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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

How to Deal

Assign graduate students a project that is placed online and you’ll be surprised who finds it. How to Deal? is a Drexel University project for the MLIS program developed by Stephanie Erhart , Caroline Aversano , Ryan Bariana , and Joyce Cooper. Stephanie and Caroline graciously answered my questions.

Stephanie:  How to deal?  was created as a result of a resource assignment for a young adult literature course with Dr. Belinha De Abreu during the Spring 2007 term.  Both the topic, Coming of Age and the group members were assigned.  Even though we never met face to face this was still a collaborative project.  It was also a ten week online course so the website was developed very quickly–only a little over a month from start to finish, and it was just completed during the last week of May 2007.  The title How to Deal? was something that I came up with and Caroline Aversano said that the language I was using originally for the home page sounded a little too teachery.  Which I agreed.  So she came up with the wording of the homepage to make it more appealing to teens.  In  an earlier class discussion I had mentioned that music on a teen page would help to attract teens so I wanted to follow up with this idea.  I found the Avril Levigne song on Napster "Runaway" and it really seemed to match the site.  The button links and some other aspects of the page were inspired by a public library teen page I had evaluated in class – Orange County Public Library The aspect of the site that I enjoyed working on the most was the Reading List because I love young adult literature and it was fun for me to write my own annotations. 

Describe the people you intend to view the site.
Stephanie: The site was intended as a resource for teens and their parents to help them cope with and understand the issues teens face when coming of age.
Caroline: Speaking only for myself, I didn’t think anyone would see it except our class. However, I still wrote from the perspective that any teen would  read it & not think it preachy or like the school project it is.

How do you intend to market this to help students?

Stephanie: Originally I did not intend to market the site and was only looking at the smaller picture of completing the assignment.  I never imagined that others would find the website.  I don’t think that any of the group members had plans for marketing the site but when I started the How to Deal? blog I started thinking about marketing it through the blog and I have linked the page to my high school libraries website and started a blog about it. 

What did you learn during the process for developing the site?
Stephanie: I learned more about site design for teens, and I really gained a better understanding and an appreciation for the topic Coming of Age.  It is a topic that I am interested in devoting more time to in the future.  I also noticed that there is a need for more information for teens and their parents on this topic.
Caroline: I learned that there’s a LOT of information on the web about coming of  age, and that coming of age can mean anything from religious rites to everyday stuff like getting a driver’s license. And, it’s a timeless theme that is written about so much you could fill a library with just  those books!

Did you find any resources that seemed at odds with your goals?
Stephanie: I came across a lot of coming of age books for adults in their early twenties and thought that they were too adult to include on this website because of some of the content.  I also did not cover items about gay and lesbian teens coming out and neither did the group because I think this would have confused people about the definition for Coming of Age.  Coming out is often associated with our topic but I wanted to treat both as seperate issues.  Coming of age and Coming out are very different topics to me.
Caroline: I don’t think we found anything at odds with our goal, since the site is intended to provide information, not persuade someone to follow a  specific path.

How are you tracking readership of your site and are you hearing from any teens?
Stephanie: I don’t have a way to track readership on the site but I can track the blogs.  I have not heard from teens yet because the website is so new.  But I am hoping that teens at my school and outside of the school will discover it. 
Caroline: Stephanie may know more about blog readership since she set that up. We didn’t put a hit tracker or anything like that on the site. As far as I know, you’re the first to send any of us an email on the site!

Do you know of other sites created by fellow students?
Stephanie: Yes, each group in our class was assigned a different topic–here are their sites:
Family & Friends
Identity 

Coping they chose suicide
Leaving Home 
Sex

Caroline:  The Leaving home site is really good, but the Suicide site is amazing, they did a fabulous job (makes our site look sad!).
Diane:  Thanks Stephanie & Caroline for the information. I enjoy looking at the projects coming out of grad schools and hope others start sharing more of their work here. I know that being the practical person I am, I don’t expect perfection from everyone’s project and I enjoyed your site so it’s not sad.  I do appreciate someone doing the initial work on finding resources and exploring approaches so together we can see what works.

Comments

  1. DIANE CHEN says:

    Because there are limits to my posts, I wanted to continue to post additional information here. I wanted to comment about tracking. I certainly encourage you to put a tracker on your site. Professors, we are dealing with resources and research, not just projects for the sake of grades so let’s teach our new colleagues the importance of tracking and interactivity . Needs determine content and approach. I learn a great deal from looking at the key word searches that jump people to my sites. If you noticed a sudden jump in students dealing with a certain issue, that might help you provide better service.

  2. Janet Puchino says:

    I clicked on the “coping link and received this response, “We’re sorry but the page you requested could not be found.” Please update the link.

  3. DIANE CHEN says:

    Thanks for noticing. Sorry for the delay. I have fixed the link to http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~sw75/INFO672/