Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Laugh…

Robyn McMaster’s latest post on her Brain Based Biz blog is Humor – A Lifetime Elixer. Robyn explains how humor “bonds people within organizations,” “boosts personal well being,” and how humor can strengthen and enhance relationships, in general.

I’ve discovered, over the years, that a daily dose of laughter can be a very good thing. Sometimes a sense of humor is just what we need to make sense out of the craziness of life — or to simply get through each day, one day at a time. Be sure to read Robyn’s blog post to learn more about the benefits of humor and to assess where you rank on the “humor gauge.”

Until next time, take care, try to laugh a little, and enjoy the holidays!


Kathy Magrino

College Students are Using Twitter to Learn

A recent article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “18 percent of college students who go online use Twitter,” according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The first comment following the post (unfortunately, a negative one) says, “I doubt they’re using twitter for anything educational though!” But, the next comment says, “On the contrary! Links to articles, job announcements, course offerings, funding opportunities, networks…all in less than 140 characters.”

I can add to the list in the second comment: We use Twitter in my classes at Rider University to help us improve our communication and writing skills. It isn’t always easy to say what we need to say in just 140 characters and spaces, but we’re learning. And I believe it’s a critical skill to learn to be better communicators in business today. Do you agree? Please tell us what you think by sharing your comments here.

Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino

The people we meet on Twitter…

In February 2011, it’ll be 2 years since I became acquainted with Twitter and started to “tweet.” As of today, I’ve “tweeted” 2,778 times! Time flies when you’re having fun!

During the past 21 months, I’ve enjoyed “meeting” people I never would have had the opportunity to connect to without a communication medium like Twitter, with its worldwide reach. Almost 1,800 people are following me on Twitter. I’m following most of these people, too. (But, sometimes it’s hard to keep up, I admit…)

There are more than a few people to whom I feel closely connected to through Twitter. — I think you know who you are! 😉 — And I’ve also had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some great people, including @AlexBlom, @SandyDfromNJ, @MrsMoNJ, and @ItalianAmerGirl. These are all friendships that started on Twitter and continue today. (Speaking of @ItalianAmerGirl… she met with my class at Rider University just yesterday and wowed us with her social media and blogging knowledge — and she’s a Rider grad! — Thanks, Margaret!)

I tell my students that good communication and good business are based on making connections and “engaging” with good people. Twitter is a great place to start! Do you agree?

Please tell us about the people you’ve met on Twitter and the people who continue to inspire you today.

I look forward to your comments on my blog. Thanks for reading, and, until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino

Getting intimate with blogs

Over the past six weeks, students in my COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions class at Rider University have been “getting intimate” with blogs, analyzing what makes a blog work (or not). In September, each student selected an active blog to follow for six straight weeks. Each week, I posted an assignment related to the writing of those blogs so that my students would need to take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at what goes into writing a blog. At the end of each week, they recorded their observations in online “Blog Analysis Journals” on Blackboard.

I’m grading the online journals now, and I’m happy to report that the assignment seems to be a big success! I’m so grateful for the energy and passion that most of my students pour into their work and into the overall learning experience. Their energy keeps me motivated to learn more, too!

Now, I need to analyze what I’m doing here on my own blog, and I need to make my blog more active and a model of “blogging best practices”Do you have any suggestions for me? If you write a blog, what works for you — and what doesn’t? What “blogging best practices” do you recommend? Please share your comments here!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino

Learn More About How We Learn…

How do you learn best? Over the years, I’ve discovered that taking action helps me to learn. I call this “learning by doing.” After teaching for seven years now, I’ve seen that my students seem to enjoy “learning by doing,” too. Research backs up this approach. A few months ago, I wrote a post that included this Cone of Learning from Edgar Dale:

Since we “tend to remember 90% of what we SAY and DO,” according to the Cone of Learning, we take this multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning in my classroom (which is actually a computer lab equipped with brand-new Macs) at Rider University, and we’re seeing great results!

Both of my classes are writing classes (COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions and COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media), so you might be asking, “How are they taking a multi-sensory approach in a writing course?” It’s simple: We take every opportunity to present our work and our assignments to each other. For some assignments (like the “crisis news releases” we learned to write last week), students are “teaming up” and “competing” as they prepare the assignments that are eventually presented to everyone in class. This approach works for us. How about you?

Please tell us how you learn best and if you agree with the ideas presented in the Cone of Learning above. And even if you don’t agree with the “Cone,” you have to admit that it’s a pretty visual that brightens up my blog! 😉 Until next time, take care — and thanks for reading!

Kathy Magrino

Our Favorite Blogs and Why We Like Them…

Last week, I tweeted to my followers on Twitter, “TELL US: What’s your FAVORITE BLOG — and WHY? I’ll be sharing your favs w/my students in COM106 at Rider U. (PLS. RT-Thanks!)” Here are the responses I received:

From @nynjpaweather:

“@kathymagrino My favorite sports blog is Mets Blog []… Matt does a great job with interviews with players and a fan perspective to the latest Mets news… Plus I don’t have to search all around the internet for different perspectives on the team cause finds other blogs for us to read… @kathymagrino Finally, he’s a fan like us and like us, this season is KILLING us. Thank God for football!”

From @cimiddletwnnj:

“RT @nynjpaweather: @kathymagrino My favorite sports blog is @MetsBlog — ME TOO!!!… I’ve read it for yrs, easy way to get up to the minute Mets info, insights & opinions. Plus interact w/ other fans thru comments section.”

From @RobynMcMaster:

“@kathymagrino My favorite blog is Brain Leaders and Learners by @ellenfweber… @ellenfweber provides tactics to rev up brainpower to our benefit based on research.”

From @BSStoltz:

“@kathymagrino -A fav blog that I share w/ my class is @redheadwriting’ – Fun, great writing and good branding example.”

From @Lalizlatina:

“@kathymagrino breaks down privilege & the many -isms . just plain… honest, genuine, brave: @mamitamala Nuyorican Life, Love, y Lucha in the Radical Mami’Hood

From @lgesin:

“my guilty pleasure blog is gofugyourself [] but that might not be what yr looking for!!”

Hey, it’s all good — and thanks for responding, @lgesin, @Lalizlatina, @BSStoltz, @RobynMcMaster, @cimiddletwnnj, @nynjpaweather — and for helping us learn about blogs and why people like them!

What’s YOUR favorite blog? Please tell us in the comments here — and also tell us WHY you like your favorite blog so much. Thanks!

Until next time, take care and thanks for reading my blog!

Kathy Magrino

How to comment on a blog

It may seem like a simple task to you, but most of my students in COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions at Rider University have never commented on a blog before… So, today, they’re going to be commenting on my blog right here.

Please help us learn more about blogging… If you’ve got some helpful tips or stories to share about your experiences writing or commenting on blog posts, we’d be happy to hear from you, too! So, please share your comments.

Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading (and, hopefully, commenting)!

Kathy Magrino

Looking forward to learning more!

I am looking forward to teaching my two classes at Rider University this semester (COM107 Persuasive Writing for the Media and COM106 Writing for the Communication Professions). I’m anxious to meet my students — and happy to see some familiar names on my roster, students who’ve taken classes with me in the past.

But I’m looking forward to the start of another semester for other reasons, too…

Since I was a kid, I’ve always looked forward to those “first days of school” — and all the anticipation they offered. Lots of questions jumped around in my head: “Who will I meet?”“What will I learn?”“What are the next steps?…” I’ve always loved school (my brothers always thought I was weird because of this…) and learning. And, for me, this “love” continues today — but I’m the teacher now! 😉

Teacher or not, I still consider myself a life-long learner. Each semester we do things differently in my classes, even when I’m teaching the same course from semester to semester. The courses cover the same concepts, but the applications and assignments are “up-to-the-minute” and sometimes change from one semester to the next.

My students and I learn by doing things together in our classes and online: I share what I learn through my own business and through working with my clients and collaborators.  We try to keep up with the ever-changing technology and communication industries. I hope they’re looking forward to learning more this semester just as much as I am!

I’ll keep you posted to let you know how we’re doing. In the meantime, let us know if you’re a “life-long learner” like me — and please tell us why you like to learn more, too! Thanks for reading!

Until next time, take care!

Kathy Magrino

Dream On!

Sandy Dempsey featured me in the “reader profile” in the latest issue of her email newsletter, The Dreaming Cafe. In the profile, I got the opportunity to tell you a little bit about how I’m living one of my dreams… (Thank you for the opportunity, Sandy!)

If you’re not already a subscriber to The Dreaming Cafe, I highly recommend you go to Sandy’s website and subscribe now:

As I mentioned in the reader profile, Henry David Thoreau said, “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”

So, let’s all continue to dream on…! Until next time, take care and thanks for reading! 😉

Kathy Magrino

Do you make the grade on Twitter?

The fall semester at Rider University starts in just a few weeks. In preparing to teach my students about writing for social media, I came across an interesting tool: Twitter Grader from HubSpot. The tool is designed to help us measure our influence on Twitter. The Twitter Grader site says, “Twitter Grader is a free tool that allows you to check the power of your twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded.”

It’s easy to use and also offers some tips and suggestions. I entered my Twitter user name (@kathymagrino) and got a grade of 97.5 out of 100! It’s good to know I’m doing things right — The Write Way 😉 — on Twitter!

Try Twitter Grader for yourself and let us know your grade. And please share any suggestions or tips you might have to help us all “make the grade” on Twitter by posting your comments here.

Until next time, see you on Twitter and take care!

Kathy Magrino