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Final Portfolio Essay

Noah B. Eldreth
UWRT 1104 34
Mrs. Suzanne Ingram

Why is this important


As much as some people may hate to hear it, writing is something college students have to utilize
(cue dramatic music). It is essential to our success in our university, but even more importantly, it
is essential to our success in our careers. Imagine yourself in 4 years, having just earned your

BS/BA degree. What now? You may want to achieve a masters degree, and after that a doctorate.
That requires you to make a contribution to your field and write an enormously long thesis.
Looking past college, imagine how many emails you will have to write to your colleagues and
boss. Writing doesnt just stop after research papers, the high school level, nor does it stop at the
college level. It will continue for as long as you seek employment, and then still writing is a part
of your daily life. This is why this class is important. Writing is not a curse; it is a tool of
achievement, a tool I have further developed my skills with thanks to this class.

What I have learned


Looking back, I did not know what to expect from this course. I had always been told by my
parents, and by friends who had graduated before me, freshman year of college is much like
senior year of high school. You start off your college career taking mostly the same type of
classes math, science, history, and English. So, I had assumed I would work through this class
in the same manner I had my previous English class in high school. Thankfully, however I was
wrong.
It is not hard to understand why this course is a part of the GE curriculum. I have taken UWRT
1104 because this class has helped me establish a writing competence I will showcase in all my
other courses, and after graduation, I will utilize this newly developed skill throughout my
career. But before I go in depth in specifically what skills have I gained, I want to reintroduce
myself as I was near the beginning of the course. The excerpt below is a quote from myself in a
reading response letter, discussing the University Writing Center and myself as a writer.
Dear Students,
The goal of the writing center is to help a student improve their
writing skills, and to enable them to discover his or her writing

routine, what they prefer to do when they write, and how they
personally should plan their papers to generate the best paper
possible. I have always been a factual/report based writer. Thats
simply how I know to write...Reports, ninety-nine percent of the time
are easy for me. I gather some facts, find the best references. I also
like to add my opinion into the mix to give the reader something
more to relate to and keep them interestedUsually when I write
about something I am interested in I am at my best, especially right
when I am thinking about them. For me, this is when all the creative
juices are flowing and I can get out of myself a paper worth
reading.

I want to start off the list with peer review. Writing papers, in a way, is almost like assembling a
car on a conveyor belt, with each paragraph representing a piece of the car. When I put together a
paper, everything is assembled into what I at the time believe is the best configuration, however
before taking this class, I was always missing something. At the end of every assembly line is an
inspection. Someone reviews the vehicle, either giving the okay to continue, or pointing out
errors and sending the car back for revision. Peer review has taught me a better way to inspect a
paper, ensuring I am turning in my best work. Normally when I am writing an essay to be turned
in, I write it a few days in advance, allowing myself some time for me to forget about it and take
my mind off it. This allows me to return with a fresh mind, and look at my paper from a different
perspective. I then make changes where I see fit. Peer review speeds up the process, and allows
me to make critical changes to my work easily, making my life a lot easier.
I liked this paper it had many quotes that were well placed and
useful, you could go more in depth about the ways that these
concepts have applied to you and how your writing had developed
through the semester. You also didnt talk very much about your
actual online portfolio and the work that you put into it.
Kristen Heuer, FPE Peer review

Next: the objective of the author. Writing is an extraordinary subject. People use it to discuss
their ideas an endless number of ways, the only limit being that of imagination. Also, writing is
completely subjective, no one can tell you what is the best way to right because no one actually
knows, something that may appeal to you or I may not be intriguing to someone else. The only
objective a writer must have is to successfully connect with his or her audience and share their
idea in a way that resonates with whoever from their selected audience decides to read what they
have written.
Use rhetorical concepts to analyze and compose a variety of texts
using a range of technologies adapted according to audience,
context, and purpose
-UNCC Student Learning Outcomes

It is no secret that back in high school I didnt have many chances to write towards anyone other
than my own teacher. In fact, after taking a minute to try to think of any occurrence I had written
to someone else, I came up blank. But that has changed sense starting my journey at UNC
Charlotte. It has been made a significant goal in this class to expand on rhetorical knowledge, by
creating assignments and class work for each of us that requires different audiences. Right off the
top of my head I can list numerous examples: The Multi-Genre Project, Reader Response
Letters, The Exploratory Essay, etc. Like I said, the only goal a writer must have is to establish a
connection with their selected audience and present their ideas in such a way that the reader has
felt a true impact from the authors words when they place down the paper, and that is exactly
what this class has allowed me to do. Take this paper as a prime example; my audience is Mrs.
Ingram and anyone in her future classes that may find this essay, intending to use it as a
reference for their work. My central idea I want to present (at least for this section anyway) is the

major takeaways I have from this class, everything that I have learned with full credit going to
Mrs. Suzanne Ingram and UWRT 1104.

Three Key Concepts


If I had a gun to my head and had to pick a SLO that would be most
challenging, I would go with the knowledge of conventions. What
seems like it would be most difficult is following the structure of
certain genres and their guidelines to form an appropriate paper or
essay that could be distinguished from others and confidently fit
beside anothers work in that same genre. I do by no means
consider myself an elegant writer, but I do feel comfortable with the
other key concepts and SLO's based on what I read. I feel I could
expand on my writing skills, mainly in how to utilize more Rhetorical
Knowledge in my papers, to write in the best way I know possible.
One concept that stuck out to me was "making connections".
Whenever I write an essay or a research paper I try to find related
topics other authors have written about. I draw upon the similarities
and quote them to help drive my ideas forward.
-Blog Post 1

Back in August I wrote this blog post, identifying the potential challenges I could face
in this class, regarding the Key Concepts. The Knowledge of Conventions held my
biggest fear.
Knowledge of Conventions

Conventions are the formal rules and informal guidelines that define
genres, and in so doing, shape readers and writers expectations of
correctness or appropriateness. Most obviously, conventions govern
such things as mechanics, usage, spelling, and citation practices.
But they also influence content, style, organization, graphics, and
document design.

Take this paper, the Final Portfolio Essay. This paper, this one, single paper feels like it
holds so much weight in calculating my final grade. I want it to be as great as humanly
possible, to rival the perfect paper everyone aspires to when they write. The most

difficult part, least for myself, is finding the right words for the category this paper is
supposed to fall under. At the end of the day this paper is going to be read by my
professor and graded, and like any time you write to a professor there are certain formal
rules and guidelines that I try to abide by.
Next up is Rhetorical Knowledge.
Rhetorical Knowledge

Rhetorical knowledge is the ability to identify and apply strategies


across a range of texts and writing situations. Using their own
writing processes and approaches, writers compose with intention,
understanding how genre, audience, purpose, and context impact
writing choices.

When the class was assigned with the multi-genre project we were required to find our audience.
The same day we discussed the project in class Mrs. Ingram talked about her own inquiry about a
pet store and the audience she had chosen. If I recall correctly she was very displeased with the
treatment of the animals, specifically the birds they kept. She wrote her paper speaking to pet
store owners and customers because they had relevance to her topic and had the ability to make
changes. Her paper was very well planned, so I tried to mimic what she had done. My inquiry
was based around the future with Artificial Intelligence. My audience was current college
students, or recent graduates majored in Computer Science, because they held relevance to my
topic, and had the power to instill the changes I argued for.
The last Key Concept on the list: Making Connections.
This is something I have already been utilizing for years, ever sense the 9th grade, where I
learned it from my teacher Mr. Beckworth. This why I never expected to take as much time as I

had when I was establishing my Annotative Bibliography. It was a very challenging project,
mostly due to the depth I went to, to showcase each reference I had, and to present to the reader
how much of an impact the speaker I quoted held in regards to my inquiry question. I ended with
a total of over 7000 words and 10 pages. (For fun I placed everything into MLA format and my
jaw dropped when I saw 20 pages!) Yet, as hard as it was I am glad I did it, because not only now
do I know what to properly create a bibliography, but I expanded upon my writing skills and
using references to further cement my ideas/arguments to make a coherent paper to be taken
seriously and with great consideration.

Editing and Revision


In the past I never would write a first draft. I would organize and plan my paper as if I was going
to war, thinking of all my resources, supporting paragraphs, and main argument like armaments
for combat, packing everything together into what would be my final draft. My hardest time
writing was always the very beginning, where I would sit at my desk dumbfounded, lost for
words as I grew increasingly frustrated waiting for inspiration to strike like lightning, and my
brain would hastily conduct my hands to type, popping out page after page of what seemed to be
perfection at the time. When I read the article Shitty First Drafts by Mrs. Anne Lamott, I
laughed a lot. It seemed very sarcastic and causal, an outlier in all the past chapters and articles
we have read in class; it was something else. But I had a big take away from Mrs. Lamotts
article. I learned the importance of the first draft.
The first draft of any paper is a massive beast filled with information, packed with ideas; all of it
stitched together in a loose structure if there is one at all. Even the most praised of authors have
written a first draft, and then immediately wanted to send it down a crisp fiery blaze, so it is

never seen by another human soul. They are something best kept in the dark, yet first drafts are a
beautiful thing! They highlight our ideas and let us revise and edit what lies in front of us, into
something clear and coherent with a main idea, center focused with a specific audience kept in
mind.
The first draft is the childs draft, where you let it all pour out and
then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to
see it and that you can shape it later.
- Anne Lamott

Not once have I ever sat down to begin writing a paper and have instantly started writing page
after page; most of the time I am lucky to get out more than half a page before my mind runs
blank and dreaded writers block takes its toll. This is when I enter the brain storming phase. I
treat my initial draft like I would a conversation, and the person I am speaking with is the
representative of my audience.
When we were first discussing the criteria for the exploratory essay, and we performed a 5minute write I took the opportunity to let my mind run wild, spitting out thought after thought. I
had no idea I had that sort of ability, but in a period that small I managed to fill up half the page.
That short exercise potentially saved me 30 minutes on my own! And, I had an incredible start
off point for my paper, which made my final product all the better.

Portfolio Design
I like to think of my portfolio as an official website, something that will be seen by millions.
Anytime I go onto a webpage I give it a three second glance, if that. Within those three seconds
if I see something that doesnt stand up to par with what I consider a professional and legitimate

website CLICK! I have tried to model my website in a way that appears professional and
thorough. I want my website to be a representation of all the hard work I have put into it.
I could argue that sense I have a video in my website, I have embedded all the 5 modes of
communication into my e portfolio. Linguistically, I have quotes pertaining to each assignment
strategically placed. Visually, I have imported pictures that add a flare to my site, helping keep
the viewer drawn in. For my multi-genre project, I created a video based off of and paying tribute
to the show, Mythbusters. The video alone contains aural and gestural modes of
communication. And lastly, I spent a great amount of time organizing my site, in a way that is
easy to navigate, and appealing to look at, covering the spatial mode of communication.

Artifacts
It will not come as a surprise, but I have a lot to talk about here, sense there are a lot of artifacts
to mention. Starting off with the Process Work Artifacts, these 3 pieces were intended to
illustrate my efforts towards editing and revising. My first artifact, the five-minute free write
performed in class, encouraged me to make big changes to my exploratory essay. In such little
time, I had written half a page and it blew my mind away, not only was I surprised, but a little
proud too. Next, I included my Reader Response Letter of the University Writing Center, and I
chose it for two reasons: the first being the subject which is how the UWC can help you perfect
your essays in such a large way, and the second: Mrs. Ingram had written her comments on my
paper so it was edited. Lastly, I utilized Module 7 as my final Process Work Artifact. If you
have observed the design of my website at any point in time you may know my e-portfolio has
looked completely different on three different occasions, like day and night! Before we wrote the
module, we had read articles giving tips and tricks on how to make a better site, and I used some

of the authors ideas, for example the user can get to anywhere on my site from anywhere on my
site.
For my Feedback Artifacts, I took from my Exploratory Essay. I brought in my 2nd draft and the
peer review I had received from Tyler Burke. My second draft contained a dozen different
remarks and suggestions for my paper by Mrs. Ingram, and coupled with the peer review it helps
paint the picture, and illuminate my writing process sense the final draft is also available on the
website.
My first pick for the Writers Notebook Artifacts was too easy. I have referenced this chapter far
more times than I can recall Shitty First Drafts.
The RRL that first comes to mind is the one that went around Shitty
first drafts, which was really funny. Through the humor I could pull
out the distinct message prompted by the title.
-Midterm

Mrs. Lamotts piece resonated with me. It was simply fun and enjoyable to read, and it is because
of how enjoyable it was that I still remember it. Also, it helped me learned the true way to write a
first draft, with absolutely no base structure only ideas that will jumpstart my creativity in
following drafts.
My second Notebook Artifact was the modes of communication form we were given way back
when. I have used this sheet an extra ordinary number of times, most notably with my e-portfolio
itself, blog posts, and my 3 multi-genre pieces. I am happy Mrs. Ingram has given me this
information, because not unlike everything else I have learned in this class it is applicable to my
future.

Before we had instituted our first peer review everyone in class shared a list of Dos and Do
Nots to guide everyone in how to review a paper best (not like a ballistic missile), and because
this module was meant to help us learn during a peer review, what better module is there to be
my Module Artifacts? I had found it to be helpful, and I believe others will agree.
My very last artifact, the Wild Card Artifact, is my interview with Dr. Lawrence Mays. Because
of this class I gained an interest in bio-informatics while conducting research for my exploratory
essay based on immortality. Bio informatics is the study of biological data through information
systems, and Dr. Lawrence Mays is the man who established the bio informatics program here at
UNCC. So, when in my ITSC 1600 course I was required to interview a person relative to a field
of my interest I jumped at the opportunity. In relation to the artifact, this interview added fuel to
the flames in this class. I had asked him about nearly all my research, and he agreed me on my
conclusion that immortality is in fact possible, and it was because of our later discussion,
regarding Artificial Intelligence, that I picked this topic for my Multi-Genre Project.

The grade I deserve


This class, like all others has its foundation built upon active participation, without it no one
would leave the class with any significant takeaway. For our first ever blog post we had to read
the article "What Are Questions" by Jason Fried, in which he discussed a persons willingness to
learn, and how that effects the information they retain. Admittedly, I may go off topic every now
and then, but I do attest that just by looking at my work, and even asking others who have
worked side-by-side with me, I have given this class my all, and therefore deserve an A.
His answer [Jason Fried] makes a lot of sense, and like the author I
had heard and thought about the phrase someone cant be taught
until theyre ready to learn. A good example is well everyone in
high school, going through class after class. If they never wanted to

learn the material it usually slipped out of their minds after taking
their tests. I think Mrs. Ingram wants us to want to learn. It is all
about participating. We are here in college because we WANT to
learn. And if we have the question, we have the place in our
memory for the answer. -Blog Post 1