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McCarty 1 Frances McCarty Jasmine Williams Composition I 8 May 2013 My Journey Through Composition I My journey through composition I has

taught me many things, especially when it comes to the WPA outcomes. The main purpose of this course was to gain a thorough understanding of the WPA outcomes Rhetorical Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing, Processes, Knowledge of Conventions, and Composing in Electronic Environments. I believe that my understanding of rhetoric and writing has been enriched throughout this course and that I have demonstrated mastery of the WPA outcomes. During this course my understanding of rhetorical knowledge has deepened considerably. When I walked into my very first composition class not only did I not understand rhetorical knowledge, but I had no idea what that even meant. I learned this WPA outcome with the help of our three major assignments, in class discussions, and the textbook readings. Our three major assignments really helped me understand how to use format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation. Each assignment was very different and thus required a different format to meet the conventions of the rhetorical situation. Our first assignment, the movie review, taught me how to format my documents in the likeness of a newspaper print and through some research I learned the level of formality and tone used when writing a movie review. The profile was supposed to mimic the formatting of an online magazine publication, as well as the level of tone and formality. After reading some profiles online in magazines like Time, Rolling

McCarty 2 Stone, and Vanity Fair I got a good idea of what a profile was supposed to look and feel like. I worked hard on my profile to make sure that I wasnt being too formal, and that my words painted a picture with words. Our last assignment, the academic essay, was the most specific having to be entirely in MLA format. Because we had to do extensive research into our topics and that required us to read other academic essays on similar subjects, I knew that this kind of writing had to be very formal. These different formats and genres also helped me to understand what kind of tone I should take on, and the level of appropriateness needed for each piece. When the genre is clear it lets the reader, and the writer, understand the purpose of the piece. This let me know what I was getting into and how to let my readers know what to expect. It is because of these things that I believe I have a thorough and complete understanding of the WPA outcome rhetorical knowledge. When it comes to reading and writing, critical thinking is absolutely paramount. I believe that during my 15 week journey through composition I, I have learned and demonstrated my understanding of this WPA outcome. Something that really opened my eyes to the importance of critical thinking were our in class discussions. Having to come up with well thought out arguments right on the spot and pitting them against the positions of my peers was no easy task. I had to think quickly and critically, or risk looking stupid, for lack of a better word. Even though those discussions were verbal arguments, they helped apply critical thinking to our three major assignments. At first glance each of our major assignments looked kind of daunting, but by breaking them down and thinking about each project as a series of tasks, I was able to get through it. The completion of these projects would have been impossible without first doing

McCarty 3 research, writing a rough drafta very rough draftand then evaluating and analyzing what you did right or wrong. The movie review did not require sources, however it did require a lot of research on my chosen film. I spent so much time obsessing about what to include and exclude when writing my review on The Lion King and that required critical thinking. The use of sources was first introduced to me with the assigning of our second project, writing profiles. Profiling someone locally made finding sources difficult, and find good sources more difficult. I had to use my critical thinking by saying to myself Okay, heres a source, but does it make sense in my document? The use of sources in the argumentative essay was incredibly daunting. Where the second project only needed two sources, our third and final project required the use of six sources, four in favor of your argument, and two in opposition. Writing your opinion is easy, but making what you have to say credible with outside information is a little more tricky. I managed to get through it though by carefully and methodically plotting how I could use the sources I had compiled in the most effective way. Using Sources was extremely important on the second and third assignment, as well understanding how to integrate those sources into your document and the difference between primary and secondary sources. The use of sources at first was completely foreign to me, but now I understand they are necessary to prove your credibility. Because it is necessary to do your research when compiling sources, I believe I gained a more thorough understanding of my topics and was thus able to write more critically. I feel like that if you can write something that changes peoples opinions on an issue or just allows them to look at it in a different light, that is power. By understanding the relationship between language, knowledge, and power you can unlock doors you never even knew existed.

McCarty 4 The next WPA outcome I have come to understand is process. Because it was necessary for us to submit multiple drafts for each of our major assignments, learning about processes was a do or die kind of thing. On each draft our major assignments the main goal was to show significant change and improvement from the last draft. For our first major assignment, writing movie reviews, the first draft I turned in wasnt really a first draft at all. At that point in my writing I didnt see a point in a bad first draft and instead spent the whole weekend writing and revising until I had a final copy. My movie review turned out really well, but had I known the importance of processes at the time it might have been turned out even better. On our second project however, I learned that its not always possible to churn out a final copy over a weekend. Writing profiles was something I was completely unfamiliar with. My first attempt was not something I was proud of by any means, but it was a start. By the second draft I felt like I was getting the hang of writing profiles, and by my final draft I felt like I had written something worth reading. Finally with project three, our argumentative essay, process was something that I understood and was very comfortable with. Even though I completely rewrote my paper in the second draft, I wasnt stressed. This is because I understood that writing is a process, and sometimes you just have to step back and really look at what youre writing. Understanding processes didnt just help me in comp I, but also in my other classes as well. For my speech class I had to write a 5 page interpersonal case study which required a portfolio containing a first second and final draft. I had to work really hard on each draft, and it ended up something totally different than I had orignially aniticipated. Sometimes you have to change everything, and sometimes you realize youre a better writer than you had originally thought. The peer reviews we did in class

McCarty 5 and online really helped me along, and seeing feedback from other students who were going through the same or similar struggles was encouraging, especially when I hit a roadblock. Our University Writing Center was also a big help in this respect. It was important however, to not just blindly take the advise of others. I would make notes on my papers and then carefully deliberate when I should take advise and when I should go with my first instinct. The next WPA I have learned throughout this class is knowledge of conventions. Our first project taught me how to format movie reviews for a print publication, specifically a school newspaper. I had to pay close attention to texts, alignment, and columns otherwise the format would be off and the entire tone of the project would be changed. Our second project was supposed to be formatted like an online magazine publication. I thought this kind of formatting was fairly straight forward and simple to duplicate. I struggled trying to learn to write completely in MLA format on our last project. Thanks to the wonderful website Purdue Owl, learning MLA format wasnt as daunting as I had at first believed and looking at the sample papers on their website really helped me out. Another thing I learned about knowledge of conventions in composition was citing sources. Our first project didnt require citing any sources, however our second and third project required both in text citations and a works cited page. In the second project, I played around with my citations and cant say that they were exactly spot on. After that I realized that I needed to work a lot harder on our next project which had to be completely in MLA format, and unlike the second project, points would be deducted for incorrect formatting. My MLA has definitely improved and I received full marks for formatting on our last project.

McCarty 6 The last WPA outcome I have learned during this course is composing in electronic environments. Knowledge of composing in electronic environments is necessary to survive this course. I had to play around a lot with formatting on my movie review, in fact, it was the first time I really paid any attention to formatting at all. The movie review was also the first time I was required to turn an assignment in online, which took some getting used to since Im a Mac user and I had to learn a few extra steps to make sure my documents were viewable by PC users as well. The profile taught me how to create a works cited page at the end of my document and expanded my knowledge of formatting, which is definitely something Ive gotten down by now. Project three taught me a lot about composing in Electronic Environments, maybe more so than any of the other projects even though project three did not require images. I had to learn how to insert custom headers, page counts, double spacing, formatting block quotes; it was intense, but by now Ive got formatting on lockdown. My journey through composition I has been an amazing one. I have had struggles and strife, epiphanies and breakthroughs. Ive learned the doors that writing can open and that words are the key. Ive learned many things, including the WPA outcomes, but what Ive really learned about is myself and the love I have for the written word.