Why "My Story"?
Did the interview session in class with your classmate help you start thinking about your own story?
You might be wondering, "Where does my story fit in with the preparation of the first paper?" Well, the topic of the paper is a "Definition of Human Ecology." The purpose of your first paper is to write a professional piece in which you effectively explain or convincingly argue that the Human Ecology field is a worthy career option or path, and thereby you will establish yourself as a member of the Human Ecology family. The type of writing asked for in this assignment can be fit into either expository or argumentative writing.
Let's reflect back on your past writing experiences. If you were asked to write any kind of definition, what would you do? You would most likely refer to textbooks, dictionaries, or other reference sources. You would then try to locate the correct answer to the definition.* And you might think that that would be the end of the story.
This time, however, your task is different. You might ask, "How is it different?"
In this course, you will learn how to construct typical academic or professional writings. There are the following four characteristics in academic or professional writings.
The first characteristic of academic or professional writings is that they are written with a certain perspective. Either the author clearly indicates it in his/her writing or it is sometimes assumed depending on the audience of the writing or because of the social or political context in which the writing is generated. The perspective that you will bring to the first paper is your connections to the Human Ecology field you are interested in or the reasons why you are pursuing it. The reason for starting with your own story is to clarify your pespective about the topic you will be writing. [My Story Tab]
The second characteristic is that academic writing is designed/constructed to convey one main point. In fact, if you are writing a boo, for example, you will be able to convey many points under a common theme. However, for the short papers you will be working on in this course, making one main point for each paper will be just about right. When you ask yourself, "What is the point that I want to make in this paper?" you should be able to state that main idea clearly. If not, try again until you can state it clearly. [Writing Tips & Exercises Tab => Thesis Statement]
The important point is that it is not unusual to shape the main point (often called, "a thesis statment" of your paper) as you will work on various aspects of the paper. And the process is never linear. You will experience a lot of negotiations to align your thesis statment with the supporting points you will develop using the relevant sources that you found.
The third characteristic is that your writings will be highly organized for the purpose of conveying the main point. You will, therefore, need to consciously organize your ideas or the elements of the paper you identified into basic building blocks.
In your paper, you will have the introduction paragraph in which you will include the main point of your paper. This will help your readers get your main point early in their reading. Also you will have a concluding paragraph, which will give your reader a clear ending point. In between, you will develop supporting paragraphs for your main point.
In a nutshell, you will need to critically assess how all the elements in your paper hang together in order to effectively convey the point you are making. You will be able to do this after exploring the relationships between various ideas or elements that you came up for the paper. In order to explore the possible organization of your paper at the beginning stage, mind mapping and outlining activities are extremely helpful. [Mind Mapping & Outlining Tabs].
The fourth characteristic is that you will be able to affirm your membership to a given research or professional community by making a linkage to the community. You will accomplish this by incorporating existing sources from the literature of the community. Your piece on "Definiton of Human Ecology" wil be your contribution to the Human Ecology fields. You will therefore learn to strategically incorporate six (6) sources and effectively establish your paper as a contribution to the fields. To this end, you will learn to effectively search, browse and select relevant sources for your paper, and to use APA Style. Finally, by compiling an annotated bibliography, you will learn to clarify the relevancy of the sources you selected for the paper. [ Gathering Relevant Sources & Annotated Bibliography Tabs].
* Any of the definition from reference sources can be strategically used to bring your own perspective. Please refer to the fourth chracteristic.
If English is Not Your Primary Language, Think About This:
According to Keplan (1966), different languages have different thinking styles.
Source: Kaplan, R. B. "Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-Cultural Education." Language Learning 16 (1966): 1-20)
Writing an expository or argumentative piece is similar in terms of what you need to think about its organization.
Three examples of "my story"
Hannah, a 4th year Textile Sciences student, gave the interview right after the last class of her undergraduate courses. Christi is a recent Human Ecology graduate and works as a credit counsellor. She is very passionate about helping people and families using her knowledge of the connections between family finance and a wide range of contemporary family issues. Josh is another recent graduate who is inspired to help people with his knowledge of family dynamics and issues situated in the contemporary society. He works independently as a freelance counsellor.
Online Assignment #1:
Due Date: May 6, 2011
Based on the interview session you had with your classmate in class, post a paragraph describing his/her story. Be sure to discuss your paragraph with the person you interviewed to ensure its accuracy before you post it to Angel.
Three Other Online Assignments