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Joselyn Cooks

Midterm
A. The first week of school, I did not know what to expect from my classes. In high school,
homework was written on the board every day and we were reminded of tests for weeks ahead
of time. All the teachers went by the same grading scale and expectations were the same
throughout. Once I got to college, I found that everything was a lot different. I had to learn how
to take responsibility for my own learning, and I could no longer depend on teachers to hold my
hand through tough assignments and be lenient with me when I did not meet expectations. In
questions three though five on my first blog post, I asked about how I can be sure that my
assignments are organized and done correctly. While I was expecting a straight forward answer
that would make everything clear, I realized it was not going to be that easy. Unlike in high
school I had to actually search for answers myself. I came to recognize that Ms. Ingram told us
about the homework every class and the directions were always on either the syllabus, on
weebly, or on moodle. As long as I checked in with these resources and stayed on top of my
assignments I did not need to worry about messing anything up. With practice, I also learned
how to navigate the library and printers. I think the main thing I learned over the first quarter of
college is that as long as I stay organized and up to date with all my classes I can succeed
without having to worry about silly mistakes or missing work.

B. While each of the nine key concepts for this class are important, I think the central one that I
have been focusing on is "responsibility for your own learning." Through getting out of my
comfort zone and independent inquiry I am challenging myself to grow as a writer. This was
something I was unsure of at the beginning of class. How could I take risks in writing? I think
that the literacy narrative assignment taught me what getting out of my comfort zone is really
like. By completely changing my paper, I came up with a new piece of writing that I was much
more satisfied with. Now I think responsibility for my own learning and getting out of my
comfort zone are the concepts I am improving in the most. I still feel like peer editing is
somewhat challenging because it is so different from the way I did it in high school. Although it
was difficult at first, I think over the semester my group and I will become better with providing
and receiving feedback. The first time we peer edited it was difficult because we didn't know
each other's writing styles very well. This is something I hope we can improve over the course of
the semester so that we can encourage each other to be better writers.

C. When I wrote the first draft of my personal narrative essay I was very pleased with my work.
I thought that it flowed well and I used excellent syntax. The only thing I thought that I would
change was to make it more like a story and make it sound less like a literal lesson in literacy.
When I was assigned to narrow it down to an individual moment from my narrative I was
stumped. I did not know what to choose. The part I liked most in my first draft was the third page
where I wrote about my sponsors, the Bisher family. I described how Shelby "took me under her
wing" and how I hoped to one day be as good as her but I just "chased after her shadow." Their
family has been very important to me and my growth in dance, but I could not pick out an
individual moment that would give justice to the impact they had on my life. Instead, I decided
to go with an idea I began to develop in my conclusion about the feeling of being on stage. I
called it "nervous pee." I knew I should write about my experience dancing in the final round of
nationals because it was the most significant performance of my life and the time I felt that
nervous, excited feeling most strongly.
Although I just mentioned it in the first draft, I tried to make that special feeling the focus
of my third draft. I described it in my paper in several ways by saying that we were all "shivering
with excitement," and I was "jittery and sweaty" before we went on stage. Then, I described how
when I was on stage my "body didn't feel like it was an actual part of me" and "everything fell
away." I portrayed how everything felt unreal and far away by saying that the music and my
teammates seemed far away and the audience was a "black blur." This was a much more detailed
and informative way to describe dancing rather than saying it was an "adrenaline rush" and
everything was "blurry and out of focus."
I like my third draft better than my first because it is much more personal and detailed.
While my first draft gives much more information about my journey to become literate in dance,
I think my final draft can describe the accumulation of all the thoughts, feelings, skills, and
memories laid out in the first draft with just using about ten minutes rather than ten years of my
life.

D. I chose to analyze the second e-Portfolio sample by Andrea Moore because as soon as I
opened the link the home page drew me in. Andrea made good use of the visual mode of
communication in the very beginning with her title and picture. I think she was trying to portray
her open-mindedness described in her portfolio and her desire for it to show how learning is a
journey. The message was successfully carried out by the font and picture of the path. Even the
fact that the picture was a circle and not a square was significant to me because it implies her
journey is never ending. She also uses the linguistic mode, of course, but the layout of her
portfolio is also significant. Her weebly site is very organized and divided into clear subdivisions
that make sense. Even in her final portfolio essay she breaks up the text into sections and further
arranges it using bold font and lists. This draws the attention of the reader to her main points as
well as examples.
The purpose of her portfolio is clearly summarized in the description on the home page of
her weebly site, but she also refers back to it in her final portfolio essay. I think the fact that her
main point is stated more than once proves that she is purposeful in her writing. The audience is
a wide variety including Professor Ingram, her classmates, and anyone else reading her website.
She explains all her assignments which helps readers who are not familiar with the class. As an
author, Andrea is a first year college student. She obviously takes education very seriously and
believes in continued learning and growing throughout her life.
The genre of this portfolio is a compilation of first year writing. It includes personal
narrative, rhetorical analysis, and mainly reflective pieces. I think that it can be narrowed down
to her journey to become a better writer over the course of the semester. It is in the context of the
assignments of Professor Ingram's UWRT 1100 class. Therefore, many of the rules came from
the professor herself. However, as Andrea states in her portfolio, it challenged her to take
responsibility for her own writing. Therefore, I believe Andrea herself was in control of most of
the rules and conventions of her portfolio.
I think that this is a very successful e-Portfolio. It truly shows the journey of her writing
from her literacy narrative to her final essay. She states the purpose clearly and directs it at her
audience so that anyone can follow and understand her writing. The layout and pictures add to
the clarity and a better understanding of her journey.

E. I think that so far I have done well in this class. Although when it started, I was a little unsure
of the expectations, I think I accomplished all of the assignments so far successfully. I am very
happy with how my literacy narrative final draft turned out. I learned a lot in the process and I
think the final product reflects all of the hard work I put into it. So far, my e-Portfolio is not
exemplary. It does not have much on it yet, but I have ideas for many things I want to include. I
think it is organized well and I am happy with the layout and color scheme. I do not have enough
experience and information yet to be able to really say how I have grown as a write, but I am
already seeing improvements just from our first major writing assignment. The concepts I will
focus on in my final portfolio essay will include "the writing process and revision" and "taking
responsibility for your own learning" because these concepts were evident that they were going
to be important to me at the very beginning. When we were asked to completely change our
piece of writing for the second draft it forced me to really break away from the comfortable way
I used to write and edit papers in high school and try something new. By writing more and going
through the writing process a few more times I think I will be able to improve my writing and
become confident in taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone. I think that this class is all
about self-improvement, and because I can already see the changes beginning to form me into a
better writer I think that I deserve an A in this class.