To: DU Writing Program Faculty
From: Sophie Van Den Handel
Date: March 8, 2015
RE: Writ 1122 Portfolio
Over the last 2 months, I have been learning in Professor Benz’s Writ 1122 class about the different styles and methods of writing an argumentative paper. At the beginning of the class, he outlined a couple learning goals that he wanted us to focus on and grow our skills based on where we assessed ourselves against the goals at the beginning of the class. These goals, as well as the writing projects he assigned us illuminate these different argumentative styles.
Out of these goals, I had three that I focused on. The first, to “Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept ‘rhetorical situation’ through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations.” With this goal, I started the class of unsure. I hadn’t taken an argumentative writing class since junior year of high school, and this showed in my first writing project. However, with practice in the forms of blog posts on WordPress and forums on Blackboard, I was able to start fine tuning my abilities. My second writing project went much better than my first in understanding the rhetorical situation, and my last project went better than the second. This by no means signifies that I have mastered the ability to understand any rhetorical situation, but it does show progress.
I also worked on my ability to effectively review and edit my peer’s work. We started immediately reviewing our peer’s work by responding to their posts on Blackboard, and working in groups to effectively collaborate on the different aspects of different rhetorical styles. In addition to this, we all participated in read-arounds the class before a writing project was due. In a way to award those giving beneficial feedback to their peers, Professor Benz awarded extra credit points on the last two writing projects to those who were pointed out by their peers for giving beneficial feedback. I received an extra credit point for each writing project that it was offered, pin-pointing my ability to effectively give feedback to my peers.
The last goal I worked on was effectively providing evidence to the argumentative pieces that I wrote. It started off a little rocky at first, as I was hesitant to put a lot of evidence into the piece. I ended up needing more evidence that was effective towards my arguments, and so for my second writing project, I worked on finding effective evidence. I had less comments about it in that project, and in my last project, I was not instructed to add any more.
For the writing projects I revised, I started with my second project. This project was written in an Op-Ed style and effectively used the Toulmin model of argument. The topic was open to the class, and I decided to choose the issue of unpaid interns being exploited in the work force. I revised a couple of things, the first of which being a couple grammatical errors that I didn’t catch previously. I also added a few more links to more evidence to strengthen my argument. I fixed these areas because the grammatical errors made me seem uneducated in the area I was talking about, and the added evidence strengthens my argument as it pulls from different areas and different articles discussing what I’m talking about.
The other writing project I revised was my last writing project. This writing project utilized the Rogerian argument and was formatted in the style of a memo. The topic for this project was also open to the class, and I decided to address the artistic staff of the ballet company, LakeCities Ballet Theatre, where I used to dance. The artistic staff was not holding to the times they laid out in the company contract, but they hold their dancers to that contract, so I wanted to address this. In this project, I needed to revise a couple things, two of which were very big: the common ground, and the ripple effect. I added more to my common ground in the first paragraph by adding in my own experience, and then I added more to the ripple effect in paragraphs 8 and 10 with the bringing in of the dancer’s families. I also revised a sentence in the second paragraph that initially attacked my audience. This was very important to revise, as the audience should never feel attacked.
At the end of these 2 months in Professor Benz’s class, I’ve learned very much and have honed in my abilities with writing rhetorical arguments. With the application of goals and the three writing projects assigned, I have been able to figure out and fix my issues with the argumentative styles. Thank you for listening.