For my first minor argument I wrote about the annual high-stakes testing our K12 children do as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act. My first mistake was that I didn’t differentiate between the testing, which is still around, and the Act, which I guess is all but gone. Because this was my first attempt at such a paper, I wrote largely from my own opinion. While I went out and did research, I didn’t use the research to support my claims, and I didn’t have enough research to back my claims. I made a lot of broad statements without sufficient supporting evidence. I didn’t use any examples from practice or from research. I failed to adequately describe the research studies I did cite. I also didn’t have perfect command of APA style when it came to citing references and creating a reference list. This problem, however, was easily repaired with the use of appropriate tools. Thankfully, Doc pointed me in the direction of Mendeley, which has proven to be a real life saver for me.
I covered the topic of online lectures for my second minor argument. This argument paper was better. I improved my ability to support my ideas with research, although I was still a bit weak in this area. By the time I turned this paper into a major argument, I had improved my ability in this area even further. In this paper, I made progress on my use of APA, thanks to Mendeley. I was fighting with DOIs but finally figured out how to just remove them from the reference altogether. I still needed to grow in my writing style as I developed this paper and be more cautious about how I stated my claims.
My third minor argument was about multitasking and the Net Generation. By the time I got to this one I had gotten the idea of how to support my argument with research. I had a well-supported argument. My writing still needs to be tighter. I have a tendency toward long complex sentences which I need to learn to avoid or simplify. I need to learn to differentiate between the words “that” and “which”. I always get those confused. I also need to watch for quotes over four lines. Finally, I need to continue to watch my writing style, as I tend to get too familiar with my audience and include adjectives or adverbs which make my writing unprofessional – for example the word “humorous”.
I know there are many more areas I need to grow. The very fact that so much of Hollis was way over my head and that I felt so lost through much of this class is an indication I still have much to learn. I am not even completely sure how some of the concepts we learned this semester fit into instructional design theory or how they relate to our field. I believe that to be an indication that there is a lot more I need to know and understand before I am a full-fledged academic. However, I do feel I have developed both as a writer and an academic this semester. My writing is sounding more like what I read in professional journals, and I feel more confident in my own ability to publish. I believe I am making strides toward understanding the theoretical concepts of our field and how they relate to one another. I feel good about the progress I have made and look forward to what I will learn in this new semester.