October 4, 2007 Archives
A chapter on timed in-class writing; useful for upcoming midterms in your other classes. See also Timed Essays: Top 5 Tips.
Moved from Oct 2.
You made some promises in your original Individual Learning Plan. If you have any questions about your update, feel free to post them here or to contact me by e-mail.
1) Do you need to make any changes to your ILP?
Part of your Update 1 will assess whether you are keeping those promises. If not, you may need to reorganize your plan, either to catch up or to make claims that are less idealistic. If you have noticed a particular area where you are struggling, or where you have made great progress, but that area was not part of your original ILP, feel free to add it to this version.
2) What efforts are you making? Supply evidence that supports your answer.
Are you using the resources you said you would use? Whether you made major changes to your ILP or your are happy with how things are going, your update should supply evidence that supports your progress. Don't waste words by giving me the name and date of every online exercise you have completed, but DO supply round numbers, average scores, and specific references to exercises that you found particularly helpful. What specific thing did you learn after a visit to the writing center? What specific thing did you consult the textbook about? Again, you don't have to cover every single thing that you learned from each resource that you mentioned, but do focus on something specific that shows you have been consulting key resources usefully.
3) What progress are you making? Support your claims by comparing early and recent writing samples.
Demonstrate your progress as a writer by comparing your first submissions with your more recent work. Any comparison is far more persuasive and effective if it focuses on a small number of specific claims, rather than trying to cover a large number of general, unsupported statements. Make a few brief claims about your writing, such as "I am less wordy" or "I'm using stronger verbs." Quote several brief passages from your early submissions, in order to illustrate the problem. Explain, being as specific as possible, how you learned to avoid this problem. (You could quote from the textbook, or from a comment I left on your paper). Then, supply a quote from a more recent paper that demonstrates your progress.
Use a specific example to explain (analyze, compare, classify, discover) a significant concept. (I might tell a story of how I learned humility when I got someone's last name wrong in an article for the school paper; or, I might say that the content of the subject line of an e-mail message tells me a lot about the sender's personality -- for instance, if the subject line is blank, the sender is impulsive or rushed. Which of these ideas would result in a better 200-word paragraph? I would have to keep brainstorming.)