My Semester as an Associate: Rachel Fishman

cupid picBeing a CUPID Associate this past semester, alongside Emily Bishop and Paige Ransbury, has been one the best decisions I could have made. It allowed me to grow as a collaborator and a student of rhetoric. In just the course of a few months, I was able to understand the importance of rhetoric as a platform for student learning. I had just begun to take PWR courses during the Fall of this year. And, honestly, I barely knew anything about rhetoric going into this year (other than the fact that a rhetorical triangle existed, an image that was touched upon too frequently in high school without ever being accompanied by a thorough explanation).

As I began to learn what rhetoric is- a process that is ever-evolving- I first thought of it as a self-contained discipline, rather than an area of study that can be applied to all fields. The wide-spread application of rhetoric was made visible to me this semester in my classes and my activities as a CUPID Associate.

I learned how to create blog posts that take the audience and the context into consideration, how to plan and lead online portfolio workshops, and how to be a better collaborator. Each of these learning areas were accompanied by challenges, yet I believe that it was through those experiences that I gained the most knowledge from being an Associate.

Updating the blog was a daunting task from the start. I had no idea how to write blog posts that blended the typical blog writing style with that of an academic setting. I struggled with determining content to include and choosing a style to write the post. Although I still need to improve, I do believe that I have come a long way. I now acknowledge the importance of considering the audience, of realizing that it was going to be PWR students that primarily read the blog, and tailoring the content to a somewhat rhetorically aware, though not necessarily rhetorically expert population. This experience definitely challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, for which I am really glad. It also helped me to learn how to write more concisely and effectively in order to give the post the greatest change of being read.

Through doing the research to create blog posts, I also realized how many intriguing articles can be related to rhetoric. I had the opportunity to acknowledge how many different areas of study incorporate rhetoric in a variety of ways. By considering the ways in which rhetoric applies to any type of situation, I have become more rhetorically savvy. I now read newspaper articles or journals online and recognize the rhetorical decisions that were made in the creation of those works.

One of the main focuses of this semester was on creating a Portfolio Development Series. We spent a lot of time in the brainstorming process, determining the best online portfolio platforms to teach students. Keeping students’ busy lives and probable portfolio goals in mind, we determine that two portfolios would be the most practical. We chose Digication, because it is required in many English courses and would therefore be beneficial for students to know how to use. We also selected WordPress, because it is a more customizable, yet still simple, version of Digication.


In order to plan the workshops, Emily, Page and I would first discuss our end goal so that we were sure to stay on task in the workshop and give the students the best information possible. Then, we taught ourselves more about the site through researching and practicing. For the actual workshops, we created specific goals and outlines of the progression. Overall, we were extremely prepared. In order to advertise the workshops, we created flyers, one of which is shown on the right.

In reality, only a few students showed up to both of the workshops. At the Digication workshop, which was the first, I was initially disappointed at the turnout, but quickly found that it allowed for more one-on-one consulting. It was beneficial to the students to have a personal consultation and teacher. Knowing more of what to expect for the WordPress workshop, we planned it accordingly. We made ourselves well-versed in the different templates so that we could do more effective one-on-one consulting. Even though these workshops what we initially intended attendance wise, they still met our goals and taught students about the benefits of establishing an online identity. This process also taught me how to be a better leader and collaborator.

Paige, Emily and I also created a proposal for types of multimedia that could be added to the blog next year. Throughout the semester, we looked into what other universities were doing and brainstormed possibilities for the Associates next year to implement. We provide some video content ideas, as well as a sample Jing video for the Associates to use. Having never done anything with multimedia, it was good to get my feet wet in a sense and learn more about the ways to incorporate multimedia in a blog.

In the future, our intention is that the increase of multimedia on the blog will create more traffic. We also discussed the possibilities of pairing up with the Pendulum to gain more popularity. Hopefully, by continuing to strive for more engaging posts, more people will pass on the word about the blog.

Overall, I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to be a CUPID associate. I had no idea what to expect beginning the semester, but I can gladly say that I gained many new experiences and learned a lot. The blog writing and workshop creating and leading skills will help me in my future career path. I look forward to seeing the advancement of the CUPID blog, the implementation of some of the video ideas and hopefully some more workshops in the future!

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