My original goal for this class was to improve my writing skills. I wanted to be able to make my writing more concise, improve grammar, sharpen researching skills etc. More specifically when it came down to communication in our workshop groups my response was: “It has always been difficult for me to receive critism. I know it is necessary but is always hard to hear. For our mentor groups I hope that we can all be constructive toward one another’s post. When we say that we like what someone has said, we should be able to tell him or her why we liked it. Also if we disagree with one another hopefully we can give our reasoning why we think differently and support our opinion. Since we’re all adults I know that when we disagree we can be polite and constructive in our reply.
Good posts should answer any questions that have been asked in the prompt and any outside information used to back up a statement should cite where that information was taken from. Useful feedback should extend upon the subject that was answered by the original poster; perhaps ask questions to that the original poster did not consider in the initial post. Good participation is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just say you like or agree with someone. Give an explanation why”.
My strengths throughout the term were 1.) Staying organized and on top of all the posts and other assignments that were due. 2.) Responding to each weeks instructor prompts to the best of my ability, including using the texts for that week in my responses and also using other outside texts to help support my claims. Some challenges were finding secondary sources for the mirror essay. Researching is not a strong point of mine so finding good reliable sources for this assignment was a little bit of a challenge.
For this term overall I think that I made improvements in four of the areas listed. I feel like as a researcher that I have made improvements. I don’t just take a picture, advertisement or someone’s writing at face value. I try to dig a little deeper and find if the story behind the image or the writing is true to the claims being made. This is something that I did not even have the skills to do before, this course has made me much more analytical. The second improvement that I have seen in myself after this course is an improvement in my writing. The tools given to us through the Purdue website, having our own librarian to help, and the aid of our instructor and mentor have helped me to write better. If I don’t know how something should be cited or whatever else while writing I know of tools now that can be accessed to help make my writing the best that it can be. The last two improvements I think that I have made are as a citizen and a student. I think as a citizen now I am better equipped to see passed the tricks used through the media in the news and also in advertisements. As a student I think that I have improved because this class has put me out of my comfort zone a little bit. Having to review another’s work can be a sensitive matter. I am definitely not a perfect writer so having to tell someone else improvements that should be made in their paper is tough for me. But I think helping others find mistakes in their papers helped me to go back and find my own as well when I was revising.
The main skill that I will take with me and use in my everyday life is analyzing and researching potential sources for whatever I am using them for. It is easy to find something on the Internet and just using it to aid in an assignment. But as we all know the Internet has a lot of unreliable things floating around on it. Sometimes we may not even know that something is unreliable until that source itself is researched. In week two we were shown the perfect example of this. The course text was called, The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post 9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media by Diane Watt. In this case on page 36 of the article we are shown a little girl wearing religious clothing surrounded by a sea of black clothing. The cover states, “Why the world belongs to Islam”. The image and words are very ominous. Yet someone did some research and found that this was a day of mourning in Turkey, where otherwise these traditional garments would not be worn. Finding this out really blew my mind, it just made me wonder about every other news article, broadcast, etc. that I have heard and seen in my life. How much of it was true?
Now that I have seen first hand what the media can do to make their viewers swing one way or another on a topic I am much more wary about the information being given to me. I don’t have the time to research every story but these skills for research have made me see things differently. I don’t just take in information from anyone anymore. I looked at it more skeptically.