WR150 has been one of my most productive writing classes. I have acquired new writing skills while making considerable improvements on prior weaknesses. Looking over the WR150 course goals, I feel that I have accomplished and reached many of them.
Entering WR150, I had a general mastery of WR100 skills: developing a thesis, supporting my claim with textual evidence, and countering an argument. However, I still had WR100 skills that I needed to learn and definitely refine. In WR100, I had a lot of difficulty establishing a “debatable” thesis. In addition, I still had to learn about using argumentative moves. I had always formulated essays with a basic structure: an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. The essay contained nothing more than bare bones. Yet, by being thrown into a debate in WR150, I knew my position, and that helped me formulate my thesis. Research and contribution from other critics really established a clear motive - a straight pathway, but I had to drive down that direction by using my own argumentative moves.
In regards to the more research-oriented course goals, I mastered many of them through exposure to the texts. Understanding Pascal required multiple readings, highlights, and discussions, but writing a summary condensed and synthesized all of his important points in a comprehendible way. In writing Essay 2.2, I had to do independent research, and in Essay 3.1, I had to use multiple sources. Research played a key role in helping me develop my original argument. In Essay 3, I did not simply agree or disagree with a critic, but I carved out my own point while using the critic's work to supplement my argument.
With certain assignments and class instruction, WR150 has made my writing process more effective. Although process documents have always been a part of my system, the introduction of new techniques has really enhanced the process in terms of organization and structure. The one thing that really assisted me this semester was feedback. Attending office hours was probably the most important part of my process because I was able to relay my ideas and receive useful suggestions. Peer feedback was not always worthwhile because many times, I did not receive constructive criticism. And by compiling this portfolio, I believe that I have reflected and learned from my own work, another part of the writing process.
At the beginning of the term, I wrote another reflection examining my writing in WR100. In that reflection, I listed personal goals I wanted to accomplish in WR150:
...I do not think I have completely accomplished developing a thesis with strategic argumentative moves. I definitely need to work on using the text to my advantage to construct stronger arguments. Also, I need to work on building an effective essay structure so that I can present my arguments more logically.
In retrospect, I think by looking to accomplish WR150, I have accomplish my own goals as well. This course has been valuable in my growth as a writer. With the new skills and techniques I have learned, I am confident that I can tackle future ten page papers.