BLOG POST 10: Course Reflections

Coming into this course, I had a general knowledge of many of the skills and concepts we covered, however I never had the experience of combining them together into a blog. Throughout this course, I was able to further develop these preexisting skills and apply them to new platforms to see how everything can work together when combining visual elements such as photography and videography to a text based blog website.

For soft skills, one of the things I learned a lot about was listening to others during interviews and learning how to take someone else’s story and create something out of it. This was very noticeable in the web story assignment, where I interviewed a professor at the University of Wyoming and was able to share a message he had across not only my blog, but instagram as well.

In my upcoming career as a marketing technologist, this course helped provide me with knowledge that I know I will be using. To begin, website development is something I will be assigned to do, and that was one of the first things we learned in this course. Additionally, I plan to use the concepts from web writing to create a professional business-based blog to highlight customer success stories and allow people to learn about how clients use my businesses services.

One of the most meaningful assignments was the video production one. For me, I have developed video projects for years, both personally and professionally. With my knowledge in this area being advanced, I loved being able to take an assignment and apply my creative freedom to it, and seeing all the concepts from this class combine into one project, including video, interviewing and publishing content.

Sitting at Vedauwoo overlooking the valley near Laramie, Wyo.

One of the most challenging assignments was also the video assignment. For this assignment you have to do a lot of planning, and in my experience, video projects always take longer than you anticipate. You need to plan who will be in the video, what shots you will use, what you want people to say, and then initiate that plan. Once done, the editing itself is fairly easy for me, and is very rewarding to see a project come together.

If I could go back and give myself advice about this course, I would say to branch out more outside the university and look for opportunities that could be used for assignments that are more unique. This was hard given the time and amount of detail required, but I believe this would greatly increase the value of my content.

In sum, this class was unique compared to my other classes. Rather than learning about these techniques and methods via textbook, we were able to read, discuss and then go out an implement our studies. This very hands-on course is a great introductory course for multimedia production, and while I consider my personal skills in this field to be more advanced, I still find myself learning from not only the content, but other students in this class as well.

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BLOG POST #9: Video Storytelling

For our final project this semester, we were tasked with creating a video using the skills and information we were taught throughout this semester. This project was one of the most time consuming; however, in the end, we were able to produce a nice video about Laramie, Wyoming and what life is like here. On this project, I teamed up with fellow classmates Kade Russow and Lane Smith. We have worked in several groups prior to this project, so I was confident in our ability to produce a video.

What I enjoyed most about this experience was collecting the individual video clips and then seeing them come together as we edited the video. This took a lot of planning, as we were able to envision what we wanted to create, but we needed to plan each shot and timeline accordingly to make sure we had enough time in the project to accommodate everything while meeting the criteria. One thing I did not enjoy was how long the process took. We spent two weeks working on this project, and we wanted to ensure everything met our instructor’s expectations. With Lane and Kade, we were all able to specialize in a different area of production, weather it be organizing interviews and gathering ideas with Kade, or producing the content and recording the voiceover with Lane.

One thing that surprised me was how people react to being on camera. Some people for the interviews took it as a natural conversation, spoky directly and smoothly. Others often panicked, and would laugh or make mistakes, which we would then have to start over or not use at all. One thing I wish we could have done differently is plan out our interviewees better. We just went up to random people who were not expecting us, which did not give them much time to think of something to say.

In the future, I plan to use video in my career to highlight customer stories. Being able to see the people and listen to them is much better than simply writing about people or listening to an audio recording, and you are able to add a lot of visual elements to tell your story.

Overall, I enjoyed this assignment as I do a lot of video work in my personal and professional lives. I enjoyed this assignment as it allowed my to combine many of our readings into one big project.

BLOG POST #8: IMPRESSIONS, ILLUSTRATOR AND INSTAGRAM

When asked what my favorite social media platforms are, Instagram is always at the top of my list. For me, I love being able to open an app and see images and short videos my friends have posted, without much of the clutter you see on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram was a great choice for this assignment, as it allowed us to continue visual storytelling through a new medium. While my personal instagram is already established (@realzackkilgore), I decided to create a professional one for this project, @ZackKilgoreUWyo.

My Instagram account showcasing five of my assignments this semester, along with an intro graphic promoting my blog.

When it comes to creating the content for Instagram, I chose not to use Canva. As a graphic designer, I was more comfortable with Adobe Illustrator, as I could do more than an online graphic builder. One of my complaints about Canva is when people use it, content begins to look the same and there is no unique feeling to it.

For my posts, I chose images that relate to the actual blog posts. I used pictures from my blog, and even some that were not in the original blog posts to draw attention to each story. To give everything a branded feel, I used the same two fonts, color filter and rounded borders for each post. This allowed me to apply a personal brand and consistent look for my account.

The challenging part about this assignment was coming up with appropriate photos for each assignment that would draw people in. One of the things that were surprising is how well the finished product looked, and how it all comes together in the end to promote each blog post individually. One thing that really bothered me about this assignment was the use of hashtags, and how it encourages spam accounts to sift through your profile. I never use hashtags, and when you add that visibility, fake accounts begin to follow you and like your content.

In the future, I plan to use Instagram professionally though my job as a marketing technologist, promoting the brand of the company I work for in a professional, yet interesting way.

Blog Post #7: MOUNTAINS, MEANDERING AND MAPS

When you move to Laramie, whether for school, work or just to live, one of the many outdoor activities people talk about is hiking around Vedauwoo. Some of the many questions people then ask are What is Vedauwoo? Where are the good hiking trails? What is the best time to go?

View from the top of a hiking trail with trees in the background, perfect for a relaxing weekend hike.

Let’s clear all these questions up with an interactive map and stories for each of my favorite hiking and climbing trails located just outside of Laramie, Wyoming. Throughout the past four years, I have wandered around with friends at both day and night, searching for the most adventurous trails we could find.

The first hiking route, which is outlined in blue, is one of the most recognizable routes in Vedauwoo, but is also great for the winter months due to road closures; however it is also a great route if you have time to hike. Starting at the main entrance, you simply walk down into the valley on the road, then use the trailhead to officially start. Walking in this loop you head west and can begin climbing through massive rocks until you reach a point where you can overlook the land below from a high vantage point. This route is particularly great for sunsets, as you can sit and watch the sun set behind the mountains.

The sun sets behind the clouds at Vedauwoo outside of Laramie, Wyo.

The next route I have mapped takes you to one of the highest points at Vedauwoo. Landen Kilgore has hiked this route many times with me.

“This trail is a little more difficult, but the view at the top is amazing,” says Kilgore. “You get to overlook the valley below and at night you can even see the wind turbines near Cheyenne.”

You can follow the first route down in and halfway up the rock formations before you split routes and climb even higher. This route may not be suitable for younger individuals due to its complexity.

My next trail is another one that is higher in elevation, but less complex to get to. By taking the established trail again, you can split off and head south and end up on flat rocks that overlook the southern section of Veduawoo. This is perfect for night hikes as it is easier to get to and gives you a nice clear view of the sky, as well as passing Interstate 80. This route also has trees along the way and other anchoring points if you decide to bring a hammock to relax. It is important to note many of these areas are closed for camping, so do not plan on staying overnight.

One of the more difficult routes I have plotted is in a different area of Vedauwoo. This hike begins with a short walk to the base of a smaller rock formation, but becomes difficult as to get up, you will need to scale a narrow and steep chimney-style crevasse in the rocks. This is a route that I almost always come out of with scrapes and scratches due to its challenging passes and narrow spaces, but provides great sunrise views for the early morning hiker. At the top, you will find several anchor points for those who choose to climb with rope and a nice flat area to relax.

One of the higher points at Vedauwoo is also known as ‘Turtle Rock’ due to it’s unusual shape.

“This route is definitely challenging,” says Kilgore. “This is a short route in terms of distance, but can easily take the same amount of times as any of the more difficult routes.”

With the more complex routes out of the way, let’s move into my final route, which is the easiest of them all and requires no climbing. This route is an established trail, open during the summer months and takes you to a small waterfall. The shallow creek is a nice stopping spot on warmer days, and perfect for most ages due to its ease of access. I have walked this trail many times in the summer, my last being only two days after a heart related surgery. While my other trails have their own challenges, this simple route is perfect if you have kids or are older and are looking for a short yet fun walk outdoors.

“On a hot day, take this route for a short walk,” says Kilgore. “Put your head in the water fall, wade in it if it’s deep enough, but enjoy it!”

This 360 degree aerial photograph captures the surroundings at Vedauwoo on April 12, 2019.

With these five routes, I hope you can better plan for a trip at Vedauwoo. Whether you are simply out for day hike or are adventuring at night to go stargazing, these routes are some of my favorite and each have their own benefits. Be sure to pack the appropriate clothing, gear and supplies, as well as ensuring the safety of others and yourself in these routes.

Blog Post #6: Talking, Trending and Twitter

For my live tweeting event, I decided to do the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, or ASUW “Meet the Candidates” event on Monday, April 8. This was an event put on by ASUW to allow candidates to meet other students and to introduce their platforms on why they are running.

I used a promotional approach for this assignment, which can be seen through my tweets by first announcing the event and then taking a photo of the event, where I then talked about some of the specifics of the election.

Following this, I decided to speak with one of the tickets, Derrik Conard and Jake St. Marie, who are running for ASUW President and Vice President. I was able to learn about their platforms and how they wanted to bring change to the University of Wyoming, where I was then able to quote the two of them. As the event ended, the pizza that was being given away began to run out, and students returned to their classes, which winded down the event.

ASUW’s ‘Meet the Candidates’ event in Prexy’s Pasture. ASUW President Derrik Conard is seen on the right.

I enjoyed being able to use a platform that many people use to promote this event. While I was there for this assignment, if I was a professional doing this I would have loved to engage users and followers who may not be in attendance.

One thing I did not enjoy was trying to tweet or remember what to tweet while being engaged in the event itself. This was difficult because it made it hard to decide what to quote people on, and what was not as important. With past projects, I was able to refer to an audio recording or notes, which I was unable to do in this scenario.

In my future career, I intend to manage digital platforms, so I see myself using applications like Twitter often. I would like to use them to highlight events and spread news, similarly to how I handled this meeting of candidates.

To follow along with my live-tweets, visit my University of Wyoming account, or you can even follow my personal account for sneak peak into my own personal life.

Blog Post #5: Audio, Adventures and Aloha

Landen Kilgore speaks during an audio interview in Laramie, Wyo on April 4, 2019.

For this assignment, we got the opportunity to use what we have learned about audio recording and interview someone about an interesting area of their life. For me, I was already pretty comfortable doing an audio interview, as it is something I have done before. Additionally, I have done many video interview projects, and people tend to be more comfortable with a simple audio recorder rather than a camera in front of them.

I decided to do the interview with my brother, Landen Kilgore, as we have debate launching a podcast for several years. With this project, it was less of me talking, or none of me talking for the edited component, but it was still nice to see what the process actually would look like, from start to finish.

Editing the audio was interesting, as I have only done this a couple times in the past. I used GarageBand, as that is what I am familiar with, and seemed to be easier to use than Audacity.

One thing that surprised me about this assignment was how long the editing took. Even though you are working with a recording that is no more than five minutes, the amount of time to edit was far beyond what I imagined. To begin, I had to make sure I was working with a .WAV file as we learned from our guest speakers to improve quality. Next was importing the audio and making sure I had a saved copy in the event I really mess things up. Once everything was uploaded and ready to go, I began snipping and cropping while zooming across my project to ensure I was clipping at the right points and not removing any audio by accident.

One thing I wish I could have done differently is to have a better recording setup. I used a studio microphone with a filter on it that I had used in the past for professional audio projects, but trying to find a great place to record audio was difficult. My house has a lot of echo, so finding a room where that could be minimized was something I could have changed. I believe that Coe Library has a studio in the basement where you can work on such projects, and in the future I would like to utilize their services, since they were designed for this exact kind of project.

In the future, I do not know how much I will use audio by itself, but I am confident I will continue to gather audio for video. I have done many voice-over projects where you record audio that sits on top of random video, and I think that is very similar to simply gathering audio by itself. Planning to work in marketing and advertising, I definitely see how I can use audio, and I believe the background I already have will be beneficial and allow me to dive deeper into different forms of audio projects in the future.

Blog Post #4: Causation, Confidence and Crawford

Nearly every major has a class or two that people fear. For some, it is algebra, calculus or maybe even statistics. Many would consider these courses as all being math; however one of these classes is not like the other two and Scott Crawford is working to ensure students think of statistics as a foreign language, rather than mathematics.

Portrait of Scott Crawford, Ph.D. in statistics

Dr. Scott Crawford at the University of Wyoming

Scott Crawford graduated from Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and continued his education at Brigham Young University with a master’s degree in statistics. After earning his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M University, Scott Crawford now teaches at the University of Wyoming as an academic professional lecturer.

“As an Academic Professional Lecturer, I do not have research expectations,” said Crawford. “I focus on research and service, and I really enjoy it. I could’ve applied for a tenure track, but I wanted the lecturer track.”

With more than 460 students, Crawford’s day typically starts with checking and responding to email for an hour before he teaches his first class of the day. With a majority of his students taking his online course, his unique approach seeks to engage students even without the interpersonal connection of being in class.

“There’s lots of personality, and most of this generation like entertainment and something that is fun, casual and open. Stuffy lectures that drones on is not what modern college classes should be, you want excitement,” said Crawford. “I once flipped a table and used a table leg for the rest of class.”

Elizabeth Klinger was one of Crawford’s students and recalls being terrified of a math class after transfering to the University of Wyoming from BYU.

“When I got to class on the first day, my fears and terror dubsided,” said Elizabeth. “Dr. Crawford was up on tables, dancing and singing, putting on a whole show while teaching. I knew then that I was in for a treat that semester.”

Scott Crawford shows a student-taken photograph while entertaining his class standing on a table and chair.

Crawford utilizes homemade music videos to engage students across majors doing his best to ensure his teachings appeal across every major. Often performing in the front of his class, Scott Crawford is not afraid to utilize tables and chairs as his stage to capture the attention of his classroom.

Hunter Rowe, a recent University of Wyoming graduate recalled one of his first experiences with Scott Crawford as unique and interesting.

“I was at a supplemental instruction once, and Dr. Crawford took one look at my assignment and proceeded to tell me what my personality was,” says Hunter. “He is a very entertaining guy, his personality assessment was spot-on too”

Life outside of the University of Wyoming

Outside of the University of Wyoming, Scott Crawford stays active with his wife and four kids. As a member of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints, Scott is also involved in church activities and teaching high school students in the mornings.

Elizabeth Klinger, also a member of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints not only had Scott Crawford in class, but worked with him through the church. As President of the Latter-day Saint Student Association, Elizabeth was in charge of planning the organizations weekly meetings.

“I invited Dr. Crawford to speak to us one Tuesday for our Latter-day Saint Student Association,” said Elizabeth. “He has a way of captivating his audiences in a way that is not intimidating and is totally relatable to us as college students. I know that everyone in attendance that day left the meeting more edified.”

Outside of church, Crawford enjoys spending his time with his family.

“Movies, games and because I have small kids, I play games from the 90s. The kids are thrilled with them,” said Crawford. “I’m totally a nerd, I love Marvel, Dr. Who and Lord of The Rings.”

Teaching statistics is no easy task. Working with students who believe statistics is strictly math and who don’t see the relevancy of the subject is a challenge that Scott Crawford has made his own. Students in Crawford’s classes will walk away with a more advanced knowledge of statistics, how it applies to your life and why you cannot add or subtract standard deviations, especially if a broken table is involved.

“In a world where we have to make decisions with uncertainty, statistics is the method for finding good results based on what you do know,” explains Crawford. “This doesn’t say it’s math, it doesn’t say it’s questions, how you come to a conclusion with only pieces of information and not the whole picture requires using those pieces of information.”