Presentation on theme: "College Writing In almost every course you will take in college, you are going to be asked to present your understanding of the course using the written."— Presentation transcript:
College Writing In almost every course you will take in college, you are going to be asked to present your understanding of the course using the written word in tests, essays etc. It is of paramount importance to your success at college that you master the skill of effective writing…
Writing: A Basic Skill That... allows you to get ideas on paper, even if you don’t think you know the concepts. enables you to see relationships between ideas. requires you to organize your thoughts. inspires creativity. enables you to share your ideas.
Five Steps to Better Writing 1.Pre-write to generate ideas. –Brainstorm, listing, free-writing 2.Organize your ideas in an outline or essay map 3.Write or draft to develop a structure for your ideas as you put them on paper. 4.Rewrite or revise to polish your work. 5.Proofread for errors, then submit it. Use your campus Writing Center or English lab for help with final drafts. Process those words!
Habits of Effective Writers Being ready Getting started Selecting a topic Crafting a thesis Developing your ideas Organizing your argument Creating the right tone Following the rules Drafting and revising Consulting Finishing touches Learning from feedback Creating the right tone Following the rules Drafting and revising Consulting Finishing touches Learning from feedback
Prepare Before You Write Know & clarify your goal Define your purpose Know your audience Select a topic Narrow your topic Develop a working thesis Support your thesis Preparedness is paramount!
Define Your Purpose To explain an idea or provide information (expository). To persuade or argue a point. To describe an experiment or process or report on lab results. To classify, illustrate or demonstrate. To tell a story Know Your Goal Are you writing an essay, research paper, etc. ?
Who is your audience? Probably your instructor, but personally? Academically? As a critic? As an expert? What is your topic? Is your topic (subject): Is your topic (subject): An assignment ? An assignment ? Your choice ? Your choice ? Something completely “out of the blue?” Something completely “out of the blue?” What I want you to write about is…
Develop a Working Thesis It reduces the topic to a single idea, opinion, or key message. It presents your position clearly and concisely in the active voice. It’s a statement that can be supported by statistics, examples, quotes, and references. It creates interest in the topic. It establishes the purpose of the paper. It establishes the approach or pattern of organization. Each paragraph should develop a point that supports your thesis. It creates interest in the topic. It establishes the purpose of the paper. It establishes the approach or pattern of organization. Each paragraph should develop a point that supports your thesis.
Are you doing research? Then you need to gather sources Sometimes instructors will specify how many sources you should include in your paper, and sometimes they won’t. Plan to look at more materials than you will ultimately refer to in your work. Sometimes you won’t get a clear idea about what will help you until you’ve done some research. Quality of evidence is more impressive than quantity. Find some sources that argue against your assertions. Be sure and write down the complete reference for each source as you go. This will make it much easier to compile a bibliography or works cited page.
Master the Library Become familiar with your library’s resources so you can locate information quickly. Take a tour with a librarian, and get to know someone who can help you find what you need. Your assignment may or may not specify which types of sources you can use. Most instructors prefer that you read original sources to support your ideas. They are also more impressed by journal articles that are peer reviewed —critically analyzed by experts in the field.
Use the Internet Make use of the Internet for your research projects with caution. Don’t assume Internet sources will be acceptable. Look for: –Articles written by a recognized authority in the field. –A site that is supported by a reputable host group. –Articles that are peer reviewed. Most instructors still favor library research that will help you locate printed publications and peer-reviewed sources. If you use an internet site, be sure to cite the URL and date you visited it. Online databases such as JSTOR are acceptable because they feature articles that first appeared in print in journals and periodicals. Be especially wary of articles on personal websites or other sites that are not affiliated with an institution of learning or research. Do not plagiarize a website! A simple Google search will give you away. Do not cite Wikipedia!
Refine Your Style Write with an active voice, using action verbs. Use descriptive language that draws on the senses. Add more words only when it will enhance your impact. Don’t use “big” words just to impress. Remove words to clarify your meaning. Replace words that don’t seem right. Shorten sentences to make writing crisper. Rearrange sentences so that each paragraph starts with its main idea. Write in the present tense. Use dependent clauses to add complexity. Okay, let’s clean it up!
Follow the Rules Good grammar and spelling are the essential elements of a successful paper. Instructors vary in how much they care about whether you follow specific guidelines (such as those of the MLA or APA). Be wary of your instructor’s particular foibles about writing. Keep in mind that mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation weaken the quality of formal writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Your goal is always to say what you mean simply and clearly. A writing handbook is indispensable at all stages of the writing process. Do not rely on spelling and grammar checking programs. Students’ most common errors result from relying on these tools!
Learn From Feedback Read feedback from your instructor carefully so you can learn things that will help you in future assignments. If you’re faced with lots of red ink –take some time to recover before trying to learn –allow yourself to be disappointed –return to it with the intention of learning If you only receive a grade, ask for more feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your paper. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. There is no failure but the failure to improve!
Stay on Course Consider your project as a series of small tasks that must be accomplished once over the course of a particular period of time. –Identifying a topic –Exploring sources of information –Collecting research materials –Reading materials and noting useful evidence –Mapping out the presentation of information –Writing your rough draft –Revising, proofreading, and finalizing your paper Reward yourself for completing each step.
–Think “outside the box.” –Do something other than the typical approach. –Create an engaging title. –Use a thesaurus to expand your word choice. –Add interesting quotations. –Do for writing what George Lucas did for the movies! May the Force be with you!
Tips for Becoming a Better Writer (and Thinker!) Keep a journal. Write something every day. Write about what you really like. Dig for ideas and reject nothing at first. Be eclectic! Read good writing. [This is essential!] Practice, practice, practice!
Understand & Avoid Plagiarism Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s words or ideas as your own. It is a serious academic offense. Instructors are very adept at noticing plagiarism, both intentional or careless. Always make a conscious effort to translate information into your own words and describe it based on your understanding. Also, many instructors frown on being given a paper you wrote for an assignment in a different class.
Public Speaking Opportunities Addressing a class formally Delivering a carefully researched position Giving an extemporaneous speech about a topic you are handed just moments before Expressive reading through the dramatic works of others Group speaking projects: panel discussions or debate Asking questions in class
Fearless Public Speaking Keep in mind… Anxiety usually decreases when you begin speaking. Your listeners generally aren’t aware of your anxiety. Some anxiety can be beneficial. Practice makes perfect. Don’t think about it, just jump into it! I won’t be scared! I won’t! I won’t!
Six Steps to Successful Speaking Step 1: Clarify your objective. Step 2: Analyze your audience. Step 3: Collect and organize your information. Step 4: Choose your visual aids. Step 5: Prepare your notes. Step 6: Practice your delivery. Be thankful you aren’t speaking with a mouthful of stones.
Using Your Voice and Body Language Don’t hide behind the lectern or your notes. Make eye contact. Make gestures for emphasis. Pay attention to volume, pitch and speed of your voice Enunciate clearly Consider your appearance: dress for success. Don’t hide behind the lectern or your notes. Make eye contact. Make gestures for emphasis. Pay attention to volume, pitch and speed of your voice Enunciate clearly Consider your appearance: dress for success.
Speaking on the Spot: when it’s extemporaneous! Use PREParation [P] Point of view. [R] Reasons. [E] Evidence of examples. [P] Point of view restated. Okay, here goes! No notes and working without a net!
And Remember… The number one reason for writing and speaking is: So make your work: So make your work: Clear Clear Concise Concise Understandable Understandable Interesting Interesting Brevity is the soul of wit.
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