Oladipo, we’re all for you

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Did you hear the loud earth-shattering boom earlier today? That was the sound of the hearts of Hoosier Nation fans breaking.

Although it’s not a complete shock Victor Oladipo is forgoing his senior year and entering the NBA draft, it didn’t make the news any less bitter-tasting.

The junior, first-team All-American is graduating in May and according to the AP he is projected as a top-six choice.

Oladipo was the second-leading scorer and averaged 6.3 rebounds and 13.6 points a game. He also commanded respect by those he played with and against. But more than that, at the risk of sounding like a complete girl, he looks really, really cool doing it.

I mean come on, not only can he drive the lane, throw a shot up under handed and sink it, he can dunk the ball with what looks like an effortless jump. The man has “hops.”

I’ve written before about the program rebuilding after sanctions from Kelvin Sampson nearly demolished the tradition known as Indiana basketball. Oladipo was one of the guys who helped fans remember what it’s all about. The 6’5″ Maryland native was able to come in to a new state, school and basketball program and not only succeed, but epitomize what Indiana University basketball is. They worked hard and demanded the nation note their growth. As a result they made IU basketball spectators have fun.

Although I’m not happy to see him leave, I’m grateful to have attended the school consisting of this program. Cody Zeller, a sophomore basketball player, will announce his plans tomorrow. I won’t be surprised if he decides to enter the NBA draft as well but the holes left behind will be big to fill (and not just because they are big guys). If both Oladipo and Zeller are NBA bound that will leave four former starting positions ( Christian Watford, Zeller, Oladipo and Jordan Hulls) empty.

Although it’s uncertain what Zeller will decide, I will put my sadness aside and wish the best for Oladipo. I think Victor said it best in the press conference announcing his decision.

“It’s an honor to be an Indiana Hoosier. It means so much to me and I will always be an Indiana Hoosier. This is my home. I love this place. I love the fans. I love the people.”

In the same press conference, he said will come back to visit and he hopes he will be welcomed back with open arms.

We will always welcome you back, Victor.

Love, a member of Hoosier Nation

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Obama chooses Indiana to win NCAA tournament

Obama chooses Indiana to win NCAA tournament

In what has become a spring ritual, President Obama filled out a men’s basketball bracket. He choose Indiana to win the NCAA tournament. He also had Louisville, Florida and Ohio State in the final four.
The president has given his predictions to ESPN before but hasn’t correctly guessed the winner since 2009. Here’s to hoping he is right.

IU basketball seniors: foundation of a comeback

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Indiana University basketball makes me emotional. Every time I watch Christian Watford’s game winning shot against no. one Kentucky in Dec. 2011, and the crowd’s reaction, I get chills.

Every time they lose, I lose with them and ever time I see them do well I can’t help but feel the pride for the Indiana University men’s basketball team.

Those who haven’t witnessed Indiana basketball will not understand why I feel this way. However, members of Hoosier Nation will know exactly what I’m saying.

My father is an Indiana University basketball fan and his father was as well. Through them I learned the tradition of Indiana basketball.

Tonight they have a chance to win the Big Ten regular season title.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving than the three seniors, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford.

The three seniors are getting ready to play their last game in Assembly Hall and will try to win this outright Big Ten regular season title, something IU hasn’t accomplished in 20 years.

The senior class, who has gone through some of the roughest moments in IU basketball history will play Ohio State.

They went 22-41 their first two years as Tom Crean tried to rebuild the program tarnished by previous coach Kevin Sampson.

I was trying to figure out why the program was so emotional and realized it’s because they never gave up, showed loyalty and put in the work they are finally seeing pay off.

Each player could have said goodbye to the team when things got ugly. Instead they decided to be the faces of the program in a rough rebuilding period. They practiced, played and practiced more, even in the two-year period  they lost 41 games. They are a big part of the reason younger players in recent years decided to commit to IU.

After all they have done, Elston, Watford and Hulls deserve to be returned the love, respect and support they have put in the game every day for the past four years. They have been the foundation of the Indiana University basketball comeback.

I will be watching the game from my home tonight and hope the crowd in Assembly Hall will cheer loud through the game and stay for the senior activities after. As the Indiana Daily Student said in their paper today, Derek, Jordy, C-Wat, you are Indiana.

“Today, as a class, we t…

“Today, as a class, we thank what got us here,” Sedam said. “Thank you, IU. Thanks for our story.”

I had the honor of going through the Indiana University graduation two Saturdays ago. Although it felt like it was a million degrees while wearing the heavy, black gown outside and although we had to stand for two hours before the precession began, it was completely worth it.  

My parents and brother drove two and a half hours south to watch me graduate.  My father, still healing from his car accident, my mother tired from dealing with eighth graders all week, and my brother who had just gotten pink eye a few days before, drove down to help me celebrate. 

Everyone kept asking me “how does it feel to finally be done with school?”  My answer was always a modest, “it seems weird.”  To be honest, what I was thinking was it doesn’t feel real yet. I don’t feel like I’m graduating. There’s no way I just finished college.  I felt this way because I knew I still had a summer left in Bloomington.  I have one summer class until June and I have a job here until August.  

As I sat in Assembly Hall, among other Journalism majors, I looked around at the 6,400 people graduating only distinguishable by the different colored tassels that indicated various majors available at IU.  Michael McRobbie, IU president, began speaking with an inspirational and comical opening.  He was followed by Booker T. Jones who gave the commencement speech.  

It still didn’t feel real. I watched from my seat on the side of Assembly Hall (home of IU basketball) and enjoyed the speech but it hadn’t hit me yet.  Booker T. Jones concluded his speech by saying “this commencement ceremony is, indeed, an auspicious occasion. You finished the greatest school in the world, Indiana University.”  I joined the crowd and clapped loudly as he said this.   

A little later, the undergraduate commencement began.  Lauren Sedam, a fellow journalism major, stood behind the microphone and began to speak.  Her words flowed out easily, although I knew that it was a well practiced speech. Sedam had interviewed other seniors about their experience at Indiana University and what it meant to them.  As I listened to her talk about her experience as well as those she interviewed, it hit me. I had also had that unique experience. The experience of meeting strangers and becoming best friends; the experience of coming to a school and making it a home.  As Sedam ended her speech she said what all of us had on our minds.  

“Today, as a class, we thank what got us here,” Sedam said. “Thank you, IU. Thanks for our story.”  

In that moment graduation became very real. I do not think there was one student in Assembly Hall that didn’t have goose bumps on their arms or tears in their eyes.  That’s exactly what iU did. It made my story. It made my college career.  I won’t remember some of the classes I took, but I will remember the people that made my college experience what it was.

After graduation I had a dinner with my family before they headed home.  I ended the night with two of my roommates and what felt like all IU seniors at Kilroys Sports Bar.  At 3:00, seniors crowded the downstairs floor (bars usually close at 3:00).  The bar stayed open an extra hour as the DJ played songs for the seniors remaining.  People everywhere danced, sang, and cried together. Sedam was right when she said this was our story.  This moment is a reflection of that story.  A moment when we all came together and celebrated a milestone in our lives.  As the DJ turned on “This is Indiana” (a well-known song across campus)  hundreds of people huddled together.  My roommates and I danced and cried and knew that we would remember this moment.  

I am blessed to have the people in my life who have helped shape my college career.  My parents, brother, roommates, friends, and family have been there for me through it all and I am so grateful. They have made my college experience become the best that it could have been, and because of that, this is my story.  

Thanks to all who have helped shape my IU story. 

This Is Indiana

There has been a lot of well-deserved hype surrounding the Hoosiers lately. The men’s basketball team, with the help of Tom Crean, has had a season that has left many IU fans exclaiming, “We’re back.” The Hoosiers, 15-2, are now ranked 7 in Associated press and 8 in the Coaches poll.

Because of the hype, a lot of writers are coming out of the woodwork to cover the notorious Hoosier basketball program. However, when covering athletics, or any subject, the writer should really check his facts. Sports Illustrated senior writer L. Jon Wertheim recently wrote an article referring to the IU fan base as “Hoosiers Nation.” Hoosiers? There is no “s” at the end. The IU fan base is actually “Hoosier Nation,” and I am a student who is very proud to be a member of Hoosier Nation with players such as Zeller, Oladipo, Watford, Hulls, Sheehey, Jones, Roth, and Elston on the team.

Hoosier Nation is bleeding cream and crimson for the players who are reminding us all what basketball is about. It’s the camaraderie, pride, and high that come with competition. Coach Crean was asked why he chose to coach Indiana basketball after NCAA violations from a previous coach. His response? “It’s Indiana.”

The Hoosiers will be be visiting No. 5 Ohio State, 15-3, at 4:30 this afternoon. Go Hoooooooooosiers!

The following link is the perfect example of why IU fans are so excited this season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f2TXItC_hU&feature=player_embedded

Plans might change, but mother always knows best

Today Marks the beginning of my last semester of college classes ever (fingers crossed).  I say fingers crossed, because after a quick visit to my advisor, I found out I have two credits left to take.  Really? two credits.  There aren’t even classes available worth two credits, only one or three credit classes  (thanks for toying with my emotions IU).

My first  reaction was anger.  Not only do I have two measely credits I have to take, but the credits can’t be in journalism, advertising, communication, media, or tellecommunications, or english.  That means that I can’t take any class related to my major or minor. 

My second reaction was frustration.  Because after trying to fit those two little credits in my final schedule, I found out that I can’t because I am already taking 18 credits.    So I need two credits but I cannot add two credits to my already full schedule. 

My third reaction was panic.  I’ve been applying to internships everywhere for the past three months for this summer.  I had hopes of an internship at a magazine in Indianapolis, Chicago, or New York this summer. 

My fourth reaction was _____.  I called my mother.  This should have been my first reaction.  My mother calmed me down from “if-I-don’t-get-two-credits-fit-into-my-schedule-I-will-fail-at-not-only-this summer-internship-but-the-rest-of-my-journalism-career-and-life.” Yes, I know that was a dramatic thought process, but that’s how I was feeling at the moment. She not only gave me great advice, she made me see that I currently can do nothing about the two credits and worrying about it will only drive me insane. 

My mother informed me that if I have to take a first summer session class at IU, I’ll survive.  First session classes start in May and end in June and I would still be graduating in May.  I also have already paid rent on my house for the summer, which means I have a place to stay and I won’t be losing any money.  She also informed me that it’s okay if I don’t get an internship at the beginning of the summer, I can get one later in the summer or I can get one in the fall.  I already have two jobs, and taking one class in the summer would allow me to have the time to save up some money for when I do move.

Tacking on one more class to my other six, would only ensure that I have zero free time to actually enjoy what’s left of my senior year. So what did she tell me you might wonder? She told me to work hard, but also make some time to do something fun.  She informed me that sometimes I worry about making other people happy (i.e. finishing in May and getting an amazing internship immediately) and I need to focus on myself. Last, she told me to make mistakes and enjoy what’s left of my senior year, because whether I know it or not, everything will fall into place. Thanks to my mother I realized that it might not be such a bad idea to stay around this beautiful campus a  little longer.

IU journalism professors adopt technology trends

While technology has long been a presence at the School of Journalism, fall semester has seen professors and lecturers increase their use of new tools to connect students with professionals, mentors and one another.

The free Internet-based video tool, Skype, joins video teleconferencing and courses taught entirely online as ways students are learning without leaving their classrooms or dorms. Yet, at the same time, they are expanding their skills and networking with visiting professionals in greater numbers than ever before.

Photo by Nick Demille. Students in one of assistant professor Hans Ibold's classes chat with a guest speaker via Skype, just one of the tools used to connect students to resources.

Skype provides conversation

Skype requires only three things: the free Skype program, a webcam and an Internet connection. Available to anyone, Skype provides an easy way to have a face-to-face conversation with guest speakers and mentors.

Assistant professor Hans Ibold Skypes with guest speakers in nearly every one of his classes. For example, he recently invited the author of the textbook he uses in J110 Foundations of Journalism and Mass Communication to Skype with his students.

“Skype guest speakers allow the classroom to have a conversational feel,” Ibold said. “Sometimes guest speakers literally Skype in their pajamas, which allows a barrier to come down as well as allow students to not be intimidated.”

Not all is so casual, though. Ibold sets up the talks in advance so that the speaker has an idea of the course and subject matter, and he sends the speaker a class syllabus.

Online courses

J155 Research Techniques for Journalists, required of all journalism majors, and J201 Reporting, Writing, and

Photo by Nick Demille. Adjunct lecturer Steve Higgs developed a research course that students complete online.

Editing II, an elective, are taught online, with students completely reliant on technology to converse with their instructors, upload assignments and discuss topics with one another.

Adjunct lecturer Steve Higgs developed J155, an eight-week research class, in 2002. Students meet only twice on campus, once for an orientation and again to take the final test. After an orientation, students are responsible for delivering seven lessons by deadline.

Having an online class has benefits as well as some bumps in the road, according to Higgs. For example, journalists face deadlines throughout their jobs and this class allows students to have a taste of what it’s liked to have an assignment due every Friday. Some students can handle it and some can’t, Higgs said. About 10 percent of his students every semester discover the challenges of working on deadline, with their grades suffering.

But many students enjoy the autonomy. Senior Misty Collins said she liked the convenience of working on the assignments on her own time. She said the course taught her research skills that showed her how to find different kinds of information.

“J155 was the kind of class that would have been pointless in a classroom setting because all the students would be reading verbatim off of the slides,” Collins said.

Virtual classmates

With the School of Journalism’s Indianapolis-based sports journalism program growing, teleconferencing has provided a way for students at IUPUI and IU-Bloomington to be virtual classmates.

Using a telephone, video and microphone, instructors can teach two classes of students: one on location and one via this Video Bridge system.

Lecturer Marty Pieratt has taught J261 Intro to Sports Journalism: Controversy, Conflict and Characters in Bloomington to both the IU students and the students at IUPUI. They see Pieratt on screen and participate in discussion with the Bloomington students. Several times during the semester, Pieratt drives to Indianapolis to conduct the class in person with those students, with the Bloomington students as on the long-distance end.

“I like the idea of a class that connects students at different universities,” Pieratt said. “It’s good for students to get out of their comfort zone, and it creates a great, lively debate each class period.”

The system also allows more students access to guest speakers, who can address both groups of students from one location.

Pieratt said technology is working because it’s a way to save money and time for the universities, and serve more students in the process. There are challenges, he said. Technology won’t replace being able to see and hear a professor in person, but advancements can create positive experiences when used with traditional classroom practices, such as engaging conversation and sharing of ideas.

“Technology in classrooms should complement an already solid academic experience, not compensate for it,” Pieratt said.

Tech learning curve

Many classes now are dependent on technology because the field of journalism uses new tools. Lecturer Bonnie Layton, who teaches J303 Online Journalism, said she makes sure she keeps up with industry developments in equipment and software in order to effectively teach students, but she also relies on support staff.

Photo by Nick Demille. Lecturer Bonnie Layton, left, teaches students to use a variety of equipment in her classes. She encourages them to be familiar with all types of technology to prepare for careers.

“The School of Journalism at IU is really great at helping with technological problems,” Layton said. “We have a splendid technical staff.”

In addition to technology director Dave Ernst and Web programmer Andy Koop, that staff includes multimedia lab director Allen Major, who  spends much of his time supporting instructors in the classroom. Instructors often ask Major to their classrooms to give tutorials on using equipment or software, and he and his student staff in the multimedia lab often work one-on-one with students who use the lab to complete class projects.

The collaboration of instructors, tech support and professionals visiting students either in person or virtually combine to give students tools to shape their careers. Layton said student journalists must understand the technology used in the media today, or they won’t be ready for the job market.

“My advice is to not be at arms length from technology,” Layton said. “Get familiar with video, microphones, cameras, and take advantage of the classes and professors making this technology available.”