Madeleine Moroun

Dr. McLaughlin

Writing and Rhetoric

2 May 2017

Writing and Rhetoric Portfolio Reflection

I even surprised myself with the amount of work and thought that went into each

of these projects. Previously, I would write a paper or record myself with maybe a few

notes off of which I could build my main points, but not much else. The majority of my

work was written in rough draft itself. However, in doing all of these projects, I have

found how much easier it is for me to write when I create a strong foundation beforehand.

For example, when I wrote my research paper, rather than just gather the links

beforehand, I created an outline answering the questions that my research paper was

proposing, and I also created an annotated bibliography in which I explained all of my

sources and even some of my main points. When it came time to piecing together the

paper as a whole, I already had information regarding my sources and their backgrounds

because of my annotated bibliography, as well as a direction and outline I wanted to

follow when writing my paper. This made the process much easier than I would have

done in high school. However, creating background information and making my writing a

process was not just reserved for my research paper. For my audio narrative, I mapped

out a story outline, based on topics brainstormed in class, which helped to shape the

dialogue I would use for the recording. For my TED Talk, I used information that I had

referenced in my research paper, and spent several days compiling my PowerPoint, and

practicing it section by section. Finally, I did the same for rhetorical analysis, as I used
the notes packet to organize my thoughts from the movie, and I also wrote the paper itself

in installments. I would write one paragraph a day and really edit each one individually,

before gathering it all together and doing a final run through of the complete paper. All of

this shows how writing has become more of a process for me, since I no longer just sit

down and start typing away at a blank screen. Instead, I now see the value in organizing

and grouping together thoughts and pieces of the paper prior to the final draft, so that I

make the writing easier on myself. As the term went on, especially as the writing became

more detailed as with the research paper, the length of my “set-up” process increased. For

example, I simply brainstormed ideas and then wrote a rough draft of my dialogue before

editing it for my audio narrative. While this worked well, I knew the research paper

would be a much larger writing assignment. Therefore, I “set-up” this paper by

brainstorming ideas, answering my own questions in an outline, keeping a folder of all of

my resources, and creating an annotated bibliography, before even breaking down the

paper into sections and writing it part by part. By doing all of this busy work prior to

writing my rough draft, I was able to start editing my paper at a much higher level, and I

could see that my argument was more complete from the very beginning. In this

portfolio, that evolution is reflected as the annotated bibliography proved to be vital in

writing the research paper, and the paper itself was more inclusive of all the information I

gathered, because I was able to practice writing it from different viewpoints for a longer

period of time beforehand.

This portfolio demonstrates argumentation because it each of these papers is

written from a strong point of view. It is most evident when listening to my voice

recording, because even though I am not addressing a major topic of debate, my opinions
still shine through in the work as I give a breakdown of my thoughts on the topic of

sailing over the summer and why I think the way that I do. Rhetoric is also an important

part of this portfolio, as I feel as though while always writing through my own voice, I

was able to change the nature of the rhetoric for each assignment, so that there would be a

perspective change. For instance, this was strongest in the comparison between my

rhetoric involving my audio narrative and research paper. My audio narrative was very

passionate, because I was talking about a very personal event and my own thoughts and

emotions surrounding the topic. However, when writing my research paper, even though

it was the same author, I was able to make the work sound more academic, rather than

personal, to fit the nature of the assignment. This was done using different rhetorical

techniques such as the way I introduced outside materials, and the lack of first person

narrative in the research paper. The best example of my ability to recognize and work

with different rhetorical concepts was in the rhetorical analysis paper. Not only was I able

to discuss the role that extended family played in shaping the rhetorical style of this

piece, but I was also about to identify other rhetorical situations such as emotional

appeals to the audience. My research paper best showcases my ability to recognize my

audience, as I altered my style of writing to fit a more academic landscape. Rather than

writing with the same personal anecdotes I did for my audio narrative, I made sure to stay

within the context of the paper and write from a third-party perspective about the

relationship between division one college athletics and sports apparel companies.

This portfolio shows my critical research, reading, and thinking skills as I drew

from other sources for all of my work, and created my own opinions based off of the

research done in class. For example, for my critical research, I used what we had learned
through the library website regarding whether or not a source is credible or not, to

conduct impartial and accurate research. For my critical reading, I went through and

highlighted and read my sources for the research paper so that rather than just drawing

from any quote, I could use the quotes and information that would be the most pointed

and directive. Finally, with my critical thinking skills, I was able gather the information

through the readings we had done on happiness, and use those theories to create my own

opinion on how division one college athletics and sports apparel companies affect our

happiness as college students. Research, reading, and discussion all played a huge role in

my development as a writer this year because each component was necessary in my

learning. Simply researching online papers in the field of study, reading articles regarding

a certain topic or discussing with a peer my thoughts, would be useful, but would not

allow me to develop my own fully functioning opinion regarding the topic at hand.

Instead, my thoughts would be skewed because I would only be looking at the paper from

one perspective. However, by analyzing information through all three of these lenses, I

was able to see the bigger picture, and therefore create a stronger more encompassing

writer this semester.

Previously, I did not have an extensive background in giving a TED Talk,

recording an audio narrative, or assessing the rhetoric behind a movie. These are all skills

that will be asked of me in the future, whether it is in a job, another class, or a personal

project. By putting my full effort into these assignments so that I may really understand

the best way to create a TED Talk for the future, as well as other styles of rhetoric, I was

able to understand the importance of academic writing. Therefore, when looking at the

practical conventions of academic writing in this portfolio, I am able to recognize that I
now am fully capable of giving a TED Talk, and if any of these skills are asked of me in

the future, that I will be able to produce a strong product. The rhetorical analysis best

demonstrates my knowledge of an academic citation style as citing a movie is very

different from citing a book. I was able to learn the subtle difference so that I could use

the proper citation style for this form of media, including properly citing the times at

which the quotes used appeared in the movie. I worked best with different source material

in my research paper, as I read several different articles regarding my topic, and then

integrated the information I learned into my analysis in the research paper. I was able to

do it in such a way that the source material backed my claims, rather than controlled the

essay. I also learned about genre-based formatting for my TED Talk. In high school, to

cite images, we typically just had to include a copy of the URL somewhere on the

presentation. So, for the TED Talk, I had to learn how to cite images in a presentation

style, in which some photos were even copyrighted, which allowed me to learn a different

genre-based formatting style.

Multimedia has played a significant role in my learning this semester. I used to

always think that I was bad with computers, and that the best way to showcase

information was through a standard paper. However, in this class I learned how conduct

better online research using tricks from the library staff, such as Boolean Searches. I

learned how to manipulate my rhetoric so that it may reach more people in a more

captivating way than just a standard paper, especially when we created our audio

narratives. I learned how to read and annotate different sources online, and how the

information collected from an online article should be used differently than information

collected from an encyclopedia. Multimedia really shaped the way I saw the relationship
between medium and message in my audio narrative. The audio recording is much more

captivating and relates to the audience better than the dialogue, despite the fact that both

have the same words. It is because in telling a personal story, sometimes an audio

recording with expressions in your voice is more useful and persuasive than words on a

page. I analyzed and produced multimedia arguments most readily in my rhetorical

analysis. This is because the rhetorical analysis forced me to use multimedia in the form

of a movie, as my source for my paper, which in turn lead me to format arguments that

only exist in a movie setting, such as visual appeals.

I am most proud of my TED Talk for various reasons. The first is that I saw it as

the culmination of all of my research that I put forth in my research paper. All of the time

I spend editing my paper, collecting credible sources, and formulating different points of

view, allowed me to later create a presentation that I found to be a much more captivating

piece of information. However, I would not have been able to do so without all of the

hard work I put into my research paper. I also was proud of the TED Talk because I was

able to practice several skills in one presentation. It allowed me to work on my synthesis

of information, my speaking skills, my presentation skills, my creative skills, and my

ability to make information more relevant to the audience. Therefore, I saw this project as

the most useful as it was really an all-encompassing effort. I also loved the TED Talk

because I thought it was fun to do, and I really enjoyed creating a strong, visual

PowerPoint and speaking in front of the. The fact that I was able to tie all of these

multifaceted skills into one presentation really proved to me that I have grown as a writer

and am able to take on more difficult and intricate tasks.