I recently completed my first semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho. My writing class required a self-assessment of skills at the beginning of the course and another one at the end of the course. An additional requirement was an essay explaining the progress made during the class. I felt overwhelmed at the beginning of the course. The course outcomes seemed really powerful, and I wondered at my ability to meet them. I gave myself fairly low grades on the first assessment.
I worried about all the requirements, but I was particularly concerned about two of them. The first one was doing peer reviews. I had no idea how the reviews would be done, so I worried about doing them right and what technology skills I would need to learn. I had a difficult time learning how to upload and download the first assignment, but I found the peer reviews to be easy, enjoyable, and beneficial. I learned that my writing skills were probably better than several students in the class and that I could be helpful to them. I also learned the importance of having my own work reviewed by others. The second requirement that concerned me was learning the principles of analysis and synthesis. I did not actually know the meaning of the terms. When I began my actual writing, I discovered that analyzing and synthesizing came fairly natural to me.
I am pleased with my new ability to use technology in my writing and reasoning. In fact, I am delighted with my increased skills. One of the first things I learned was which function on the computer to use in order to have true double-spaced lines. I struggled with learning how to make a moving header, but I eventually mastered it. Another technology skill that I learned was how to make indented quotes and when to use them. I struggled with Acrobat Reader, but I learned how to use it and enjoyed the annotation assignments.
I am thrilled with the writing skills that I acquired. I learned how to find credible sources for my research and how to frame the quotes. I learned the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. I learned to write better thesis statements and the importance of having a single topic sentence in each paragraph. I learned to connect the sentences to each other in each paragraph as well as one paragraph to the next. I learned about the ladder of abstraction, a new concept for me. In short, I gained a new appreciation for writing because I had more knowledge and better skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking the class and learned many skills. I can use these skills in my daily life as I write essays for my blog, and I will definitely use them in future classes. I am grateful for the new awareness I have of how to write interesting essays. I especially appreciate learning the principles of analysis and synthesis because they can help me in discerning this crazy world we live in. I feel that I mastered the skills listed on the self-assessment sheet.