Writing is a noisy craft. It’s not that ink gurgles when emptied on paper. Sweeping a ballpoint over a spiral, or cleaning up thoughts in a word processor, makes noticeably less volume than anything in Hoover’s catalogue.
Yet, for a group of students at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, scribbling on the side is a way to drop notes onto campus with every post. As Jaime Chapa, a senior psychology major, notes, “My writing could always use more work and being able to hear feedback from people…would be a great way to hone my skills as a writer.” Sending energy through words and circuits goes two ways; it isn’t meant to be quiet.
Chapa is one of 11 TAMUK students improving JNET 2.0. However, rather than polishing online dashboards, he and others in the group provide content as student bloggers. Their soundings on a range of topics—whether entertainment and healthy lifestyles, or current events and cultural discussions—are captured for readers in the steady white beams of monitors.
When plans for Jnet’s reconstruction were first being articulated, Robert Paulson was open to catch suggestions. According to Paulson, chief information officer for Finance and Administraion, “As part of the JNET 2.0 project, we asked groups how Jnet could be improved.” At the top of tips in their jar was a suggestion from Dr. Terisa Riley, senior vice president for Fiscal and Student Affairs: assemble a team of student bloggers. Paulson headed the project, calling for written submissions from interested students, and formed a team to evaluate their work. After panning through 36 pieces, Paulson and his committee’s digital phlebotomy was finished. Having drawn out their samples, they selected a panel of 11 students as contributors to the Jnet blog.
For Chapa, it’s a chance to distribute ideas—a currency he cares about. He sifts days working as an SI Leader for Intro to Psychology, and acting as president for the Philosophy and Professional Ethics Society. Whatever downtime he receives as change is spent with his wife and 1-year-old son, and in sipping up contemporary philosophy literature. Blogging is only another teller of his commitment to excellence. “I never hated writing, but it was never something I loved either. After becoming more serious as a student and pinpointing the career I wanted, I knew that writing was something I had to do and do well.” To that end, blogging has been a tip in the hat. As Chapa explains, “It allows you to explore different writing styles as well as to become a personable writer. This is something that comes in handy, especially in the humanities.”
When blogger “G.J. Red” isn’t signing off an entry, her daily planner knows its share of scribblings. The sophomore in chemical engineering first saw Jnet’s advertisement for bloggers on Facebook, and was hesitant to apply. She had nothing against breaking out a nib and nailing down thoughts, having enjoyed writing since high school; however, at the time, her schedule was choking. Nevertheless, “A couple of days or so before the deadline I mentioned it to my parents who encouraged me to apply anyway.” She was grateful of mentioning it later; composing 200 to 400 word pieces on academic success was something she could handle. “I do believe the blogs would help students to see other people’s opinions, as well as helps the writers to put out their own views.”
While looking forward to the project’s development, Paulson agrees that it hands his writers a forum where typeface can speak. “The Jnet blogger group is enthusiastic and excited to be able to share their thoughts,” he notes. It is a place for them to tune words, confined only to screens and eyes.
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