Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Top 5 Common Mistakes in a MLA Paper

Modern Language Association, or MLA, is a style of writing that classes like English, Literature, and History use. The rules for MLA are meticulous, and it can be frustrating to get a rough draft back from a professor covered in red ink. Especially if most of the red ink is the same symbol over and over again. English Professor Cindy Wyatt sent me a list of the top 5 MLA formatting mistakes that students make. After each problem, I'll given you solutions and links to avoid making those mistakes.

Problem #1: "The first big problem students have difficulty with is the notion of having a thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Not only that, they have problems with the idea of the three supports for the thesis statement which predict the topics of the body paragraphs to follow," Wyatt said.

Solution: Check out the University of North Carolina's handout on how to write thesis statements.

Problem #2: Paragraphs Drifting Off topic

Solution: Stick to your outline.

Problem #3: A third problem is the opening paragraph, which often fails to even mention the actual subject of the essay. When a student writes “Many people have some problems at different times in their lives,” I know that the whole first paragraph is a warm-up for Getting to the Point which in fact may not happen until the second paragraph – not the way to write an effective essay.

Solution: Check out this post at eHow.com. It's an easy step-by-step guide on how to write a successful opening paragraph.

Problem #4: Finding ways for ending the essay with a solid conclusion

Solution: Check out this next post at eHow.com.

Problem #5: "The fifth problem really might be the first, but it speaks to the appearance of the essay, not the content. Students fail to format their essays MLA Style, which includes a correct heading on the left side of the first page, correct tabs, spacing, font size and margins," concluded Wyatt.

Solution: Click on this website by Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. It tells you what the basic MLA format is, and it also shows you an example of what the first page should look like. If this website doesn't help you, then ask your professors! That's what they're here for.

If you have more questions about MLA style or formatting, check out the Language Lab in
Ramer 157.

Happening This Week...

November 25th – Staff Council bake sale
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM in the Wood Campus Center

November 27th thru 29th – Thanksgiving Holiday
Campus Closed

Friday, November 21, 2008

Meet Kyle Tate

Kyle is 19, and a Springfield native. He majoring in Business Management.

What are you holiday plans?
"Work, and probably visiting family on Thursday."

What do you plan on giving thanks for?
"My family, job, and I still have a roof over my head... there's a lot of things."

Do you know when and where the first Thanksgiving took place?
"The Indians gave the Pilgrims food or something like that. I don't know when."

What's your favorite Thanksgiving meal staple?
"Dumplings and dressing."

Will you be one of the millions that wakes up 3am the day after Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday?
"No, there's no sense in it. The sales will still be there after it."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Would you be able to afford a tuition increase?

According to the November 20th edition of The Tennessean, due to deep state budget cuts, the Tennessee Board of Regents will be increasing tuition for all of the universities and community colleges in Fall 2009. Schools like Middle Tennessee State University could see an increase of up to 24 percent at the high end.

What does that mean for Volunteer State Community College? According to the article, community colleges, like ours, could increase tuition by anywhere from 10 to 29 percent.

For example, the cost of tuition for one semester at Vol State is currently $1,365.50. Hypothetically speaking, if the tuition was raised 20 percent, tuition per semester would be $1,637. That's an extra $217.50 a semester.

I asked a few students on campus whether or not they would be able to afford an increase:

So, what about you? Would you be able to afford a 20 percent tuition increase?

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vol State Basketball is off to a great start

The Volunteer State Community College Lady Pioneers have come back after a seven year slump to be ranked 18th in the nation. They're also ranked 4th in team offense, and 15th in team field goal percentage, according to poll released today by National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). On top of that, the Lady Pioneers are undefeated at 7-0.

Check out the women's basketball stats.

The Pioneers are also having a great year. They are 6-1. Check out the men's basketball stats.

"They put on a very good game [to watch], they can beat their opponent at a high tempo, which other teams can't match up to," said Phillip Price, a student at Vol State.
In addition, cheerleaders have returned after a four year break. The squad of 13 women will cheer on the teams each home game for the Ladies and Pioneers.

Here are the next few home games the teams will be playing:

December 3rd
Mid-Continent College
6pm for women, 8pm for men

December 6th
Roane State Community College
2pm for women, 4pm for men

December 8th
Saint Catherine College
6pm for women, 8pm for men

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meet Tammy Pritchett

Tammy is a Hendersonville native, and is a 39-year-old Radiology Tech major.

Have you ever gotten a ticket?

What do you think is more dangerous, texting while driving or drinking while driving? Are the alike? How so?
"Both are dangerous. But I'd say that drinking and driving is worse than texting and driving. You're still able to to function when you put the cellphone down. But when you've been drinking, you can't just drop it and react coherently."

Are you a calm or angry driver?
"I'm calm."

What's in your back seat of your car right now?
"Nothing, I keep my car clean."

What's in your CD player right now?
"Christian music."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Redesign Beta is Go!

If you want to just dive right in, the beta launch of the redesign is available at Beta.VolState.edu. I'll gladly accept any feedback you have, but please read the rest of this entry before emailing me.

In the past, I've used architectural metaphors when discussing my job as webmaster here at Volunteer State Community College. There's even a discipline within the industry called “information architecture”. To continue with that metaphor, here's a visualization of what we hope to build:

Biltmore in the Morning

Yes, that's the Biltmore. Why not aim high? :)

Here's a visualization of where I think we are today:

House under construction

We should be far enough along to give people a pretty good idea of where we are heading. But I may be too close to the process to be an impartial judge. That's where you come in. I need your feedback to make sure we're on the right track. I don't want to end up with something like this:

Dom postawiony na głowie

(The Creative Commons search on Flickr is cool.)

So I'd like to invite you to take a look around at the progress on the web site redesign at Beta.VolState.edu. There's still plenty of work to be done. You'll see some placeholder text here and there, maybe even the occasional broken link, and I'm sure we've got more than a few bugs. But that's why this is a beta launch. We'll spend the next 6 months or so collecting your feedback and acting upon it so that the finished product can be even better.

Feel free to comment to this post or send any thoughts you have directly to me at webmaster@volstate.edu. If you're reporting a problem, I'll need to know which page you're talking about and what browser you are using. The best way to tell me the page is to copy and paste everything out of the address bar. That should look something like “http://beta.volstate.edu/directory/page.php”. You can find your browser information usually under the “Help” menu. Look for “About Internet Explorer” or “About Firefox” or something like that. Select that option and you'll see a version number (along with a lot of other stuff that's not terribly important for our purposes). The sort of information I'm looking for should be something like “Internet Explorer 7.0” or “Safari 3.2”. If you know your operating system you can let me know that too, but I'll assume Windows Vista or Windows XP if it isn't specified. You can even check it out on your cell phone if you're the type of gadget geek who is into that sort of thing. Just be sure to let me know what you are using to look at the site so I can replicate the error and fix it.

Meet Marie Farrell

Marie is 19, and a Nursing Major from Portland.

Did you register early?
"Yes, I registered today."

Did you get any of the free food and drinks?
"Yeah, it was good."

Is your next semester going to be hard or easy for you? How come?
"I think it's going to be harder next semester. I'm taking PSY 102, Chemistry, ENG 1o1o... and right now I'm just taking high school level courses."

Would you do anything to be exempt from what you think to be your hardest exam this semester?
"Yeah, I'd do anything. I'd write a paper, I'd do more homework, I'd be the teachers pet. I just don't want to take the Writing II final."

Are you ready for winter yet?
"No. I wish it would skip over to spring and stay here."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet Derek Qadir.

Derek is an 18-year-old Physical Therapy major from Fairfax, Virginia.

What's been your most stressful class assignment so far?
"The labs in my computer class. They take a lot of time."

How much work do you have to do in these last four weeks of classes?
"I don't have much, I'm caught up on everything."

There's 43 days left until Christmas. Have you started thinking about shopping for gifts?
"Not really, no."

Has the economic down turn changed your holiday plans at all?

If you could choose between either having more money or more sleep, which would you choose and why?
"I would say more sleep. You can be rich but not happy. Maybe if you sleep, you can be more productive overall and make more money."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Concert for a Cause"

Approximately 200-300 people gathered on the Thigpen Library Lawn on a chilly Saturday night to enjoy local bands such as Pineapple Explode, 16th State, His Name His Love, Singletree, and Lady Landslide.

"Concert For a Cause" was produced by Professor of Sociology Bonita Harold's Fall 2008's class. This year, Harold's students raised a total of $1,191 for the Sumner County Humane Society. Concert goers donated toiletry items for Pennington Place Retirement Center residents for a dollar off the admission price.

Here are a few shots of the different bands and acts preforming that night:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meet Destiny Crider

Destiny is a 19 year old Nursing major from Red Boiling Springs.

Did you vote?

Did you watch any election coverage?
" A little bit. I watched CNN."

Are you happy or sad that the elections are over?
"I'm happy that it's over with."

What do you think the news channels will cover now that the elections are over with?
"I don't know."

Do you feel like this is history in the making?
"Yeah, we've never had a Black President."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Vlog

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happening this week...

November 5th – Comedian Steve Hofstetter
Sponsored by ACE.
12:15pm, Cafeteria.

November 7th thru 16th – Lend Me a Tenor
Theater production in the Caudill Auditorium
$5 donation
7:30pm on the 7th, 8th, 14th, & 15th (Fridays and Saturdays)
2:30pm on the 9th and 16th (Sundays)

November 8th – Concert for a Cause
Benefit for Sumner Humane and Pennington Place Retirement Center
$5 admission, several bands perform
6pm-11pm on the Library Lawn