After submitting the final assignment, the Formal Report Draft, one last task was left- creating the Web Folio.
This is the first time I have heard or learned in-depth about what a web folio is. Not quite a professional networking profile such as LinkedIn however also not a casual blog but a customized site for a particular purpose or audience. This was quite exciting however starting was difficult. There were many options to decide on from the beginning. I chose to create a site that would hopefully include specifics but also be general enough for a multitude of purposes such as future academic endeavours or career aspirations.
During the process of creating the web folio, I returned to older posts and assignments. To be honest, looking through the course schedule, more detailed unit schedules and assignments, made me a little nostalgic even though it was not too long ago. I really enjoyed the process of taking all the work done throughout the course and reading them again because doing so showed the ways in which new information and skills have been developed which can now be applied. Older assignments required much more editing than newer ones. After, organizing the projects into categories and writing introductions or brief explanations for them reinforced the teachings of the course. This part was also a bit challenging because there were many ways to template the web folio. After some consideration, I deleted some pages and added more posts wanting to create an easier site to navigate.
I hope the web folio reflects some of the professional writing skills learned from the course and shows professional and academic aspirations and ventures as well as the personal side.
In Unit 3, we had the chance to learn about the entire process of writing a Formal Report. Thought it was challenging in some aspects it was also very rewarding.
For the research component of the formal report, there were two ways: primary research and secondary research. Secondary research included sources such as articles, scholarly reviews, websites, statistics etc. and primary research, which was the main focus of the research component, included interviews as well as surveys. I found it easier to start with secondary research and have background knowledge before moving onto the primary research. Online sources were also simpler in the sense that as much time needed could be taken to go through a topic thoroughly as well as there being many sources to compare and contrast with. However, more specific questions that came with the research relied upon the interviews for direct knowledge. I learned, through this part of the assignment, especially how to navigate the process of setting up and going through with an interview. For example, scrapping questions, rewording them, exploring some more than others and such. This included the survey as well where I needed to reduce the number of questions for consideration of time and because I did not consider it in advance, needed to wait for the results for a longer period. It showed me other challenges in conducting interviews and surveys such as setting up mutual times of availability, especially in a busy season or time.
Sitting down and organizing the report was enjoyable because it was a time to gather all the information and put them together in a hopefully clear and logical way. After organizing, it was clear where parts still needed more information or analysis and this narrowed down the goals. Another challenging aspect was writing the report utilizing the right language. The Instructor’s Blog contained the Four Main Common Errors: writing with a negative tone, demanding tone, using unnecessary pronouns and information the reader already knows. I found it difficult to apply the last one especially but it showed the error in how I make the mistake of writing excess information at times. Though it was challenging to keep in mind these helpful pointers, while revising for the final draft of the report I hope to be able to reduce any and all of the areas in the report that can be changed. This also includes applying the YOU-attitude and I believe the more practice there is, the more natural these attitudes will become.
Peer reviewing was enjoyable and my partner’s report was insightful, being thoroughly researched. Again, I referred to the new posts on the Instructor’s Blog when reviewing as well as Unit Two’s posts. Utilizing the proper language in different situations is something that there have been many opportunities to practice. It felt much more comfortable writing a peer review this time and hopefully, there has been an improvement from my first peer review. I also tried to be as detailed as possible when reviewing, considering all of the questions in the checklist provided for us. It was a process of going back and forth between the report, checklist, and written review constantly editing and multiple times. This process showed me how I need to seriously review my own work. My partner’s writing style is very concise and clean and something to learn from. Each unit has shown something to be improved on and in this unit especially, is editing for me. Going forward, I will thoroughly review my draft section by section, applying the checklist provided in Unit 3:3 and going through the posts on the Instructor’s Blog.
In Unit 2, we learned about many new forms of technical writing such as formal reports, profile writing and outlines with the guidance of the textbook and Dr. Paterson.
When researching LinkedIn practices, the process highlighted how the platform is able to be used in depth to connect and network. I had created a profile prior to the assignment of setting a LinkedIn profile up, however had not fully explored the many options or expanded beyond the very basics neither did I think about how to create compelling profile as much. The research component for professional networking on LinkedIn immediately changed how I viewed the profile making process which had a direct effect on my profile. For example, many articles and suggestions from teammates suggested the skills section include a combination of hard and soft/professional and interpersonal skills. Other practices, such as developing a profile centred around highlighting career objectives, including passions, made it clearer on what experiences to include and also how to write these sections.
The Formal Report Proposal was a trying process but learning. The guidance of the Formal Report Topics handout and explanation provided in Unit 2:1 by Dr. Paterson was especially helpful in understanding what kind of topics were appropriate or could be expanded upon through the primary source of research- interviews and surveys. In the past, I was very focused on paper research and having to conduct interviews and surveys, the topics seemed to narrow. However instead, the ability to choose any topic meant a new freedom that was daunting as it was new but exciting. There were many questions such as audience, purpose and possibility to consider and connect together and it was a long process of scraping ideas, deleting and editing. Coming up with a topic as well as fully expanding on the “proposed solution” aspect were some of the hardest parts of the process for me. However, I am excited to continue with the next steps. I have also enjoyed reading about the introduction to interviews and surveys on the Instructor’s Blog. The guidelines and examples especially have been very eye opening when creating the different questions between interviews and surveys.
The peer review of the Formal Report was valuable. To receive feedback from new perspectives showed various methods in reviewing work and areas to focus on that I would have overlooked. Peer reviewing work has not been something I have experienced much however have enjoyed throughout the course as it allows a chance to read other people’s work and for other’s feedback and suggestions. My peer review partner suggested adding much more specific or relevant information which was very helpful. One of the main things in technical writing that I am currently learning and developing is the inclusion of details, details and more details. From something seemingly more casual such as building a LinkedIn profile to Formal Report Proposals and Outlines, much of the processes require clear communication. Through the peer reviewing process as well as the Instructor’s Blog, I have been able to realize this and hope to improve going forward.
The first unit was an informative introduction to technical writing. Many basics and important areas were covered from professional emails to resumes and letters. There were many opportunities to apply what was learned and was very grateful for the feedback.
The guidance from the instructions on what to read and do helped a lot for the assignment of writing definitions. In particular, it was interesting to read about “Audience and Purpose.” This was because I was used to writing for a particular audience and through this assignment, earned to be more mindful of writing for other audiences. It encouraged open mindedness as well as exploration of perspectives. From this I learned how to more clearly communicate with multiple audiences by considering who the writing is for as well as why. By practicing doing so, it really highlighted the main points of what I needed to focus on writing about. In turn, doing so hopefully was better reflected in the clarity of the assignment.
When choosing which methods of expansion to use, it was a bit difficult. This was partly because of how many options there were but also, the methods brought to light how some words could be discussed at length as a separate concept. It challenged me to think critically about which methods would be most effective in conveying a meaning depending on the situation. For this definition I wanted to provide as much context necessary to give substance to the word “catharsis” but did not want to overwhelm an audience with text.
When peer reviewing, the peer review form provided by Dr. Paterson was guidance in learning how to review as well as which areas to focus on. It brought more attention to how work is reviewed and aspects that can be missed but are important. My partner had written on a financial term and I appreciated her clarity as well as organization. I found my teammate’s writing to be concise and to the point. It taught a different style of writing that communicated effectively.
It was thanks to my partner’s peer review I was able to make some changes to better communicate the definition. Though I kept in mind audience and purpose, many areas still needed clarification. For example, some of the words used in the method of expansion “History” could have caused more questions in an audience of “non-technical readers.” The suggestions also prompted me to revise the structure of the piece. To break up heavy text, bullet points were used as well as applying the feedback to separate “Visual/Example” into their two respective methods of expansion. Doing so allowed more room in between and for information as well as ideas to not become tangled. I learned, editing a piece requires more focus. I needed to ensure that when writing, enough information is covered and conveyed in a clear manner so a reader may have an easier time digesting the piece. This can apply to any form of writing as well as in any situation. I am thankful for my peer review partner’s straightforward, honest and detailed insight.