Significant Writing Project

Significant Writing Project

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Learning Outcome #1: Recursive Process

I selected my second essay to reflect on my ability to revise. I would like to preface this reflection by explaining that revising my writing is a very real time, on-going process for me, with the bulk of revisions occurring as I am writing the rough draft. I will spend a lot of time writing the introduction and thesis (I use this as a road map for the rest of the paper), but I might revise this paragraph several times as I write the body paragraphs as it becomes clear that I have not introduced a topic that I will discuss in the introduction in the way that I am using it. I will do the same thing for the body paragraphs, revising them continually as I write other paragraphs when I realize that I have not made adequate connections between the concepts that I am discussing. I will also finish a paragraph, take a break from it, then come back and decide whether the explanations or examples are appropriate and adequate. Finally, before I hand in the rough draft I go through the paper and edit for spelling, grammar, and conciseness. I also add citations as I write and keep a running “works cited” so there is little of revision to do in that regard. In this way, my rough draft is not very “rough,” and the revisions made are usually minor. This is one of the reasons I chose my second paper, “Is the Trade-off Worth It?” I did more significant revisions in this paper than in the other two. In the introduction, I added some verbiage in the second sentence that made the connection between my opener (Newton) and the topic clearer. I also made a couple of very minor changes such as revising the summary of Clay Shirky’s essay to make it more concise. In the first body paragraph I really expanded the explanation of the quote and Shirky’s concept. Initially I had the example, but I did not explore or explain in enough depth and I wanted to expand on the explanation and connect it better to the thesis topic. In body paragraph 2, I added the extending example of the shooting deaths in the Charleston church. I thought an example was necessary to really drive home the point. The first sentence of body paragraph 3 was changed to make the claim more specific and to transition better from the preceding paragraph. As a general note, transitioning between paragraphs is always difficult for me so I will usually look closely at this during revisions. In the middle of this same paragraph, I removed wording in an example about clicking down the rabbit hole that was unnecessary and too “cute.” In body paragraph 4, I added the Turkle’s quotes about addiction and an explanation as I thought that it gave more support to the claim and also tied in the Turkle essay to another aspect of the thesis. In body paragraph 5, the first sentence was changed, and the second sentence added to transition better and to sharpen the claim. These were the most significant changes that were made between the rough draft and final draft of this essay.

Learning Outcome #2: Integrating ideas

My thesis for this second essay was the following: “Today, humanity is faced with challenging problems…More than ever, the ability to think deeply is critical to meet these challenges. Because of the internet, individuals now have access to vast amounts of information on every imaginable subject, but the unacceptable trade-off is that the essential skills of deep thought, critical analysis, and problem solving are being lost.” The goal of this essay was to argue that the internet is a liability in a world where problem solvers rather than simply fact finders are sorely need. To accomplish this, I used the evidence and opinions presented by Nicholas Carr and Sherry Turkle to counter the claims of Clay Shirky. I also utilized some other writings and research data in support of my argument. For example, I present Shirky’s view that the internet provides a positive outlet for people to use their cognitive surplus, the result being giant information resources like Wikipedia. To counter this argument, I refer to (and connect) Turkle and Carr’s premises that information is meaningless without connections to prior knowledge and are necessary to understand complex
concepts. I use an example of how information about a mass shooting becomes more relevant and meaningful in the context of the history of the civil rights movement. This is an example of extending understanding and helps to connect the key concepts. I add my own idea of the importance of contemplation and solitude for effective problem solving with the example of how critical this was for Isaac Newton’s success, and I connect this idea to ideas about solitude presented by Turkle.

Learning Outcome #5 and #6: Citations and Local Revisions

I have been using MLA for in-text citations and end of text works cited throughout high school. This was a very strongly emphasized part of our English curriculum. As a result, I came into this semester feeling confident regarding MLA citation format. I was therefore extremely disappointed in myself when I realized that I had failed to add page numbers to my in-text citations in essay 2. As I write the essay, I always put the author in parentheses after the quote with the intent to go back and correctly cite the author when I have finished the paper. I overlooked doing this on this paper. I did find it a little confusing this semester because in my science courses I am required to use CSE citation format, which I was completely unfamiliar with, and now it is somewhat difficult to move between the two
formats. Sometimes I would catch myself using the wrong format. I use the Microsoft word’s editor function to help catch spelling and grammar errors so there were few, if any, spelling, and grammar issues on the rough draft. There
were however a lot of vocabulary changes that were made when I reread and noticed some words were very redundantly used. I will use Microsoft word’s thesaurus to help me in this regard. I also tend to use a lot of contractions that I have to change in the final draft.