reflections

Dear Dr. Sullivan,

As I look back on this last semester, I would like to first thank you for making it a very smooth and enjoyable transition for me. Coming in cold, since I haven’t had to write a structured writing piece in over 18 years, I was both anxious and nervous. I wondered how much of it I would remember and how long it would take me to get back into the swing of things. It didn’t take long to figure out that I had remembered quite a bit and your teaching style made the adjustment pleasurable. Through your teaching methods, I was exposed to new writing approaches and was able to express my thoughts in a new fashion.

Looking Back

In the beginning of the semester I only knew of the basics, but I soon realized how much fun digital writing could be and how it relates to much of what I read in magazines and online today. Of the approaches to writing that we have studied this term, I found analyzing visual rhetoric to be the most challenging. Looking at digital messaging so closely and scrutinizing over the details is not something that I had really paid much attention to in the past let alone wrote about. Prior to writing the paper on The Wizard of Oz movie poster, I had to really study and figure out what I needed to look for in the visual prior to just jumping in and writing. I used the text book as a reference in addition to my class notes to check my understanding and to ensure I was on the right track. The concept of analyzing visual rhetoric did become more apparent throughout the course and specifically during my draft paper analyzing the Nivea advertisement campaign. I was more comfortable and confident in what I was looking at and what I was looking for to better analyze the piece. The first digital writing assignment was a little hard for me because I was not accustomed to having to put pictures with the piece I was writing. I was familiar with just putting words on paper and that was it. The concept became clearer during the second digital writing assignment about deer hunting when I was finding images for my opinion essay. I understood how important it was for the pictures to add to my piece and help influence my audience.

The Good

There were aspects of my approach to research, drafting, and revision that came naturally for me. During the personal opinion essay, I relied heavily on my own personal knowledge of the subject to find links to help support my message during my research. Another one of my strong suits would have to be my drafting routine. I thought about what points I wanted to relay in my writing and thought about the layout followed by simply just getting my thoughts on paper. If you saw it Dr. Sullivan, it might make you cringe a little, however, I go back and do what I call “fine tuning my story.” While doing my revisions, I do a good job of reading the assignment aloud to check for cohesion and clarity. I believe these approaches come from experience and being more patient in taking the time to reread it several times to make it as good as possible. I quickly realized this with the very first SWA you assigned.

The Bad and The Ugly

Two of my biggest struggles I would have to say would be sentence structure and the use of ethos, pathos, and logos. Throughout the course, you have provided me with constructive feedback making me more aware of how to condense sentences for clarity. I still find myself at times struggling with the ethos, pathos, and logos. I can figure it out eventually, but wish it came to me a little more naturally. I discovered this was an opportunity for me during the first SWA that was assigned after you introduced the concept to us. As I was writing it, I commonly found myself not thinking of how to use it in my essay.

Many Thanks

I would like to thank you again for what you have taught me and for helping to make my transition a good experience. This course has shown me new ways to express my thoughts and has opened my eyes to different writing approaches. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and I appreciate the feedback and guidance you provided throughout the semester.

Sincerely,

Jeremy McAfee

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