A way for you to reflect on shared experiences and connect with one another through common dialogue.

What is “Common Conversations”? 

Common Conversations is designed for first-year students to connect through common dialogue and engage in activities that will foster a deeper connection to Kent State University. Common Conversations will challenge students to think critically, engage in reflective dialogue with one another, and connect with faculty and staff across campus.

How do you participate in this experience?

Please create a video, podcast “episode” or blog post that illustrates your personal story over the last few months. You are transitioning to Kent State University during a unique time and all transitions present different challenges and opportunities. The Common Conversations program will serve as your platform to speak about recent events that have transpired and what has mattered the most to you. This video, blog post or podcast episode assignment is a required experience for all incoming first-year students that will be the beginning of a much larger conversation when you meet with your First-Year Experience Course classmates during KSU Kickoff in August. 

What is the assignment?

What has impacted your transition to Kent State University? Using the topic areas below, please pick one of the topics that has had the biggest impact on you or one that you have given the most thought to during your transition to college. Your goal is to make your video, podcast or blog post as creative as possible! This assignment is due on Aug. 23 at 11:59 p.m. 
 

  • If you choose to create a video or podcast episode, your content should be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes. 
  • If you are submitting a blog entry, it should be no shorter than 800 words and no longer than 1000 words. 
  • It is up to you to become knowledgeable about the topic areas described in each prompt. To do that, use the suggested resources as a starting point. Feel free to reference those resources in your content.
  • Be creative and thoughtful when creating your content. This is YOUR platform.
Create a Video
  • When you have selected one of the three prompts, you can then create a video following the prompt of your choice. 
  • You can use the platform/software of your choice to create and/or edit your video. 
  • Once created, upload your content by clicking “Upload/Submit Your Content”. 
  • Please have your content ready for submission before clicking “Submit Your Content” 
  • University Libraries has developed a Lib Guide containing various resources  on video production
  • KSU Recommended Desktop Video and Audio Production software
  • KSU Recommended Mobile Video and Audio Production software

Below are other resources you can use when creating and editing your video. These resources are optional and not affiliated with or sponsored by Kent State University:

  • Desktop Apps:
    • IMovie 
    • Windows Video Editor
    • YouTube
  • Mobile Apps
    • Magisto 
    • Splice 
    • Videoshop
    • Inshot
    • Filmmaker Pro

Remember, be as creative as possible with your content!

Create a Podcast
  • When you have selected one of the three prompts, you can then create a podcast episode following the prompt of your choice. 
  • You can use the platform/software of your choice to create and/or edit your podcast episode. 
  • Once created, upload your content by clicking “Upload/Submit Your Content”. 
  • Please have your content ready for submission before clicking “Submit Your Content” 
  • University Libraries has developed a Lib Guide containing various resources on audio production

Below are other resources you can use when creating and editing your podcast episode. These resources are optional and not affiliated with or sponsored by Kent State University:

  • Mobile Apps
    • Anchor
    • Opentalk FM
    • SoundUp Now 
    • Ohana

Remember, be as creative as possible with your content! 

Create a Blog Entry
  • When you have selected one of the three prompts, you can then write a blog post following the prompt of your choice. 
  • All blog entries should be no shorter than 800 words and no longer than 1,000 words.
  • Once created, upload your content by clicking “Upload/Submit Your Content”. 
    • After clicking the link above, you have the choice to submit your blog entry in the following ways:
      • Upload a document from your computer
      • Share a document via Google
      • Create your blog post within the Qualtrics form  

Remember, be as creative as possible with your content! 

Resiliency

Prompt 1: Resilience: Finding Strength to Face Change

If you choose this topic area, please respond to the following prompt:

Considering the challenges we are all facing during this pandemic involving COVID-19, please explain how you turned some obstacles into opportunities. Additionally, how have you found ways to take care of yourself during this time and what resources might you use at Kent State University to maintain your well-being during your time at college?

Below are some topic areas that could help guide the direction of your video, podcast episode or blog post:

  • Building and Maintaining Relationships
    • Spending more time with family. 
    • Connecting virtually with people whom you have not talked to in a while.
    • Transitioning the rest of your high school career online.
    • Coping with a parent, guardian or family member losing their job.
  • Self Care/Mental Health 
    • Learning how to build better self-care habits.
    • Reflecting on what brings you joy and makes you truly happy.  
    • Research on self-care and mental health resources.
Suggested Resources

If you are unfamiliar with these topics, you can use the list of items below to help educate yourself. What other resources can you use to educate yourself? 

Advocate

Prompt 2: Becoming an Advocate for Social Change

If you choose this topic area, please respond to the following prompt:

With the recent events in the country surrounding systemic racial inequality and racism, how can you educate yourself, voice your thoughts and become an advocate for social change? If you are unfamiliar with these topics, below is a list of items you can use to help educate yourself. What other resources can you use to educate yourself?

Below is the breakdown of understanding the basic principles of social justice and steps on how to become an ally. Becoming more familiar with these concepts can help guide your video, podcast episode or blog post.

  • Understanding the basic principles of social justice
    • Access - Greater equality of access to goods and services.
    • Equity - Overcoming unfairness caused by unequal access to economic resources and power.
    • Rights - Equal effective legal, industrial and political rights.
    • Participation - Expanded opportunities for real participation in the decisions which govern their lives.
  • How to be an ally 
    • Educate yourself about different identities and experiences (be aware).
    • Challenge your own discomfort and prejudices (do not assume).
    • Learn and practice the skills of being an ally.
    • Take action to create interpersonal, societal and institutional change.
Suggested Resources
  • Films: “Just Mercy,” “13th” (Netflix), “Whose Streets?,” “LA 92” (Netflix), “Teach Us All” (Netflix), “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise” (PBS), “When They See Us” (Netflix)

  • Books: “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DeAngelo, “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, “The Man That Changed The World: A Theological Novel Inspired by the Life of George Floyd” by Jomo K. Johnson, “Race on the Brain: What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong About the Struggle for Racial Justice” by Jonathan Kahn, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology” by Deirdre Cooper Owens

  • Podcasts: “Floodlines” from the Atlantic, ”1619” from the New York Times, “Intersectionality Matters!” from the African American Policy Forum, “Throughline” and “Code Switch” from NPR, “Say It Loud” from PBS

  • Have conversations with faculty, friends and family.

Finding You

Prompt 3: Finding YOU

If you choose this topic area, please respond to the following prompt:

Think about the time and effort you put into building your existing relationships, support systems and interests/passions. In college, these may be different, may change, or you may expand upon them. Below are suggestions to help you begin thinking about a plan to enhance your college experience. Which of these will you do to help you at Kent State University?

Making new friends

How can you begin to develop new friendships?

  • Join an organization.
  • Visit the KSU Engage platform to search all Kent State clubs/organizations that may interest you.
  • Go to events during the academic year (performance, athletic events, etc.).
  • Follow and engage with organizations and offices you are interested in on social media.
  • Develop study groups in your classes. 

Creating a support system

  • Get to know your faculty members.They are not scary!
  • If you are living on campus, get to know your peers that live on your floor. 
  • Establish a relationship with your resident assistant (RA).
  • Sign up for academic tutoring.
  • Visit the Design Innovation Hub.
  • Talk to your Student Success leader. 
  • Get involved with your residence hall.

Developing your passions  

Upload and Submit Your Content