Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
Writing truly is a social process. Constructive criticism and edits from our peers and instructors are key factors in the development of writing. Many times it is very useful for a set of fresh eyes to take a look at what we’ve written. More often than not, these reviewers and editors will find new mistakes and possibly help us add more content to our writing. All of this applies to my work, especially in my Causal Argument assignment. Going into this assignment I was unsure what to write about. Writing about the causes and effects pertaining to the effects of gun control on crime proved to be a challenge. However, because of the feedback and comments my professor provided I was able to more effectively demonstrate the causes and their effects. This feedback proved to be helpful and helped me look at the other details pertaining to my hypothesis. To add, the conference my professor and I had was a very beneficial social/interactive process, which helped me further culminate my ideas for the causal argument. This assignment also tackled the exploration, discovery, and development portions of the first Core Value. The causal argument forced me to conduct further research regarding gun control and the causes and effects that follow it. I certainly explored and discovered new sources and viewpoints on the issue. Seeing what many experts and gun owners had to say certainly helped me develop my own ideas and understanding of such a complex issue.
Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
Critical reading might be the most important building block to any writing course. In order to write about new information, one must first read. This critical reading skill is an important skill to posses and helps us stitch different texts together to form arguments and meaning. A piece of my writing work that encompasses this value is my Stone Money Assignment. For this assignment I read Milton Friedman’s “The Island of Stone Money” paper critically and carefully. From there I pieced together aspects of his essay with the concepts I became familiar with in the NPR Broadcast on stone money. These new thoughts seemed extremely abstract to me at first. Each piece of literature touched on the thought of what really constitutes to wealth? Is it just the number one sees on their bank account statement online, or is it the size of the stone they “own” which is currently sitting on the ocean floor? Both the broadcast and the scholarly paper had many parallels pertaining to money. Both pieces of literature also touch on the location and presence of money. In the NPR broadcast, the islanders of Yap believed that even if an individual did not have their large stone with them, they were still wealthy if they claimed to own it. Their stone was located somewhere else at the time. This relates to the concept of the French storing their gold in US banks. The French had not physically held each individual piece of gold in France, but they made claim to it, and therefore it was theirs. These counterintuitive ideas regarding currency certainly changed the way I look at money. By utilizing critical reading, I was able to put both Friedman’s paper and the Stone Money NPR Broadcast into conversation with one another.
Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
An example of my writing which demonstrates the rhetorical analysis of the purpose, audience and context of writing is my Safer Saws assignment. Within this assignment I had to look at multiple sources making different claims on the saw stop issue. I focused on articles that were written for different audiences such as customers, saw manufacturers, and hardware stores. I also evaluated claims made by the saw stop company and it’s creator, Steve Gass. Steve Gass believed that his saw stop technology was revolutionary and should be issued on every saw. However, the manufacturers and policy makers of saws viewed this idea differently. In fact, they all rejected Gass’s safety technology because it would have too many practical and economic implications. This assignment is a perfect example of a multi-sided argument and helped me see the different purposes to an argument. Within the assignment I looked at factual claims made by “The Bosch Tools SawStop Lawsuit” and from “Table Saw Injury Lawyers.” These are just two examples of the different audiences and voices contributing to this issue. To conclude, for this Safer Saws assignment a video was shown in class showcasing the features of Gass’s technology. This visual is an argument demonstrating the safety capabilities of the saw stop and also shows how much faith Steve Gass has put into his technology.
Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
An example of my work which incorporates, locates, and evaluates illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations, is my Visual Rhetoric Assignment. My visual rhetoric assignment strongly incorporates and evaluates illustrations to support my own ideas. The whole purpose of this assignment was to watch a short ad without any sounds, and then to visually describe, in detail, each frame. In order to accurately paint a visual picture in the audiences’ head, I carefully described every aspect of each scene. This included the specific clothes each character was wearing, their facial expressions and body language, and also any objects or scenery noticeable in the background. By meticulously describing the details of each scene, I then could draw conclusions and inferences about the message of the ad. For example, in my ad a boy was pictured lying on the floor of the living room in an awkward position. This position stood out to me as one of a dead body at a crime scene. The boy’s dad then rushes up to him, and shakes him to wake him up. The dad had much urgency in doing so, and these actions made me think of a fatal shooting at a crime scene. Later on in the ad we learn the purpose is about gun safety in family homes. The actions and appearances of each actor in the ad never explicitly tell the audience what they are trying to convey. However I could make the inference that the ad was about some serious type of shooting or loss of life. Just by looking and interpreting the visuals I could draw these conclusions of my own. This further translates in my writing because it has taught me to look at the small details within any type of literature piece, and examine these details carefully because there might be a deeper meaning in them. Sometimes insignificant details can be significant.
Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
With writing comes much ethical responsibility. It is crucial that we give credit to, and cite our sources. This is especially true in academic writing. Not only should we cite our sources to give them credit, but we also have to accurately represent and explain the information they posses, and be careful not to twist around someone else’s message. An example of my work that holds true to these ethical responsibilities is my White Paper assignment. My white paper does exactly what this core value represents. It both accurately cites the various sources I have incorporated in my research essay, and it also briefly explains each source’s ideas and significance. Every source that I have evaluated for my research paper is located in my white paper. I was very careful in making sure that I accurately recorded the meaning of each source and gave the author credit when credit was due. My white paper made it very easy to keep track of all my sources and to make sure I had cited each new piece of information right after I had come across it. Even if the source was not utilized in the final drafts of my research paper, it was still recorded in my white paper.