In life, to progress, one has to be capable of self-reflection. Being able to thoroughly assess one’s work and action is essential as one can learn new ways of improvement and acknowledge strengths developed. Throughout this course, my strengths and weaknesses have come to life. However, I must say that the course work neither emphasized nor improved weakness to the extent that I would have hoped. Although, some of this is due to my part for not setting enough time aside for editing as I will discuss later on.
Before the beginning of the course, I was aware of my weaknesses such as not being able to enhance my strategies for reading, drafting, revising, editing and self-assessment (Course Learning Outcome 2). Another one being that I find myself not being able to engage in genre analysis and multimodal composing to explore effective writing across disciplinary contexts (CLO 5) as well as not being able to strengthen my source use practices, especially, when it comes to paraphrasing, integrating and citing sources in APA format (CLO8) and lastly, not having decent and smooth transitions, grammar, syntax and structure in my paper. My strengths include being able to adequately research through library resources, online databases and the Internet to locate sources relevant to my writing projects (CLO 7) as well as acknowledge the range of linguistic differences of myself and others. Additionally, I can formulate and articulate a stance through and in my writing by linking all references used together and trying to be as cohesive as possible (CLO 6). I believe that this course was just a medium level writing course in terms of its thoroughness as it was not as thorough as I hoped. This is due to the fact that the only time I was able to try and hone the skills that were taught throughout the duration of the course, was only through the few writing assignments. However, I cannot say that I did not learn anything at all or enjoy the things taught in class.
Writing the scientific rhetorical analysis was difficult because of the lab report that I chose. The requirements for this paper were straight forward and how to write the paper had been discussed and practiced in class. However, the lab report I chose happened to be a very straight forward and it was hard to implement the rubric requirements to such a concise and short lab report. Due to this reason, it affected how I structured my paper and I found myself not knowing or having enough to write about. This, due to obvious reasons, marked me down a few points, 2.5 points in total. The first one where I got points taken off for was the use of CARS (creating a research space) and identifying the moves used by the author (-1 point). Due to the nature of the lab report, as discussed earlier, I found it difficult to expand on my points without putting unnecessary fluff. This also caused me to loose points in terms of the appeals used by the author as I didn’t clearly state that the authors did not use all appeals, pathos, which lead to a deduction of 0.5 points. Also, I got points take off for my sentence structure, grammar and/ or word choice. I often find myself not being able to thoroughly edit which leads to points taken off regarding minor typos in terms of grammar (- .25 points). I also lost points because of my introduction as well as my conclusion ( -0.5 points). I am not the best at writing conclusions, but I try to incorporate strategies so that I can achieve a better conclusion. Last and the least, I got points taken off because of my citations (-0.25 points). To be fair, this was one of the first papers I wrote using APA format, so I was rookie. The only reason I don’t completely disregard this paper is because, I believe, it prepared me and improved my writing skills for the next paper which happened to be the informative essay, my favorite paper.
The best piece I wrote in class, in my opinion, was the informative essay. In this essay I got to explore writing without opinions, whilst making points for both side. I was able to really explore the writing process, and the peer review process was on of the best ones I had. Also, the comments made from the instructor/ professor were more in depth and thorough. The comments from the professor and peer review reflected my known weakness, which are transitioning and APA citations. Throughout the paper, I noticed that I did not face any difficulties until it came to the time to make sure that every paragraph flowed well into each other. Now, I tried to make better transitions, but I relied too heavily on the use of transition words instead of constructing better transitioning sentences at the beginning and end of each paragraph. Moving over to the APA citations, I found myself on Purdue owl, frequently, for tips on citing in APA. I feel like this, APA citations, is a continuous learning process as I am more accustomed to citing in MLA citations and I was made to believe that it was what I would use most of my writing career, which is not necessarily the case. Using APA citations and style of writing more often would definitely strengthen my ability to use it properly, thereby turning it into a strength.
Moving away from individual writing pieces, for this course I had to work on a collaborative research project. Choosing a topic was tough as we all had very different ideas, but in the end we came to an agreement. We agreed to base our research on depression in LGBTQ youth. It is important to note that everyone agreed on this topic for the research which is why it baffles me that we encountered such a hard time putting the paper together. The work was poorly distributed and executed yet other members of the group still expected the paper to be done. There was barely any active participation, neither was there vocalization of issues that might be hindering the members from participating. Nonetheless, the paper was finished and turned in. However, the issue was not about differences it was the lack of respect for other group members who were doing the work and indecency to even attempt to touch the paper.
The experience I gained from writing my best and my least favorite paper, showed me areas of my writing that still need improvement. As stated previously, I need to work on smoother transitioning by not only relying on the use of transition words. I also need to focus on syntax as well as grammar to a certain extent. I need to be able to go over my writing, edit, thoroughly as I am the kind of writer to write in one sitting, thus editing can seem like a strain to the eyes after sitting in front of a laptop for so long. To combat this, I would need to use the writing center more often and/ or find ways to get outside eyes to help catch little mistakes that I might overlook, since I am the author. Nonetheless, I need to set aside a proper amount of time to go over each paragraph thoroughly and fix up minor mistakes in terms of syntax and grammar. On the other hand, with APA citations, I believe I need more practice to get the hand of it. In terms of making sure I meet all requirements, I need to take my time when choosing my sources, to make sure that they won’t make me fall short. This class did help, but I truly believe to make progress in my writing the change starts with me.