Reflecting On Writing 101 Lessons Learned

1007 words - 5 pages

Eighty two credits into my college education and I had never taken a writing course. The thought of it filled me with dread. One could ask why I waited so long to take Writing 101. It had been since the spring of 1995 since I last participated in an English course. In addition, I hadn’t taken an online course since 2005. It didn’t turn out to matter, our class began using the new Learning Experience Online (LEO), which replaced WebTycho. At least LEO leveled the playing field a bit since every student had to adjust to a new format. I only enrolled in Writing 101 because it was required. I began Writing 101 with basic writing skills, most of which had been obtained in 1980s and early 1990s. Application of these skills in my writing prior to this course were spotty at best and based on distant memory. I made positive strides in the application of the writing process and improved noticeably in essay construction compared to my writing before this course but made less progress than I would prefer in the proper usage of grammar, primarily due to time constraints and personal management of priorities.
Can you imagine sitting down to a blank document and writing with no guide at all? That was my method prior to the completion of this course. I assumed I could write in a clear and concise manner. I understood my topic and my main ideas with clarity. The written result was not always so transparent to the reader though. I utilized some of the techniques used in pre-writing without dwelling on particular parts of the writing process. First, I would quickly brainstorm ideas and possibly write down a key point or two in fragment form. Next, I would create an outline with these fragments. Although a skeleton of an outline existed, most of the actual outline was created in my mind as I went. I never used webbing or chaining in the writing process. I improved greatly by the conclusion of this course. My preference is still to use brainstorming and outlining as my primary writing tools. However, my brainstorming has utilized lists, bullets, chains and clouds to help construct effective paragraphs. Once a topic sentence was conceived, it was easily supported from items garnered in the writing process.
Writing 101’s emphasis on the writing process resulted in writing more effective paragraphs. Essay construction was not really a consideration in my writing prior to enrolling in Writing 101. Essays were assembled based on how the subject was seen in my mind. It was easy to leave out items that were essential to the understanding of the topic. Luckily, Writing 101 focused on writing effective introductions and conclusions in an essay. This was ideal, as it was the hardest to both start and finish a paper for me. Once I had those two items, I could construct the rest of the essay. Occasionally, using that methodology would lead to some personal disorganization. I found the easiest way to remedy that disorganization was...

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