De-Stress Day 2017

As final exams approach, a college students anxiety level reaches its peak of the semester. It is important to take a step back, and give yourself a mental break. The Office of Student Life held its annual de-stress day on December 6th, where students had multiple options to relax and rejuvenate before exams hit.

Activities included a massage treatment line where students received machine heated back massages, a machine leg massage, and a full body water massage.

Senior Communications student Leira Moore said, “The massage stations worked wonders on getting my mind off of final exams!  With several stations set up to massage different parts of the body, it made for a very relaxing session. The water massage was my favorite part, as cool water jets gave a full body massage. I’m really thankful that the University offers this for their students.”

The puppy petting center and adult coloring books were also a big hit.

Sophomore Kinesiology student Brooke Rayburn said, “I absolutely love dogs! The puppies brought to campus were so happy, energetic, and sweet. It was nice to be able to take a break from my studies and play with the adorable pups.”

For tips about how to make it through finals week successfully, check out the article below written by Communications student Sharda James.

http://eagleeyemedia.org/?p=3197

Best of Luck! Remember, keep calm and make it to Christmas break.

 

Demon-Haunted PechaKuchas

 

Dr. Rebecca Martindale gave a PechaKucha presentation at the end to give her interpretation of the book.

On Friday December 1, Dr. Rebecca Martindale, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology, had her students present their PechaKucha presentations over the book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.

 

“When we first started these presentations, I kind of did it in the middle of the semester and Caleigh started at the beginning. She’s going to do her presentation of The Demon-Haunted World the way most students and faculty would present when they use PowerPoint Presentation,” said Dr. Martindale.

The event began with Caleigh Bailon’s traditional presentation summarizing chapter 1 of the book. She discussed the key points of the chapter and her slides were text-heavy, which is common in many traditional presentations.

“After learning the new method of presentation, it’s kind of gruesome to go back and look at something like this,” Bailon said.

Next, Philip Dorouen explained what a PechaKucha was and how they worked. PechaKuchas are presentations that follow a specific format. 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each and they advance automatically.

“They are a great creative way for students to express themselves,” he said.

The benefit to this presentation style is that it can prevent the speaker from spending too much of their time talking about one part of the presentation. They have to keep speaking to keep up with the presentation and it can shorten a lengthy topic to highlight the main points. You can visit the PechaKucha website for more information and to watch other presentations. He also played the following video for the audience to give them a visual of how this presentation method worked.

“One of the things they do is have PechaKucha nights. It was originally designed by a couple of architects who basically had this philosophy where if you give an architect a microphone, they’ll talk for hours and hours. People all around the world get together in lots of different venues and have PechaKucha nights to talk about whatever they want with this particular format,” said Dr. Martindale.

Abram Garza presented his PechaKucha to summarize chapter 3 of the book.

Abram Garza presented the first PechaKucha of the event to summarize chapter 3: The Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars. This chapter was about pseudo-science and how people tend to believe tales without proof of their validity. He used note cards to aid his presentation because this format relies on images without text. Roslyn Swofford was the last student to present and she summarized chapter 21 of the book.

Dr. Martindale ended the event with her own PechaKucha presenting her interpretation of the book. This particular method made it easier to stay engaged during the presentations. The absence of text put more focus on the presenter and what they were saying, while also providing an interesting visual. Next time you have a presentation for class, try using this method to make your presentations more fun, engaging, and interesting.

Fuel For Finals 2017

There is no better way to gear up for the end of the semester than good food and great prizes!

A&M-Texarkana’s annual “Fuel for Finals” is Wednesday, December 6th from 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the University Center Cafe. Campus Activities Board, Student Government Association, and the Office of Student Life are hosting the event.

Campus Activities Board Officer Shannon Lovelady said, “Fuel for finals is a fun way to get students away from studying while having breakfast for dinner served by their favorite faculty, and also the chance to win a prize through the raffle.”

Admission is free for all students with a campus I.D., and everyone in attendance will be entered to win cool prizes and gift cards.

Winter Wonderland

Texas A&M Texarkana’s Office of Student Life, Campus Activity Board, and various campus organizations held their annual Eagle Wonderland event at the University Center’s Eagle Hall this past Saturday, December 2nd, 2017.

The event was free and open to the public from 12-3 PM, and attendance exceeded 300. Eagle Hall was filled with Christmas decorations, music, and cheer as kids and families enjoyed all the activities available for children of all ages. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus were available as well as a ‘Letters to the North Pole’ station where anyone could write to Santa and later receive a letter back.

Three of the main attractions included a ‘Stuff-a-Critter’ stations, face painting, and balloon animals (made on request). In exchange for a ticket handed out at the door, children were able to receive a panda, polar bear, penguin, or  regular teddy bear to stuff with stuffing and dress in a custom ‘Eagle Wonderland 2017’ shirt.

Other stations included making ‘Reindeer Food,’ crafting jingle-bell necklaces, a hot cocoa station, and ornament-making. The Texarkana Animal League also attended with multiple dogs up for adoption and available for petting.

Volunteers from various campus organizations wore reindeer antlers and elf hats, playing their role as ‘Santa’s Helpers’.

With this year’s success of the event, ‘Eagle Wonderland’ is expected to continue its way into Eagle Hall for years to come.

“Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence”

On Nov. 9, 2017, NASA space engineer B. Gentry Lee visited our campus. A luncheon was served of McAlister’s tea, sandwiches, and soup. Mr. Lee ate and spoke with students. Towards the end of the luncheon, he spoke briefly and answered questions.

Later that night during his PLACE lecture, Mr. Lee spoke about the development of the universe and extinctions throughout history. He also mentioned Carl Sagan (which ironically would have been his birthday that day), calling him one of the great science writers of the 20th century.

The next topic he discussed was life on other planets and how some people believe they were abducted by aliens. He noted how there is not one piece of evidence that aliens visit us regularly. He stated “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” which is what he believes we should be taught. “Anytime someone makes an outrageous claim, you should ask them, “What is your evidence?” Ironically, he was invited to an alien abduction convention and he was unsurprisingly met with boos. After hearing stories of people who had been abducted, he responded by asking why that, of all the people who have been abducted over and over, none of them brought back a single piece of evidence.

Despite his disbelief in aliens visiting Earth, he does believe that there is a possibility there is life on another planet. He visited our school because he liked our theme this year and encourages people to question what they know.

Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities

In college, one of the most rewarding accomplishments as a student is acquiring the ability to conduct and exhibit our own works. Doing so means that we are in some way progressing intellectually and broadening both our skill sets and minds by practicing what we learn.  Admittedly, though, it’s hard to do this alone. Guidance, even the slightest thereof, can help individuals in dramatic ways. For this reason, Texas A&M – Texarkana is proud to present a new way for students, faculty, and staff members to collaborate, innovate, and communicate ideas and research agenda’s that will contribute to a better understanding of the humanities The Red River Innovation Lab for the Humanities!

The innovation lab intends on taking a student lead approach to education and scholarship by utilizing not only services and teachings of value to students, but also allowing them to produce their own research and experiments. The lab wants to offer Texas A&M – Texarkana school members a place of encouragement in which they can gather resources cooperatively and produce research-based developments that aid in the progression of their own understandings of the humanities. From the beginning, we want to emphasize student involvement and construct the lab in a way that benefits the wants and needs of student academics.

The Red River Innovation Lab, though not officially open, will be located in room 120 in the STEM building. We’ve just begun receiving our equipment to get up and running! Prior to our grand opening, Director Drew Morton will be hosting our first meeting on November 28th, from 12:15 to 1 pm, in the lab. The meeting is of a participatory nature meant as an opportunity for you to disclose what sort of projects and materials you’re interested in the innovation lab to offer. Dr. Morton will also provide further insight regarding what we will be able to provide for you! It’s an opportunity for voices to be heard. Finally, you get to tell everyone what you want to learn and gain experience in within the field of humanities. Some examples of possible discussion topics may be podcasts, broadcasting, PLACE work, and whatever else you bring to the table. A link to the Innovation Lab’s Facebook page is included below where you can let us know if you are interested in attending. If you plan on joining us, please RSVP by November 26! There will be a light lunch and refreshments offered, so feel free to come by and check out your school’s new research facilities! We hope to see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/RRILH/

‘Remediation’ is Everywhere

November 16th, 2017 – Squeezed between two Mass Communication courses Dr. Morton was teaching, he found the time to hold a PLACE Lecture in UC 210 – the subject, Bolter & Grusin’s Remediation, a subject dear to his heart (or as close as he can get with a subject so often covered in his courses) and one that I, a Mass Communication Major myself, find fun food for thought when it counts.

While the lecture got described as a 40 minute crash course, the topic of Remediation thankfully is one that’s simple to understand but difficult to master. Remediation, in the case of Bolter & Grusin meaning representing one medium in another, is something we don’t spot enough in everyday life for how prevalent the concept is – it’s essentially the ‘borrowing’ of ideas from one medium (Film, TV, Video Games) to enhance or otherwise detail another – consider Film and TV in the 90’s, two very distinct mediums that aren’t so different in modern terms.

The paradox of Remediation, however, is that often media need to borrow from each other to feel real – they must be less like themselves to be themselves. Think long enough about your favorite property and you might find that you can make a stronger argument for it being a medium other than one it actually is.

Dr. Morton was by the day’s end more than a bit exhausted but he did want to comment that if the lecture (or what’s being described by me after the fact) was of interest to anyone they should consider stopping by the Red River Innovation Lab in the Science and Technology Building on campus, Room 120. As of now, they’re shooting for a full launch of the lab before the beginning of Spring but there’ll be events to get a game plan going in the coming weeks.