Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Last Day of Class

Assignment: In four to five well written paragraphs, discuss what have you learned as a result of taking this class for the past nine weeks. Reflect on your Writing Assessment from Week 1. Did your performance meet or exceed your expectations? Why or why not? What would you do differently if you were taking this class again? What would you do the same way, and why? Finally, what grade do you think you have earned over the past four weeks?


I always have a hard time writing these type of "evaluations", and tend to dread each time they are given as an assignment. This time really isn't much different. I know that I have learned many things in the last few weeks. Things that I had forgotten, were refreshed, and I even learned things that I'd never previously been taught.

The thing that stands out the most as far as what I learned would have to be the differences between APA and MLA format. Up until this class and our research paper, I'd never known there were different styles. I'd only ever known about MLA. I don't know when or if I'll ever need to use APA format again, but from what I've heard it's used often in classes at National University, so I guess I will see.

I'm pretty sure that I did well in this class. I was worried in the beginning because it has been so many years since I last took an English class, and I figured it I didn't do well in this class, then I might want to look for another focus instead of English as my major. I think I'm okay though.

I did well on the rough draft of my research paper, and I'm hoping that with the changes I made to the final draft that I will do just as well on it. Providing that my research paper receives the same score as my rough draft, I see no reason why I wouldn't manage to keep an A in the class.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail

In my English class we recent read the letter that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham Jail in response to the "Call for Unity" written by eight whiteclergymen. We were asked whether or not we thought that the letter could be written as a blog post today. My answer? Yes.

DR. King wrote an emotional and empowering letter filled with his views and beliefs on a situation that was rampant and important in his life. He was honest and detailed in his views and beliefs; calling attention to the details that he felt were important, while still remaining polite and courteous.

His letter was emotional and intellectual, something that is still powerful forty-seven years after he originally penned it. How different is that from what people write on blogs everyday? Everyday people let their fingers do the talking, pouring their hearts, their dreams, their feelings, and their knowledge into blogs. They share their good times, their bad times, and their dreams. They share the things that are important to them, all in the hopes that what they have to say will touch people.

DR. King's letter, though written long before the invent of the blog, still holds the same qualities that are often found in the best written blogs. I think that if DR. King was still alive today, his blogs would reflect much the same emotion and power that his letter did, and that he would have a large following of readers every day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

English 240 Blog Assignment Week Three

Blog Assignment: Please discuss your impressions of citations and documentation style. Are you used to APA or MLA format? Which do you foresee using in the future? Why do you think documentation is so vital to research? What part of documentation do you find easy? Difficult? What resources are available to help you? See if you can link to online sources to back up your thoughts.


Last week we worked on citing sources for our research projects. I learned about citing sources while in elementary school as well as junior high and high school. The problem is, it isn't something I've needed to do much in my everyday life. Having the chance to relearn it, if you will, has proved to be useful.

I've always used the MLA format rather than APA, and I don't really foresee my self changing that. MLA was what was commonly taught in school, and it's nice to have a standard format, especially considering how important it is to have well documented sources.

While doing research it is important to have all your sources well documented, it will not only help you remember where specific information was found, but will also allow others to go back and read your research as well. Citing your sources also gives the credit of knowledge to the people actually responsible, and provides the best way to disprove plagiarism.

For the most part, documenting sources really isn't difficult, though I've decided that it would be nice if the layout and information needed was the same regardless of the source. Having to remember the correct layout for magazine articles, websites, books, books with multiple authors, etc., is both confusing and time consuming.

On the internet I have found a website that helps with citation creation for some of the more commonly needed layouts. You can check it out at:

http://www.palomar.edu/dsps/actc/mla/

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blogging Assignment Week Two

The first week is officially finished in class, and one thing is for sure; we did a lot of writing. Imagine that. Writing in an English class. Who'd have thought? I'm not a big fan of reading and regurgitating information--or in this case reading essays and then critiquing them. I realize that it is a learning tool, but I have a hard time getting whipped into a verbal or literary frenzy over it.

The exploratory draft was an interesting bit to write. It helped me focus on exactly what I want to write for the research project, and the peer reviews of it so far have already been helpful. They've given me a few more ideas on where to look for useful information, or at the very least ideas on what kind of useful information to include to make the strongest impact.

Now that we're in the second week there is more writing to be done, more essays to read, more regurgitating to complete. I should probably get started. Credit card information won't read itself, and critiques aren't going to write themselves either. Onward!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

School and a Lack of Motivation

I love being in school, I really do...though, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to hold onto my motivation. I'm beginning to think the only way I'm going to remain motivated is to find a way to handcuff myself to it. :) As soon as I figure out a way to do that I'll get right on it.

Today is Saturday, and I'm usually done with all my school work by this time. Yet, today I need to work on more homework. I'm obviously behind on my schedule. It's hard to find the motivation to think about a research project when I've never been a big fan of research papers. Especially when there are so many other things I'd like to reading and or writing.

Oh well, I need to start the research process soon. Hopefully I'll be able to find enough valuable information to make a decent paper. Oh the joys of college life. :) I know my daughter will be happy when I am no longer attached to my computer. As a two year old she just doesn't understand what "homework" is or that it's not my choice to being attached to my laptop instead of chasing her around the house. She'll understand someday, unfortunately by that time she won't remember anything about my time in school...and probably wouldn't want to hang out with her mom anyway. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our First Class Chat

Well, we had our first class chat today, and it turned out to be pretty interesting and amusing at the same time. I think that even though there is a ton of work to do in this class, and not a lot of time to do it in, the class itself is going to be great. Looks like I will be spending even more time with my eyes and fingers glued to my computer. It isn't like I've spent the last four months like that anyway, right? LOL.

I'm almost done with the homework for this week, I just have to settle on my three topics for the research paper. I've got a few ideas, hopefully one of them will gel for me in the next, oh.... five minutes or so before I go to post them to the discussion board. I figure tomorrow I will write up the exploratory draft and call it good. ;)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Writing Assessment One

When I was in high school I had planned my future out. I was going to go to college and major in English and Criminal Justice. I joined the Army at seventeen, while still in high school, and was going to use them to pay my way through college. The original plan was to finish college and join the LAPD, with the eventual plan of working homicide. As with everything in life, things changed. Decisions I never expected having to make, changed the course of my life.

It's been ten years since I graduate high school. I am finally in college again and I'm majoring in English, only this time I'm doing if for a different reason. I never ended up applying for the LAPD, instead I experienced life, started a family and became a photographer. My husband and I have moved every three years and I've thrived on the change in scenery. Six months ago we were given our next duty station and I decided to transfer from the art school I'd been attending to National University. I decided on English as a major because it will give me a solid foundation regardless of what my future may hold. I am one of those people who thrive on learning, experiencing, and doing things. In all honesty I have a short attention span, and I'm okay with this.

Two months ago I realized that the decision to major in English was the right decision for me. I decided to go after those dreams I put off so many years ago, when life got in the way. I applied for the CHP and I'm currently going through the beginning stages of the hiring process. Regardless of whether or not I actually make it through the process or not, I've gone for it. I've also gone back to my roots and began writing again, following the dream of a younger me, who wanted nothing more than to write the style of books that I lost myself in while growing up. The common thread through all this? English. It is the best degree to build the solid foundation for the rest of my dreams, and ambitions. Luckily for me it also doesn't require me to understand math.