Posting About Wednesday 29 October 2014

We went outside for our Wednesday class.

After settling down on a patch of grass in the nearby parking lot, we discussed arguing. Our professor, William Mangrum, stated that any time we make an assertion, we are arguing. He claimed that to argue is to make a point and to defend it. This is a broader definition of arguing  and contrasts with the commonly used confrontational form.

I personally enjoy arguing a bit more than I should. I’ll argue about anything someone has an opinion on. Sometimes, I’ll even argue when I don’t agree with my argument (playing the devils advocate). I enjoy forcing myself to consider the benefits of ideas I dislike and it can be fun to see if I can convince others to believe things I don’t.


Serious about Engineering

Friday we discussed the term serious. Today I will discuss how the term relates to my education and to my major; Engineering. I am enrolled in what I consider to be the most serious major this school offers. Engineers deal with hard data and with facts. We asses safety, we design things which need to withstand incredible forces, we are the last line of defense from societies structural demise. Serious is the name of the game when it comes to engineering.

I have often been told that I have an analytical mind. To me this means that I take everything seriously, that I treat everything as a puzzle. As new puzzle pieces (pieces of data) are discovered through research, conversation and observation, I fit them into the grand plan in my mind. This is how I learn, in fact I would say this is how I interact with everything in the world. When I take concepts seriously, it shows because they change me.

This defines my educational experience. A series of events of data collection which has shaped me into the person I am now.  I have slowly built up a collection of data in my mind, and this old data dictates how I treat new data. In college I have been exposed to huge amounts of data in very short periods of time. Much more than I have seen in previous schooling and it is very difficult to consider it all. This creates a barrier for what is to be taken seriously. While I am overwhelmed by the data, I must consider it, or I will not have a full understanding of what I am learning.

It seems to me that to take a chemistry class is to learn formulas and how to utilize them. To take chemistry seriously is to understand why the formulas work and how they relate to each other. I have an inner drive to understand that which was once unknown to me, or I wont acknowledge that I know anything about it at all. Partial understanding is no understanding. I take my lessons seriously and it frustrates me when I am not able to grasp ideas. My analytical mind will not accept that PV=nRT unless I can explain how P relates to V and n relates to T and so on.

This is why I take my education seriously. I know that if I only memorize formulas in order to pass tests without having a full understanding of the ideas, I will quickly lose the information all together and I will be right back where I was before I spent my time “learning.” I wish to improve, and in order to do so I have no choice but to take learning seriously.

This took just over one hour to write.


How can we define serious? After some discussion in class this Friday my opinion stands that serious can most aptly be described as a tone. When something is to be taken seriously, it means that the atmosphere is one for work. It means that while we joke in this class, we always have an end goal in mind.

This class has a serious end goal. We wish to understand language more fully so we are able to utilize it better in every aspect of our lives. We will often go on tangents of seemingly unrelated topics, and the tone can feel more silly than serious. But when considering our goal, there is no topic  that does not have interesting uses of language associated with it. Language is intertwined with everything we do and so every topic is open for discussion in this class.

Creating knowledge is an intimidating phrase. It summons images of hard research, buckling down and being focused on building concepts that are brand new to this world. This is not actually the case. What constitutes ‘creating knowledge’ is more along the lines of putting your ideas out there. We all have countless thoughts each day, ranging from what clothes to where to contemplating if the universe is aware. By recording these thoughts for others to consume, we are creating knowledge and expanding the whole of what humans know.

In this realm there is nothing that cannot be taken seriously. Someone can as be serious about how to interpret what happened in an obscure book written five hundred years ago as someone who is aiming to cure malaria for good. One might appear to be a more serious subject on the surface but when you look a an exhaustive list of notes the first person has created, you would be silly to call them anything but serous about their task. In order to take serious notes, you only need to consider the content you are observing to be seriously important.

I just spent two hours on this.

Notes – 24 October 2014

  • Welcome to my world
  • Formatting can still improve
  • Italicize book titles, don’t use quotes
  • Turn signals are a convention
  • – They signal a move
  • – Italics signal a book
  • – Quotation marks signal a quote
  • Be consistent
  • Use italics in the title if the title references a book
  • Preliminary matter is double spaced like everywhere else
  • 11pt Times New Roman

Preliminary Info

  • Today we are going to have a discussion
  • we will blog about it
  • 3 parts
  • 1 – Type up notes
  • 2 – After a 4+ hour break, write and essay about notes
  • 3 – After another 4+ hour break, write an essay about connecting the discussion to other parts of life
  • Transfer my knowledge from this class to other classes
  • Make connections
  • “I didn’t get anything out of that class”
  • “That class was a waste of time”
  • “I’ll never use that”
  • “It’s of no use to me”
  • We talk about transfer constantly when we say things are useless
  • Classes don’t transfer when teachers don’t push students to use the knowledge elsewhere
  • Paraphrasing is an important skill
  • Plagiarism can be tied to an inability to paraphrase
  • ^ Before all preliminary discussion
  • When possible to follow MLA, do so (on blog)
  • Different ‘sites’ – blogging – papers – text messages – discussions
  • This is where meaning arises


  • Wide ranging – open
  • pushing to understand language
  • pushing to tease out subtleties
  • pushing against commonly held assumptions
  • We are learning how difficult it is to write

What does Serious mean?

  • “Not kidding around” – Precious
  • What did she do to define the word?
  • She questioned herself, and then collaborated with others
  • Then she told us what it is not
  • Serious is different than kidding around
  • “A solum attitude” – Luke
  • ordinary terms are hard to expand upon
  • If we learn to do it with words, we can learn to do it with sentences, then we can learn to do it with paragraphs, and eventually we can learn to do it with entire papers
  • If you can expand the basic idea, you can expand the grand idea
  • Priorities
  • “I think of Serious Texas BBQ, then I think of how thats not a very serious thought” – Sydney
  • “Focused and determined” – Leighton
  • “As an author, serious is a tone. You should feel uncomfortable feeling joy when I write in a serious tone” – CJ
  • A comedian takes a serious idea and uses it in a different setting to make light of it
  • “Disciplined” – Ami
  • “Serious is an attempt to make ones self understood” – Katie
  • “A way of communicating something important with conviction” – Bean
  • “Why so serious, from batman”  – Carly
  • “Going towards a goal with a motivated an driven mindset” – Sam
  • “Legitiment and persistent” – Norene
  • “A full bodied attempt to do something” – Justin L
  • “And emotion that shows the magnitude of the situation” – Other Justin
  • Bill Paraphrases Justin’s statement to get a more full understanding
  • Out papers should involve this type of thinking
  • “Affirming the realness or importance of the situation” – Sam
  • “Strict – Accomplish something – Commanding – Demanding” – Kevin
  • Not just speaking expecting something to be done
  • “Earnestness – of importance” – Norene
  • “A tool or que of how to act” – Justin

Post Conversation

  • Patch writing – paraphrasing, referencing plagiarism
  • Type up notes
  • 4+ hour break
  • Write about the word serious as it relates to writing, to thins class, to notes, and to the idea of knowledge making
  • 4+ hour break
  • Relate the term serious to the whole of my educational experience
  • In essay 2 refer to these notes
  • – Serious in the context of…
  • We are limited to 4 hours of working for this assignment (not including breaks)


  • Common, ordinary words have a meaning in my head when I put them on paper
  • When someone else picks my paper up, they have their own meanings for those same words in their head

This took one hour to type

Reflection of Wednesday – 26 September 2014

Wednesday we spent time talking about the reading-writing bond We discussed many ideas of writing, but one stood out to me. The (not surprising idea) idea that you always put yourself into your writing and the (more surprising) idea that you always put yourself into what you are reading. This is an inherent truth. I once had a friend who said to me:

“To you, it doesn’t matter who I am, because to you, I will always be who you see me as”

I have used this idea for communicating verbally for many years now, but I had not considered how it applied to writing. The fact is there is not a way to deliver a concrete message.  Everything I write has my perceptions and history tied in to it. Alike, everything you read from me, is read through your perception of the world based on your own experiences. This did not seem to be a big deal at first. It actually seemed trivially obvious, but when I considered how my reading process actually flows, I noticed how often I would input my story in to what I’m reading. How I would make connections and say to myself “like that one time…” or “just like when…” I seem to be unable to remove my thoughts from what I am reading. This is an important thing to consider next time I write, and drives home the point that I must write to my audience if I want to successfully deliver a message.

Engineering Discussions – 23 September 2014

On Monday we had a discussion in class. We were investigating the definition of the word inquiry. We were all aware of the questioning nature of its meaning, but no one was quite sure on the specific traits it has that other words do not carry. We were lead to consider the word query and the term academic inquiry. Eventually we concluded that to query is to ask a question, and academic inquiry is finding an answer using traditional scholastic means.

How can this relate to my studies in engineering? 

This discussion took place over 15-20 minutes, and was not incredibly focused. I consider it practice for discussing ideas which we do not have a definitive answer for. By learning to communicate clearly in this a group situation, I will be more successful at finding precise definitions that accurately describe their use in the world. This is vital for designing scripts, schematics, and plans that I will need others to understand.  By learning to communicate efficiently, this type of discussion can lead to very precise definitions that we can all utilize to improve future communication. In the world of engineering, where we work with massive weight, energies, and potential catastrophes, clear communication is essential.

Reflection on Mondays Discussion – 23 September 2014

I spoke a lot, as did Luke. Sam and CJ spoke many times. Bean spoke a couple of times, as did Mitchell. I don’t recall hearing from Kevin, Gunther, Kayla, Leighton, Precious, Lidel, or Justin Lopez

This seemed like a long time to spend discussing a fairly simple topic. Most people did not seem overly interested in crafting a specific answer. We made general statements, but nothing super specific.

The class is a lab where we observe, collect data, analyze and come to conclusions.

I observed myself talking to fill silence. I observed myself eager to find a conclusion. I observed many people joking. I participated in the joking. I don’t think the conversation stayed on track. I wonder if the only reason for the conversation was to have something to write about? This seems like the true activity so we can learn to write about many things, even mostly uneventful things. What will I write about then? What did I observe? I suppose I did not observe very much, I was more invested in speaking, and did not write many notes. I noticed bill crafting the person circle, and it made me wonder about the “power speakers” in class. For most discussions I have noticed that on CJ, Luke, Sam, Justin and I speak more than all others combined. I wonder what the others think of the few that speak up frequently. Are they glad they don’t have to talk, or do they wish we would shut up?

Notes – 22 September 2014

  • The project today is to construct a working definition of the word inquire
  • Dictionaries will often have multiple options/levels/ideas in definitions
  • Scholars do not use dictionary definitions – seems weird
  • We get 15 min to talk together – to ask:
  • – What does is mean to query?
  • – What is academic inquiry
  • We will work together to find answers
  • To query is to show curiosity
  • To inquiry is to actively work at answering a question
  • Query – to question – to research
  • “What we are doing right now” – Luke Landreneu
  • This is a inquiry on inquiry
  • Academic inquiry may have direction
  • Academic inquiry relates to the genera of academics
  • “Query is asking questions, inquiry is finding answers” – Justin
  • What does it mean to query? – To ask questions
  • What is academic inquiry? – Asking questions and finding answers in an academic genera

Photo of circle for blog

  • Luke and I talked too much

Critical Reflections of the Group Experince – 19 September 2014

Well, we didn’t really work as a group. We assisted each other very briefly at the beginning, but we all quickly went on our own way to catch up as everyone was some number of posts behind where we were supposed to be.

The problem with trying to help each other in this situation is that we all have our own notes, blogging about them is an inherently personal activity. My name is on this blog, so I will be using it to share my thoughts. Talking with others may impact my thoughts, but it does not change that I am the sole poster here.

We did get more comfortable communicating outside of class, but we did not collaborate in any meaningful way. I still say progress was made,  as we all used this time to improve our blogs, but next time we will need to work on opening up and being willing to contribute to each others progress. Next time we need to actually care about the outcome of the others work instead of focusing on our own.

Our group met at the Reed Library and consisted of:

  • Luke Jun
  • Paige Albright
  • Lidel Sleuth
  • James Wadle

Notes – 17 September 2014

  • Use bullets on the blog when typing up notes – Go back and update older posts to this format
  • Get more organized as time goes on
  • You learn as you do things
  • If you are going to have a successful college career (or any career) start early so you have the time to learn, grow, and improve.
  • There are not bad examples, only examples that should not be repeated
  • My phone rang – buy a bag of skittles, give one skittle to each scholar in class
  • All Bill is looking for from our blogs on notes is to have exactly what we wrote down, typed up.
  • Bill wants us to review our typed notes and expand on 2-3 points per post.
  • We are practicing. The more we blog, the better we will be at blogging
  • Creating the blog and posting on it is training us to follow directions
  • We want to train our mind to pay attention to the details.
  • Bill is making the assumption that our high schools failed us and trained us badly in regards to writing and “how to school” – I went to a unique high school. I was student #103. There were five classrooms, ~7 teachers, and a guidance counselor. We were all on a first name basis. I was never able to coast through classes as I had a personal relationship with all my teachers, and they would be very quick to notice when I began to slack off or fall behind.  I believe I understand the points Bill was aiming for, But I cant say it applied to my experience. To be honest, it kind of made me zone out during this part of the discussion.
  •  We want to explain things in our blog in such a way that someone not in this class would understand what we are writing about.
  • Don’t use the word “just” to marginalize people or actions.
  • Be sensitive to the language I use.
  • Less than 10% of the US population has a college degree.
  • I was given a personal assignment –> Argue that the population without a college degree contributes less value to society than the 10% with one. – We’ll see how I feel this weekend, I may actually do this.
  • Bill claims the first lie we were ever told about language is that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”
  • Bill claims words can and do hurt us.
  • They can also help us.
  • Bean states that this phrase is about giving words meaning.
  • “Language is socially agreed upon units of sound that function in a particular way for a particular purpose”
  • Bill gets deep and states that no one has ever ordered a bomb dropped without language.
  • When someone speaks up, the impact is real.
  • Words can build things us and they can tear things down.
  • This is why people enjoy reading – the words build worlds.
  • Words make this all real.
  • If you tell someone something enough, they will likely start to believe it.
  • Words have the power to shape the worlds around us.
  • Words can make the world a better place.
  • Language is the most powerful thing there is. we have the capacity to speak – to choose words.
  • With this ability we can give hope or take it away – it is all about how we use language.
  • Maybe he’s wrong
  • Bill does not think that young scholars are ever told that by caring about language and working together we can make the world a better place.
  • Listen to the world – Speak to the world – It will shape what we think. This is inherently true.
  • We are all full on contradictions
  • The rhetorical setting can dictate if they are acceptable or not.
  • “Things you say to other people can have a bigger impact on you than on them” – Zach
  • Things can often be handled in the moment but cause a struggle later on.
  • 7 good principles for improving higher learning:
  • 1) Increase contact between students and teachers – We are all on the same playing field and should treat each other as such.
  • 2) Create a student to student community where we all rely on, help, and push each other.
  • 3) not told … later on

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