My Paper

July 11th, 2014

Well, the final paper has definitely been quite a roller coater of ups and downs. There were many parts along the way that got to be very difficult to form and organize my thoughts to say what I wanted to say. Like Bill said, “Just keep pressing on!” My paper is now in its final stage of concluding everything together and really looking back on the experiences from this course. I’m going to go have some lunch to take a little break from such a draining piece of writing, then hopefully come back and finish this thing out strong.

Introductory Paragraph

July 9th, 2014

Fellow Scholars (and Bill):

Here is my introductory paragraph. Let me know what you all think and please give me some feedback as well.

For the summer course of COMP 126, I deserve a B letter grade. Throughout the five weeks of class (which is three weeks of material every week), there was a bunch of information being thrown at my fellow scholars and I awfully fast. It was a lot to take in at such a quick pace, and it made it difficult to really grasp all of the material. I know that by working my butt off and having Bill as our wonderful professor, I did hold on to most of that knowledge and in this paper I will prove it.

That’s it! Again, let me know what you think.

My Plan

July 9th, 2014

Alright, I have sat down and already typed up my introduction paragraph to my final paper. Now all I need is to figure out what to do next…..

1st: Talk about all the work I have done, and the fact that I disciplined myself to do my best at getting all the assignments done. I will give many different examples and throw in some pictures as well. This is mainly just talking about the stuff I completed and the things I didn’t do.

2nd: Go into all the material I actually grasped and all the information I have learned. This will tie in nicely after talking about everything I completed. Really go into detail on everything and pull in information from all the readings and different writings I did. Can also pull in outside connections and information that made the learning easier for myself.

3rd: Now start to really self assess myself in my performance. Start asking all the questions we went over in class and think about my fellow scholars as well. This is where I will talk about the four processes of self motivation, direction, regulation, and assessment.

Lastly: From all the critical thinking and reflecting, I think this will begin to conclude my paper naturally and I can rap everything up and finish.

Okey dokey, this is quite the road ahead of me! Time to really concentrate and work hard on this paper.

 

Peace

July 8th, 2014

Don’t you just love when you think you have found a nice, quite and peaceful place, to sit down and do any work that you need to get done. But then all of a sudden the room you choose turns into a chaotic room for socializing. Oh wait, then maintenance personnel joins in and begins working on something directly under your computer with loud and obnoxious tools shaking and rattling your computer as you try really hard to focus and continue working on what you need to do. The socializing continues, beginning to really distract you to the point that you’re now focused in on their conversation they’re rather than the blog your trying to write. Man, do I just love when things like this happen to me, because it seems like everywhere I go, no matter where I go, it always seem to happen. Never have I had such luck when trying to have peace in completing any work. It’s just wonderful!!!

My dad and I always say, “If we didn’t have bad luck, we wouldn’t have luck at all.” I have so many unfinished drafts for my blog that it’s ridiculous, and I won’t post anything until I am satisfied with each one. If only I could have the ability to just block everything out…. 🙁

Where I’m At

July 7th, 2014

I FEEL LIKE I’M LOOSING MY MIND.

Hope I can push through it.

Conversations of Today

July 2nd, 2014

After discussing the introduction we must compose for our next assignment due Friday at noon, we switched the conversation around to talk about conclusions in papers, and how to be scholarly in writing one. Bill explains that all good papers end with an awareness of future research to be done. That conclusions are just as significant as the middle of a paper because it requires more rhetorical thinking. We discussed how students out of high school like to write a paper by stating a problem, and decide to end it with how it should be fixed and that there’s nothing more to it; as if they know the solution and there’s no more research or thinking to be done. This is being unscholarly. In good scholarly papers, they will always end the paper with what they still don’t know yet. You the writer are indeed putting forth your knowledge, but are only a small aspect of the problem as a whole. As a writer, it’s important to know that there are many interdisciplinary areas of all human problems. In other words, you yourself can’t fix a problem all on your own because you just can’t be disciplined or an expert in every different area of a problem; you need lots of help from lots of different entities. Acknowledging that there are still many questions that still need to be asked is important. You want to be humble with your conclusions for knowing there’s more work to be done. This conversation in class was very interesting to me because I believe I was one of those students that didn’t do this, and point out that, as Bill said, there’s “interagency cooperation” in every worlds issues and every agency has their own discipline.

The second conversation that my fellow scholars and I discussed in class today was that learning information is better learned when you do something with the information after you learned it. Like let say in this class, when we discussed something in the class, then were asked to write about it in the class, and then again to reflect upon it, and then lastly to write about it again publicly on a blog; the learning went much deeper and now I know (at least for myself), that the information I learned will last longer. It is just a fact that for significant learning to happen, we have to do something with what we’ve learned in class, right after class, to better learn and understand the material. This is because consuming information is much different form learning to think of the information. In other words, consuming material comes much faster than to actually learn what you are consuming (slower). All of my fellow scholars came up with several different ways in which this could be done.

Most of which everyone agreed on was doing some reflection or summary of what your had learned in class afterwards in writing. Whether it be for 5-10 minutes on a blog, just a little in your notebook after the class, or sometime at the end of the day or the week. April was interesting to hear say that it helps her rewrite her notes all over again to deeper understand the information. Bill, however, ended the class with a very unique way to recall what you had learned in your classes. Everyone has a phone, and on that phone (usually), is a tape recorder. So in-between each class you could simply talk about what you had learned and put into your own words what the information was about, then later go back and listen to your recordings. He illustrates that not only can writing be useful, but listening to your own voice can be very helpful as well.

Both long conversations in class were very interesting to me today, and now that I am at this moment recalling on everything I have learned today in this blog, I know I will better my understanding and learning of the information, and have it be incorporated into my brain for longer.

Memorizing and Recalling

July 1st, 2014

Whenever we are asked to write about anything, we are being asked to recall something. This takes memorizing something of which we have heard, read, or learned. It is always a process, there are always steps that you take in your thinking, in your writing, and in your learning. You can’t just jump right into summarizing something of which you know nothing of. It takes time to think about what you have learned and acknowledged, and to then paraphrase and create a process of thinking where you can put that into your own words; this also can expand upon what you may be summarizing.

Today in class, my fellow scholars and I were asked to do just this. To write for a twenty minute period of the connection between writing and learning, and then after, to summarize what we had just written down. The process of trying to figure out how to summarize everything I had just written down in the twenty minutes, was a difficult one. This was the first point we decided as a class about summarization; it is demanding and most often difficult to include everything you want to say, but without rewriting everything all over again. I feel like most times when we are asked to summarize somebody else’s writing, it feels more natural and easier to say just what the main points were. Therefore, when trying to summarize something you have just thought about and written down, you begin to start all over and write everything you already did because you feel as though everything you were thinking was important and everything must be included. This skips forward to the fifth point we decided as a class: Don’t assume that what you know is important. This is saying, we believe that anything we think and write is important because it was us who thought it. However, if we learn to keep our minds open to everything, we will learn much more. We will be able to take more into account, and possibly talk or think about a point of which we have already missed. Now this ties back into the second point discussed in the class, that summary can also give you another break through. If you do keep yourself open, and don’t think that what you know is what’s important, you will learn more and you’ll then understand something which you may not have caught the first time around. These three points all interconnect with each other in the process of writing a good summary, and putting thought into everything your going to say and recall.

The third point illustrated about summary is that when you have an idea, a compact one, you can’t just rely on that specific thought through out the whole summary. The example in class was the idea of critically thinking, and what that actually meant. The idea of ‘critically thinking’ must be broken down, and opened up to more of what it means to critically think. It’s the process of unraveling your thoughts, and taking the step forward of looking at things from a different view; this is what critically thinking is. It’s being rhetorical about what your thinking is and what your thoughts are, and saying something in what are your own words. This point ties into the fourth p0int (there were only five points), that rewriting is learning to paraphrase, and that memorization as its role. That again, you need to take different ideas, and pull them apart to show what they actually mean. It’s to show your own, personal thought process of what something may mean to you. This is also why I say, memorization has its role, because learning to memorize something takes this process of putting ideas into your own thinking, and own words, and so this way you can better recall on something you have learned.

Summary is something that has always just seemed like something where you just repeat what you have heard, read, or learned. On the other hand, summary is a long process of breaking down your thoughts and ideas to recall in your own thinking, and your own words, what something meant to you. It takes steps in connecting the first, second, and fifth point discussed in class, as well as connecting the second and third, to summarize something and to put your thinking into writing. This is something I have done just now in this blog, in breaking down what I have learned and recalling in my own thinking what the process of summary actually is.

Post Self-Assessment Thinking

June 30th, 2014

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! (excuse my language) Man, does writing and composing a self-assessment for yourself drain a lot out of you. Before writing I thought that I would have it in the bag and not struggle so much on it. I wrote a little bit every day since it was assigned, but when I actually sat down to totally finish it and make it just the way I wanted it, it took me on a hell of a journey. Writing it out rather than just thinking it was completely different and self empowering even. I struggled way more than I ever imagined I would, and felt things I didn’t think I would feel. I now already feel I know myself as a person much, much better and that the act of writing a self-assessment was very good for me. Now I understand when Bill said he could fill five book shelves of just self-assessment writings of his and why he has written so many! It’s extremely helpful on your view of yourself, of the world, and how you’re living in it. I am very curious to see how all my fellow scholars feel after composing such an assignment. I guess we’ll see……

Multimodal Composition: What Counts as Writing?

June 26th, 2014

My fellow scholars and I were asked to read four texts out of Writing About Writing from chapter five titled, “Multimodal Composition: What Counts as Writing?” From the four texts, two of them I believe were helpful and worth reading, while the other two were almost the exact same thing and I didn’t feel had any real impact on me.

The two that I believed were interesting to read and helpful with my thinking were “Instant Messaging and the Future of Language” by Naomi S. Baron, and “Texting and Writing” by Michaela Cullington (student). In the text written by Naomi S. Baron, she makes a very interesting point that through history, language has constantly been changing. She explains how even Shakespeare spelled his own name six different ways. Since the creation of print culture however, writing turned into a common genre, separating it into what’s formal writing and informal writing. Baron then fast forwards to the present and acknowledges that since the 20th century there has been several new educational practices, and changes all around in the linguistic and behavioral world. She talks about an online survey that says undergraduates are engaging themselves in several activities at once; “working on a paper, listening to music, eating, speaking face-to-face, and managing  up to 12 simultaneous IM conversations (722, WAW).” This was very cool to me because I actually witness this on a personal level with my friends all the time; I myself have never understood it, however, because I’m not the best multi-tasker, but am slowly turning into a better one. She continues saying something that I think is completely correct, “The most important effect of IM on language turns out to be not stylized vocabulary or grammar but the control seasoned users  feel they have over their communication networks (722, WAW).” I think that this isn’t only true for communication networks, but I’ve found that I just feel that way about life in general; if I keep myself busy and juggle around a bunch of things, yes I may feel overwhelmed, but I still feel in control of the things going on around me and that keeps me happy. I find this being a huge connection to why the younger generation is so fond of multiple conversations going on at once, and that it’s a very cool connection to make.

The piece composed by the scholar Michaela Cullington titled, “Texting and Writing,” I also found beneficial and interesting to read. Cullington looks at the controversy of whether or not text messaging is hurting students writing, benefiting it, or not having any really effect. I enjoyed this reading because Cullington looks at all sides of the picture, and makes sure to include everyones thoughts. Then after looking at others’ research, doing interviews with students and teachers, and conducting more research, Cullington comes to his own conclusion. Cullington concludes that there is a bit of false data out there, and that much of it is just peoples thoughts, opinions, and claims. However, after conducting research and self reflecting, “that texting is not interfering with students’ use of standard written English (781, WAW).” After reading this piece, I personally agreed with Cullington and could relate.

The  other two texts my fellow scholars and I were asked to read of which I didn’t like were titled “Writing, Technology, and Teens: Summary of Findings,” and “Revisualizing Compostion: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students.” I feel as though I can talk about these two texts in one paragraph because they were so much the same. All the two of them talk about is data, quantifiable data! While reading both pieces of writing, it felt like I could have just looked at two different sets of graphs and gotten all the information they were talking about. I like to read something that I can personally relate to; if it’s just a bunch of numbers and data separating gender and ethnicity, I loose attention. This especially happened when reading one right after the other, because lots of information was just repeated. Why couldn’t they have just connected both texts together? I know that it was to groups of people, and two different sets of data, but much of it was the same so why did Writing About Writing choose to include both into its book?

This is how I separated the four pieces of writing asked by my fellow scholars and I…..

 

Research and the Use of Different Search Engines

June 25th, 2014

Research is a difficult process for people. Many like to take the easy path of just taking in the information of which they first find, without actually knowing if it has good authority. In class today, Peekay (a fun, enthusiastic, passionate, and helpful scholar and instructor), taught us that as scholars and college students, we must learn to really narrow down what we’re are researching or searching to truly find the information that we are looking for. Everyone has a virtual presence on the Web, in which Peekay explains that Google has tracked down all our whereabouts online and through everything you click on or view, they connect everything and set up a profile for you. If you choose to go on a completely new, different computer of which you’ve never used before, you will have different information pop up than what would pop up on your personal computer; this is because the computer doesn’t know who you are yet. Peekay shows us three different search engines: google.com, dogpile.com, and duckduckgo.com. Duckduckgo.com is interesting, because it ‘says’ it’s “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. Basically all that means is that if you have a Facebook account, you won’t have different ads pop up of certain things that  you’ve looked up. We searched the same thing on all search engines to see what kind of difference there was for each one. All were very similar. Google did something very interesting, in which it created a knowledge graph where, data from the computer puts all its information up that it already knows. Peekay uses these different search engines as an introductory to what she teaches us about doing online searching and research.

Questions Peekay says to always be asking when doing research are: Where is this information coming from? Can you find an author, or a group of people who have written this? Why are they reliable? Is there authority? How accurate is this information? She explains how if or when using Google, use the advanced search under the settings, and when searching around, look for an author or an abstract because that gives it more authority, and .gov sites as well; that Google isn’t always bad, and is good for personal purposes. Looking for citations by authors is good too, because then you can track down where all their information comes from. She almost screams this to the classroom, that you don’t have to be alone when doing research for papers! “Go to your local library and have someone help you!” From this, she turns the conversation over to using the library search engine.

The library search engine is a great place to conduct research because it really can narrow down what you are looking for. It has magazines and periodicals which can give you good information, but doesn’t really mean that the information was peer reviewed before posting. If you want really good authority, look under scholarly (peer reviewed) journals, because this means the information was checked and has already been peer reviewed, meaning good, trustworthy information. Through the schools library engine, you can look for  currency of the postings, because things are always changing (it has a spot on the side where you can narrow down exactly from when you want to gather your information). Peekay says that “knowledge builds upon knowledge.” That we as scholars can use all the information we get, our own experiences, and then even ourselves, add knowledge to the world (this is difficult to grasp for many). When doing research, you can really narrow down information looking under specific/different data bases (on library search engine, on the side under “limit by database” you can do this). Peekay illustrates that the same day you conduct research, always READ something, add to your knowledge, and then continue your research. Look at the title, the subject terms/words, and the abstract and that can help you immensely to find what you’re looking for. She ends by saying it’s a process, and yes it takes time and it takes work; whatever you choose to use, always evaluate and think about what will work better for you and your goals for whatever you are doing.