Tips for a writing assignment (2018)

Tips for a writing assignment (2018) Words: 1599

Video’s description: Tips for a writing assignment

I thought that I’d offer a little video that perhaps pulls back the veil and gives you some insight into. You know there is a kind of game to being a college student that if you know the rules, it’s kind of a straightforward and sort of easy. But if you don’t know the rules, you’re kind of shooting in the dark, and you’re not sure what your what’s expected of you. So when you see an assignment, and you read it, you’re not quite sure what is that really saying.

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So, I thought I’d give a couple of tips that I think would help you with that

First of all and one of the most important is that you actually take the time to read the directions carefully and do what the directions say. You know it might sound obvious. But a professor is usually spent a lot of time thinking about what it is they want you to do in crafting the assignment or the question in such a way that you’re going to maximize what you’re going to get out of it. If you don’t do or don’t read it carefully, you’re not going to get out of it, and the professor is going to be oh well you’re not playing the game of being a college student right. So, if you want to win at the game of being a college student what I would suggest is read the question carefully and then visualize to yourself what would it look like to do what this professor’s asking me to do. Kind of makes a mental image of what if what the final product looks like. what is the perfect address is actually asking. And that’s going to help you a lot to set the agenda and make sure that you’re actually thinking through what it is that you want to do for the assignment.

A second and possibly the most important to understand clearly how

it works. Demonstrate in your answer and when I say demonstrate I mean give evidence that you’ve read the material. I can’t emphasize this enough this is like the old joke show me the money right. What a professor wants to see when they assign

something is the evidence that you’re in a sense digested the material you haven’t has read it, but you’ve thought about it you’ve reflected on it and that your mind has been formed as a result of the work that you’ve done.

So how do you show that you know? It’s one thing to say: “Okay, I want evidence but How do you give evidence? What does that look like?

So, let me tell you two things that it doesn’t look like

  1. It is not cutting and pasting a quote from reading or from a website. Just throwing in some quotes that are vaguely about the topic isn’t what a professor is looking for. Here’s the trick a quote adding a quote is actually more work than just simply stating it yourself. Because when you add a quote, you want to do two things first you want to make sure that the quote is actually saying what you it’s saying something that’s relevant to what you think it’s what the question is or what you think the purpose of the assignment is. A lot of times people just add a quote that has nothing to do with anything. It’s a quote from the assignment, but it doesn’t in any way contribute to the thought on the assignment.
  2. It ids explaining the quote explaining what the quote is saying.
  3. Restating what the quote is saying and then connecting it to your larger point that’s connected to the assignment.
  4. Adding a quote might be something that you occasionally do, but it’s actually more work, so you don’t want to do it often, and you want to if you do do it you want to make sure that you don’t just cut and paste.

So when I say give evidence you’ve read the material, just cutting and pasting a quote is not that. In fact, often times it gives the opposite effect. It might not be about what you’re thinking it’s about and if there’s no explanation, so your professor is actually thinking this person is trying to do the opposite of what I’m asking them to do. because what I’m asking them to do read and wrestle with the material. And then give evidence that they’ve read it and wrestled with the material. Adding a quote does not do that.

Secondly, another thing that students do a lot is they’ll still reference. The reading without explaining it. So they might say let’s call the reading such-and-such because I can’t think of one off the top my head so such-and-such reading says a lot about Liberal Studies. I learned a lot about Liberal Studies by reading

such-and-such text OK. You’ve told me that you’d read the text and you’ve told me that it’s about liberal studies but that’s anyone who’s taking this class would have known that. You didn’t have to read the text to know that so what do you do so those are the things not to do what do you need to do to demonstrate it.

One you summarized what the main point of the text is about. You give an overall summary that says this is what the text is saying this is why it’s important this is the main point of the text.

You restate in your own words what key terms, key ideas, the emphasis of the material you restate it in your own words what it is. If it has a

particularly important idea, I’m making one up by transference or something. Then you would explain the idea of transference, but you do it in your own words, you wouldn’t just quote if you would attempt to rephrase it. You know what is the main point of this what is the idea here what is the concept here.

So, by using your own terms and refrain rephrasing and restating things by summarizing the main point of the article and then explaining how the article is relevant to the question at hand that’s how you demonstrate. That’s how you give the evidence that you’ve read the material. So that’s really important I hope that helps a couple other things I’ll just say very briefly.

One is that recognizing a literacy literate and all class a literacy class writing in grammar matters even in your discussion posts. So even when you’re replying to someone in your discussion posts, you should write it as well as you can. And I’ll add this is a really great trick that I’ve learned reading your writing out loud. If you actually read your writing like you’re trying to communicate it like for example when I filmed my video at the beginning of this module or at the beginning of this course I had I had the text actually up on a screen it was a blue screen somewhere, and as I read it out loud I realized how bad it was, and I had to say stop, and I took it down, and I rewrote it, and I read it out loud, and I said okay this is what I want to read. Because the reason this works is that your ear hears mistakes better than

your eye sees the mistake. You’re used to hearing language you’re not as used to reading it. And so you’ll hear the mistakes before you’ll see them to read out loud your text before you turn them in I guarantee you you’ll catch mistakes right and left and it’ll save you many trips to the Writing Center.

Another thing I would say is don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. What I actually want to hear are two things really. What you actually were thinking about and reflected on as you’re reading this material I don’t like to hear canned this was a great assignment because and no professor wants to do that. What they want to hear is how you actually engaged it that’s what they’re interested in. they’re not interested in what you think I want to hear I don’t need a pat on the back. What I want is to hear and to see the evidence that you’ve engaged with the assignment and there might be things that you just didn’t get or that you didn’t like or it didn’t work for.

Perhaps it was an assignment a task of some sort. And it’s fair game to say I don’t think that. This part of the assignment really worked as well. I think what you were trying to get at is this. And it didn’t really do that because of this. Wow a professor is really impressed when they hear that because that’s actual engagement with the material or with the assignment and that’s what they want ultimately they don’t want you just to say I really like this assignment; it was great. Because unless that was the case and then you want to say why it was great. You don’t want to say it was great you want to say the reason why it was great is that it allowed me to do these three things where I really learned in depth these.