Although I took several English courses in high school, I didn’t know exactly what to expect during my freshman year college English class. I was aware that it would be more focused on writing papers and essays rather than reading novels, which made me happy because I prefer to write rather than read. I entered this course with the intent of being successful and possibly improving my writing and learning more about academic writing at the collegiate level. I can verify that I gave great effort in this course and attempted to make each essay or paper a respectable piece of writing. Therefore, I believe it would be best to discuss the writing processes I undertook, the pieces of writing I put together, and my overall performance as a student in this course, which led to my success in this class.
First, the writing processes and techniques I employed were pivotal to my success in this class. When I wrote my essays, I always seemed to struggle in a couple key areas. The first was definitely verb tense, and I even stated at the beginning of the semester that this was one of my main concerns in writing. I believe that through peer revision and teacher conferences, however, I have improved in this aspect of my writing. I was told a couple of times by my peers to check my verb tense during essays, and I would go back and do so to improve the writing. Next, I also had a bit of a problem with wording. I would use good language, but sometimes I wrote a sentence that should have been written a different way to make the message clearer. This was caught in both teacher and student conferences, and I was able to re-arrange sentences to make my paper’s sound even better. During the teacher conferences and peer review workshops, I was given good feedback regarding my struggles above as well as a couple other suggestions to help my essays sound more professional and fit MLA citation format. An example of this feedback is in my Research Argument essay when it was suggested that I cite websites using the title of the article, instead of an organization such as NASA. This helped my citations become more MLA accurate and improved the quality of my paper. I would say that I almost always incorporated the feedback from the teacher conferences into my papers, and sometimes incorporated the feedback from peer review workshops into them. However, every piece of feedback I received was taken into consideration when I worked on the final drafts of my essays.
The three main pieces of writing that I put together in my course portfolio were the Ad Analysis essay, the Research Argument paper, and the Self-Assessment essay. For my Ad Analysis essay, I believe I met all of the requirements that were laid out on the rubric. Specifically, I feel that I did a good job of providing support for my conclusions regarding the different advertising techniques used. An example of this in my Ad Analysis paper on page 2 is when I state, “This use of patriotism evokes a positive feeling regarding Obama, making him look better as a potential president”. This is an example of me giving a good explanation for why a specific advertising technique was used in the ad. The only thing about this essay that surprised me was that we actually included the ad pictures in our essays (I didn’t think we would do this very often in academic writing). If I had more time to revise, the only thing I might have done differently would be to explain why each technique works with each particular ad just a little bit more. A sentence or two more explanation could enhance the essay and continue to develop my conclusions.
In my Research paper, I believe that I again met all of the requirements on the rubric. In this paper, I believe that I did a great job in the organization and structure category. I believe that I followed the exact thesis statement that I presented, and my body paragraphs all had good topic and transition sentences to help the paper flow. An example of one of the transition sentences in my Research paper is on page 2 when I assert, “Although it is important to discuss the science that causes climate change, looking at how global temperatures are changing gives another interesting perspective into the effects of climate change”. This is a great example of a transition sentence that helps the structure and flow of the paper. Nothing really surprised me in this research paper because I have written several before, including lab reports in college. If I had more time to revise this paper, I would have added a couple more significant pieces of evidence to further strengthen my argument. I also could have possibly acknowledged another counter-argument, which again helps to strengthen my overall argument.
In this Self-Assessment essay, I think I have met all the requirements because I wrote it straight off of the rubric provided. I believe I did a good job of incorporating all the material and including some specific examples from the other papers in my portfolio. Not much really surprised me about this self-assessment essay (because we have written similar ones before), but I was shocked to see that we were required to give specific examples from each of our essays in the portfolio (which after thinking about it makes sense). If I had more time to revise this essay, I would have included a couple more examples from each essay to show that I did a good job of meeting all of the necessary requirements. However, I believe that what I have written is sufficient and satisfies the rubric’s requests.
Overall, the portfolio as a whole displayed some characteristics of myself as a writer. I always want my writing to display myself as a sophisticated scholar who knows what he is talking about and can back it up with great vocabulary and structure. I strongly believe that my writing in this portfolio does a good job of exemplifying these traits, and shows a wide range of creative writing skills. The writing that I did in this course is similar to writing that I have done in the past. I have used MLA format and cited sources, as well as attempted to use some intriguing vocabulary to keep readers interested. The writing that I did in this class does differ from some of my writing in the past, however, because I paid more attention to verb tenses (thanks to conferences and revisions), and I made sure to include this in my final drafts. This is definitely an improvement from my past pieces of writing.
Finally, my performance as a student in this course can be discussed. I know that I budgeted my time well and made sure to get assignments done on time without having to stay up really late to finish any of them. I came to class every day, and completed all of the in-class and out of class assignments in order to help with my success in this course. By completing all of the assignments, I was prepared to write all of the major papers for this course and I believe I did a good job with the finished product (this portfolio). Therefore, the effort and work that I did in and out of class helped me to make the pieces of writing in this portfolio well put together pieces of academic writing at the collegiate level.
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