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Sarah Riegel
Professor Jan Rieman
UWRT 1103
December 1, 2014
I feel that writing this piece allowed me to make some beneficial connections between the writing
I have done for this course and the writing I will do in the future. I believe I was able to express
this well in my composition. I was able to write an overview of what I was trying to say with my
portfolio, which was my original goal. I think I did well writing this almost as a response to my
Midterm Reflection because I wrote about my continued growth in some of the same topics
included in my Midterm Reflection and specifically referenced it once. If I had more time, I
would continue writing through the ways in which I expect my digital and alphabetical literacy
to advance in college and after.
Final Reflection
Dear Professor Rieman,
I have enjoyed participating in your course this semester. As I have been creating and
compiling my portfolio, it has been rewarding to see how my literacy has progressed. Reading
and analyzing all of my work from the semester has allowed me to see recurring themes and
track how my perspective has changed.
Before coming to college, I thought I was a good writer because I could write a welldeveloped thesis statement, integrate text into my writing, and argue a pre-determined point. The
writing I have done in this class has shown me that writing is about much more than the typical
academic essay. I already knew that writing helped me put my own thoughts into words, and that
I often made discoveries through my writing. However, this was within rigid guidelines of what

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goes in what paragraph and how each sentence could support my argument. In other words, even
my discoveries were formulaic in nature.
Starting with the very first Writing to Explore assignment, my process of discovery began
to change. This was the assignment entitled The Art of Writing by Hand. I took risks in my
writing by including a picture of my own handwriting and various hyperlinks. Doing so allowed
me to engage more in my writing as I pulled information and support from many different
directions, and experienced the differences between writing by hand and writing digitally with
my purpose in mind. With this piece, I started formulating a new perspective on how
compositional environment affects a piece of writing. I began to understand that writing
environments should be chosen only after deciding what I want to accomplish in a piece.
Although I wrote an argumentative article for this prompt, my writing progression was less
formulaic and formal. This allowed me to write logically through different ideas that I had,
contributing to making genuine, applicable discoveries.
From there, I continued exploring writing in different environments and building my
digital composing knowledge. I soon saw with various reading responses and the Writing to
Explore piece Reading On-Line that it was not only writing that was influenced by
environment, but also reading. I began to make connections between these ideas and rhetorical
awareness, again starting with The Art of Writing by Hand Writing to Explore piece. This
really took off for me during the Framework for Success in Three Genres assignment.
It was primarily in my reflection that I understood that handwriting a list of genres and
their merits in my day book for the purpose of brainstorming with my peers was not only more
practical, but also encouraged me to start thinking more deeply about these ideas. This is because
handwriting for me fosters a more deliberate kind of writing. In comparison, I saw how writing

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in the electronic format of a website would appeal to young teenagers. It also allowed me to
utilize hyperlinks to encourage engagement, the very thing about which these eighth graders
would be learning.
In the past, I had analyzed authors rhetorical movements in literature. However, I was
much less familiar with making my own rhetorical decisions. At the very least, I had never been
called to implement rhetorical techniques so intentionally. Audience, purpose, and context
became my mantra. Again, my Writing to Explore pieces were the first experiences I had that
shaped my understanding of the importance of these concepts. My experience with genres also
aided my understanding of how to compose for a specific audience and purpose. The reading
response I wrote about Navigating Genres helped me understand that a genre was a
manifestation of form and conventions that has been built upon over time for specific purposes
and audiences. Through creating the website for the Framework for Success in Three Genres, I
saw how conventions had to be shaped with rhetorical awareness to fit them to the prevailing of
purpose and needs of the audience.
Making choices in my Writing to Explore pieces about purpose and audience prepared
me for creating the final product of my extended inquiry project. I was accustomed to a teacher
handing me an assignment for which my purpose was clearly defined; I was not required to make
my own choice. This was much the same with regard to audience. By the time I wrote my
research synthesis, I was feeling a little panicked because I was unsure of what I wanted to
create. However, I realized that I first needed to decide on my purpose before I could determine
the best audience. After I knew both of these, I could decide on the genre that best suited the
purpose. I chose to write a business letter to the Mecklenburg County contact for Food and

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Nutrition Services only after I had decided I wanted to advocate for the implementation of EBT
readers in inner-city community gardens. I found this to be an almost freeing experience.
In fact, much of the inquiry process was like this for me. Although it could be frustrating
at times to have so few guidelines or such little direction, I found that actively seeking out my
own interests made the experience much more rewarding. I learned how to better evaluate,
conduct, and contextualize primary and secondary research. I also discovered that because
inquiry is more active and exploratory than research I had done in the past, it was more
conducive to cultivating all eight habits of mind. I took responsibility for my research and
persisted in developing my researching and writing process until creating the final product.
Because I let my own curiosity lead my path of inquiry, I was able to engage more fully in the
process. I had to be open to new information and flexible when it changed what I had initially
planned for my product. Creativity was necessary for developing my product idea, and
metacognition developed as I critically thought through my process and product.
I also became more critically aware of how to respond to other peoples writing and make
decisions about my own writing based on feedback. As I traded out my old ideas about peer
editing for new notions about peer work shopping, I began to understand that grammar is far
from the only thing that determines the merit of a composition. I developed skills necessary to
offering constructive feedback for my peers. Not only did receiving comments help my writing,
but I also learned that reading and commenting on what others wrote made me aware of certain
ways to improve my own writing. Similarly, practicing interacting with others documents was
not the only way I improved my reading skills. Carefully considering the feedback of others
helped me to find new elements to look for as I read. I know that making intelligent decisions
concerning others feedback is something I need to continue working on in the future.

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It was through my peer work shopping experiences that I answered the question I posed
in my midterm reflection Does reading require the same level of rhetorical, conventional, and
contextual awareness that writing does, and does this contribute to critical literacy? I have since
been able to ascertain that if one wishes to be critically literate, and thereby read critically, one
must have high levels of rhetorical, conventional, and contextual awareness. This idea of critical
literacy is something I know I will need to continue cultivating in my reading and writing in
order to be a better-informed citizen.
As I move through college and into the career world, I will continue constantly asking
myself, What is my purpose, and who is my audience? I hope to progress in my cultivation of
the eight habits of mind, particularly creativity and flexibility. This is, in part, because I feel that
I am lacking more in these areas. I hope to do research in or using mathematics. These habits of
mind will be particularly useful as I look for new solutions and adjust my process to fit the
circumstances. In addition, I would like to increase my knowledge of specific genres pertaining
to STEM research.
I see my alphabetical literacy continuing to develop next semester, and in the following
years of college and graduate school, as I write for different courses, audiences, and purposes. I
will be taking a few more courses that require standard academic essays or inquiry projects.
These will help me advance the skills that I have begun developing through the writing I have
completed in this class. In addition, because I am a math major, I see my alphabetical literacy
expanding more broadly in this area. I hope that writing for math, in my future experiences, will
serve the purpose of aiding me in working through new types of math problems or proving
theorems I will learn.

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Math is a language in itself, and deals with a very different set of symbols and
vocabulary. The same goes for my minor, physics. In the course of my academic career, I will be
learning how to write in a more factual, specific manner for audiences more concerned with
evidence and exactness. This should carry over into my career as a researcher. I will probably
deal most in written genres of lab and research reports. I will particularly have to practice my
peer work shopping skills because of the amount of expert peer review that is necessary for
publication in research. For my major and intended career, I will be increasing my alphabetical
knowledge of graphing as well.
This leads me to the improvement in digital literacy I expect from my future education
and career. To earn a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mathematics, one must complete a
computer science course and lab. I foresee coding to be the most beneficial, yet difficult, new
skill to acquire. Mathematics researchers use coding all the time, including in model or algorithm
creation. The operation of these complex systems of software is something I hope to master for
and in my career. I know that I will have to present my findings orally to project managers,
business executives, government officials, or other academic experts. To be prepared for this, I
will have to gain new understanding of digital presentation programs.
As I look back on the changes and improvement I made this semester and forward to my
future academics and career, I can see how the first influences the latter. I would like to thank
you for the effort you put into making my progress through this course a success. I hope to carry
much of the information, skills, and habits of mind I learned and developed in your class with me
into next semester, and the years following. I look forward to continuing to work with you to
positively impact food disparities in Mecklenburg County next semester.
Sincerely,

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Sarah Riegel