Archive for June, 2014

Post Self-Assessment Thinking

Monday, 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?

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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:,, and 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.


Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well that was intense… was nonstop!

I must say, I’ve never done anything like that before. The synchronous blogging was quite a unique and occasionally , bizarre experience. Before we had started, it sounded like it was going to be miserable, especially how we had to watch the time for the duration of our writing. When I’m on a time clock for writing, I feel great anxiety and get a little stressed out because I feel like I’m rushing my thoughts and ideas. Once we had started though, and I had gotten into the groove of the craziness, words began to just come out of me with a lot more ease, and this was very interesting to me; this kinda relates to how Bill asked us to take notes and trust our hand. It’s true that it still felt a bit hectic during the two hours of writing, reading, commenting, and responding, but because we were so busy during the whole time, the two hours flew on by. At the end, I thought to myself, “Wow, we’re already done…..that wasn’t so bad.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t stand up and walk it off because man did it feel like a workout for my brain. Overall, the experience was well worth it, and my fellow scholars left me some good criticism in my comments. I can’t wait to see what everyone else thought of the experience and I’m just waiting to see where Bill takes the conversation for the class this morning.

Procrastination vs. Being Busy

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Yes, it is true that I should have many more posts already on my blog, and I know this. It may seem that I’m just a procrastinator and never seem to get anything done. However, if you as a reader go to my Self Assessment page, I explain that I am extremely busy this summer. I’m not just being lazy….every time I have a chance to sit down and write on my blog, it’s usually around 9:30-10pm after work and of course, my internet doesn’t like to work at night. I myself am a night person and would stay up as late as I want writing and posting on my blog. This can’t happen however, and I have to try to get up every morning super early to do my writing for my blog. When I say that I’m a night person, it true….but what do you think that means of me in the morning? I struggle! I move at a sloths pace and it is very difficult for me to form my ideas, my voice, and compose exactly what I want to say. It doesn’t mean I’m a huge procrastinator! I even bring all my homework to work every time just so that I can try to get some done there. Getting homework done at work on the other hand, totally depends on how crowded the store gets and how well I can concentrate with all the distractions. I also found out that I am not allowed to focus on homework at work, because the Saturday morning that I tried to pull my homework out in front of my boss, he said that I couldn’t do that unless I decided to clock out and then work on my homework. So basically it was one or the other, I show up for work, or I can do homework and he can fire me. I have found out that as long as I never try to do homework Saturday mornings while my boss is at work, I can do homework on the nights that I work when he’s not there and the store is a lot slower. I just want to state that, I know I’m a bit behind on posts for my blog, but I am doing my very best!

Response to Rochelle’s Post from “Writing, Technology, and Teens: Summary of Findings”

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well, here goes the ten minutes for responding to somebody else’s post from their blog. This part of the blogathon is confusing to me, however. Isn’t the comment we leave on their post already responding to them? I feel like I would just repeat everything that I have said in my comment. Oh well, here goes nothing…..

In Rochelle’s post from one of the readings out of Writing About Writing on multimodal composition, she does a good job of expressing certain ideas that she thought of while reading. However, she doesn’t really stick with just one idea, but jumps around a lot. As a reader, it just made it difficult to read and I lost attention.

That’s the best response I think I can give at the moment now that I have already gone over the ten minute mark on this response post.


Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Fellow Scholars:

Well, I must say I started this blogathon wrong. I thought that I could compose together my blogs of the material we have read, of which I should have already blogged about and of which take much longer than twenty-five minutes to write. Now that I have realized that I can’t try to use this day of synchronous blogging to catch up and do blogs that I should have already completed, I saved what I had started on in my drafts and began this piece to let all of you know. I guess now for the rest of this post, I will talk about my morning so far.

I tried to wake up at 8am so I could get up, eat breakfast, and post blogs before this blogathon and like I planned…..catch up. I didn’t happen to wake up until 8:30am and moved very slowly. By the time I had showered, cleaned the kitchen, and eaten breakfast, there was no time to post anything before the synchronous blogging (of which I’m calling the blogathon, if you haven’t noticed). I am now very prepared for the blogathon now, although I realized that writing about the four texts we read on multimodal composition would take me much longer than twenty-five minutes. This has been my morning so far and I will have better posts to come. Hope all you fellow scholars are doing well this morning and are enjoying the activity of synchronous blogging!

All the Best,

Erik Sortland

Logging In!!!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Here we go!!!! Blogathon…..chillin here at my house ready to go…….logging in a little early but, oh well. I can feel the words flowing out of me…..hopefully.

The Outdoorsman Inc.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The other day I ran into a guy at Garden Swartz where I work, and I don’t really know how this came up, but, he happened to have a blog of his own. It was like as soon as I got it out of him that he had a blog, he had so much to say about it and was genuinely excited about it. His blog was the, and it’s a site for people that have questions about outdoors stuff and mainly help start up and promote his new store. From talking about his blog, he began talking about other ideas he has and more websites of his; one of which was a website he would sell new or used outdoors gear, like the  Ebay of outdoors gear. I’ve always been curious how making and setting up a website like that where people can purchase things was like, and if it was very difficult to do. After asking him this, he said that creating the website isn’t very difficult at all, but promoting it is. I found this very interesting, and started to think of all the big, well-known websites like Ebay, Facebook, Yahoo, Soundcloud and so on. How was it that they promoted their sites and got themselves huge? Was promotion the hardest aspect for them as well? I’m mostly interested in the answer to these questions because I know that creating your own website can be a very helpful tool for business and other aspects of life in general…..but it was cool to run into someone else and discuss their blog when in class at the moment, we ourselves are creating our very own blogs.

Intellectual vs. Personal

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

In an article out of Writing About Writing, Emily Strasser responds to another article written by Stanley  Fish where he criticizes that composition shouldn’t be written on anything personal or even interesting at all, but rather work specifically with grammar and the sake of “syntactical and rhetorical” points. Strasser responds illustrating a “Student’s Struggle to Bridge the Academic/Personal Divide.” She explains through personal experience and past teachers that once a writer writes about what matters to them, they write much more passionately and strongly. If professors and teachers make the students feel as though they are important, and that their voice matters, they take their writing more seriously. It’s also interesting to me that Strasser explains the issue at colleges and universities where most students believe that school work and studying are separate from partying. She explains how student’s are amazed by her getting at least six hours of sleep every night and make some time for pleasure reading. Strasser explains how it has gotten to the point that professors just expect for students to be awake all through the night working on a paper and to party all through the night during the weekend. It’s as if a healthy well-balanced lifestyle and studying and partying can’t coexist together. Academics and schools everywhere seem set up for book smart knowledgable students and seem unfit for social and interactive students. I feel as though I see this in my very own experiences of being in school. I will always run into other students whom I know are geniuses and always achieve that A+ grade in all of their classes. Their friends are usually very much the same and if you hear them socialize and interact, it’s like they speak another language to each other. However, when I sit down with them and try to just have a general conversation of which I love to do with everyone, there is always a feel of awkwardness and it’s is much harder to get to know them and get inside their mind and thoughts. Coming back to composition, in my own experiences with writing, when I was in high school I was asked to write about whatever I wanted to, and I could write forever endlessly and happily. When I was asked to write on something specific, I would freeze up and it would be extremely difficult for me to say what I wanted to say. So between Fish and Strasser, I completely agree with Strasser and her thoughts on what is more important for composition and just our well-being and lifestyle. When professors and teachers strive to apply their material with what matters in life, it is those teachers that I respect more, and it is those classes where I apply myself more as well.