WRIT1301 extra credit
1. 1. I believe my participation was at about par in this class for the semester. I don’t think that I was an amazing participant in class but I know I wasn’t the least involved. One thing that I did do was email you questions whenever I had them. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions about tumblr posts, readings, or the papers. Also, I believe that the comments I contributed during class were valuable to the discussion we were holding. Everyone knows Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt” and I believe that I could be used as an example of this quote. I understand that participation by everyone is key but when I wasn’t knowledgeable or didn’t have a strong, intelligent opinion to offer, I tended to not offer it which is where I lost participation points. I admit that there were times that I didn’t work hard enough to develop an opinion or a comment to offer the class but I feel that I made up for that when I did offer comments that developed more discussion from the rest of the class. By creating more discussion, I believe that I offered exceptional comments to the class.
2. 2. This interview is very interesting. It’s fun to listen to a man as smart as David Crystal talk about something that we use every day. I agree with most everything he says for a couple reasons. First I don’t believe most people have the ability to logically disagree with someone who has so much experience and is so knowledgeable about a specific subject. Also, he is stating things that are facts. I don’t believe a lot of what he says in this interview is up for question and I’m sure none of the students in our class are qualified to argue anything he says either. Throughout the interview I was continually impressed with how much he knew about every word the listeners discussed. I do like that he points out that twitter, texting, and the modern media hasn’t produced that many words in compared to the history of language. He said that there are only a couple of thousand words that have their origins by the internet. Even this number is only a few drops in the ocean that is the English language which has over a million words. It was interesting to hear a general outline of how the language has developed from the first writing “roe” on a bone to what it is today.
3. 3. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/01/health/facebook-organ-donors/index.html?hpt=li_c2 This is the link to an article about Facebook encouraging organ donors in the United States and the United Kingdom. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to launch a program that encourages more donors and reduces the amount of deaths each year of people who are waiting for an organ transplant. Currently 18 people die per day while waiting for an organ and Zuckerberg believes this new Facebook program can reduce that number. I think this article fits right into this last section of this class while talking about social media and how it affects writing and our society alike. By writing on their Facebook profiles that they are willing to be a donor, they can be a part of the donor list and possibly become a donor and save a life. This is an example of the positive that social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and others can provide. I understand that this article doesn’t relate to a recreational culture and it doesn’t involve a lot of writing but we have discussed how Facebook and Twitter affect us as a culture and this article is an example of one positive that can come from social media. We addressed a lot of the negatives that can arise from social media but this sheds a light on the positive that can come from these sites.
4. I don’t believe that literature should be taught in a general writing class such as WRIT 1301. I have a modern fiction class immediately following WRIT 1301 every Tuesday and Thursday and I’ve continually noticed a disconnect between the two classes. The biggest question that has continually come up in my mind is how in the modern fiction class students are taught to appreciate inefficient, wordy, twisted, coded writing while in the general writing class we are taught to renounce all of that and write in as few words as possible while presenting a clear and straight point or argument. Every piece of fiction that we have read and studied in modern fiction requires labored reading and re-reading just to extract the meaning author has intended. If I were to turn in a paper using the same methods that the authors of the fiction models that we study I probably wouldn’t receive a grade higher than a D and you would most likely question why I even decided to write that way. I understand that modern fiction wouldn’t be the only option for fiction to study in a writing class but I still believe that the benefits of studying fiction in a writing class would not be substantial at all.
5. 5. There’s no doubt that there are thousands, possibly millions of relatively superficial relationships created by Facebook and other social media web sites. I can say that I’ve come in contact with people through mutual Facebook friends but I’ve never actually met them in person. These websites have made a difference in our relationships with others, in some good ways and some bad. For example, Facebook is a great way for us to stay in touch with people who are difficult to meet with. I know that when the foreign exchange students that are currently living in our house go back to Finland, Facebook will be the reason that we stay in contact. In cases like this, Facebook’s ability to connect people is very positive and allows people to keep in touch with friends. Facebook has also reduced people’s personal connection with friends. The person to person social contact that is crucial to relationships is being minimized in friendships. I believe that there could be a strong argument for Facebook playing a role in people losing their ability to socialize in person. If used correctly, Facebook can be a great way to link people together and maintain relationships for soldiers abroad, friends who have moved away and thousands of others. As long as we don’t allow it to become our sole way of communicating and socializing, Facebook is a positive thing.
6. 6. I watched this right after I listened to the interview with David Crystal which I think was beneficial as a follow up. The humor and illustrations made the fast paced video easy to follow. My favorite chapters were the last three. The eight chapter talks about American English and how it’s not really that close to the original English. I was surprised how we kept some of the phrases that were brought over from Britain while they moved on and don’t use them anymore. It’s weird to see that something that originated in Britain lasted longer in America. I was also intrigued by how pieced together our language is in America. Chapter nine was also a good one because it talked about modern and internet based English. I didn’t realize that language ‘reverted’ back to typing and away from speaking. It’s also interesting to hear a list of words like reboot and toolbar that most don’t think about as new words or words that haven’t always been around. I grew up knowing these words and I don’t often think of them as innovative. Chapter ten was probably the most interesting. The irony behind how English has been put together from hundreds of languages and its spelling patterns are ridiculously confusing is fun to think about. We really do have a messed up language.
7. I’m not much of a blogger but one blog that I’ve paid attention to is put together by my friend, Erin, who is a sophomore here at the University of Minnesota and is a past Minnesota State FFA Secretary. Her blog is “Thoughts from a Farmer’s Daughter” and it’s a compilation of life stories made relevant by her attaching a moral to the stories. The blogs are agriculture based and they clearly support a rural and agricultural life. I believe her intended audience is FFA members past and present, 4H members, and young agriculturalists especially in Minnesota. Young agriculturalists get excited when influential agriculturalists voice their opinions and spread a positive message and Erin does a great job of doing that in her blog. She also focuses on two things that agriculturalists usually hold near and dear to their heart: family and religion. In her first blog she talks about who she is and the three sub headings are “Love of Agriculture, Hard Work, and Faith” She talks about how her family bonds in the barn and how important it is for the whole family to work hard each Sunday morning to get done with chores early so they can get to church on time. Erin’s blog isn’t a popular one but her messages are inspirational for the people who do read them and she is part of the modern movement of agriculture while keeping the land based values.
8.It took me a long time to think of a topic that is broad enough to give people freedom of what to write about while having a general structure to it. I decided that ‘controversial issues’ would be a really good topic to have for a class like this. It would allow people to talk about controversy in anything from sports, to medicine, government, legislation, or agriculture. Some big things that come to my mind are the death penalty, genetically modified crops or organisms, steroids in sports, and cloning but the possibilities are broad. I think this would be a great topic because, similar to recreational cultures, it leads the door wide open for people to write about something that they can connect with. That was one of the biggest benefits of this class and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much if I couldn’t have written on something that I was passionate about. This topic also provides a lot of opportunity for research and well written papers because controversial topics are usually well researched and argued from many different viewpoints. I think the death penalty could be the long running example like the one you used with running. The university provides plenty of articles, books, and movies about the subject such as “The Death Penalty: a Worldwide Perspective” by Roger G. Hood or “Death Penalty In A Nutshell” by Victor Streib. This topic could go a lot of different ways and I feel like it would be a great way to go with this class.
9. Truthfully, I’m pretty happy with how I approached this class and what I did during it but everyone knows there are always ways to improve. I usually don’t mind writing and even enjoy writing about topics that I care about. I enjoy collecting information and using that information to develop more informed opinions. I’m glad I chose hunting to be my prevailing topic for the semester because it’s something I care about. If I would have been able to, I would have chosen a topic that was more agricultural related but I don’t know how I would have worked that in as a recreational culture. I attended every class but I could have been more involved. I tried to speak up on most days but there were days where either I just didn’t feel like talking or the discussion just wasn’t that interesting to me. In any case, there were days that I should have fought through those issues and offered an opinion or comment to the discussion. The biggest way in which I could have improved is to be more diligent in the readings. I mostly skimmed over them half-heartedly and usually had a tough time becoming focused on their meanings. I would get the general points but I should have read more deeply and I would have gotten more benefit out of them. I would have also been able to talk more during class discussions. At the end of the day I think this was a descent class for me and I’m glad that I put time and effort into the papers for my own benefit.
10. I don’t have a very specific definition of interesting but the thing that I read that caught my attention the most this semester was an online article on Yahoo titled “College Majors that are Useless” by Terence Loose. This article didn’t catch my attention because I thought it was positive but because I absolutely hated it. The author listed the top 5 most worthless majors in this order: 1. Agriculture 2. Fashion Design 3. Theater 4. Animal Science 5. Horticulture. Before I go any further I would like to point out that agriculture is never a degree on its own so one of his 5 listed major isn’t even a major and on top of that Animal Science and Horticulture are both agriculture related majors so this individual doesn’t even understand what agriculture is. In addition to that agriculture is an industry that has been in demand since 11,000 B.C and you can’t say that about business majors. Also, the world will be at over 9.5 billion people on the earth in 2050 and agriculturalists will have to produce more food each year than in the last 10,000 combined. Agriculture has seen crop yields increase 4 times in the last generation and they will have to more than double again by 2050. There aren’t many industries that can say they will be keeping up with those statistics any time soon. Agriculture provides food, clothing, fuel and more for the world and I am more than confident in my ability to follow my degree in agriculture with a very successful career. In my opinion, if he doesn’t value agriculture majors then he can stop using all agriculture related products and see how that works for him.
11. One thing that makes television writing difficult is that when writing television shows, writers need to write things in acts and work around commercial breaks. To keep people engaged in the show, they must make the last parts before each commercial break suspenseful. More importantly, they need to create suspense at the end of each episode. In shows that are season long, writers need to make sure that their audience stays involved and engaged for the whole season. Another key part that is different than the writing that we do is that television writing is usually collaborative writing. We usually write on our own topics and use our own ideas. The comment that the television writers made is that when working in a group, the group has to be cohesive on big ideas once decisions are made to make sure that the show progresses. To be a television writer, you have to be a good group worker and you would need to adapt to new ideas that may or may not be your own. This would be a difficult thing if the group decided to do something that you didn’t agree with. I’m glad that for this class we got to do a lot of our own writing and the first three papers were on something that we were interested in. It’s always easier to write when you’re writing about something that is your own and you’re free to go whatever way you want with it.
12. I’m not fully sure what to think of this article. When I usually think of brainstorming, I am not following its original definition of a group of people coming up with as many ideas as possible. I usually think of myself thinking of ideas of what to write for a paper or how to solve a problem. In this sense, the article agrees with my methods and I agree with it. I have always found a lot of benefit in sitting down and sorting out my thoughts. Whether if it’s for a conflict I’ve run into, a problem with something I’m working on, or organizing my thoughts for a paper, I see a lot of benefit after sorting everything out. I am cautious with my thoughts about the article’s opinion on group brainstorming. I think that when a group comes together and works on something, ideas can be brought up by someone that no one else could see. The key difference between my experiences ‘brainstorming’ and Goodrich’s ideal brainstorm is that the groups I have been in were open to criticism. In this case, it’s possible that people thought through their comments more thoroughly than in Goodrich’s groups which in turn could make them more effective. In the end, I think that group brainstorming will continue to be a part of my college and business career and I’m alright with that.
13. This is one of those articles that makes you celebrate in your head; Mostly because it is complimenting my generation in a good way. I can definitely see the argument that is being made by Lunsford. I know that the amount of writing I do outside of class would decrease dramatically if it weren’t for modern technology. The one part of this article that I really identified with was when it was talking about our generation’s ability to communicate our points and adapt to our audience. As soon as I read this I thought of myself writing texts, messages, or emails and asking myself what words would be best to communicate my point here? I must have done it thousands of times and even more. Now, in most cases I am able to know what words are best to convey certain feelings or messages. I’d never really thought about it before but it makes a lot of sense that our generation can perform these tasks easier than others. To finish, I like that the author says that writing will continue to be something that needs to be taught and practiced before it’s done well. I like that she has taken the writing that we do and has turned it into more of a head start on learning how to write instead of something that creates drag in our learning process.