i Reflective Essay | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Megan Fabel

Each essay I did was improved in some type of way. Sometimes not in huge terms but even in the slightest touch, they still improved. As we got topic after topic, I think I learned how to become a better writer because I was able to look at different sources that made sense with what I was writing. Each post we did had a meaning; each with its own argument and reasoning behind it. I have never been taught to write blog post as a topic for class, so this whole experience was very new to me. Researching and finding new evidence and quotes were just a few things that I had never really thought to have put so much time and effort into one of my writings because I didn’t think it would make much difference on how much time I spent or not. Getting the opportunity to expand my horizons and broaden my writing abilities have really been sculpted to a tee all while being in this class; making me a whole new writer and even giving me a whole new way to look at writing, critiquing and getting the right information to back up every piece of evidence I put into my writing.

One way that writing has affected my learning is thinking about ways to voice my opinion, and voicing it in a productive way. We have been learning to give our opinions and backing them up with good examples and responses. It was one way that helped me create some of my best work because I was able to speak my mind and really put my heart and energy into something I was very knowledgeable or had strong feelings for. Each topic we we’re given for our blog post, I hadn’t really given much thought beforehand. But now, really getting to understand the bigger picture, made me realize that there are some very debatable problems out there revolving around the education and even more specifically, the problems that are happening even at St. Norbert College.

In my first blog post, I gave examples about what the Liberal Arts has to offer; explaining how SNC was such an easy decision for me when applying to colleges because it was a Liberal Arts school and that is something my family and I greatly valued. At this point of the school year, we hadn’t learned to give evidence and to provide hyperlinks to give the readers a better understanding about what we were trying to say. So looking back at this post and trying to understand what I was talking about it kind of lost me at times because I wasn’t able to click on hyperlinks to do further research into the information I was reading. For example: “…have said it better when Edward J. Ray (who is the president of Oregon State University) states…” I stated this in my first post. Although I kind of cited it, it didn’t exactly help to point me in the direction of where I could further my search.

In my second blog post, I explained the ideas between online schooling and the setting of being in a classroom. This topic was a bit of a challenge for me to write about because I had to compare and contrast the ideas between getting an education in a classroom setting and doing online schooling, and to find out which one was best for students. I’ve never had a bad experience in an online class so when I had to give examples and reasoning behind that it was very challenging. I did get some help and understanding from some class mates that had bad experiences so that made things easier when writing about each. I feel as my writing did improve a little bit during this blog post because I did believe that the learning in a classroom is a much better option between the two so I was able to give a lot of evidence and reasoning behind that case because I did believe in it so strongly. One good piece of evidence I used to back up why learning in a classroom setting is better was this statement: “Education should prepare and encourage all teachers to do what good teachers already do best: know their students as individuals so they can provide feedback that helps them progress,” this was a quote I took from Erik Martin, who was an editor for a website called Source. I think this is a brilliant statement because it is proven that kids work better when they get individual help from teachers if they need to ask questions or are unsure of their assignments. This post definitely has some things I would tweak now looking back and having all the knowledge that I do about citing different sources and reading up on better websites. I think everything that I used was helpful but there is always room for improvement.

On my third blog post, I chose to write about the collegian athletics and the benefits that come with them. In this blog post, I had a tough time becoming familiar with the topic. It was hard for me to understand that there were so many controversies within college athletics that I was certainly unaware of. So with that, I had to do a lot of research to better my understandings before I wrote about what I believed. Each process assignment we had with writing this paper really helped structure my paper because it took us step by step in creating easier paragraphs to tackle at one time. Each process assignment made us get good, helpful sources that really have us the full background of what really happening, even on our own campus. I feel as I reread this, it is easier to comprehend and just understand what I was really trying to say because I had a ton of outside information that helped make this seem like it had the evidence to back up everything I was saying. I used great sources and having those hyperlinks to the people who I was quoting really helped refresh my memory to the people I was talking about when writing this paper.

My fourth and final blog post, I wrote about the values about the Liberal Arts education and what that term meant for SNC. This topic actually really frustrated me when writing it because it really brought to light some of the lingering facts about the college that would become upsetting to the average student when brought to their attention. I found that when being a Liberal Arts school, there are all these things that we should be doing and giving to the students. As a Liberal Arts school, SNC should be focusing their time and energy into the social sciences, human sciences and other fields of study. Also, SNC isn’t giving the money the students pay towards fields of study that don’t make SNC a Liberal Arts school, such as the business fields. Here is a quote that I found that really helped me achieve a well-rounded paper: “Indeed, the pendulum of popular opinion may have already begun its swing back toward a healthy respect for the humanities and social sciences, giving the idea that those certain fields of study are what makes Liberal Arts what they are today”.  I found a great amount of sources because having the process assignments there to help set us up before we even started writing this post, gave me an easier push when finding the direction of where I wanted to take this paper. Each paragraph was simple to type and gave me a really easy topic to discuss when having such great sources to look at while writing and researching.

So overall, in this class I learned a lot about voicing what I have to say in each paper I wrote. I also found great ways to discover helpful tools in finding resources and found why getting good sites really help structure ones papers in a positive way. I believe that in every paper I wrote I somehow did a little better each time because in class we would learn more efficient way to enhance our writing in a productive way.

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