Grad School Week 1 Wrap Up

9/26/2014 10:56:00 am

Sorry I disappeared off the face of the bloggerverse for a little bit! I was extra busy these past two weeks because I started my Digital Publishing postgraduate program at Oxford Brookes University. Over the past two weeks (enrollment week 0 and week 1), I was able to meet a ton of really amazing people from all over the world and am starting to get used to the chaotic Tuesday-Thursday schedule that runs my life at the moment. The entire purpose of this blog is to document my journey through this program and the ups and downs I have throughout it. While I would ideally like to sum up each day of class, I think each week is a more obtainable goal for myself at the moment.

Anyway, here's what I learned this week:

1.  This is more of a life lesson than a publishing thing BUT if you commute, leave earlier than you think you need to because public transportation is the pits. Seriously. Your train will probably be delayed, cancelled, or slow. The bus will probably pull away before you can get to the stop and there will probably be long lines at each bus stop waiting to get on. All of these things will make you late. Allow for that.

2. Editorial Management Lesson #1: Group work has many, many stages. I, like many of you, am not a fan of group work but it's going to just be a fact of life in this program so my wonderful (and hilarious) professors, Those four steps are as follows:

  • Forming - Forming is a guarded and polite stage where group members are getting to know each other and getting a feel for each others' personalities. This week was definitely this phase as we were thrown into our groups for our big editorial project due at the end of the semester. 
  • Storming - The storming stage is conflict controlled and is filled with confrontation. This is generally the longest phase of the four because it is the stage in which people are hammering out ideas and trying to decide on a project idea (in our case) that pleases the whole group. Obviously people aren't going to agree on the first idea so arguing can take place. I see us hitting this stage in the next week or two as we start our projects. 
  • Norming - This stage is when the conflict has been faced, feedback on the project is being given by group members and skills are being developed and decided on. Essentially, the group decides on a project and begins to divide and conquer. 
  • Performing - This stage is where everything gets done! It is where the group members become resourceful and supportive, flexible and effective. Basically, the project comes together and becomes complete. 
Exciting stuff right? I thought that was a pretty interesting way at looking how group work is performed. Spot on, right?

3. Marking Lesson #1: The four P's. I'm not going to go into each one in big detail because I'm still finding it a bit hard to explain each one individually but these four principle points are basically what make up the marketing plan of every bookstore ever. Our first assignment was to go out and visit bookstores in our areas and when we all came together, we got into small groups and discussed how each of these bookstores executed the four P's. It was a really fun and interesting activity. 
  • Product - The brand/packaging
  • Price - Strategy for trade, the value
  • Place - distribution, sales channels (pushing items into stores)
  • Promotion - advertising, PR, sales promotion. This could also mean offering special discounts. 
  • ...and... Process, People, and Physical Environment
4. Design and Production Lesson #1: In our design and production class there are TONS of things we're discussing already. There seems to be a lot of material to cover in such a short period of time that it's almost overwhelming. The class has a one hour lecture followed by a production seminar and a design workshop making for very busy Thursdays. I found the most interesting part the design session because I'm in a love affair with InDesign so I thought I'd just throw out a couple of shortcuts that I probably should've known (and probably did back in high school when I was dealing with newspaper layouts but then forgot all about in the years since...)

Here are some sweet shortcuts when placing text onto pages in InDesign:
  • When you hold alt + shift when placing text, the text will flow onto all of the available pages you've already created in your document.
  • When you hold alt down when placing text, the text will occupy the column you've clicked and automatically reload onto your cursor if it overflows the blox you've clicked. This is great for placing text in magazines or newspapers when you'd like to continue the text onto a different page as in See B4 for rest of story. 
  • When you hold the Shift key down when placing text, InDesign will automatically create as many pages are needed to display all of your text. This is my new favorite thing. 
I truly cannot believe I didn't know these shortcuts. What have I been doing with my life?

Anyway, that sums up a small amount of what I've learned so far (but not nearly close to all of it... whew!) Now I'm off to enjoy my weekend and order the rest of my textbooks.... 

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