My Portfolio

By: Emma Rich

Final Reflection: Reflecting on English 1103

            During the second half of the semester, students of English 1103 taught by Dr. Jane Lucas, a professor at High Point University, are met with a load of course was as they write their creative projects, research papers and reflection essays. They are given multiple paper to read and assignments to reflect on their writing processes. But perhaps some of the most important details of English 1103 that are vital to the success and learning of students have been writing their Creative Project/ Literacy Narrative, keeping a journal and limited screen time. All these parts allow students to reflect on their writing in different ways and encourage them to be intuitive, critical thinkers.

            Writing the Creative Project/Literacy Narrative was on of the more engaging writing assignments given by Dr. Lucas. It asked student to reflect on their past English experiences and what they learned from those times that they use in their writing now. This assignment was vital to learning in English 1103 because it taught students good narrative writing while asking the to be descriptive and dig deeper into their emotions.

            When I was writing my Creative Project/Literacy Narrative, I reflected on my sixth-grade writing class. It was a tough class for me because my teacher wasn’t the greatest and I wasn’t confident in my writing abilities. Reflecting on this experience was tough because it brought back a lot of emotions that weren’t very pleasing. But I was able to use those emotions to create a descriptive narrative with dialogue and vivid details. The narrative gave me a chance to reflect then on my college essay experience where I had no idea what to write about and thoughts of defeat dominated my mind. I eventually got to writing and was able to fill pages with my thoughts and emotions. This reflection on my past writing experiences taught me that I should be confident in my writing and that sometimes you just need to write randomness on a page before you know what your great idea will be.

            The planning, drafting and revising process of this assignment further strengthened the abilities the narrative writing was teaching students. Drafting, coupled with the notes from Dr. Lucas, gave students a chance to get their thoughts on paper before refining them in their final revision. The planning, drafting and revising processes of the narrative allowed students to reflect on their past experiences while learning a vital technique of writing a narrative.

            Another part of the English 1103 course is keeping a journal. Dr. Lucas has students keep a journal for reflection on the weekly Scrabble games and other assignments. This allows students to look back on techniques they might have learned, advice given or even a moment when they had to solve a problem. Keeping a journal also allows students to have a reminder of things they’ve learned from the past. For example, when looking back on reflections of Scrabble games, students could be reminded of new words that can be used in their writing assignments. The journals are also a great place for students to lay their thoughts out before they start writing/drafting. In doing so, students can see what thoughts would be best for the essay and which could probably stay out. Overall, keeping a journal is very beneficial to student reflections and their writing processes.

            Finally, limiting screen time has been a main part of English 1103 that is extremely important to the writing and learning of the second half of the semester. Dr. Lucas has enforced the ‘no technology’ rule all throughout the semester. Students are not allowed to have phones out during class and are not allowed to type assignments unless Dr. Lucas allows. Almost every other class requires the use of a computer, so by having limited screen time in English 1103, students get a break from the screen glow and have the change to work on their long handwriting. By having limited screen time, students can be more focused during the class period and are not tempted to get off track. David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen wrote the Cengage text, Writing Analytically. In the section “Writing on computers vs. Writing on Paper”, Rosenwasser and Stephen wrote that a notebook “can come to feel like a verbal sketch pad, encouraging writers to take repeated stabs at capturing somethings they’ve been thinking about” (125). When I first started writing long hand, I remember the release that I felt and how good it was to step away from the screen even if it was just for a short time. Rosenwasser and Stephen also highlighted that typing out papers can cause students “to lock into a draft or a particular idea too soon” (124). The limited screen time of English 1103 teaches students to step away from the screen for a second and develop their thoughts without cutting them short.

            The second part of the English 1103, semester course has taught student many useful skills for future writing. The planning, drafting and revising of the Creative Project/Literacy Project, keeping of a journal and limited screen time have proven to be successful in teaching students. With the guidance of Dr. Lucas, the students were able to learn and develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills.

Work Cited

Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. “Writing on Computers vs. Writing on Paper.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. pp. 124-125.

The Dreadful Term Paper:

Analysing Richtel’s Report on the Blog-Term Paper Argument

In January of 2012, The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel brought attention to the debate between how writing should best be taught in the digital age. Some educators-including Douglas B. Reeves, a columnist for the American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, founder of The Concord Review- have sided with the term paper method and think issues reside in the ease at which these assignments are being handled. The opposition to term papers is blogs supported by Cath N. Davidson, professor at Duke University, who believes strongly that the term paper should be eradicated. Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, revised the status quo to create a balance between term papers and blogs using a teaching method that includes assigning a term paper that is constructed over the term and using that writing in creative pieces such as blogs, websites or presentations. The article appears to present information about all sides of the argument but through close examination of Ritchel’s language and tone while writing “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, a deeper bias can be seen in opposition to the conventional term paper and in favor of the new, unique blog method.

In the opening paragraph, Richtel automatically pins a dreadful tone towards the term paper in his reader’s head. He uses the statement “feels to many like an exercise in rigidity and boredom,” to cast a shadow over the term paper. He continues this tone by using words like “struggle” and “staid” to give a sense of apprehension towards the term paper form of writing. The blog form of writing, on the other hand, is described by Richtel as “a practical connection to contemporary communication.” He ranks the blog higher than a paper by asking the question, “why punish with a paper when a blog is, relatively, fun?” His analysis of a paper being punishment and a blog being entertainment reveals a bias presence of Richtels opinion towards writing in the digital age. Richtel even went as far to blame the stress of high school and college students on the term paper. He wrote, “Of all the challenges faced by college and high school students, few inspire as much angst, profanity, procrastination and caffeine consumption as the academic paper.” Not only does this cause the audience to have PTSD from their former student lives, but it also causes them to reminisce about the misery that came with the paper. Immediately, the term paper is made to appear as the bad guy in this argument.

Richtel presents the argument of Reeves and Fitzhugh. He outlines that the term paper teaches certain components of writing and deeper thinking that may not be present when using a blog. Richtel even suggested that the “rigidity [of the term paper] wasn’t punishment but pedagogy.” But almost immediately after his advocation he reverts to suppressing the term paper position by calling the argument of Reeves, absurd. In calling Reeves’ argument “reductio ad absurdum,” Richtel is completely diminishing the argument that the term paper teaches young writer valuable skills for their futures.

In the article, Richtel gives statistics to support that “the term paper has been falling from favor for some time”. He stated that “A study in 2002 estimated that about 80 percent of high school students were not asked to write a history term paper of more than 15 pages”. In doing so, the audience realizes that the shift from paper to digital may have already begun. He shows this further by introducing the new terminology that has arisen due to the term paper: “old literacy” and “new literacy”. This terminology causes the term paper to appear outdated while the blog posts method comes across as modern and a perfect fit to the shift from paper to screen.

Notably, Richtel uses one-sentence lines in his article. Those two sentences are the reductio ad absurdum line of Richtel’s dispute to the defenders of the paper writing. The other sentence is a quote from Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, who is a major advocate for replacing the term paper with blog posts. The line reads, “’As a writer, it offends me deeply.’”. By putting these lines alone, Richtel has given the term paper a negative connotation using a powerful writing technique. He even uses this approach to end his article. Richtel used the quote, “’I hated teaching him bad writing’” from Davidson to powerfully leave the audience thinking about the congruity of term paper with the digital era. This technique didn’t only bash the traditional form of writing but also showed the opinion of Richtel by letting Davidson have the last impactful word.

Has the change from term paper to blog already occurred? With the recent pandemic, technology has been more crucial than ever. Seeing as “Blogs vs. Term Papers” was written almost ten years ago, the traditional term paper may already be a technique of the past. Richtel’s writing showed his preference for the blog in the blog, term paper debate. Thorough analysis of his writing techniques, purposeful quotations, and terminology it is understood that Richtel did not write the article to present the arguments but rather to persuade that the new teaching methods of writing are a better fit for the digital age rather than the convention, outdated term paper.

Works Cited

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” The New York Times, http://www.newyorktimes.org. 20 Jan. 2012.

Becoming an Analytical Writer

Analyzing the First Weeks of English 1103

            Within the first weeks of English 1103 taught by Jane Lucas, a professor at High Point University, students are immediately introduced to a demanding class. They learn about different assignments and activities they will undergo over the semester. Lucas introduced Wordplay Day which immediately grabbed the attention of students. Every Friday, students engage in games of Scrabble where they are forced to work together and be creative. This course also requires completion of Check, Please! lessons and assignments. Check, Please! Lessons created by Mike Caulfield, director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, give students useful techniques to distinguish if a source or individual/organization is reliable. Over the course of the semester, students will be completing multiple writing assignments that force them to plan, draft and revise analysis pieces. All these parts, incorporated with many others, play a significant role in engagement and learning in English 1103.

            Wordplay Day is a class favorite. This day allows students to start their Friday right with intense games of Scrabble. Not only is the day fun, but it is also impactful. There are many techniques and tricks to be learned that make Scrabble an important piece of English 1103. Many times, students are faced with tough decisions about where to play a word for maximum points or if they would like to save a letter or play it. One Wordplay Day, my partner and I were going for only the highest point words possible. We strategically planned out placement and positioning to maximize our score. We had two options, we could wait for a letter to play “squid” (a word that would be worth a lot) and potentially lose the place on the board or we could place a four-letter word for a decent number of points while also blocking our opponents. We opted to play the word we had rather than wait. Good thing we did too because the letter we were waiting for never came. While this might also be the same case for others, sometimes students must be creative and think of unique words. Sometimes this might mean playing a two-letter word in hopes that the new letter you draw will be better than the one played. Other than forcing students to work together, Scrabble involves multiple problem-solving skills that are extremely useful. When the playable area is limited, students must be creative and strategic in their placement. Wordplay Day is a significant part in English 1103 because it teaches many valuable skills that can be translated to good writing techniques.

            Check, Please! Lessons, taught by Mike Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, are extremely significant to the learning done inside and out of English 1103. This course advises students to stop and examine a source before they immediately trust the credibility. These lessons teach valuable techniques to determine the validity in question. One of these techniques is the “just add Wikipedia” trick. This includes adding “Wikipedia” to the end of a websites domain or an individual/organizations name then analyzing the results to determine the credibility of the source. During one of lessons, a source was introduced about a toilet with a microphone. The article was titled “Kohler’s Alexa Toilet Costs $8,000, Will Flush by Voice” by Mike Prospero with Tom’s Guide, an older publication that is very well known as a product review site. We were assigned to determine if this was true news using the “just add Wikipedia” trick. Honestly, I never would have thought this article was true but after research and the guidance of the Check, Please! lessons I found this source to be trustworthy the article to be true.  In lesson two, Mike Caulfield wrote, “many of the things we think will make us better at the web- raw intelligence, critical think skill, familiarity with technology- don’t necessarily help.” This opened my eyes to the idea that everything I see on the web may not necessarily be true even though I may examine the source with the basic ways I always have. Students have learned many possible ways to determine the credibility of the sources they use every day. Other lessons include warnings that caution students to watch out for manipulation from organizations and governments. Sometimes organizations will appear as a trustworthy source but underneath the facade they have another agenda to display their opinion. Sometimes governments will hide true facts in attempts to dishevel other governments. Check, Please! shows how to “sanity-check expertise” to know if the source truly has knowledge in what they are informing about or if they are acting “more salesperson than professional” (Caulfield). Check, Please! lessons have taught students many ways to examine the credibility and true meaning within a source.

            In English 1103, students also undergo a process for each of their writing assignments that strengthen their writing. Each assignment, student creates a plan which outlines the ideas they hope to put in their draft. After having the first draft commented on by Lucas, students revise their piece to strengthen their claims and refine certain ideas. Students use Writing Analytically, a book by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, to grow in their technical abilities and enforce good writing. Writing Analytically has helped me tremendously with my writing, especially developing a strong thesis statement. Rosenwasser and Stephen wrote, “a weak thesis is an unproductive claim because it doesn’t require further thinking or proof” (207). This, combined with the examples of weak thesis statements, has guided my writing when it has come to opening my piece with a thesis statement. This writing process has also led to my ideas, evidence and explanations to be more refined and supported. Using the plan, draft and revise method students are able to refine their writing to be organized and detail filled and therefore student can become better writers and thinkers.

            The English 1103 course has made students better writers and thinkers in just a few short months and are continuing to do so. Competitive games of Scrabble force students to be creative and us problem-solving abilities. Check, Please! lessons give students multiple techniques to check the credibility of their sources so their claims can be supported with true, factual detail. The process that Lucas has implemented gives students a chance to refine their ideas to the best of their ability, so their pieces of writing are refined and reflect detail. These engaging ways of learning have helped the students of English 1103 to become strong writers and thinkers.

Works Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.pressbook.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.

Rossenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. “Recognizing and Fixing Weak Thesis Statements.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. pp. 207

No Ideas:

Reflecting on how I have grown as a writer

Every kid learns to write when they are in kindergarten. First, they learn their ABC’s then the simple words like ‘dog’ and ‘cat’. Before they know it, they are putting together sentences and then graduating to essays. For parents, this process happens in a blink of an eye and the baby they sang the alphabet to is writing their college essay.

            As for my parents though, I think they were glad I was growing as a writer. This meant they didn’t have to sit with me at the kitchen table, helping me edit the poorly written argumentative essays I wrote.

In sixth grade, I had a tough teacher who taught us, fresh middle school students, to write argumentative papers. No teacher has discouraged me as much Ms. Johnson had. Essays that I had put a lot of time and effort into received bad grades and every question I asked was returned with a snarky remark like I should already have known the answer. Argumentative essays were a part of her curriculum and affected our grades greatly. On weekends when I had these assignments, I would position myself at the dining room table with no distractions. With my laptop in front of me, my notes off to the side, I would just stare until a sentence came to me. That table became my perch for the next few hours, and I remember those being the most dreaded hours of my weekends. I would find any excuse to leave. When I was done writing, I would ask my parents to proofread and help me revise. Some of the time, my writing wasn’t really refined, and both my dad and I would get frustrated going over all the little mistakes I would make.

“What does this even mean?” my dad would say.

I think he was relieved when the class was over, and I never asked him to proofread an essay again.

When it came to that college essay though… nothing discouraged me more. I think at one point in the process, my parents were a little scared I’d never meet the deadline. I’m kidding… of course I was going to make it, of course I was going to college. I just couldn’t formulate an essay for the applications. I would sit at my desk, laptop open, without any distractions but would still find a way to do anything but write. The blinking cursor on the screen would taunt me till I would just write my name over and over to have text on the page. No matter how many times I reread the open-ended prompts, none stood out to me. Nothing ever came from the silent staring.

            Eventually I just started writing. I knew what I was writing wasn’t the best but at least I had ideas on the page. From what I remember, those words had no emotion and no meaning. I was on the verge of giving up and submitting the mess I had thrown together.

            Then came the moment of salvation for my essay. We were writing sample papers in Senior Literature. I was shown example after example of the heartfelt narratives that other students had submitted. One essay that specifically stood out to me was about the writers first experience with death while working at a nursing home. I thought, what in my life has been that emotional? What has impacted me like that? Unfortunately, I had an incident immediately come to mind. My family has lost four dogs since my parents got married and a few months earlier we had lost number four, Gunner. That sorrow immediately came to mind, and I knew I could write a heartfelt essay even if it wasn’t my college essay. But after getting all my thoughts and feelings organized on the paper, I knew that this was an essay I could add to my application.

            Now, as I am writing papers about history or medical research, I think back to those assignments. I am reminded of the the perseverance, hard work and determination that I put into those assignments and strive to apply them to any paper that I write. I think of the times my head would hurt from staring at the blank, white screen and how frustrating those hours were till I finally laid my thoughts and feelings out on the page. Looking back now, I could’ve written what I needed to with no issues. I had the knowledge, the ideas but, until I saw my thoughts laid out, I doubted myself and frankly, I didn’t want to do the assignments. Never again will I do that. Even if that means writing my thoughts in bullet point after bullet point. As my writing skills and confidence continue to grow, I know that I will never forget the effort, engagement and perseverance that it takes to formulate a piece of writing.

Online Dating in Digital Driven Lives

            Daily life has gradually shifted to support a more online presence with social media playing a dominating role. Every sense the creation of the internet in 1983, worldwide computer usage has skyrocketed. From internet cafes to the web at the tap of a phone screen, the internet is now more accessible than ever. With this shift to a digital world, the lives of individuals have also shifted. Originally, people would share their news privately by talking face to face. But now, with the help of social media, someone’s relationship status, proposal, or vacation can all be seen by anyone with the use of an app like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Coincidentally, the dating interactions of individuals have also experienced this digital shift.

Online dating was an idea that may have started out as a joke but is now used by many companies and broadcasted to eligible singles worldwide. This new trend has monopolized the dating world by making it more convenient to connect with potential romantic partners through the touch of a button or swipe of a screen. Popularity of platforms like Tinder, Match.com and others has only increased as the internet, smart phones, and social media have increasingly dominated the social lives of more current generations despite the risks and caution signs.

            Ideas and stigmas around online dating have greatly evolved since the first appearance of these online platforms in the 1990’s. Online dating’s first platform was launched in 1995. Singles praised the new Match.com as their new form of meeting others. As access to the Internet continued to grow and become more accessible, so did online dating. In a table produced by Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics, the number of internet user from 1995 to now has done nothing but increase. In December of 1995 there were sixteen million internet users which is roughly 0.4% of the population has since evolved to 65.5% of the population or 5,168 million users in March of 2021. Stigmas around internet usage were soon diminished in 1995 and technology worked its way into the lives of people worldwide. Match.com was launched as the first online dating website in 1995. The digital world quickly held a dominating position in day-to-day life and online dating soon worked itself into that presence. “Lonely hearts rejoiced as they could now meet and flirt with potential matches without having to change out of their pajamas” says Kayla Kuefler, with Stylight magazine, in her article “Love at First Swipe: Evolution of Online Dating”. Maybe that is what is so appealing to millennials… convenience. Convenience, coupled with the increase in internet accessibility, made online dating became the most appealing modern form of dating. Then the smartphone was in the hands of all, making online dating even more convenient and appealing.

            A date at the touch of a button. This is what makes online dating so appealing to millennial users. It only seems right that there would be an increase in online dating accounts with the increase of phone accessibility. As companies such as iPhone were making their phones more high-tech and more accessible, the use of dating platforms also became attainable. Tinder only increased this appeal with its dating swiping “game” where users swipe right if they like someone’s profile or left if they don’t think that potential match is a good fit. The article “Led by Tinder, the Mobile Dating Game Surges” by Molly Wood with the New York Times, stated that “this simplicity has caused Tinder’s growth to explode. In just two years”. By making online dating like a game and having the app accessible at the tap of a finger, the easy, casual and fun Tinder has appealed to the digital driven world we live in today. As more phone models were introduced, more dating apps were created as well. Grindr, a gay dating app introduced in 2009, “first appeared in the app store just six months after the launch of the iPhone 3G” (Kuefler). Even Tinder was released along with the release of the iPhone 5 on September 12 of 2012. From there dating apps have since appealed to different demographics. For example, Christian Mingle and Farmers Only are platforms that appeal to lonely, single Christians and farmers. Online dating guru Julie Spira, who runs the site called Cyber-Dating Expert said in an interview with Molly Wood, “Because there’s such an increase in smartphone usage, it directly related to the increase in dating app usage” (Led by Tinder). Dating apps not only have lonely single to thank, but they also should be grateful to the trend following millennials that always have a cell phone in their hand. Then came the social media boom, further increasing the popularity of online dating.

            Almost every day, millennials check their phones multiple times with notifications from Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Online dating apps are one of those platforms that have people checking their phones multiple times a day. In Wood’s article she mentioned that “70% of Americans are active on social media and one-quarter of the country is online “almost constantly”, according to the Pew Research Center (Led by Tinder). Those who use social media almost every day see people they don’t even know, in committed relationships posting about their happiness. “Roughly eight-in-ten social media users (81%) report that they at least sometimes see others posting about their relationships,” according to the article “Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age” written by Emily A. Vogels and Monica Anderson with Pew Research Center. Singles will see these photos everyday and long for that intimate connection that is being glorified on their screen. Some may even form jealousy or feel worse about their own relationship status. According to Pew Research about a third of single social media users, women more then men, reported that relationship posts have at least made them feel somewhat worse about their own dating lives (Vogels Anderson). Maybe it’s depression, maybe it’s loneliness, or maybe it’s just jealously that draws these singles to online dating. Perhaps the effects of social media drive this longing for any connection, even if it is through a screen. Dating platforms take advantage of these desperate feelings and capitalize on them with advertisements of singles finding love. The online dating platforms then mimic the style and convenience of social media platforms. Tinder especially makes usage easy for users by having them just create a profile and enter their location. Then, almost immediately, they have entered the online dating pool. Matches start rolling in and users are exposed to other eligible singles. What they chose to do with those matches is completely up to them. The social media, internet driven world today has only aided the popularity of online dating. But with every match that turns into a date, users should assess the risk and take caution when attending their match meetings.

            Heartbreak isn’t the only danger of entering the online dating world. With every online match date there is risk. One party could have an ulterior motive to the meeting whether that is kidnapping, robbery, rape etc. Although, this is a risk some are willing to make for their chance at happy ever after. Although these chances may be minimal, they are still something to be cautious about. According to “The Dangers of Online Dating” by Brittney Mayer on DatingAdvice.com, “Internet Predator Stats found online predators commit around 16,000 abductions, 100 murders, and thousands of rapes each year” which is a terrifying statistic. With online dating, there is always the risk that someone’s profile isn’t real. Someone could easily display a photo that is not of themselves and amp up their profile to make it more appealing. This is called catfishing, when someone uses images and information from other to create a new online identity. eHarmony, a popular online dating platform, released that 53% of Americans exaggerate at least a part of their profile. If someone were to believe a fake profile and agree to a meeting, they are putting themselves in harms way and the outcomes are unpredictable.

            Korey Lane released the article “7 Shocking Stories About Being Catfished That You’ll Gawk At” on Elite Daily. She wrote about real accounts of people getting catfished. One story that was included in the article was about a girl who goes by Arhia. She was talking to a boy, Zack, through MSN, a Microsoft web portal. She had talked to this user for two years, but they had never chatted through a webcam or communicated face to face. They talked about personal things like family, school, and friends. One day, he said he needed to go on the webcam. She wrote, “he came online and just didn’t seem right” (Lane, 7 Shocking Stories). So, they met through the webcam and the face staring back at her wasn’t what she thought. There was a fourteen-year-old girl staring back. Come to find out that she had been talking with this girl the whole time. Zack had died a few years back and his little sister took it personally. She believed she was Zack and spoke like him and even went as far to tell people she was him. Poor Arhia had been talking to this mentally ill girl who was pretending to be her dead brother. Arhia wrote “I still struggle to get my head around it. I just wish I was a little older at the time so I could have understood more what was going on” (Lane, 7 Shocking Stories). This is just one of the many disheveling stories that account for the riskiness of online dating and relationships.

Another risk of joining the online dating surge is that a match may already be in a committed relationship. This can cause a lot of drama and puts users in tough positions without them knowing it. While a user might be worrying about their matches height, weight and income, they should also be worried if they have lied about their current relationship status. “62% of people lie about their currently relationship status” (Mayer). The rings come off! If someone is dishonest with their date, they are putting them in the position to be a relationship wrecker or an adultery. This could lead to multiple parties being heartbroken and hurt. Don’t forget the drama that would come out of such an act.

            Online dating has made a way for itself as the lives of humans have shifted to have an online presence. Coupled with the creation of the internet, revolution of phones, and boom of social media, online dating has only increased in users and popularity. But, as with all social media, online dating has its downsides. There are multiple risks like being catfished or getting kidnapped, homework or scammed. The story shared in Lane’s article showed the risks and unpredictability of online dating. But this digital trend continues to grow as more and more users join the online world and younger ages are starting to join in. What will be the next digital trend?

Works Cited

“Internet Growth Statistics”. Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics, 3 Jul. 2021. https://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.

Kuefler, Kayla. “Love at First Swipe: The Evolution of Online Dating”. Stylight. https://www.stylight.com/Magazine/Lifestyle/Love-First-Swipe-Evolution-Online-Dating/. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.

Lane, Korey. “7 Shocking Stories About Being Catfished That You’ll Gawk At”. Elite Daily, 18 Feb. 2019. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/7-stories-about-being-catfished-thatll-make-you-think-twice-before-swiping-right-18165278. Accessed 24 Apr. 2020.

Mayer, Brittney. “The Dangers of Online Dating”. DatingAdvice.com, 15 Jul. 2020. https://www.datingadvice.com/online-dating/dangers-of-online-dating-sites. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.

Vogels, Emily and Monica Anderson. “Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age”. Pew Research Center, 8 May 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/05/08/dating-and-relationships-in-the-digital-age/. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.

Wood, Molly. “Led by Tinder, the Mobile Dating Game Surges.” New York Times, 5 Feb. 2015, p. B8(L). Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints. https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=OVIC&u=hpu_main&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA400230809&inPS=true&linkSource=interlink&sid=bookmark-OVIC. Accessed 24 Apr. 2022.

Advertisement

No Ideas:

Reflecting on How I Have Grown as a Writer

Every kid learns to write when they are in kindergarten. First, they learn their ABC’s then the simple words like “dog” and “cat”. Before they know it, they are putting together sentences and then graduating to essays. For parents, this process happens in a blink of an eye, and the baby they sang the alphabet to is writing their college essay.

As for my parents though, I think they were glad I was growing as a writer. This meant they didn’t have to sit with me at the kitchen table, helping me edit the poorly written argumentative essays I wrote.

In sixth grade, I had a tough teacher who taught us, fresh middle school students, to write argumentative papers. No teacher has discouraged me as much Ms. Johnson did. Essays that I had put a lot of time and effort into received bad grades, and every question I asked was returned with a snarky remark like I should already have known the answer. Argumentative essays were a part of her curriculum and affected our grades greatly. On weekends when I had these assignments, I would position myself at the dining room table with no distractions. With my laptop in front of me, my notes off to the side, I would just stare until a sentence came to me. That table became my perch for the next few hours, and I remember those being the most dreaded hours of my weekends. I would find any excuse to leave. When I finished writing, I would ask my parents to proofread and help me revise. Some of the time, my writing wasn’t really refined, and both my dad and I would get frustrated going over all the little mistakes I would make.

“What does this even mean?” my dad would say. I think he was relieved when the class was over, and I never asked him to proofread an essay again.

When it came to that college essay though … nothing discouraged me more. I think at one point in the process, my parents were a little scared I’d never meet the deadline. I’m kidding… of course I was going to make it, of course I was going to college. I just couldn’t formulate an essay for the applications. I would sit at my desk, laptop open, without any distractions but would still find a way to do anything but write. The blinking cursor on the screen would taunt me till I would just write my name over and over to have text on the page. No matter how many times I reread the open-ended prompts, none stood out to me. Nothing ever came from the silent staring.

Sitting and staring…

            Eventually I just started writing. I knew what I was writing wasn’t the best but at least I had ideas on the page. From what I remember, those words had no emotion and no meaning. I was on the verge of giving up and submitting the mess I had thrown together.

            Then came the moment of salvation for my essay. We were writing sample papers in Senior Literature. I was shown example after example of the heartfelt narratives that other students had submitted. One essay that specifically stood out to me was about the writers first experience with death while working at a nursing home. I thought, what in my life has been that emotional? What has impacted me like that? Unfortunately, I had an incident immediately come to mind. My family has lost four dogs since my parents got married and a few months earlier we had lost number four, Gunner. That sorrow immediately came to mind, and I knew I could write a heartfelt essay even if it wasn’t my college essay. I thought back to the phone call from my sister, the cracks in her voice as she tried to tell me I needed to come home. But I already knew why she was calling. I was about to lose my best friend. I rushed home to find everyone gathered around him under the big aspen tree in our backyard. Just a few hours earlier he was jumping around, slurping at a vanilla Frosty we got him. With tears in my eyes, I filled page after page with all these feelings and occurrences. But after getting everything organized on the paper, I knew that this was an essay I could add to my application.           

Now, as I am writing papers about history or medical research, I think back to those assignments. I am reminded of the perseverance, hard work, and determination that I put into those assignments and strive to apply them to any paper that I write. I think of the times my head would hurt from staring at the blank, white screen and how frustrating those hours were till I finally laid my thoughts and feelings out on the page. Looking back now, I could’ve written what I needed to with no issues. I had the knowledge, the ideas but, until I saw my thoughts laid out, I doubted myself and frankly, I didn’t want to do the assignments. Never again will I do that. Even if that means writing my thoughts in bullet point after bullet point. As my writing skills and confidence continue to grow, I know that I will never forget the effort, engagement and perseverance that it takes to formulate a piece of writing.

Becoming and Analytical Writer

Analyzing the First Weeks of English 1103

               Within the first weeks of English 1103 taught by Jane Lucas, a professor at High Point University, students are immediately introduced to a demanding class. They learn about different assignments and activities they will undergo over the semester. Lucas introduced Wordplay Day which immediately grabbed the attention of students. Every Friday, students engage in games of Scrabble where they are forced to work together and be creative. This course also requires completion of Check, Please! lessons and assignments. Check, Please! lessons created by Mike Caulfield, director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, give students useful techniques to distinguish if a source or individual/organization is reliable. Over the course of the semester, students will be completing multiple writing assignments that force them to plan, draft and revise analysis pieces. All these parts, incorporated with many others, play a significant role in engagement and learning in English 1103.

Planning, revising and drafting with the help of Writing Analytically

Wordplay Day is a class favorite. This day allows students to start their Friday right with intense games of Scrabble. Not only is the day fun, but it is also impactful. There are many techniques and tricks to be learned that make Scrabble an important piece of English 1103. Many times, students are faced with tough decisions about where to play a word for maximum points or if they would like to save a letter or play it. One Wordplay Day, my partner and I were going for only the highest point words possible. We strategically planned out placement and positioning to maximize our score. We had two options, we could wait for a letter to play “squid” (a word that would be worth a lot) and potentially lose the place on the board or we could place a four-letter word for a decent number of points while also blocking our opponents. We opted to play the word we had rather than wait. Good thing we did too because the letter we were waiting for never came. While this might also be the same case for others, sometimes students must be creative and think of unique words. Sometimes this might mean playing a two-letter word in hopes that the new letter you draw will be better than the one played. Other than forcing students to work together, Scrabble involves multiple problem-solving skills that are extremely useful. When the playable area is limited, students must be creative and strategic in their placement. Wordplay Day is a significant part in English 1103 because it teaches many valuable skills that can be translated to good writing techniques.

               Check, Please! Lessons, taught by Mike Caulfield, Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, are extremely significant to the learning done inside and out of English 1103. This course advises students to stop and examine a source before they immediately trust the credibility. These lessons teach valuable techniques to determine the validity in question. One of these techniques is the “just add Wikipedia” trick. This includes adding “Wikipedia” to the end of a websites domain or an individual/organizations name then analyzing the results to determine the credibility of the source. During one of lessons, a source was introduced about a toilet with a microphone. The article was titled “Kohler’s Alexa Toilet Costs $8,000, Will Flush by Voice” by Mike Prospero with Tom’s Guide, an older publication that is very well known as a product review site. We were assigned to determine if this was true news using the “just add Wikipedia” trick. Honestly, I never would have thought this article was true but after research and the guidance of the Check, Please! lessons I found this source to be trustworthy the article to be true.  In lesson two, Mike Caulfield wrote, “many of the things we think will make us better at the web- raw intelligence, critical think skill, familiarity with technology- don’t necessarily help.” This opened my eyes to the idea that everything I see on the web may not necessarily be true even though I may examine the source with the basic ways I always have. Students have learned many possible ways to determine the credibility of the sources they use every day. Other lessons include warnings that caution students to watch out for manipulation from organizations and governments. Sometimes organizations will appear as a trustworthy source but underneath the facade they have another agenda to display their opinion. Sometimes governments will hide true facts in attempts to dishevel other governments. Check, Please! shows how to “sanity-check expertise” to know if the source truly has knowledge in what they are informing about or if they are acting “more salesperson than professional” (Caulfield). Check, Please! lessons have taught students many ways to examine the credibility and true meaning within a source.

               In English 1103, students also undergo a process for each of their writing assignments that strengthen their writing. Each assignment, student creates a plan which outlines the ideas they hope to put in their draft. After having the first draft commented on by Lucas, students revise their piece to strengthen their claims and refine certain ideas. Students use Writing Analytically, a book by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, to grow in their technical abilities and enforce good writing. Writing Analytically has helped me tremendously with my writing, especially developing a strong thesis statement. Rosenwasser and Stephen wrote, “a weak thesis is an unproductive claim because it doesn’t require further thinking or proof” (207). This, combined with the examples of weak thesis statements, has guided my writing when it has come to opening my piece with a thesis statement. This writing process has also led to my ideas, evidence and explanations to be more refined and supported. Using the plan, draft and revise method students are able to refine their writing to be organized and detail filled and therefore student can become better writers and thinkers.

               The English 1103 course has made students better writers and thinkers in just a few short months and is continuing to do so. Competitive games of Scrabble force students to be creative and us problem-solving abilities. Check, Please! lessons give students multiple techniques to check the credibility of their sources so their claims can be supported with true, factual detail. The process that Lucas has implemented gives students a chance to refine their ideas to the best of their ability, so their pieces of writing are refined and reflect detail. These engaging ways of learning have helped the students of English 1103 to become strong writers and thinkers.

Works Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.pressbook.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.

Rossenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. “Recognizing and Fixing Weak Thesis Statements.” Writing Analytically, 8th edition. Wadsworth/Cengage, 2019. pp. 207

The Dreadful Term Paper

Analysing Richtel’s Report of the Blog-term paper argument

Emma Rich

February 9th, 2022

In January of 2012, The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel brought attention to the debate between how writing should best be taught in the digital age. Some educators-including Douglas B. Reeves, a columnist for the American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, founder of The Concord Review- have sided with the term paper method and think issues reside in the ease at which these assignments are being handled. The opposition to term papers is blogs supported by Cath N. Davidson, professor at Duke University, who believes strongly that the term paper should be eradicated. Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, revised the status quo to create a balance between term papers and blogs using a teaching method that includes assigning a term paper that is constructed over the term and using that writing in creative pieces such as blogs, websites or presentations. The article appears to present information about all sides of the argument but through close examination of Ritchel’s language and tone while writing “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, a deeper bias can be seen in opposition to the conventional term paper and in favor of the new, unique blog method.

In the opening paragraph, Richtel automatically pins a dreadful tone towards the term paper in his reader’s head. He uses the statement “feels to many like an exercise in rigidity and boredom,” to cast a shadow over the term paper. He continues this tone by using words like “struggle” and “staid” to give a sense of apprehension towards the term paper form of writing. The blog form of writing, on the other hand, is described by Richtel as “a practical connection to contemporary communication.” He ranks the blog higher than a paper by asking the question, “why punish with a paper when a blog is, relatively, fun?” His analysis of a paper being punishment and a blog being entertainment reveals a bias presence of Richtels opinion towards writing in the digital age. Richtel even went as far to blame the stress of high school and college students on the term paper. He wrote, “Of all the challenges faced by college and high school students, few inspire as much angst, profanity, procrastination and caffeine consumption as the academic paper.” Not only does this cause the audience to have PTSD from their former student lives, but it also causes them to reminisce about the misery that came with the paper. Immediately, the term paper is made to appear as the bad guy in this argument.

Richtel presents the argument of Reeves and Fitzhugh. He outlines that the term paper teaches certain components of writing and deeper thinking that may not be present when using a blog. Richtel even suggested that the “rigidity [of the term paper] wasn’t punishment but pedagogy.” But almost immediately after his advocation he reverts to suppressing the term paper position by calling the argument of Reeves, absurd. In calling Reeves’ argument “reductio ad absurdum,” Richtel is completely diminishing the argument that the term paper teaches young writer valuable skills for their futures.

In the article, Richtel gives statistics to support that “the term paper has been falling from favor for some time”. He stated that “A study in 2002 estimated that about 80 percent of high school students were not asked to write a history term paper of more than 15 pages”. In doing so, the audience realizes that the shift from paper to digital may have already begun. He shows this further by introducing the new terminology that has arisen due to the term paper: “old literacy” and “new literacy”. This terminology causes the term paper to appear outdated while the blog posts method comes across as modern and a perfect fit to the shift from paper to screen.

Notably, Richtel uses one-sentence lines in his article. Those two sentences are the reductio ad absurdum line of Richtel’s dispute to the defenders of the paper writing. The other sentence is a quote from Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, who is a major advocate for replacing the term paper with blog posts. The line reads, “’As a writer, it offends me deeply.’”. By putting these lines alone, Richtel has given the term paper a negative connotation using a powerful writing technique. He even uses this approach to end his article. Richtel used the quote, “’I hated teaching him bad writing’” from Davidson to powerfully leave the audience thinking about the congruity of term paper with the digital era. This technique didn’t only bash the traditional form of writing but also showed the opinion of Richtel by letting Davidson have the last impactful word.

Has the change from term paper to blog already occurred? With the recent pandemic, technology has been more crucial than ever. Seeing as “Blogs vs. Term Papers” was written almost ten years ago, the traditional term paper may already be a technique of the past. Richtel’s writing showed his preference for the blog in the blog, term paper debate. Thorough analysis of his writing techniques, purposeful quotations, and terminology it is understood that Richtel did not write the article to present the arguments but rather to persuade that the new teaching methods of writing are a better fit for the digital age rather than the convention, outdated term paper.

Works Cited


Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” The New York Times, http://www.newyorktimes.org. 20 Jan. 2012.