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Dear Mr.

Campbell,

This semester I have become a better writer, reader, and thinker. In the beginning of the

semester, I gave a few goals I had to improve on with my writing throughout the semester. I

said I wanted to better my skills at editing and revision in addition to improving the tone of my

writing to make sure it does not sound like how I talk. Writing like anything else takes practice

to improve and get better. I practiced these skills using the various assignments such as: free

writes, studios, blog posts, peer review, researching, and the EIP. One of the reasons I enjoyed

this class was that I did not feel any of the writing assignments were busy work or without a

purpose to them. I believe that I could point to a skill tangible or intangible that was sharpened

for everything that I turned in over the course of this semester. A perfect example of this is the

studios, the studios all lined up at a time in the class when the studio plus another assignment

were current, and collectively they promoted a shared goal. For example, the research studio

with the annotated bibliography. The free writes in the daybook were also a useful part of the

writing working together because it gave an outlet to reflect on each task, what I needed to

figure out better, what I thought I was doing well, and so forth.

My most important work in the class by far was the EIP. For starters, Ive never devoted as

much time or research to a school assignment as I did for writing this essay. However, I did not

find it as a chore or extremely difficult to do, because I was given an opportunity to write

about something I was passionate about. It didnt feel like I was doing work the whole time.

This was important to me not just because I was passionate about it and wanted to share my
passion with whoever reads it, but additionally because it is what I would consider my first big

paper I have had to write in college. Not necessarily just referring to length alone, but in terms

of the importance of the assignment and style I know I will have similar tasks in my future

college career. This was significant because I was able to get some good practice and

understand how I need to go about writing similar essays in the future.

As previously mentioned, I had identified weaknesses in the beginning of the semester I wished

to address throughout this course as I practiced my writing. The main one was wanting to

improve my ability to edit and revise my own work. I felt I struggled with being able to see

different options after I was done writing one draft, and I can now genuinely say I feel like I

have improved with this. The biggest thing I learned to aid this process for me was giving more

time away from something. In high school, we would turnaround a draft in a matter of days and

it wasnt something I had a lot of time to really contemplate and debate over. However, with

the EIP I had the luxury of working on the same writing project for several weeks at a time. This

time allowed me to have a perspective that could evolve overtime and improve my paper. As

far as strengths go, Im not really sure what they are to be honest. Im not trying to be

unnecessarily modest, I think Im probably a slightly above average writer, but I couldnt point

to one specific thing in writing that I think: man I do that really well. I guess writing that is

meant to be spoken out loud? However, I dont think we really practiced that in class.

In terms of the student learning outcomes (SLOs), I would have to say my honest opinion of

them is that they are mostly fluff that the department wrote to satisfy a request from someone
higher up, and to look good/ like a college. (Unless you Mr. Campbell had a hand in writing

them in which case, ignore all of that). I believe what the SLOs say in a long document can be

modified to say this: we want our students to be better at writing, reading, and reflecting;

including composing and backing up a well written argument supported by research and being

able to identify the tools other writers use to accomplish that task and then reflect on how the

writing process they use as well as others could improve. Its not as fancy, but I think it makes

all the same points. That being said, I think that I certainly did improve on all of those things

since that is what the class was based around.

Ive mentioned a lot about how my writing has changed and improved over this semester but

additionally I became a better thinker as well. Probably the biggest challenge I faced with this

was learning how to think differently from high school to college. What I have found so far in

this semester is that in college the professors will leave things much more open than well

teachers in high school, and instead of looking for one or two specific things, are more

interested in seeing what a student can come up with on their own. I wouldnt say this is

harder, I just think the way our system of education is setup, in high school they are telling you

what to do, think, etc because they are preparing you for college. However, now in college

youre only here if you want to be here, and this education isnt to serve any other purpose

other than to better yourself personally.

In terms of reflecting on all of our assignments more as a whole, I enjoyed most of them (as

much as you can enjoy school work I guess). I wouldnt say there was anything I hated doing
but if I had to pick something I didnt like doing as much it would probably be the blog posts.

The way the blog assignments were given without a specific due date, in the beginning of the

semester I would often forget about them completely because they wouldnt pop up on canvas

on the side as other assignments that were due would. Eventually about halfway through the

semester when I first realized I was missing almost every blog post I doubled down and decided

ehh its not due right now I might as well do all of them at once at the end of the semester.

This may or may not have (but definitely did) lead me to doing almost all of the blog posts as I

was working on my eportfolio. Now, is it the blog posts fault that Im a forgetful fool? Of course

not, but Im still irrationally holding it against them anyway.

As far as the topic proposal goes, I liked writing that because to me it was almost like a first

draft to my first draft of the EIP. I got the chance to begin my research and see what questions

would really be viable to write an essay around. The topic proposal was also helpful because it

allowed me to get some initial feedback which I would use to inform me throughout the rest of

the process. I like the whole process of these writing assignments because, to me it was almost

like a condensed, miniature simulation of what it would be like to write a dissertation for a

doctoral candidate. The topic proposal was a significant part of that as it was step one of the

venture.

The last major assignment I have yet to touch on is the eportfolio which was a comprehensive

website created at the end of the semester which contained work to display, as well as an

element of reflection. I didnt mind making this because throughout middle and high school, I
have dabbled in similar web design projects from time to time and happen to think Im not half

bad at making a website. For me, the most difficult part of the website was the reflection

element. I tend to be a more straight forward person so sometimes I have a hard time writing

out long, deep reflections. This meant that for me throughout the website I had to diligently

concentrate and make sure I wasnt just writing mindless garbage to satisfy a requirement, but

actually take the time to think and reflect sincerely.

I will take away a lot from this class. I have not only learned skills that will help me in writing as I

move through the rest of college, but skills that will aid me as I move on and continue learning.

Sincerely,

Alex Muckenfuss