It’s been a fun ride, everyone! From our first meeting on August 11th, to the last day of class yesterday, we’ve made a lot of progress as a class. Just 3 months ago, we were introducing ourselves and sharing our expectations for the class. Now, we’re knocking out projects and drafting like a well-oiled machine. Today (November 17) was largely a contemplation of this semester of ENG-105, having us write our UP3/class reflections as well receive a hearty helping of Paul’s major takeaways from the course. However, what I found most interesting was the revisit of our initial concerns/goals that we established on the second day of class. Our concerns included remote engagement and ability to collaborate, wifi access, and non-native English, while our goals for the class were much more diverse. Some wanted to learn to conduct research, write in different fields, and write for college, and others more generally sought to become better writers or to enjoy writing more.
From my experience, English 105 has gone above and beyond in fulfilling the initial student goals from our class. Over the course of the three unit projects, we learned to write effectively for the sciences, business, and literature. Paul showed us how to streamline the process by breaking it down through genre models and student-made outlines. I learned research, outlining, and drafting, which I am now regularly using for my projects in other classes. By removing the roadblocks and ambiguity from the writing process, I’m now truly able to enjoy it. The feeder-based rubric has made goliath college projects seem much more manageable. I feel much more comfortable approaching writing of all kinds, thanks to the practice and confidence-building this class has provided.
Aside from the academic metric of our student goals, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the less academic metric of class check-ins. For most of the semester, at the start of class, we would write a sentence or two about how we’re holding up. Here’s how we felt on the first three days of class check-ins, summed up in a word cloud:
We felt stressed. Getting a campus-wide eviction notice a week prior was certainly a system shock to all of us. Many of us had to fly or drive out-of-state, leading to a logistics nightmare during our second week ever of college classes. However, we persevered. After the initial paradigm shift of working from home, the class check-ins and frequent use of breakout rooms made the academic world feel a little less lonely. After we moved off-campus, many of us felt better than before, but had a lot of work that showed no signs of stopping.
Here’s where we are from the last three class check-ins:
Exams seem to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind! For good reason, as well; these are our first college exams ever. One thing that shocked me was the presence of the word “excited”. Although inspection of the individual sentiments revealed it was more of excitement for the semester to be over, it still shows us looking through a more optimistic lens. I think much of this progress has to do with the environment provided by Paul. I certainly would feel more stressed than excited had it not been for his infectious positive attitude during COVID. Although it is a college class, Paul made it feel homey in many ways.
Overall, this week is a cumulative check on our skills for each course. Final projects and final exams ask us to synthesize the lessons we’ve learned over the tumultuous semester and apply them to a task. In ENG-105, our finale was spent reflecting rather than testing. Although the video essay was the final project we had in the class, and certainly tested many skills learned throughout the semester, I’d argue the real test for this class happens over the rest of our college careers. Adapting to circumstances, chunking work, and writing effectively are all skills crucial to a college student, no matter the major. Our toils in this class built a foundation for the rest of our future writing, whether it be an email to a co-worker or a proposal for a dissertation. Thank you, Paul, for making this foundation so rock-solid. Good luck to everyone on the rest of your college careers, especially my group-mates Caroline, ChaVon, Zhehao, and Juju. Goodbye!
Word Cloud Art Creator. https://wordart.com/. Accessed 20 Nov. 2020.
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