Sunday, June 9, 2013

English Composition I: final reflection

The following were the course learning objectives:

  Summarize, analyze, question, and evaluate written and visual texts
  Argue and support a position
  Recognize audience and disciplinary expectations
  Identify and use the stages of the writing process
  Identify characteristics of effective sentence and paragraph-level prose
  Apply proper citation practices
  Discuss how to transfer and apply your writing knowledge to other writing occasions

What have you learned in this course? Choose 2-4 of our course learning objectives, describing each objective and referring specifically to particular passages from your coursework that demonstrate your progress towards and/or struggles with that objective. Indicate why you have chosen those objectives as the most important for you. Cut and paste specific portions of your coursework, and use them as evidence for your argument. In this way, by having an introduction, argument, evidence, and conclusion, your “portfolio cover letter” will both discuss and demonstrate how effectively you have achieved the goals of the course. Length: ~500-750 words.

The common struggles for any academic writer is summarizing, analyzing, questioning, and evaluating written and visual texts. What a challenge it is! Every text or a visual image has so many meanings as there are people. During this course I have had an excellent chance to work more closely with this problematic. One on hand, composing the essays for assignment demanded working with several texts on my own. Secondly, since the course has peer-to-peer review as its main evaluation and learning tool, it has given me, as a writer, a possibility to experiment and see how my texts are summarized, analyzed, questioned and evaluated by outside readers.

Critical feminist writing is a field that meets a wall of indifference by some audiences, at the same time it is an emerging area of interests for many. How to be able to write in an open way and invite people to critically examine their assumptions and agendas hidden from most of the members of our society? That has been a big question mark during this course.

To give some examples of my writing I would like to point out two possible passages.

Firstly, I would like to invite you to read an excerpt of my case study about who are the experts in education. Among others I quote Ivan Illich known for his critical writing about US school systems already back in seventies.
As a possible future innovation Ivan Illich is inviting people to think about “learning webs”. According to him the good educational systems will: “provide access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.” (2012:75)While being part of MOOC, some people have perhaps experienced that Illich has a point here. Even though there are minor drawbacks and some try their best to control and institutionalize, the realm of educational practices is shifting. People are taking more responsibility of their personal learning as well as teaching others. It is indeed happening online with the help of the learning webs.
This case study is available online in my blog AppleTree:
The second passage is taking my readers to a Nordic conference about early education where the only speakers are male at the same time when audience, Norwegian kindergarten teachers, is female with only few exceptions. I present a picture of a professor talking about himself and his work.

“This picture presents us with a sentimental stage of expertise in educational research. As I am the one who took the picture just a few days ago, I know that the audience mainly consisted of women. It is a typical picture of educational conferences held in Europe. An old man talking about his work, talking about something that has been done a long time ago and having a lot of women carefully listening and making notes. This is a picture of expertise in the field of education, where most of the people occupied with the work are women but the know-how still belongs to men. I would argue that the expert in my area of study often looks like an old white Western male presenting himself, having only very little to do with the actual field of the research. The gap between educational theory and practice is therefore profound.

This was an excerpt of my visual image analyses assignment. You can read the full assignment in my blog AppleTree      

In both of these sections I not only analyze, question and evaluate, but I also give arguments in support of my positions. The course outline has fitted into multiple approaches and enabled everyone to work in their own realms coming together as a global writing community and support each other in our personal growth. Even so, it has been a great challenge to incorporate my writing style and interests, the demands of the course curricula and my timetable. To do that I have sometimes made compromises but not really that many. Thank you! 

1 comment:

  1. A useful course for improving your Composition Writing is offered by the Write Connection. They have lessons tailored to all levels, including primary, secondary and JC/IP students. Hope this helps, cheers!