Friday, September 30, 2011

BINGO Night in the West Bend MPTC Cafeteria

On Wednesday, I played BINGO at Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend Campus for the first time. I recognized one of my classmates who I also sat next to at the last student orientation event where we both represented our student clubs. It was her first time playing BINGO here, too.

For $5 I got two game cards and a voucher for lunch. We played a bunch of different BINGO games such as inside picture frame, postage stamp, and four corners. My cards weren’t so lucky until we played the last round – blackout. We had to get all the numbers on our card to win. I actually won! I got a $25 gift card for Kohl’s! There were a bunch of great gift card prizes. I wouldn’t have minded winning a gift card for Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, or a gas card either. They all sound pretty useful to me, though the Starbucks one would be more for a treat than used for a necessity like gasoline.

The next BINGO event at the West Bend, hosted by the West Bend Student Senate & Activities Committee, is Monday, October 17 at 4 p.m. BINGO is also held at the Fond du Lac and Beaver Dam campuses. Check out my “Events” page on my blog for upcoming events or check your myMPTC portal under the Student Life tab.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MPTC Spring Break Trip to London, England

On Monday I went to an informational meeting about the trip to London during spring break at Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend campus. There are also informational meetings about this trip at the Fond du Lac and Beaver Dam campuses this week.

I know that they’ve done this trip in the past during spring break, but Ron Campopiano, who’s organizing the trip through Moraine Park’s International Education Program, said it’s going to be a little different this year. The company hosting the tour is Education First College Study Tours. They’ve come up with an itinerary that includes some major points of interest such as Big Bend and Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Windsor Castle just to name a few.

It’s a really exciting opportunity I didn’t know a technical college such as MPTC had to offer. Even students from Germany have a chance to visit our campuses. They just arrived at the Fond du Lac campus a few days ago. You can find out more about their experience by visiting Moraine Park’s International blog, “International Education…Travel with us via the web” at Moraine Park Technical College Culinary Arts students also have the opportunity to visit Germany as part of the exchange program.

My friends who’ve been to London tell me the time to go on trips like these is when you’re in school, because it’ll never be as inexpensive on your own. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go this year, but I still have some time to decide. If you’re interested in going and want to know more, take a look at the Web site and itinerary:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week in Review: A Reflection of September 19 – 23, 2011

Each week I reflect on what I have learned, new skills I have developed, challenges I’ve overcome, and new concepts I now understand. This week I learned how to make my own Web page backgrounds in Graphics for the Web class at Moraine Park Technical College.

In class we learned how to make a small image and repeat it using CSS to cover an entire background. Background images on Web sites are important when you consider that colors and shapes have different, specific meanings. The background needs to reflect what the Web site is about.

If you’re a student studying Web design, you know how time consuming it is to look for specific images online that express the exact message you are trying to portray. It gets more difficult when you’re working on paid projects and need to be mindful of copyright laws. I think it’s actually much less time consuming to create a background than to look for one using a search engine. It’s a pretty useful technique I’m certain I will use in the future. I may take a look at my previous work and apply this technique to those Web pages as well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Second West Bend Student Senate Meeting of the Year

Our officers for the Moraine Park Technical College West Bend Student Senate were elected this week during the second meeting of the semester. I’ve been appointed as one of the members at large, which means I’m a general member of Student Senate. I’ve also decided to be part of the Student Senate Activities Committee this semester. This is a group of students who plan, organize, and run special events on campus.

During the meeting we discussed some of the upcoming events. Next week Wednesday, September 28, is BINGO in the MPTC West Bend cafeteria at 4 p.m. I remember there were BINGO events a few times last year, but I had class at that time. This semester I don’t have class on Wednesday nights, so I’m going to try to go. It’s only $5 to play, and there are prizes to win.

On October 21, Chad Calek will be giving a free presentation called “Trail of the Dead” at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. He’s a ghost hunter who has captured footage of paranormal activity, and he’s been on several TV shows. Adam Ninmann, who’s in charge of Student Life at the West Bend Campus, told us that people must pre-register with him if they are interesting in attending.

At the Senate meeting we also discussed APCA (Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities) conference this October. Two of our members are going. It sounds really interesting. I’m unable to go to the conference, but hopefully I will be able to go to a conference in spring.

During our next meeting, October 6, Moraine Park President Dr. Sheila Ruhland will be there to speak with us. Student Senate really is a great way to get involved, find out what’s going on, and have an impact on the college’s future.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Go Purple for Alzheimer’s

I was looking at the events section on myMPTC portal this week and saw that Wednesday is “Go Purple for Alzheimer’s”. September is World Alzheimer’s Month and Wednesday, September 21 is Alzheimer’s Action Day. MPTC Students and staff were asked to wear purple this day to raise awareness of this disease.

I don’t know much about the disease, so I went to the Alzheimer’s Association website to learn more. They asked for people to wear purple and to change their Facebook profile picture to purple. On the U.S. National Library of Medicine site they said that it is a disease that affects peoples’ thinking, memory, and even behavior. They recommend having a low-fat diet, eating foods high in antioxidants, and to stay mentally active to prevent the disease.

It makes me thankful that I am healthy. My classes may challenge me mentally, but I know it’s good for my brain. I plan on being a learner for the rest of my life.

If you’re looking to get involved in the cause, there is The Walk to End Alzheimer’s event on Saturday, October 1, 2011 at Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond du Lac campus. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the three-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. For more information visit:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Web Developer Club of the Semester

I was reelected as the secretary of the Web Developer Club at Moraine Park Technical College during our first meeting of the fall semester! We held elections for the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and student senate representative. I became the secretary of the Web Developer Club last spring, and I’ve been a member since last fall.

I was very happy to see some members from last year as well as several new people. I think it’s going to be a good semester for the WDC. It seems like a good group of people who really want to get involved.

We discussed a few ideas we may pursue this semester. We’re hoping to have at least one field trip. There’s a possibility that we will get club shirts as well. Next month we’ll be voting on logos.

The Web Developer Club is trying to bring back the open lab for the Web developer students. As I mentioned last semester, we have held an open lab once a week in one of the computer classrooms where students can work on their homework, get help, provide help, or share sites and information related to Web design.

Our next meeting is Thursday, October 20. If you’re in the IT field and want to learn new things, network, and have fun, think about joining the Web Developer Club.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week in Review: A Reflection of September 12 – 16, 2011

This week I bought a student planner from the Moraine Park bookstore. My personal planner was too small to write down everything I needed to write. They were on sale because we’re already a few weeks into the semester. In a few days, we’ll be one month into the semester! I still feel like it’s the second week!

Some of my classes are picking up in pace, and I have multiple assignments due for each class. A few of the classes are half a semester long, so there’s a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. After those two classes are over, I start Beginning Photoshop. This class will be my first completely online class.

I decided at the beginning of the semester that I would keep up with my assignments by working on them as soon as possible. It’s been working well for me. My free time is more relaxing and guilt-free knowing I’ve finished what I need to finish for the week by Sunday night.

What I’ve learned this week is that setting a schedule for assignments makes the workload easier to handle. I set priority to the tasks that are due the soonest and the ones that will take the longest to complete. Pacing things on your to-do list is a transferable skill that can be applied to any job, especially in the Web developer field.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alternative Plans

Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend Student Senate meeting was canceled this week. I was disappointed, but I knew it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me extra time to work on my self-paced class.

There’s an open lab for self-paced classes where you can go to work on your homework and exams. The instructors that organize the classes staff it. Since I’m new to myITlab, I found it very helpful to work on my homework there. I had a few questions as I was going through lesson plan 1, and the instructor was able to answer all my questions.

I was nervous taking the exam. It’s a sort of simulation exercise. Another student told me you have to follow the steps exactly, or it won’t be correct. She was right. I wasn’t very happy with my first score, but luckily there is the option to retake the test to earn a higher grade. I felt much better after taking the exam again and getting a better score.

Last week I looked at the lesson plans to figure out how to pace myself and get all the work in by December 8. I figured if I did one lesson plan a week, I would get all the work done by mid October. After that, I start the self-paced Access class.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week in Review: A Reflection of September 5 – 9, 2011

This week I received my letter of acceptance into the Office Assistant program at Moraine Park Technical College. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve been in the IT-Web Developer/Designer program since fall of last year, and I will still be continuing with this program. After speaking with the career counselor, taking an aptitude test, and meeting with my academic advisor, I’m now honing in on the best career path for me. I’ve decided to pursue both programs.

When I first started college years ago, I wish I would have known what I know now. It’s important to know what skills employers of your profession want. The easiest way to find out what they are looking for is by searching job ads. By reading job descriptions and requirements early on, and I mean very early on, you can make sure you will be acquiring all the necessary skills before looking for a job.

What software do they want you to be proficient at? Make sure you’re learning it. Pick up an extra class if there’s one that isn’t in your program. Do employers in your field want you to have marketing or PR experience? Find an internship, part-time job, or volunteer.

My focus right now is to increase my employability. I’m developing new skills that employers want, and employers want more diverse skills than ever before! It’s a lot of work, but I know that I will be able to walk into a job interview with the confidence and background my future employer is looking for. Every semester I get to add something new to my growing resume.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lunch ‘n’ Learn: Get Psyched

In honor of International Enthusiasm Week, this Lunch ‘n’ Learn for September was about enthusiasm -- what does it mean and how do you get enthusiastic about your education and life?

We were to choose one quote about enthusiasm from the pile on the table in front of us to read aloud. One quote that really stuck with me was by Maya Angelou:

“Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.”

What a fitting quote for us MPTC students. College requires both passion and patience. Earning a certificate, diploma, or degree does not happen overnight. It requires patience. It requires going to class each week, working on homework everyday, and this is all done through the course of several months or several years.

Being patient, however, will not earn your degree alone. It takes passion and motivation to get to class each week, to work on homework each day, and maintain that enthusiasm for several months or several years. Too much passion can lead to impatience, I think. So many of us want that degree and we cannot wait until it is in our hands and written on our resumes. It may lead us to become too impatient and loose our enthusiasm.

So how do we maintain our enthusiasm and patience in equal amounts? This makes me think of another quote I’ve heard before, but I’m not sure who originally said it:

“Invest in the process, not the outcome.”

The actual paper known as your certificate or diploma does not give you the knowledge or power you need to make your career happen. The knowledge and power to succeed in your chosen field comes from the classes you go to each week and the homework you do each day. Everything you do at school or for school is another step towards your goal. Each day is a brick you lay down. Keep working and you will build that temple.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My First Self-Paced Class

I’ve never taken a self-paced class before so I had no idea what to expect when I walked into orientation this week. We don’t use eCollege for it, and I was wondering how the class worked without it.

It turns out there is something called “myitlab” I will be using to learn Microsoft Excel and Access. I haven’t really used it yet, I’ve only seen it demonstrated, but I think it uses the same concepts as eCollege with learning plans and drop boxes.

There were two points stressed in the orientation presentation: Be self-motivated and get help when you need it. All coursework needs to be finished in December, so it’s up to the student to set a reasonable pace. There are open labs that are staffed and tutors available.

At this point I’m more concerned about learning how to navigate and use “myitlab” than learning the programs. But, I figure if I learned how to use eCollege last fall and I’m very comfortable using it now, I should be able to learn this tool as well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week in Review: A Reflection of August 29 – September 2, 2011

My assignments are very hands-on at MPTC. For many of them I take screen captures of software I’m using and paste them into a document to prove that I know how to do something that we’ve learned. We are asked to go beyond that and be analytical about our learning. For some assignments, also known as assessments, we are asked for a reflection statement when we’ve finished the tasks. We reflect on our skills before and after the assessment. What have we learned? What difficulties did we have in completing the assessment? What did we do to overcome those difficulties?

The reflection statement is something I can apply to my academic journey. What have I learned this week that I didn’t know before? What difficulties did I have and what did I do to overcome them? What skills am I learning that will better prepare me for the future and my career?

Since I am a part-time student, I only take a few credits each semester. This means that I need to take the few remaining classes this semester that full-time students in my program have already taken. After class, some of my classmates were talking about the classes they were in that I had last semester. Like me last year, they were feeling a little overwhelmed with all the new classes. I was able to view my project from last year and explain a few things to them. Slowly I was starting to remember things. I was surprised and pleased how far I had come in one year. What I thought was very complicated last year seems much simpler this year.

This week I learned that one of the best ways to retain information is to teach others. When you help others you help yourself, too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Student Senate Meeting of the Year

The world of Student Senate is new to me. I’ve been in student clubs before, but never in my long academic career have I been involved in student government organizations. I went to the first meeting of the year in West Bend to learn more about it and how it works. Adam Ninmann explained what Student Senate is and what it does. The Student Senate consists of representatives from each student club, officers, and what they call “members at large”. These are people, like me, who want to be a part of Student Senate but don’t hold an office and are not a representative of a student club. They just want to be part of the discussion and planning.

Each MPTC campus has a Student Senate. There are several committees to join such as the Senate Activities Committee as well as the College Planning and Leadership Team. There’s also this other group called the District Student Government comprised of all three campuses that meet every month. Beyond that, there is the Wisconsin Student Government that includes all 16 Wisconsin Technical Colleges. There are so many opportunities to get involved and to be a representative of the campus on a large scale. I had no idea.

We didn’t discuss any events that will be happening this semester quite yet. It was mostly an informational meeting. Some people were nominated as officers. Voting will probably take place at the next meeting on Thursday, September 8 at 11 a.m. in room N108.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Exploring the Internet with Client Software Class

Exploring the Internet with Client Software is another one of those classes that sounds like a mouthful, but it’s less intimidating than it may sound at first. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up for it. On the first night I was surprised to find out that many of my classmates are from the Water Quality Technology program. I’ve been having classes with fellow IT-Web Developer/Designer and other IT program students for the past year. It just goes to show you that even if you’re not in a computer-related field, you’ll still need to know how to use computers and the Internet.

The Internet can be used for many things. This class shows us what’s out there and how to use it. Most people are familiar with Web browsers, even if they’re not aware they are using one. You’re using a Web browser to read this blog right now, most likely an Internet Explorer or Firefox browser. There’s also email, which many Internet users use on a regular basis. And then there’s a relatively new and rapidly growing use for the Internet: user generated content.

What I found most interesting about our class discussion this week was user generated content. User generated content is the text, images, sound clips and video that everyday users of the Internet post. Such sites include YouTube, Facebook, and Blogger.

A site I learned about in class is, a social bookmarking site. Ever find a site you really liked and you saved it to your favorites? When you do this, the link to the site is saved on your computer’s hard drive. If you’re using a different computer the next day and want to look at the site, you won’t have access to the link. By using, you save your favorites, also known as bookmarks, to an online account that you can access from any computer. You can see what other sites people have bookmarked and share your favorite sites with others.

Being in the Web design field, my fellow designers and the instructors share helpful links on coding and design all the time. This site will be a great way to keep all this useful information in one spot that I can access from anywhere.