MyProgress as a Student Writer in This Course
Severaldecades ago in America, education was only for the elite. FredrickDouglass story on his journey in becoming literature paints a veryembarrassing picture of a racist amerce where access to education waslargely determined by one skin color or standing in society. Thosewho did not meet the bare minimum in terms of color and socialstanding obtained their education through unconventional means. Theexperiences of Douglass as he narrates his journey in his quest tobecome literate whilst working as a slave not only offers immenseinspiration to modern day students who not only have better access toeducation and supporting materials such as books and enough tutorsbut also challenges them to perform better. I personally feelprivileged to have been born in this era where everything isrelatively easier. One of the things that I appreciate very much isthat I receive training from qualified instructors who are notinterested in my learning my alphabet but writing competentlyacademically. This is not comparable to Douglass, who happens to bea very good writer had to learn some basics from children youngerthan him for a piece of bread. In this course, I do not have to bribeanyone but to open my mind and engage with knowledge and ideas. Myexperience has seen me learn various academic writing styles to helpme present my academic arguments more candidly and also prepare me toexpress myself better in life. In this brief, I narrate my experiencein academic writing class starting from the commencement of thecourse up to now.
Takingstock of what I have learned so far, I am very appreciative of what Ihave learnt and achieve in the course. I started with relatively lowknowledge and skills in my academic writing. I was not acutely awareof the need to verify or assess the authenticity of my sources in myacademic writing. From several essays and assignments that I havecompleted in the past, I have used blogs and even wiki pages as myreferences. The one source that I only was forbidden was Wikipedia.While the use of references is highly recommended to supportarguments, the sources must be valid and authored by qualifiedindividuals with the needed credentials to contribute to theirrespective field. In the beginning, a book as an academic sourcequalifies it immediately. For most of my writing before this course,what I was most worried about was plagiarizing in light of the harshpenalties and the moral view of the practice. For that purpose I madesure I referenced borrowed ideas without first authenticating thecredentials of the author and correctness of the informationborrowed. In one way or another I must admit that for most students,doing research through search engines rather than physical librariesor online databases is more appealing. This is very right forcontemporary research and even gaining background knowledge about atopic. Using these sources for my academic sources in my assignmentswas alright then but not now. Now I know better and I have learnt andstill improving my methods of identifying and utilizing theacademically acceptable sources.
Throughthis course I have learned that I had been using the wrong approachall the times in terms of referencing and writing in a correctlyacademic manner. I have come to learn that not all sources aretrustworthy or qualify to be academic resources. First, I learnedabout credibility of the source or the author. The “credibility ofa source or message is a receiver-based judgment which involves bothobjective judgments of information quality or accuracy as well assubjective perceptions of the source’strustworthiness, expertise, and attractiveness” (Metzger 2078). Nowhaving the sole responsibility to judge and assess the credibility ofsources that I use in my writing, I reckon that I have to be morecritical of the sources that I use. The palatability of theinformation notwithstanding, the author and the model he or she usesin generating such knowledge must be clear. Today, through thiscourse I have learned various methods of assessing the credibility ofsources. My favorite today is using peer reviewed sources. These peerreviewed sources are contained in peer reviewed journals in whichscholars in various fields write research content with input fromtheir peers in the field. This way, the sources are edited andcorrected and the information refined. I have adapted this approachinto handling my assignments by seeking input and comments from mypeers. However, at first I was very shy about it and for some reasonworried that someone might copy my ideas.
Thesecond aspect that I find most enlightening in this course has beenmastering the different writing styles. They include MLA, APA,Chicago and Harvard. I have practiced the styles in this course andalso learned to apply them in other assignments. One interestingthing to note is that in many assignments, instructors will insist ona particular writing style. The writing style is also in some casesincluded in the grading rubric and awarded some marks. Thereforeapart from enabling my academic writing for life’s purposes, I alsoget to improve my score in assignments and exams. In one of theassignments that I completed in another course, I managed to scoopall the ten marks assigned to proper referencing. I can therefore saythis has been my strongest area in this course. On the other hand, Ihave also experience minor challenges such as creative writing on myown. I must admit I rarely find time to practice writing on my ownaway from assignments to improve my skills. I plan to improve in thisarea next semester. I am planning to start making academic journalentries on any new knowledge learned in all my courses in a narrativemanner. I hope this will help me revise for all units at once.
Inconclusion, I am very thankful to the instructor and all the supportI gotten from the department and even from colleagues. I was verymuch impressed with the unity of purpose in this course and thediversity in the students present. I am aware of the fact that onemajor heavily influences their natural way of writing given that theytend to concentrate more on the course content rather than writingstyle used. Therefore, in this course I had the opportunity to offermy views to other students writing styles and in the process learnmore about me and writing. Additionally, the unique personalchallenges that people go through their personal lives can be visiblein their narrations. I am particularly helpful to this course forenabling me across come across some literary writings on theexperiences of learning. The story of Douglass has made me moresensitive in my way of offering constructive criticism to fellowstudents. I am also thankful to fellow students who created a livelyenvironment for learning and even offering the necessary competitionto spur learning. Finally, my thanks go to my instructor, ProfessorJohnson, who was very supportive and informed on the topic. I amspecifically thankful for his ability to identify my individualweaknesses and those of their students and offering tailor madeadvice.
MakingSense of Credibility on the Web: Models for Evaluating OnlineInformation and
Recommendationsfor Future Research. JournalOf The American Society For Information Science And Technology,58(13):2078–2091,2007