Project #4 – The Fear of Giving Criticism

Managers have a responsibility to lead and motivate their staff effectively to reach their full potential. Being able to give and receive critical feedback without fear is crucial but managers resist giving negative feedback because they don’t want to hurt their employees feelings. Even harder for a manager is to criticize his or her own boss. This can be seen as a being insubordinate and have lasting effects. Yet, the only way to improve is to provide a clear picture of the situation and offer clear solutions to the problem.

This module is targeted towards managers and highlights important aspects of critical resolution. Even the best managers need to hear when things are not going correctly and need to be reviewed. The user will have a chance to engage in the module by first reading about the scenario of Roger, a middle-manager and choosing certain outcomes for a selection of choices.

Training Module for Managers


This project was once again a challenge for me. Yet coding is something I am interested in and the ability to create compelling webpages is a very useful skill to have. also creating something quite new using methods I have never used before really allowed me to push myself. My goal for this project was to create something that others could actually use and that would be of a help.

First of all, it was very helpful having a starting point. Developing on the idea of criticism was the starting point and made the process a whole lot easier. I knew that I wanted to create a training module but I wanted it to be a little different. So I decided to make managers the focus of my module and therefore, my target audience. These are managers in a middle-management position so they have staff who they are responsible for and a boss who they answer to. I wanted to not do the usual boss criticizing their own staff but investigate what a boss could do to criticize his or her own boss. I felt that this is not an issue commonly dealt with when writing about criticism.  

Being introduced to Notepad ++ programming was interesting and I found that it was well suited the assignment and remarkably easy to use. Then came the challenge of using the Hypertext MarkUp Language (HTML) which I found to be very useful. First, I used the Dia Diagram to create a flowchart of my module. Secondly, I created a folder to store the code and began coding. I wanted to build a decent webpage that would really reflect my concepts of a module while learning the basics of coding.
I designed the module to start with an overview of the problem and followed by a scenario and several choices that the user can choose. Based on the choices, there are conditions to consider and outcomes for each choice. Although no answer is perfect, the third choice provides the best outcome.

The Adventures of Theo the Cat (Project 4)

Play the Adventures of Theo the Cat!


Ever wonder what you cat does while you’re at work all day? In this playful and interactive story about Theo the house cat you can navigate through a typical day. Help Theo get through the day and make sure you don’t break anything or get into mischief!

This narrative aims to teach the user about cat mannerisms and habits that we may not even realize our cat has. Though they’re on the more independent end of the domestic pet spectrum cats are still affection seeking creatures and they miss us too! Take a step by step look with Theo and then check out the kitty gallery at the end!


Creating project four was the most challenging but has been my favorite to date. I set out with one concept in mind but later changed it because fitting the story and some form of graphic together proved to be too complex and unending. My new concept was centered around my cat Theo and showcasing or educating people about cat mannerisms. By combining pictures and scenarios that are common to cats the user gets to navigate through a life in the day of a house cat. When composing my story, both the original and second one I was picturing a kids audience or an audience who loves cats. The interactive aspect went through many phases and trials where I piloted a trio of choices vs. just two. Ultimately I decided three choices was too complex and confusing for the younger demographic of my target audience and narrowed it down to two. Instead however I added a gallery and about page to supplement information and aspects of interactivity.

For me the most involved aspect of this project was story mapping because although I mapped out and created a sequence when I was executing it in HTML I realized many things had to be moved or changed. This wasn’t all bad however because as I created and linked pages I was able to enhance and modify the user experience for the better. I also toyed with numerous color schemes and decided classic black and white was the way to go, it just looked cleaner and more professional. Overall I really enjoyed making this project and I look forward to displaying it in my portfolio.

Archiving “Tim The Titan and The Killer Klovers”

To: Professor Ellis

From: Mariah Rajah

Date: 04/18/2016

Subject: HTML Project Reflection


This project was challenging in the sense that I have never worked much with HTML before. However, when I learned that it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was I was able to create a project which I am quite proud of. At the beginning of the project when the concept was first introduced I found myself lost because I knew nothing much of HTML besides what I had practiced with back when was a thing. Since then, most of my websites I had not played around too much with the codes of backgrounds or anything or the sort. I just used preexisting, premade ones which worked out just fine for me until this project. With Professor Ellis, challenging us to create and use less premade functions I became quite frustrated until I found myself catching on what codes do what. By this step I was able to create and produce not only an immersive story but also a story that is participatory in my eyes. With time and more development I believe that these web pages can become a great component of my portfolio.

Visit the page:

Beginning of Class Writing: Miller, Digital Storytelling, Video Games

For today’s class, you read chapter 15 in Miller’s Digital Storytelling textbook. Write a summary memo about the reading and copy-and-paste it into a comment made to this blog entry. In your response, consider: what is the difference between narratology and ludology? What is a platform? What are some challenges of non-linear storytelling?

Beginning of Class Writing: Miller, Chapter 14, Using Digital Storytelling to Inform

For today’s class, you read Miller’s Chapter 14, “Using Digital Storytelling to Inform.” Of course, this chapter has a lot of relevance for our current project and much of the kinds of work that you will do as PTW practitioners. Summarize your reading in a new memo, and copy-and-paste your summary into a comment made to this blog post during the first ten minutes of class.

PTW Podcast Series: Public Speaking/ Stuttering by Jodieann Stephenson

Fear: A Look at Public Speaking in the Workplace

Pitch Description:

For this project, fear, being the overarching theme that unifies all the projects together, I will examine how my personal fears has lead me towards my current career path. In this podcast, I will focus on fear of speaking in professional settings. I have been suffering from stuttering from the tender age of five years old. I have feared speaking because of fear of ridicule from friends, classmates, bosses and even family members. Although, when many people look at me they would never associate stuttering to my “persona.” I struggle with stuttering and the fear of public speaking on a daily basis because not only do I stutter but I have horrible pronunciation. This fear is a constant battle for me which is why I chose a career in writing. Writing affords me a chance to say all the things I cannot verbally express— it’s freedom in the purest of sense.

My episode will focus on how I deal with stuttering and public speaking in a professional setting.

Title: Fear: A Look at public Speaking in the Workplace

Description: My hope for this particular segment of the podcast, is to shed light on the other parts of public speaking that no one sees, especially when everyone thinks you speak eloquently. In doing this podcast, it will bring awareness to the issue of stuttering, discovering confidence and just having the ability to say it.

Podcast  Link




Originally starting out, this project was a unique chance to create a project that mattered with me and as well a subject that was dear to my heart. I really enjoyed exploring this top because it gave me a chance to probe a topic that hit close to home. Fear is something that we all encounter on a daily basis and for me public speaking is a constant fear of mine because I am afraid that I will stutter. Writing this podcast came naturally to me which was a nice feeling. I was able to discuss what inspires me and what was an important moment for me to reflect on how far I have come. In writing the podcast I fostered a motto which was “Don’t stutter, just talk,” this became my motivation for conquering my fear of public speaking. Public speaking and fear is a constant battle of mine but now more than ever I will never use it as an excuse anymore. Fear is never an excuse to not have a voice ever. While writing this podcast, I did realize that my audience was a key consideration for my podcast because they would be the ones who would interact with it and hopefully be inspired and appreciate it. I would say my least favorite moment was learning how to merge the files together via iMovie or GarageBand and Audacity. I am horrible when it comes to figuring out different softwares, this is one of my weakness. I tend to struggle with using softwares and I’m not good at using these new mediums. Additionally, although I struggled with this project, I really did enjoy talking about this topic. I like the podcast allows you the freedom to communicate with major audiences across a unique medium. I would love to do a unscripted podcast one day.

Archiving The Real Estate of Fear – Episode 2 – “Fearing Leadership”

Title: The Real Estate of Fear (Episode 2) “Fearing Leadership”

To: Professor Ellis

From: Mariah Rajah

Date: March, 13th 2016

Re: Project 3 Memo – leading without fear

Dear Professor Ellis,

For this project, I have presented to you and my classmates the topic of how fear influences the life choices we make. These choices either enable us to deal with that said fear or completely ignore them. For this podcast, I will be focusing on the fear of leadership in a professional aspect. Being that this project has to encompass a non-fictional storyline I believe that this would be a good topic to focus on. I have feared leadership even though over the years I have grown into assuming the position time and time again. The fear is still very much alive in me but every time I assume the role I have learned how to become a better leader.

My take on episode in the collaborative podcast as mentioned will focus on how to deal with fear of leading. I will focus on three defining aspects which are as follows:


What makes a good leader?


This section of the podcast will list characteristics of some of my most  influential leaders and how this defines what it means to a good leader (Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey)


These individuals exert the ability to inspire, exude confidence, find solutions for unmanageable problems, connect with people on a personal level, and take responsibility for mishaps with grace and dignity.


My Fears of Leading

When I was growing up I have been afraid to speak up. I was afraid that me taking a stand would place me in the role of a leader and that was a scary place to be. I was afraid of being a leader because it meant that I would have to point people in what I thought was the right direction and  I would have to assume a role in which I knew little to nothing about.  Being a leader above all meant that I would have to take the responsibility for every ones’ actions and I would have to be the face of blame if it all failed.


These were things I feared and to this day I still fear even though I have placed myself in leadership roles time and time again. It has not gotten easier to lead a group of people but each time I do it I realize that maybe I am better at it than I feared. That me taking this role and exercising these fears help me to become a stronger leader. That by knowing I am responsible that I will take better precautions and approach the role with care and the utmost respect.


Understanding Leaders fail too.


My biggest fear, and I believe all people when assuming a leadership role fear what is most inevitable: dropping the ball. In this portion of the podcast I will explore through interview how others have dealt with coping or fleeing from leadership roles because they did not want to feel the overwhelming guilt of letting everyone down. I will also explore my own thoughts on this area and explain how I have managed to deal with it.


5 ways to assume a leadership role and how to get the best possible experience out of this role.


This section will include researched material of what is the best way to approach a leadership role which will play off my own examples and experiences. This concluding section of the podcast will also elaborate on how I have managed to deal with fear of leading, what I have learned, and how I have become a better leader by facing my fears and accepting that I am a good leader.


In executing theses three very important sections, I believe that the podcast will be able to effectively approach the subject of how to face fear in a leadership role whether in a professional or academic setting. Learning to be a good leader comes from practice and this podcast has the potential to help others assume that role and learn that their voice as a leader matters.

To: Professor Ellis

From: Jodieann Stephenson, Samantha Pezzolanti, Pamela Drake, & Mariah Rajah

Re: Project 3 Collab. Memo “The Real Estate of Fear”

Date: 03/14/2016

Dear Professor Ellis,

After much deliberation and brainstorming we have come to the conclusion that this third project should be based on the overall arching theme of fear and how it plays a part in determining aspects of our professional lives. Since this project will be be both collaborative and non-fictional based we have all chosen issues which we have faced in our personal lives that we believe many professionals also face.


Jodieann Stephenson has chosen to take on the fear of public speaking and how it has affected her in such a way that she has gone out of her way to create a “persona” in able to cope with her speaking fear. She has even chosen a career of writing which will allow her to say what she physically cannot. Her Podcast will be an insightful and eye opening podcast about public speaking, anxiety, and coping mechanisms.


Samantha Pezzolanti has chosen to take the root of understanding the fear of change and how it keeps it sometimes keeps us grounded in one place because we fear the unknown of what comes with change. She explores this through her own life experiences and will illustrate ways in which to face this fear in many ways like she has. This podcast will allow for professionals to have another perspective on change and the way it can be seen as opportunity and not a rabbit hole.


Mariah Rajah has taken on the task of understanding and illustration the fear of leadership. In her own life she has been afraid to assume the role of a leader due to the fears of failing in the eyes of other and dropping the ball in that role. Her podcast will give examples of what she believes to be a good leader and will share her story of how she has even moved past her fear by assuming the role of a leader time after time. This podcast will be an overall look into leadership and the fears individuals can approach the role in such a way that they understand its responsibilities enough not to fear it.


Lastly, Pamela Drake will paint a picture of how individuals fear criticism, the way in which it affects an individual, as well as ways in which learning to make it constructive instead of destructive. Her exploration into the fear of criticism allows for her to relate to Ms. Stephenson’s podcast due to the fact that many of those who fear speaking fear being criticized for their voice.  This podcast will reveal the ways in which a professional can understand the differences in critic and how the separate fear from it.

The podcast we hope to create will focus on these fears we speculate many professionals fear. We hope to produce an episode in which our audience can learn, engage, and realize that all fears are essentially inevitable but they do play a larger role in our lives that we may recognize. All in all we hope that this podcast will meet all requirements for the project effectively and our stories will be able to connect with not just an Openlab audience but a larger one.





This project has been by far the most challenging for me due to its nature of voice recording. It was a work in progress while being a work in progress. I had to record myself so many times I memorized my script. The constant back and forth changing, reworking of words and adapting the script to the way I talk was a new challenge for me. I found myself saying things many different ways but none of them quite fit the overall tone of the podcast. This meant that I took hours to record minutes worth of words. I also had the challenge of addressing such a wide audience. I wanted to just address professionals in both an academic or office setting but I believe I totally missed that target and created a rabbit hole for a larger audience to enter into. If I have the change to redo this assignment I would try to make my script more specific as to narrow in on my intended target audience. On another note, collaboration was used in my interviewing portion of the podcast, and not to mention the creative concept of the podcast. My classmates and I were able to come to an agreement of a topic and we built separate podcasts that reflect that very topic. I thought this was a great way to keep some type of consensus yet to venture out and create in our ways.