Core Value I. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
While I was always taught that writing is a process, I had never appreciated rewrites. I always considered them a waste of time, something teachers in high school told me to do for extra busy work. I had never been put in a position where rewrites became relevant and incredibly important to my work, and even if I had, feedback was always vague, limited, and ultimately useless to me. In this class, not only did I receive extensive feedback on my work, the I received a paragraph by paragraph layout of what needed to be fixed, making the rewriting process that I always dreaded much easier and understandable. In this case, I believe my best application of this work was in my Definition Rewrite, for which I had received constructive criticism and even the occasional encouraging compliment. Especially while rewriting my Definition argument, I learned the importance of reevaluating previous work and better appreciated the numerous chances and encouragement to work towards a higher standard of writing.
Core Value II. My work demonstrates that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
Posting my work and having the opportunity to see other’s progress was an interesting and helpful process in expanding on my own skills. Having my ideas out for the class to see was actually very profound, and I used that opening to my advantage. There were a handful of peers that, after the first few assignment, I would keeps tabs on and evaluate their work and feedback, trying to emulate the good and eliminate the bad in my own pieces. One specific instance that comes to mind is the Visual Rhetoric Rewrite. Myself and several others ended up breaking down the same video, which to me was a blessing in disguise. I hated sharing the same topic with another student in the past, but due to the nature of this course and how our work is posted, I was able to dissect other’s feedback and comments, which opened my eyes to details I had not seen before. I had never analyzed a video so thoroughly and completely before in terms of what each movement and picture meant, and being a theatre major, I appreciated learning a lesson that I can apply to my craft.
Core Value III. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
Another topic I would have trouble with is remembering my audience. I have difficulty remembering that my reader does not know the same information I do, and I have a duty to relay my research understandably. I learned this lesson early on in the Stone Money Rewrite. Having been just introduced to the class, I slacked on the original post, but once I had gotten my first dose of feedback from Professor Hodges, I understood the quality of work expected. There was a large well of information represented in the Stone Money assignment, and after reading and listening to the material, myself and a number of classmates wrote as though our audience knew exactly what was being discussed. In my rewrite, I attempted to include a common theme between each piece of information and included more background on the societies I commented on. The further we got into the semester, I tried to keep up the idea that my audience has little to no context about my topic, and to educate them before moving on.
Core Value IV: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
Because I am not a doctor, my opinion on the subject of mental health in my final paper may not be well received without facts and evidence to support me. My passion for this subject fueled my research to find first hand interviews with comedians as well as scholarly articles and studies to further support and explain the correlation between mental health issues and performers in an attempt to be as credible as possible. At first, I was concerned I would not find enough worthy material, but over time was able to find intriguing studies to get a conversation started. My work on my Causal and Definition arguments incorporate concepts that I believed relevant and interesting, backed up by medical and scientific fact. While my arguments are sometimes a bit jumbled, each and every one comes from a credible source.
Core Value V. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
This value, in my opinion, is one of the most important. As I went through high school and find myself in my sophomore year of college, I find that intelligent conversation is not always a pretty sight, as not everyone is on my side of the fight. Throughout this semester, we have taken complex concepts such as money, mental health (PTSD, specifically), and medical malpractice into debate, finding ways to keep the conversation afloat and keeping our minds open to other perspectives. My topic for my final paper incorporates the tricky subject of mental health, and wether or not instability in necessary to be a good performer. Mental health issues, while still being debated, are a hot button topic; not everyone agrees that mental illness is harmful, or that it is even real to begin with, and I must convince that part of my audience to see my point of view and become open to change without turning them off completely. With the help of several studies and scholarly findings, I can use my own findings, backed up by credible sources, to persuade my audience to, at the very least, consider my point without forcing my ideas down their throats.
Although not necessary, I’d like to include a final, overall statement about my time in this class. I’ve never had an instructor so dedicated to providing the tools needed to succeed. The thought-provoking in class debates, extensive and constructive feedback, and, yes, even the occasional riddle, had me genuinely opening up to my peers’ thoughts and opinions. Even though my face was probably blank from lack of sleep, I promise I still appreciate the effort Professor Hodges put into this class. Thanks for helping me like writing and debating again.