English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

“English Composition I provides an introduction to and foundation for the academic reading and writing characteristic of college. You will learn to read critically, write gahec1effective arguments, understand the writing process, and craft powerful prose that meets readers’ expectations,” (Denise Comer, coursera Syllabus).

I tried to write my assignments in MLA style. I still haven’t the hang of the citations. Does the period go inside or outside of the paranthesis? And so on… to do it properly, I need to have the instructions constantly opened to look all these things up. At least I can recognize MLA now when I see it. I need more practice. Soon English Composition II will start, then I’ll get more practice.

I think I did pretty well in this course. It was hard work and I was dedicated. However, without the help of my peers in our study group on the coursera forums I would have done much worse. We were posting our assignment drafts there and gave each other feedback. It was initially planned to have at least one thorough feedback for everyone, but eventually everyone gave comments on everything. I think it is fair to say that we all enjoyed the interaction, which also made the course more enjoyable. We helped each other understanding the assignments (which wasn’t always as easy as it sounds) and I think we all improved. I’m looking forward to part 2 where many of us will meet again.

One of the hardest parts for me was to chose an area of expertise. I don’t think I’m an expert in anything, and since I am doing all these courses for my personal enjoyment and not for professional reasons, I picked an area of interest as my area of expertise. I have been interested in early humans, especially Neandertals, for a long time, so I picked Neandertals and their presentation in museums and the media.

English Composition I has assignments and peer feedback/peer grading. While peer grading is not always the wisest of choices, the peer feedback undoubtedly is one of the best tools for learning. Except for the fourth assignment, all tasks were split into a draft phase and a final phase. The draft phase was not graded other than 0 or 1 (did not or did submit a draft), the finals were scored with grades from 1 to 6 with 6 being the best grade. Overall, the median of all the grades was calculated, which eliminates outliers.

The details for the assignments can be seen in the “Peer Evaluation” pdfs linked below for each project.

Project One: Critical Review of Coyle’s “The Sweet Spot”
Write a 600 – 800 word critical review of Daniel Coyle’s article, “The Sweet Spot.”

Draft: Review and Peer Evaluation.
Final: Review and Peer Evaluation.

Project Two: Analyzing a Visual Image
Build on your work in Project 1 by writing a 600-800 word analysis of a visual image depicting expertise in your chosen area.

Draft: Analysis and Peer Evaluation
Final: Analysis and Peer Evaluation

Project Three: Case Study
Extend our conversations about expertise through a 1000-1250 word case study in which you articulate a position about expertise or an expert in the area of inquiry you have chosen.

Draft: Case Study and Peer Evaluation
Final: Case Study and Peer Evaluation

Project Four: Op-Ed
Build on your work in Projects 1, 2 and 3, and extend our conversations about expertise through a 500-750 word op-ed in which you address a current event relevant to your area of expertise, and articulate an opinion about it.

Final: Op-Ed and Peer Evaluation

If you consider taking this course, I can highly recommend it. Go to the forums, look for a group of like-minded people, and help each other with the assignments. This is fun and educational. I cannot thank my peers (you know who you are) enough for all the enjoyment and encouragement they gave me.

–I post this as a Portfolio project, although I’m not certain yet what WordPress makes out of that–