversify

Tweets, Tags, CC's .. Oh my !

     It is that time of year again. Extended library hours, sleepless nights, increased caffeine intake and reuniting with topics from the first mid-term that you have already dismissed from your memory. Ah yes, it is FINALS time. So with the semester coming to an end I will take this time to reflect on my journey through ALES 204. After 4 months of lectures and labs I end here with new knowledge and experience in the world of social media. 
      Now I am sure your wondering how I kept busy for 4 months learning about communication. I’ll admit that I was skeptical in september too, but it has turned out to be a busy few months being introduced to new skills and then putting those skills into practice. I started the semester having a basic personal Facebook profile but now I have an account with what I think is almost every social communication tool online including;

  • Professional Facebook profile
  • Blogspot
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Flickr
  • Delicious
  • Audioboo
      In addition to online networking I also reviewed ways to effectively communicate in person. With various guest speakers in ALES204 we covered tips for successful public speeches, ways to an effective powerpoint presentation and practiced professional interviews. As well, I have gained new skills in finding peer-reviewed scientific articles, email etiquette and proper citation. 
     After reading through my classmates blogs It seems like the most common new knowledge is that social medial can potentially be very useful for enhancing ourselves as professionals. Sara mentions that from ALES 204 she learned "how to incorporate professionalism into social media". I agree with that statement. I am going to carry these news skills and knowledge will be on my endeavors towards becoming a registered dietitian. If used effectively, my professional Facebook profile and LinkedIn will help me as a student to network with professionals and potentially find a job. Once I graduate with a degree in nutrition I will be able to use blogging and twitter to spread my message of the importance of food and personal health to others. Maybe I'll even create a podcast for a more personal medium to share tips for healthy eating. 
LinkedIn profile
Retrieved December 3 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/67755971@N07/6450658891/
       I have come to realize that having skills in communication are essential to succeed in academic and professional environments. Since ALES 204 I have starting following a blog called Weighty Matters that discusses issues in the food industry and various professionals in the nutrition industry on Twitter. As well, I have explored more perspectives on social media from my classmates. It has been interesting to see my fellow peers ideas about the concepts as we have been introduced to them together through the semester. A few of the blog posts that I left comments on were written by Jamie, Yiting, Shelby, Laura and Mark
      This is my final post on “oh my BLOG”, but perhaps I will begin a new blog to share my journey through 2nd semester. After all, I will be starting biochem and I am sure that will be exciting.
Happy studies to you my friend !

Ps. Check out this TEDTalk about an organization that was able to make a difference through social media.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Wikipedia -- Using the Forbidden Resource

        Let's be honest, we have all used it. Type in any person, place, or thing into google and one of the first links will be for a wikipedia page on the subject. BUT we have all been told for the extent of our academic career that wikipedia is not a reliable resource. Nonetheless here I am in ALES204 making my own contribution to wikipedia. Through my experience of contributing to a wikipedia stub I realized why wikipedia should not be used as a reference for information and how it has the potential to be a great source of information if utilized properly. 

Retrieved November 11, 2011 from 
         I have always been told that the information on wikipedia could come from someone who has no formal expertise on the subject but now I really understand that ANYONE can put ANYTHING on wikipedia. To start my assignment I created an account (no credentials necessary) and browsed through a list of stubs (a seemingly endless list) until I found one related to food that didn't have much information on it -- "Milk Substitutes". The current wiki page on milk substitutes contained only minimal information on the topic so I was able to find research from academic journals to add information regarding Lactose Intolerance, Manufacturing of Non-Dairy Products, Varieties and Brands such as Rice and Soy milk and other Milk Substitutes such as Breast Milk. I had done research before adding information to the wikipedia stub but it made me think about all the information on wikipedia that might not be from academic research. It brought to light the great importance of being vigilant when looking at information on wikipedia because it could very easily be from a false source.

         Wikipedia has the potential to be a great academic source of information. It is convenient to have an abundance of information in one place rather than searching numerous different sources. By properly referencing your sources you give the readers the opportunity to cross reference and ensure reliability. It is possible that most of the information on wikipedia is accurate, but it is the chance that it isn't that loses its' credibility in the academic society. I agree with my fellow classmate, Laura, that Wikipedia is appropriate for a quick sources of information but not for scientific articles. Perhaps in the future Wikipedia could require some sort of proof of expertise before editing, but then again is public access to edit the essence of Wikipedia


*** Click here to see a screen shot of my wikipedia stub -- or even better just view the whole thing

Public Speaking: Perfected by Few and Feared by Most

 Retrieved November 4, 2011 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/anhonorablegerman/6301096616/                                           

              I suppose that it is not fair for me to call it a “fear”... it is more so an activity which I may go to great lengths to avoid. Module 4 of ALES204 consisted of looking at different aspects of giving speeches and tips to a successful public speaking experience. We practiced “Pecha Kucha”, analyzed the inauguration speech of Barak Obama and received tips to public speaking from Wendy Doughty. I agree with my fellow classmate SusanG that getting feedback from our peers in the lab helped to identify where our public speaking weaknesses are.  Now after all this I am not about to throw myself in front of a crowd to talk, but I may approach the next event which I need to speak publicly with less apprehension.
            Because I am pursuing a career in nutrition it is vital for me to improve my public speaking skills. I wish to bring awareness of nutritious eating and healthy lifestyles and at some point I will need to speak in front of a crowd to convey that message. I will need to know how to effectively present my nutrition knowledge to whichever audience I encounter; whether it be a classroom full of students learning about the food groups or presenting new information on nutrition research to a group of professionals. What good will my new knowledge be if I cannot effectively convey it?
               I learned a number of new things this week that I will carry with me the next time I speak to a crowd, or even go to an interview. First of all, confidence is essential to captivating an audience. When Barack Obama won the Presidential Election in 2008 he gave an incredible speech that individuals could relate to on a personal level. He spoke without hesitation or doubt, which gave his message integrity. An important thing Wendy Doughty mentioned in lecture was to avoid fidgeting, or tugging at your clothing. An audience will focus more on the meaning of your message if they aren’t distracted by other movement.
              Public speaking is a skill I wish to improve, but hate to practice. So for the next few years here at the UofA I will keep in mind Toastmasters International Tip #2 so I am prepared for any time the occasion arises that I must give a speech.

PS. Wear Red

Friday, 7 October 2011

AVOID: Creating A Presentation Worth Sleeping Through

                  We have all experienced it... that dreadful powerpoint presentation that you struggle to keep your eyes open. It is one thing to stay awake but another to be actively engaged with with the flickering of slides vacant from an sort of excitement. This week in ALES204 we identified the factors that make a powerpoint quickly top an individuals' list of "most boring moments' of my day" and tips to creating a successful presentation. In lab we were challenged to put the advice we had received into practice by creating an impromptu poster.

Retrieved November 4, 2011 from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobiastoft/3209413578/

            So now I will share with you my new found knowledge on how to effectively present your ideas, whether it with a poster or powerpoint. Guest lecturer, Maira Quintanihla, shared with us her knowledge and expertise on creating an award winning poster. I had always thought that research is presented through written articles, but she showed us that if done effectively a poster can be a valuable tool for conveying research results. One helpful hint that Maira Quintanihla mentioned was that there are resources on campus dedicated to helping students with presentations such as the Student Success Centre. I agree with my fellow student YitingJin that too many charts and animation effects can make the slides confusing for the audience. On wednesday, Marie-Claude gave a prime example of a successful lecture accompanied by a powerpoint. She used a powerpoint slides to assist what she was teaching. 

A Note to Self - Remember these points to make a great presentation:

  • be concise & to the point
  • choose colours/font wisely (dark on light, or light on dark)
  • start with a hook to intrigue your audience
  • have a structure and stick with it
  • Practice!
After last weeks lectures on public speaking, and this weeks practice with creating a presentation, I am ready to put my new skills to practice.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Move over Twitter, It is FACEBOOK'S turn.

Screen shot 2011-09-25 at 10.53.31 PM by kmclean2
Retrieved September 26, 2011 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/67755971@N07/6183784589/a
            As I continue on in my ALES204 course I am exposed to many forms of social media. So far we have covered Twitter and blogging and discussed their capability to be used in the professional world. Who would have thought? Here I thought I would just follow a few celebs and tell the world about what I ate for breakfast. WRONG. I can do all of that but I can also take advantage of an abundance of important information in the field of nutrition. (Not that what I had for breakfast isn't important, everyone should care that I had Cheerios this morning). I have used Twitter to update myself on news stories in my community and find the blogs of researchers who are doing tremendous research on Nutrition and healthy living. Sure I am finding information about researchers and dietitians (such as the ASN Blog) who are doing amazing work. But I know you are going to ask "what am I doing to prepare myself to enter that professional world?" My answer is check out my new Facebook Profile.

             Facebook is an easy way to promote yourself to a prospective employer. I have had a personal account on Facebook for years to keep in touch with friends and family, but until ALES204 I had never thought to use it in a professional manner. Our latest ALES204 assignment was to create a page on facebook presenting ourselves as a professional. The process to make a sort of "E-Resume" on Facebook requires more thought than just making one to keep in touch with friends. First of all I had to keep in mind who was going to be viewing this, a potential employer? Maybe a researcher I hope to work for in the summer? I needed to write in a professional manner and keep all the information appropriate and organized. After doing my business profile I was curious to check out how some of my fellow students presented their 'Facebook resume'. There was variety between each page I visited which I thought was very interesting that the profile was capable of showing such individuality. I agree with fellow ALES204 classmate, Mark, that a Facebook profile allows for an individual to "show so much more than a a bunch of words on a piece of paper"

            Hopefully when the time comes for me to venture out into the professional world social networking sites, such as Facebook, will help to give me an edge in the business world.  So there it is, my E-Resume out there on Facebook for all to see!
*Please may it help me get a job when I graduate and that time comes


Thursday, 15 September 2011

It is Nice to Meet You

Personal Image
Hello blogging world, it is nice to finally meet you. I am Kylie McLean and this is the blog that I have created specifically for my ALES 204 class. “WHAT is ALES” you ask? It is the faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environment Sciences at the University of Alberta, where I am a 2nd year Nutrition student. “WHY nutrition” you say? Why not. Food is the foundation to life. We need food to give us energy to do all those lovely things we enjoy doing. What fascinates me most is how what we eat can affect other parts of our life so intimately. A healthy, balanced diet gives our bodies the best opportunity for it to perform its‘ best; whether it be mentally or physically. Nutrition is full of far too many “I heard this,” and “We heard that.” I am out to seek the truth and when I find it I plan on sharing it with those who want to listen. Which brings me back to why I am blogging.

ALES 204 is forcing me out of the dark ages and into social media which will help me in my quest for infinite nutrition knowledge. In the next couple years as I strive towards a Nutrition degree social networks such Facebook and Twitter will allow me to keep up to date with the latest news in the world of nutrition. I have the opportunity to “follow” researchers and enjoy practical learning outside of a classroom. Blogging is easy to see who is saying what and why, about the foods we consume. It is also simple enough to follow a blogger who posts healthy recipes that might interest me. Advances in nutrition are constantly occurring and they won’t end any time soon. This is why it is crucial for me, as an aspiring dietician, to stay current with the latest news. Web communication will not only act a source for nutritional information but also as a means of expression for my new found knowledge on the subject. I am studying nutrition because I wish to enhance the quality of life for my family, friends and community. In order to accomplish my goals an outlet is required to share any nutritional knowledge I acquire. Facebook, Twitter and blogs will be essential tools for spreading the word on the importance of healthy eating.

Until my next assignment -- Adios