Teresa Ovalle

Welcome to Me

My ICM 501 Reflection

on May 6, 2014

When I learned that one of my first two classes for the Interactive Media program would be a theory class, I thought, “Bummer. This is going to be a boring class.” From previous theories classes, I assumed that this class would be equally as boring.

I was in for a wonderful surprise. I found ICM 501 to be very interesting. I think partly because I have an under-grad in psychology and most of the theories I learned about throughout the semester were based in psychology and sociology. I found this fascinating. I enjoyed the reading materials and learned a tremendous amount about issues I’d never considered before, such as ratings and recommender systems, copyright and copyleft, algorithms and ambient awareness.

A requirement for ICM 501 was to create a personal blog to where I posted my weekly assignments. I had never blogged before, nor had I any intention of blogging until it became a requirement. It was a learning lesson that I will not soon forget. I chose a simple, but colorful layout; one that I could manage easily and enjoyed visiting. I also learned that I enjoyed writing the posts. Although the weekly posts were an assignment, I was proud of my writing and the work I did. Each post was not created equal, but some of them are dang good.

I learned that Word Press is a great blog site and is easy to use. Once I got rolling, it was easy to create posts, add photos and maneuver around the site to make the changes I wanted as I learned more about blogging. One challenge with Word Press that I encountered was that it does not offer a wide range of templates that can be fully manipulated. For instance, depending on the selected layout, I could only manipulate certain features, such as color blocks, font, and general layout. I could not manipulate each of those items and a number of others, such as the background. This was disappointing because when I build a blog (I’ve built three), I want a certain look and feel. Word Press, with all of its awesomeness and easy-to-use format does not allow this.

I then tried Wix.com. Wix, regarding layout manipulation, is fantastic. I was very pleased with my layout. It was easy to manipulate and make work how I planned. Building a blog in Wix is not quite as easy as a website, but it worked well for what I needed. Then I posted content and realized that Wix’s posting capability is not user friendly at all. When I post content, I can post the contest as text, photo with text or video with text. I cannot add a photo to my text post or more than one photo to my photo-with-text post. Also, when I copy and paste from a Word document to Wix, the paragraphs are jumbled together, they are not separated as they are in Word Press. Choose carefully who you blog with.

Because of this, I bounced back and forth between Word Press and Wix.com to figure out which one worked best for this particular blog. Would it post capability that Word Press is the master of or would it be Wix because of the great look. In the end, I chose Wix because of the layout. It was the look I was going for, so ease-of-use was sidelined.

My goodness, look how much I’ve digressed. I learned a number of fascinating things in ICM 501, but the lessons learned from my blogging experience will be the most valuable lessons I carry with me into the future. Although the algorithm information is a close second.

When you visit my blog, you will notice that my categories are set according to the associated ICM class number (ICM 501, ICM 522, etc.). You will have an opportunity to read posts from each class that requires written assignments. I plan to continue to use my blog as I continue through the ICM program.


This post is my absolute favorite post from ICM 501. It was fun to write, and I thought it was clever.


The blog that I was referring to above (Bluehost vs. Wix) is not ready for prime time, so I did not include it here. It is called It’s Only Forever and suggests to young people to “Think before you post” to social media platforms.

Before I finsih, I must send kudos to Professor Braun. His lectures were informative, sometimes very long, but he added a personal and insightful element that I enjoyed. He was a fantastic professor. He was responsive, encouraging and kind. Thank you for always answering (ALL) my emails in a timely manner!

One more thing… many grad prorams run on 7-week semesters. There is no way that the amount of information that ICM 501 covered could be taught in seven weeks. Although 15 weeks seems long to me (all of my higher education was accomplished with the 7-week semester), it’s worth the knowledge I’ve gained. Keep up the good work and keep making the curiculum worth learning.