Tag Archives: Elon University

Elon University Voices on Obama’s First 100 Days

By Megan Wanner

Photo courtesy of Google images

Photo courtesy of Google images

Wednesday, April 29 marked President Barack Obama’s 100th day in office. His first 100 days have been devoted to parting ways with the path the Bush administration had set for the country, among these departures are the remaking of the economy and setting a timeline for reducing U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Obama came out of the gates running, starting to get involved in devising plans to pull the U.S. economy out of the depression it has slumped even before he is sworn into office. By Day 3, Obama had already ordered Guantanamo Bay to be shut down within a year along with overseas prisons and had ordered an end to torture techniques in interrogation.

“I think he’s done great,” said senior Jack Garratt. “I think you can criticize him on his bailout plans but the things he’s done for stem cell research, the environment, his foreign policy I think outweighs that. Just the opening up ties and at least discussing with Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez I think he’s obviously not friends with them but I think entering into a dialogue is good for the American economy and politics in general.”

Obama’s first 100 days have been compared to those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a difference being Obama’s immediate implementation of stimulus programs and passing of bills for an immediate effect on the country, but some, such as Elon University freshman Olivia Dubendorf do not think anything Obama has done has been too remarkable, especially internationally where there has been no change seen from the Bush administration.

“I think the first 100 days it’s hard to say how well he’s done,” Dubendorf said. “With the bank crisis anyone would have handled it the same way.”

Some students feel Obama has taken steps in the right direction, but think he’s been sidetracked by smaller issues from what he promised during his campaign.

“I think he’s getting sidetracked with this whole issue of going through the court cases of the tortures,” freshman Grant De Roo said.  “I’m not saying he’s not going to get around to that but I just think small things like that have really sidetracked his administration so far but he’s obviously taking the right steps in those issues but I think they’ve really sidetracked him from what’s important and what he said he had promised to do.”

When sworn into the presidency, Obama was given many situations to deal with right away. Rather than take them one at a time, Obama chose to tackle them all at once.

“I think he’s definitely doing the best he can with the situation he’s been given from former offices but I’m not a huge fan of his bailout plan at all so I guess that’s been a large part of his presidency that I haven’t been real thrilled about,” said junior Laura Wainman. “But like I said I think he’s really trying to do the best he can and to help us out; I think he’s just chosen the wrong method.”

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Elon University Theatre Program presents “Mother Courage and Her Children”

By Megan Wanner

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

The Elon University, N.C. theatre program presented opening night of “Mother Courage and Her Children,” directed by junior Sarah Pace, in the Black Box Theatre Wednesday night.

The cast includes junior Lynnae Vana starring as Mother Courage, junior Bonnie Bower as her daughter Kattrin, sophomore William Sanborn as her son Eilif and freshman Ben Morris as her son Swiss Cheese.

Other cast include junior Chris Staskel as the Chaplain, junior Dan Gibbons as the Cook and freshman Alyson McKenzie-Wells as Yvette.

“Mother Courage,” written by Bertolt Brecht is the story of a mother living during the Thirty Years War who runs a canteen wagon along with her three children, two sons and a daughter, as they travel throughout Germany and Sweden from 1624 to 1636.

Check out what junior Sunny Smith had to say about the play:

Elon Students run 26.2 miles in the Nashville Country Music Marathon

By Megan Wanner

32,000 runners gathered in Nashvilled to run in the Country Music Marathon

32,000 runners gathered in Nashville to run in the Country Music Marathon

The man in the booth at the start of the marathon calls out “Go” to signal the start of the 13th corral of runners at the 10th Annual Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn.  Out of the 32,000 people running the 26.2 miles in the marathon, which included 48 bands playing a variety of songs ranging from country music to classic oldies, two were Elon University sophomores Courtney Corr and Taylor Hughes.

Unfortunately, around mile 20, Hughes started to experience cramping in his calves.

“I had to stop to walk then every time I tried to run again I could only go for about a minute before almost collapsing,” Hughes said.  “I ended up having to walk the last few miles.”

Corr stopped running to walk with Hughes for four miles before Hughes insisted she run the last 2.2 miles to the finish line, finishing in 4:41:44.  Hughes finished about 15 minutes later with a time of 4:58:27.

The two sophomores were among 4,136 finishers in the race, 2,335 male and 1,801 female.

Corr and Hughes traveled approximately 500 miles to run 26.2 miles Saturday morning in the 85-degree Nashville heat.

Corr’s father also ran alongside Corr and Hughes while her mother and a friend of the family ran and walked the 13.1 miles to constitute a half marathon.

“We wanted to run the full marathon, but with her knee problems and my foot problems we just couldn’t,” said Candy Corr, Courtney’s mother.  “Instead we had a good time drinking all the water and eating all the food offered along the way.”

Check out how Corr and Hughes felt after running the Marathon:

Check out why Corr and Hughes decided to run 26.2 miles:

Greek Community Shows Off Their Dance Skills at Elon University’s Greek Week Dance

By Megan Wanner

First place winners Sigma Kappa dance to their island theme.

First place winners Sigma Kappa dance to their island theme.

The Elon University Greek community as well as non-Greek supporters gathered Wednesday April 22 to watch the fraternities and sororities show off their dance skills at the 2009 Annual Greek Week Dance.

The winners of the Greek Week Dance were the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and sorority Sigma Kappa.  Coming in second place were  the National Pan-Hellenic Council and sorority Alpha Xi Delta and in third place were the fraternity Sigma Chi and sorority Alpha Omicron Pi. 

Elon University is home to 23 Greek organizations, eight NPHC organizations, seven Interfraternity Council organizations and eight Panhellenic Council organizations. 

Among the NPHC organizations are the fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi and the sororities Sigma Gamma Rho, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi Beta and Delta Sigma Theta.  The Interfraternity Council organizations include Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Chi and Sigma Pi.  The Panhellenic Council organizations include Sigma Kappa, Phi Mu, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Xi Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Chi Omega, Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Delta Delta.

Watch Tri Delta perform their shipwrecked themed dance:

Elon University Professor Kennth Calhoun Speaks to Students About Aspects of Interactive Media

By Megan Wanner

Calhoun speaks about interactive media to students.

Calhoun speaks about interactive media to students.

Professor Kenneth Calhoun, assistant professor in the School of Communications at Elon University, N.C., spoke to Reporting students April 8 about interactive media and its place in the world of Communications.

Interactive media is a two-way system of communication that allows for active participation with the audience by allowing them to have choice and control. “Compare a CD with the old tape format,” Calhoun said. “If you listen to a cassette when you hear song five on your old Michael Jackson cassette you have to rewind or fast forward because it’s a linear thing…But with a disc, it is all located on the top of the circular shape and there’s a laser that reads and it allows you to get to that information faster. That is a technology now enabling choice because if you want to hear song five you just hit five and it goes there and immediately plays. You always had that choice with the analog format of tape, but it wasn’t as convenient and available.”

Calhoun outlined three “flavors” of interactive media, storytelling, responsive visuals and conversation, students could use to “extend their reach” beyond the writing aspect of media.

Within the storytelling aspect, communicators use media objects such as interactive narratives, digital storytelling and menu-driven multimedia to produce multimedia stories for their audiences. These media objects are seen on Web sites such as interactivenarrative.org and secondstory.com where audiences can have a completely different experience with media. “There are ways that interactive media is being used to tell stories that aren’t just video stories sitting inside a frame,” Calhoun said. “There are stories that you have to kind of navigate your way through.”

Responsive visuals are displayed in numerous formats including games, maps, timelines and rollover graphics. The key to these visuals is to make the audience’s interaction with them truly rewarding as they have the opportunity to touch, play and explore. “Those kinds of responsive experiences are now a part of the storytelling packages or part of the Internet experience because of the authoring tools that enable it,” said Calhoun.

The conversation aspect of interactive media is more focused on blogging, wikis, picture sharing and social networks. Conversation is based on creativity, exploiting and hijacking in order to reach audiences and to advertise.

Calhoun is gearing up to teach the newly introduced Interactive Media graduate program at Elon University.

Check out more about what Calhoun has to say about interactive media:

The Internet and Literacy: Positive and Negative Effects Felt in Local High Schools

By Megan Wanner

See the full layout on http://issuu.com/mwanner/docs/literacyeffects

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Alexa Battey, a student teacher at Southern Alamance High School, looks around the room at her 20 College Prep English seniors. Most of them look bored reading Macbeth which some have even referred to as “MacBoring.” Far from the Internet surfing these teens are used to, Macbeth requires interpretation, not just the surface reading these teens have become accustomed to.

“The novels seem to be over their heads,” Battey said. “They’re not used to that type of writing…They’re used to things being very basic. Things on the Internet today are easy-reads, just stating the facts and basic details. They’re smart, but they’re used to things being put in front of them and not having to dig deep.”

To Teach or Not to Teach

Perhaps one of the reasons why adolescents struggle with texts they are given in school is because they cannot relate to what people consider “classics,” making it hard for them to read them in their entirety.

“I think it’s almost a bad idea to force them to struggle with classics or with difficult texts because I think it just eventually kills their interest in reading altogether,” said Laura Williams, director of the Curriculum Resources Center in the School of Education at Elon University. “I think that, at least as far as what they might encounter in English classes, it would be much better to use texts that they have the ability to relate to, young adult literature that deals with the issues that are real to them, the characters feel real to them not these things that are ancient with tortuous vocabulary and sentence structure.”

Many teachers believe the best way to encourage students to read more difficult texts is to make the readings more relevant to their lives. By making them relatable, students are more likely to enjoy these books as they view them as worthwhile reading.

“I try to find classics they like and do projects that connect them to their lives,” said Lynn Bare, an English teacher at Southern Alamance High School.

But classic texts can relate to teens lives more than they realize. Once they get past the difficulty of understanding what is written and delve into the plotline, it is easier to see the connections.

“Shakespeare is relevant to anything the kids are doing,” said Mark Meacham, English teacher at Walter M. Williams High School. “The issue is understanding the language and vocabulary and if you can get to where they understand that you can devote more time to what is going on…It really depends on the language and getting them to buy into it and…putting [the content] up front so they can understand what is going on.”

A New Age of Literacy

definition of literacy wordpress

Before tackling the question of how the Internet is affecting adolescent literacy, the term “literacy” must be defined. As an age-old definition, literacy is simply the ability to read and write. However, with the growing use of the Internet and technology, literacy has taken on a new meaning.

According to research done by the National Council of Teachers of English, “Twenty-first century readers and writers need to be able to: develop proficiency with the tools of technology; build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally; design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes; manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information; create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts and attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.”

This new definition of literacy could be a good thing. While it is changing the traditional view of literacy, technology is transforming our ideas and encouraging us to broaden our scope of knowledge and abilities.

“Both the challenge and the opportunity of technologies, including video, are that they offer more ways to make meaning but they also require new ways to derive meaning,” said Stacey Novelli, legislative associate for the National Council of Teachers of English.

Even so, a digital age where having the ability to analyze and interpret video is considered just as important as having the ability to read comprehensively is certainly an interesting one. The Speak Up 2008 report sponsored by Project Tomorrow states, “For most students, technology is an integral part of their toolkit for participating in the world—they use it to communicate, organize their life, collaborate and create content and context for their own learning.” However, many people do not believe this is how adolescents view the Internet.

“I do think especially teenagers, adolescents, and maybe even upper elementary they are more geared toward viewing it as entertainment that they are gaming online or they are Facebooking or they’re going to YouTube and the focus is on diversion,” Williams said. “The focus really isn’t on trying to see it critically, trying to put it in a social context, trying to decode the messages that are embedded in whatever media is coming at you.”

Reading and Writing in a New Age

With the Internet comes a plethora of information all at the tips of our fingers. This can be both good and bad when it comes to the way adolescents use it and how it affects them.

“There are too many opportunities for them to not have to think on their own,” said  Angelique Austin, an English teacher at Southern Alamance High School. “I preach to my Advanced Placement students every year to not even look online for analysis, to think for themselves.  It’s also given them the outlet to read Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, etc. Now, there are so many summaries of what we study that they feel there is no need to read the actual text.  What they don’t understand is that they lose the experience, the language, the passion of that author.”

The Internet is changing the way we view many aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to students researching for papers. Rather than going straight to the bookshelves, students head straight to the computers.

“One of our librarians had a discussion with my students and I about using more books for their research projects, and she had a very good point,” Emily Byrd, English student teacher at Hugh M. Cummings High School.  “I had scheduled computer lab days for my students to do online research for their projects.  When I suggested we go into the media center to search through the books as resources, they thought I was crazy!”

While the Internet is changing the way adolescents read and research, it is also changing the way they write.

“Research over many years shows that technology can affect writing positively,” said Novelli. “For example, people revise more online so that they can improve their writing more easily and thoroughly.”

Abbreviations and slang are in common use on the Internet, especially with social networking sites, blogs, Instant Messenger and other communication sites. Proper English is rarely used when adolescents are communicating with peers. Unfortunately, adolescents seem to have lost the ability to switch between what is considered proper and what is not.

“They use abbreviations and slang when they are doing college resumes and essays,” Bare said. “We have to go through and eliminate abbreviations. They want to just use that in their communication with other people and don’t realize other people don’t use that.”

ABSS teachers

Just Skimming Around

Tara Ariel, mother of five, has always homeschooled her children. She currently has two daughters in the fourth grade, one who is 9 and the other who is 7. While her 9-year-old does not enjoy reading, her 7-year-old cannot stop picking up books. Ariel says the differences between her two daughters show especially when they have reports to do that require research.

“It’s funny, my 9-year-old is the one who drawn to the computer and my 7-year-old is the one who would rather go and look at a book and look at all the pictures,” Ariel said. “We just did a report on whales and she didn’t even want to get on the computer to look. We have a bookcase, we had some books, and she found out her own information on her own. So she chose that over getting on the computer, but my 9-year-old would just read the captions and write down a couple of things and thought she had already done her report.”

This is the exact reason the Internet is more appealing for adolescents, and for kids moving into adolescence, especially those who do not like to read. Rather than feeling like they have to read everything, they can read surface-deep and feel like they have all the information they need to be knowledgeable on a topic.

However, when taught how to use the Internet proficiently, students can effectively use their skills of skimming to their advantage, quickly assessing Web sites for trustworthy information. This can help them to find the information they need quickly, an advantage of the Internet over books.

“They know how to and have had practice with evaluating the information they find on the Internet (sources for their research projects) for accuracy and relevance,” said Byrd.  “I would say that it is helping them.”

tips for parents

Shortened Attention Spans

In addition to a lack of comprehension, surface reading while surfing the Internet has also allowed kids to have a shorter attention span. Rather than push through reading something, kids can click a link for something new and never finish reading what they originally sat down to read.

Part of the problem with the Internet is the attractiveness of it all. As adolescents are in the constant search for something new and interesting, any advertisements or links that are eye-catching have potential.

“I think the problems with young people are they are a little vulnerable to the razzle dazzle, a little vulnerable to the distractions that are often there on the page,” Williams said.

Part of the issue with reading books is that they take time to read and process, time adolescents are not willing to devote to them. They want the information to be straight to the point as fast as possible so they can move on to other things. With the already short attention span of a teen of around 30 to 40 minutes, they do not want to spend this time processing a few pieces of information. Instead, they want as much information as they can get before becoming bored. The Internet allows them to do this. Rather than having to motivate themselves to push through pages of information, they can type in a search word and instantly discover multiple sources with straight-forward information about it.

“They are used to a fast-paced world; they are used to getting information at light speed,” said Austin.  “When they actually have to read and think and deduce on their own, they give up a lot quicker than I think they would have in the past.  They also have shorter attention spans,

so reading is boring to them.”

Pleasure Reading Decrease

A report issued by the National Endowment for the Arts included research on the book-reading habits of teens in correlation with school workloads to determine if this was a factor in the decline of pleasure reading in teens. A long-term trend analysis revealed that while the number of high school seniors who spent six or more hours a week doing homework decreased from 47 percent in 1987 to 33 percent in 2006, the leisure reading rates for high school seniors did not increase but rather decreased as well.

“The majority of my students are not picking up books to read, regardless of their access to the Internet,” said Alison Welch, an English student teacher at Western Alamance High School. “Some students are completing reading assignments for class, but very few of them are even doing that, it seems.”

Distinguished Scholar Earl Honeycutt Addresses Elon Community About the Selflessness of Academic Research

By Megan Wanner

Earl Honeycutt speaks on the selflessness of academic research.

Earl Honeycutt speaks on the selflessness of academic research.

Earl Honeycutt, Elon University’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Scholar, addressed the Elon community Monday night in LaRose Digital Theatre about the selfless nature of academic research as it creates knowledge that benefits mankind.

Honeycutt asserted that the role of a professor is divided into a “triad”: teaching, research and service. The amount of weight assigned to each area by every university is different. Some schools are solely devoted to research, giving Ph. D. students the opportunity to teach while professors do research. Others are more focused on teaching, where research and service are seen as taking away time from students. “I would guesstimate in the School of Business we have about 55 percent emphasis on teaching, about 25 on research and about 20 on service,” Honeycutt said.

As the students improve and become sharper, it is important to have higher quality faculty to keep up with them. “We are shifting a little bit from being teachers to being engaged faculty,” Honeycutt said. “We are engaging and we are mentoring and we are serving as examples of how people should be.”

Staying current in research makes it easier to stay current in the classroom. “If you are active in research…You can actually conceptualize, you can design, you can test, you can come up with logical explanations for what is going on,” Honeycutt said. “If you don’t do that it’s not as easy to explain to the students, cutting-edge, what is going on.”

Elon faculty must be scholars who can mentor students about latest knowledge. Research advances understanding of the world outside of Elon. A professor’s focus must extend outside of Elon into a world they are preparing their students to enter. “It’s really hard to be a good teacher if you are not acquiring new knowledge,” Honeycutt said.

In addition to being Elon University’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Scholar, Honeycutt is a marketing professor and a director of the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center at Elon. While at Elon, he has been involved with the Business Fellows, headed multiple study abroad experiences and taught at the undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels. Honeycutt also founded the Elon Chapter of the National Sales and Marketing Fraternity, Phi Sigma Epsilon. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and co-authored four books.