Sunday, April 27, 2008

Advice to Future Students

First and foremost, this class is not one of those that you need to dread! Although considered a requirement for most, if not all, it is quite enjoyable. There are only a few things that you may want to keep in mind if you plan on doing well in the course.

First, always keep up with the work. As a student in the online section of the course, keeping up with the work was very important. A weekly "To-Do List" was always posted on Sunday nights and it was imperative to pace yourself wisely to complete the assignments by the following Sunday. When you think about it, you had MUCH more time and leeway to complete the assignments than those in the actual lecture section, so take advantage of it, but don't abuse it!

Second, understand and become knowledgeable about the concepts that this course covers. Unlike many of your other classes that usually don't stick with you after that final exam, this class is important. You will learn how to write some very important documents, the correct way, that you will need to use over and over again in the future. Not only that, many things that you will write will end up being second nature to you with whatever job you chose in the future. So understand and learn the right way now, it will only make things in the very near future that much easier!

And third, NEVER hesitate to ask questions! Mrs. Rogers is probably one of the best professors you will ever have here at Clemson, and I'm not just saying that! She is more than willing to help you with anything at anytime. She isn't one of those professors that gets annoyed with questions, or your not understanding certain things. She would much rather help you until you fully grasped the concept, even if she answered the same question five times! She always made me feel so comfortable about sending her e-mail after e-mail with questions! The simplest way to put it would be: "You send her 1000 e-mails with questions or concerns, she replies 1000 times with the answers!"

There may seem to be a good bit of work to do at one time, but overall this class is not difficult at all. The atmosphere, even for online students, is very relaxed and comfortable. Mrs. Rogers does an excellent job at preparing you for real world situations where the documents you learn to write will be used. She is very nice, helpful, and understanding with absolutely everything. Finally, a course that you will actually be able to recall things from, and that you will constantly use concepts from in the future!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ethics Assignment Reflection

The ethics assignment really opened my eyes to things that I was completely unaware of. The ethical lapse that we chose to research was titled "Guidant Corporation Fails to Recall" and it was a very interesting case. It dealt with heart defibrillators that were being surgically implanted into patients. The problem that inevitably caused this ethical lapse was the fact that there was a rare malfunction in the defibrillators. They were short-circuiting and failing to administer the electrical shock that allowed the heart to return to a normal beat. The problem was reported to the FDA but nothing was ever said about what happened to the original devices.
It was stated that the problem had been fixed, but was later discovered that the company continued to sell the original devices even after gaining knowledge about the malfunction.

I was completely shocked that Guidant didn't feel the need to warrant a recall for the product just because the malfunction was so rare. Their excuse for not sending out the recommendation for removal was that "they believed the risk of operation and infection was greater than the rare chance it would malfunction". A heart defibrillator is a huge lifeline for heart patients, and is essentially what determines life or death for that individual. The fact that they would basically "push aside" the malfunction for their own good is unbelievable. In addition to that, it shows how much they were out for themselves because the only reason they decided to issue a recall at the time that they did was because they learned that the New York Times was in the process of writing a story on the whole situation.

From my research I've learned that, bottom line, its hard to trust anyone or anything. You really don't know a company's true intentions and can never be sure of what would happen in a situation like this one. It seems that they are more concerned with their own company, money, and well being as opposed to the well being of the patients that receive their products. It really is sad that the world is like this, and that extremely serious matters such as this one are kept hidden, especially from the individuals that it can affect most.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ethical Lapses Distract U.S. Workers

I was somewhat shocked when I read this particular article. I didn't realize that ethical lapses were that prominent in the workplace. The findings from the study were startling. I was completely unaware that these "ethical lapses" even occurred, much less at a reported once a week by more than one in three respondents. I also didn't realize that there was a drastic effect on individuals because of this. Knowing that people spend a day or more, or even a month or more distracted by these issues is mind boggling. I don't feel that it is a very positive or productive atmosphere at all if ethical lapses are occurring.

The next thing that was very shocking to me was how "One in 10 American workers believes a current issue at their company could create a scandal or business disruption if it was discovered...". Its strange to think that it could lead to such trouble and confusion. It doesn't seem like a business is being run correctly or to it's fullest positive potential if there are ethical issues present, especially those that could be serious enough to cause scandal.

The last part of the article talked about ways to handle ethical lapses. These findings were shocking as well. I can see the point of view from each of the scenarios though. Some think that it is best to handle it themselves, while others believe that involving company management would be better. I also see how employees would get others involved, such as other employees, due to certain circumstances. I guess that everyone would have a different reason for the action that that choose to take based on the given situation.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Writing on the Web vs. Writing on Paper

Writing on the Web and writing on paper have similarities as well as differences. To start, when writing on the web it is much more challenging than writing on paper. This is due to a few things, but mainly concerns the individual that is reading whatever it is that you are sending. They do not have a "paper copy" in front of them, which usually means that the message on their computer screen is expected to get the point across to them quickly and efficiently without loads of effort needing to be put into the thought process.

Writing on paper is a bit different. Usually, something that is given to you, in hard copy form, is expected to be thoroughly analyzed so to speak. It is usually intended to have time spent focusing on the important ideas as well as taking into account all other content. Things written on paper are more thought-out and more formally written due to this.

Aside from the differences, there are similarities between the two. A few of the most important are that your purpose and audience need to be understood, your subject needs to be carefully researched, your thoughts need to be organized, you should use plain language, and your text must be free of grammatical and typographical errors. These things apply to both Web and print forms of writing.

There are a few things that you should focus on when transferring a document formerly read on paper to the Web. These include things such as organizing your content so that your key points and conclusions appear first, along with having accurate content that is backed by supporting evidence which should be expressed to your audience in an appropriate tone. Another thing would be to break up dense blocks of text into shorter paragraphs that follow the inverted-pyramid method. Lastly, you could hyperlink other important information that you may not necessarily want to include in the main points so that it is available to your audience at the click of a mouse.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Break

Another "topic of your choice" week, so clearly Spring Break is at the top of the list to be talked about!! To start, it went by too fast!! I have no idea where the week went, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Now I wasn't one of the college students that fell into the "big trips" category, because I simply spent Spring Break at home. I know it sounds incredibly boring and not exciting at all, but it actually wasn't that bad. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, some of whom I don't see much at all, and a lot of time with friends. It was nice just being able to kick back and relax for pretty much the first time this entire semester. I did absolutely no work, although I had plenty that I should have gotten a head start on, but such is life!! I feel like I blinked once and reality was waiting for me right where I left it!! It was tough having to come back...but just the thought of "5 weeks left until summer" made it a lot easier!! It definitely cannot get here soon enough!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lying On Your Resume: What Are the Career Consequences?

The article, "Lying on Your Resume: What Are the Career Consequences?" completley opened my eyes to what many individuals are doing everyday in today's world as far as jobs are concerned. I was overwhelmed at the statistic given by research that suggested that more than 50 percent of people lie on their resumes. I honestly had never really entertained the thought that people indeed do this.

After reading further, I can understand how such things as "falsifying academic credentials, padding dates to mask employment gaps, exaggerating job titles, embellishing job responsibilities and achievements, claiming sole responsibility for team efforts and even making up fictitious employers" can be very easily done.

It seemed that lying about such things, or viewing them as harmless white lies, not only hurt the individual that was dishonest, but it also could hurt the honest people. I didn't realize that one person lying about things concerning himself/herself could have any effect on outside individuals, but it made a lot more sense as to how it could after reading this article.

I've always viewed honesty as the best policy, especially given the fact that it makes life so much easier. The article touched on how you may never get caught in your lies, but that you will have to "live in constant fear that someday you will be caught and punished and with the guilt of knowing what you did was wrong". This in itself would be enough to have a constant black cloud over my head.

The last thing in the article that surprised me was the fact that there are indeed ethical resume strategies that can be used for certain situations or issues. I would never have thought that things such as job-hopping, time off from the workforce, minimal work experience, etc., would have anything other than "just that" to explain it. I feel that it is a good thing that these ethical strategies exist, because it can only help an individual out, not hurt them.

I loved the quote at the very end of the article. It is very true and should be remembered at all times by everyone. "You jeopardize your future when you lie about your past."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chosen Business

The type of business that my partner and I chose for this project was a clothing company. During our meeting in Second Life, we discussed the basic things about our business that we would be creating. We determined that we wanted our company to be geared toward women, specifically those in college with "small" budgets. We would focus primarily on "dressy" clothing for "going out" purposes to satisfy the needs of these ladies. We decided that to begin, we would offer mainly spring and summer styles, seeing as how we are beginning this business just months away from these particular seasons. Our main focus will be dressy tops and bottoms, along with a suitable selection of dresses. One of our main priorities would be keeping our clothing fashionable, yet affordable. This specific type of clothing, "going out" clothing for lack of a better term, is hard to find at a decent price these days. My partner and I realize this from personal experience!! We want to be able to offer other college students, like ourselves, that trendy look that makes them feel great without them feeling like they have to pay an arm and a leg for it!!