Category Archives: Reflections

Final reflection – Final words

Dear Reader,

As the course has ended I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and suggestions about ENGL 301 course. This class opened a whole new previously vague system of professional communication, the importance of social networks in professional networking and unrevealed importance   of effective cooperation in a team. With effective guidelines from Professor and meaningful feedback throughout the course from my writing team colleagues I significantly improved my skills in technical communication.

The most significant piece of my work during the course is a formal report, at the same time it was the most difficult assignment to handle. After brainstorming and tips from Dr. Paterson,  I chose to make a report on improving mental health and wellness among graduate students at the BC Cancer Research Center. I should admit that  I had some difficulties looking for the topic of the report and during creating survey and interview questions. However, the assignments for creating report outline and report progress made writing much easier and optimized. Additionally, I also should say that this course was challenging as I have not had a previous strong background and experience of writing in professional language. Therefore, preparing some of the work took me more time and efforts then I expected, but the feeling of pleasure after submitting counterbalanced all previous struggles.

Although the course was strenuous, one of the rewarding features in the class is the possibility of multi-sided edditing. Peer reviewing done by writing team members and the final professor`s suggestions helped me to understand what aspects in my writing I should improve. One of them is reader-centered writing with avoiding imperatives and significant role in its refining has played the YOU-attitude guideline. Another aspect that I improved throughout the course is reducing the number of unnecessary pronouns in texts. I overused them at the beginning of the course, but significantly eliminated pronouns in final assignments.

After the course, I feel more confident writing professional emails and memorandums. These documents are crucial components of day-to-day communication at the workplace. Also, peer-reviewing is another key aspect that I have refined through the course and which I will use frequently in my future career. Nevertheless, I still need to work on expressions and practicing my professional language as I unpleasantly often used awkward phrases. This habit is the thing that I would like to exclude from my writing as soon as possible, and the course initiated and notably assisted me to express more definitely.

Overall, I could not imagine how beneficial ENGL 301 would be for my professional progress and how it facilitated my communication with colleagues. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Pr. Paterson and my writing team members for fruitful collaborations and input that you brought to my progress.

Have a splendid holiday season and a joyful 2020 year!


Unit 4. Showcase your progress

Dear Reader,

As the main assignment of Unit 4, I created Web folio that contains almost all the materials prepared throughout the course as well as some additional resources that introduce my progress during ENGL 301. One more additional function of the created Web folio is to represent my works, which include application package for prospective employees. The short time-frame for this assignment was the main challenging, as creating Web folio demanded attention, a bit of creativity to present your qualifications for readers in the best way.

Before ENGL 301 I have not worked much with on-line resources for job searching and definitely never prepared electronic portfolio such as Web folio. I chose to convert the previously created UBC blog page into Web folio. For this were organized additional headers and folds that contain my resume, link to LinkedIn page, application package. Organization of Web folio took me more time and effort than I expected. One possible reason for this is a big amount of information that I included in Web folio, and the second reason is that I just started to work with an electronic portfolio. Nevertheless, performing this assignment was quite enthusiastic and informative, as it opened me another way of showcasing my qualifications and skills.

Overall, as I realized during the process of creating and including materials into Web folio, it is a powerful and applicative tool for demonstrating scholar progress which I can use during the process of job application. I am strongly sure that I will add additional works to my Web Folio and expandit with new courses that I will take. Therefore, as many other assignments in the course creating Web folio is very beneficial, because of its practical side for using in future career development.

Unit 3 Reflections

Hello class,

As we are approaching the end of the course, assignments became more difficult to perform. Unit 3 was the most challenging unit for me so far. In this unit, the main assignment was writing the formal report, and I tried to prosper in it as the report has the biggest impact on the course score. Also, it was both challenging and intriguing to peer-review the formal report. One of the reason, is the size of the document, and the second reason is the responsibility to provide a thoughtful review for your team member.

Formal report

The formal report in a central assignment in the course and I was prepared that its value will mirror its difficulty. Gathering information for the report was the most profitable part of this assignment, as I established good connections, discovered all available resources that UBC provides for the students. However, I also discovered possible caveats in the mental health support and in the conclusion of the report I gave suggestions on how they can be eliminated.

I should say that forehand prepared report layout and progress report were great toolls for final writing and made this process much easier. I just needed to sit down at put all the data together. However, the most strenuous in this assignment was to find this free time, as at the same time an exam period started. So with a small delay, I accomplished the report, as I know that it will impact my groupmate`s schedule, who will be reviewing the report. But I should say, that Morgan and Ranjit, my writing team members, also faced some difficulties in writing their reports. Overall, I enjoyed wring the report and hope with Ranjit`s feedback I can make it even better to propose thoughtful recommendations on how to improve graduate students` mental health support. 


As was mentioned in previous reflections, peer-reviewing is also one of the crucial aspects of this course. YOU attitude (i.e., reader-centered writing) and recommendations from the instructor blog facilitated the peer review process. They also pointed me out on some mistakes that I did before reviewing works in the writing group. For this lesson, I reviewed Morgan`s formal report, which was titled “Analysis of Hour Allocation and Job Satisfaction at SW Event Technology”. I understood how important for proper allocation is important for job satisfaction and Morgan made interesting suggestions in the report which I think I also can use at my work. However, the most challenging in this peer review was the size of the report as you have to thoroughly read the report to provide your team member with meaningful feedback. I believe that Morgan will find my peer review helpful and it will alleviate her preparing a final version.

Overall, I enjoyed unit 3 and even it was challenging, I have to admit the assignment. I am looking forward to finishing the formal report and application package. As it is the last reflections in the course I would like to say that ENGL 301 helped me to refine technical communication skills and made clearer the work communication etiquette.

Thank you for reading my reflections,

Taras Shyp

Unit 2 Reflections

Hello class,

After the initial unit, we had a longer and more challenge Unit 2 with various assignments, which as I was fully convinced had plenty of practical implications. What I enjoyed during the unit, is the combination of various tasks: peer-reviewing, formal report planning and the most entertaining, creating/refining a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile

Having LinkedIn for more than a year, I never consider it as a potential tool for occupational opportunities and professional networking. LinkedIn was more as one of the social networks, which could steal priceless time. However, after reading the best LinkedIn practices from people in the course and refining the profile based on self LinkedIn best practices research have changed my view on this media. Especially effective was summarizing all recommendations from different people in class in one general picture how to use LinkedIn. Now I consider the LinkedIn profile is not just a social media, it is a resume of a current employee and each section of it characterizes different aspects of your personality for potential employers. Therefore, in creating a personal profile the most important was to include just crucial and precise information related to work/volunteer experience and keep LinkedIn profile as official as it is possible. I believe that the precept from this lesson helps to promote myself in the job market.


Formal report

One of the pivotal assignments of the whole course is preparing a formal report. Brainstorming for the topic of the report was the most challenging part. All further steps and final success depends on it, so I had some difficulties in deciding on the subject of the research. As firstly I choose a very broad subject for the report, without Dr. Paterson`s advice it would be troublesome to prosper in it. Eventually, I selected the topic intriguing for me and as I am expecting for classmates. Creating a report outline and report progress formed a clear scheme for effective use of time and efforts performing the report.  I am looking forward to getting the results of the survey and interview, as it is thrilling how the university administration and graduate students consider the impact of mental wellness on academic performance and career success. One precaution that I have is the possibility to engage enough graduate students in the survey, as everyone is engrossed with own projects and it is almost the exam period. I hope my expectations would be true and I succeed in preparing a pensive report with sufficient primary sources.



As the peer review is ongoing assignments through the whole course, I try to do my best to prosper in it. However, overusing personal pronouns in my writing is one of the most annoying things that I try to eradicate from the writing language. Moreover, a general deficiency of professional communication in English makes the course more demanding, as I must pay a great attention to grammar. But a key point in the peer review for me is staying in the frame of rational judgment while review the colleagues` work. It is become even more strenuous, as at the same time a reviewing process considers thoughtful feedback for your team writing member.

Overall, I enjoyed unit two and all task that I performed during it. I am looking forward to reading my writing team reports as their topics in entertainment and real estate spheres are new for me and I would be happy to expand knowledge in these fields.

Thank you for reading my reflections,

Taras Shyp.

Unit 1 Reflections

The final assignment of Unit One was to explain to a layperson a work-related term through understandable terminology. This assignment combines different styles of technical writing, specifically writing definitions, peer-reviewing of your writing group partner`s definitions and self-editing based on feedback from a writing groupmate.

As my field of interest is medicine and cancer research, I took a decision to describe the word “metastasis”. I created close to a real situation, where a teacher assistant of biology try to explain this term to college students. From the beginning, I expected that it would be pretty easy to define a word, which I operate on a daily basis. Creating a parenthetical and sentence definitions did not cause a problem, because I used to bring a general explanation of medical and biological terms to other people, using short simple sentences. A bigger problem was creating an expanded definition of metastasis, as here you need to make information accessible for a broader public and expand the amount of information. Medico-biological jargon is full of words with Greek and Latin origin, to understand and remember which is strenuous even for young students in related disciplines. The most arduous part of this assignment was finding appropriate synonyms and analogues for specialized terms. Sometimes it can manipulate the general meaning of definition, so I should be very careful, otherwise, it could cause a misunderstanding in a non-technical reader. To make this possible I choose a strategy, where I put myself in the place of my reader and tried to rephrase professional terms. This tactic helped me to use fewer jargonisms describing the term “metastasis” and bring information to a reader in useful and understandable focus.

The process of peer-reviewing was the second challenge for me, as I have not had this experience before. It was interesting to review an explanation of professional terms from another. My partner in a writing team, Precilla, choose the term “deferred revenue”, which is wide-used in accounting, but I have not met this word before. After a thorough reading of the term, I create a general picture of assessing a colleague`s work.  I tried to point out to Precilla on parts in her work that could be improved and make her definition easy-to-read for laypersons. Finally, peer-reviewing was a really entertaining part of this assignment as you need to combine tactful criticism with encouraging tone of your feedback.

The last part of the assignment was revising the definition after colleague`s reviewing. I always try to improve my weak sides in each sphere, so it was beneficial for me to read a peer review of my colleague, Precilla Huang, about my term. After obtaining feedback from her, I was pleased that she fully understood my definition. At the same time, she indicated the shortcomings in my work with rational recommendations on how to bring more clarity and meaningfulness to it. For instance, she mentioned about the utility of glossary for medical terms, as wells as reorganization of sentences in a more readable way. It is priceless to get profitable feedback from your collaborators during a writing process, as they always designate and evaluate the quality of your work from a different lens.

Overall, I pretty appreciate the variety of tasks in Unit One. Especially, beneficial was a peer review process, as I would use it widely during my research work. I hope future assignments help me to understand nuances of technical writing and improve it.


Link to my colleague`s review:

Link to my revised definition:

Revised definition:301 ENGL Taras Shyp Revised Definition

What is metastasis?

Parenthetical definition: Metastasis (metastatic disease or metastatic tumor) is the spread of tumor from one organ, where it was originate, to another body site.

Sentence definition: Metastasis the process of dissemination of cancer cells from its primary site to different, nearby or distant, parts of the body usually through blood or lymphatic systems, where malignant cells form a “new” secondary tumor.

Expanded definition: Metastasis is the movement of tumor cells from its initial location (primary tumor) to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, lymphatic system or by direct invasion into surrounded tissues, where malignant cells form a “new” secondary tumor. Metastatic tumor belongs to the same type of cancer as the original tumor. For example, if lung cancer spreads to the brain, the tumor cells in the brain are cells of  lung cancer, not brain cancer cells. Metastasis is considered one of the hallmarks of cancer (1) and at the same time, is the major contributor to the deaths of patients with cancer. For instance, in Canada cancer is the leading cause of death and prevails over other leading causes of death, such as heart and cerebrovascular (i.e. stroke) diseases.

The term metastasis was first mentioned in the 1580s from a conjugation of the Greek prefix “meta” (change, alteration) and “stasis” (an equilibrium condition).

The process of metastasis includes several steps, which is known as the invasion-metastasis cascade (see Figure 1). Firstly, to metastasize the group of malignant cells should acquire the ability to leave the primary site and move elsewhere to the distant body organs to form metastases. As was mentioned previously, for spreading cancer cells use two main pathways: the lymphatic pathway, which leads to the invasion of the lymph nodes (organs of lymphatic and immune systems, which act as filters for foreign particles, including cancer cells) closest to the organ where the tumor originated. The second route is the blood pathway, leading to the invasion of distant organs, mostly lung, bone, liver or brain. Circulating in blood or lymphatic system tumor cells evade the immune system through various mechanisms. The migration of tumor cells mostly unpredictable, but to invade cancer cells need to adhere to the wall of the blood vessel and then they migrate through it. Finally, getting into another tissue cancer cells start to grow and form a colony, which is the final phase in the malignant tumor progression (4). The treatment of metastatic tumors is the most challenging goal in modern oncology (the branch of medicine which studies cancer) and directs to prolong survival, maintain quality of patients` life and prevent other problems caused by metastasis.

Figure 1.  Illustration of the metastasis process. Accessed September 24, 2019.


Work cited list:

  1. Douglas Hanahan and Robert Weinberg. The hallmarks of cancer. Cell. 2000.
  2. Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019. Canadian Cancer Society. 20
  3. Danny Welch, Douglas Hurst. Definning the hallmarks of metastasis. Cancer Research. 2019.
  4. Arthur Lambert, Diwakar Pattabiraman and Robert Weinberg. Emerging Biological Principles of Metastasis. Cell. 2016.

301 Taras Shyp 3 Definitions

Team member email (3)

Subject: English 301 Writing Team

Date: Thursday, 20 September, 2019 at 10:37 a.m.



Dear Diane:

My name is Taras Shyp and I am a first-year Ph.D. student at the Department of Medicine at UBC and your classmate at the ENGL 301 course. After reviewing your application letter  I look forward to joining your professional writing team in the course.

I am impressed by a wide range of your activities which helped you to develop firm professional writing and communicative proficiencies. First of all, I have noticed that we both have working experience in the health industry, which helps people to develop preciseness and nicety in professional writing. After that, our similar collaborative skills will be a valuable tool for communication and teamwork during the course. Moreover, I appreciate your wish to value the contribution of each team-player, because it will facilitate the progress and improvement of the technical writing skills of each member of a group. I think we could create a prosperous writing team throughout the course by connecting our strengths in the technical style of writing.

I am looking forward to hearing from you shortly to start our cooperation in this advantageous writing course. See attached my letter of application for your reference.


Taras Shyp

301 Taras Shyp Application Letter

Team member email (2)

Subject: English 301 Writing Team

Date: Thursday, 20 September, 2019 at 3:37 p.m.



Attached: 301 Taras Shyp Application Letter


Dear Morgan:

My name is Taras Shyp and I am a first-year Ph.D. student at the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. I am writing you in regards to join your professional writing team during the course.

After reading of your application letter and other materials on the blog, I would like to propose you to co-create a writing team. I am pretty excited by all strengths that you described in the letter. Your experience in peer reviewing and helping people to express their ideas in a more concise and accurate way will be beneficial for our team. Moreover, your preciseness in work and capabilities to work with people from various fields will facilitate the advancement of our prospective team. Furthermore, I look forward to joining in a group with you, as your academic background would be beneficial for me during this course and in my work in the health sphere.  What I can bring to our teamwork is a strong communicative and networking tools to make our cooperation more beneficial and successful.  Also, my experience working in the heath care system will be a valuable superiority for our team.

I am looking forward to hearing from you shortly to start our collaboration in this advantageous writing course. I attached my letter of application for your reviewing and consideration of my candidature as a member of your team.


Taras Shyp

301 Taras Shyp Application Letter



Team Member Email (1)

Subject: English 301 Writing Team
Date: Thursday, 19 September, 2019 at 11:36 p.m

Dear Tarandeep:
I have a pleasure to review your application letter and now I am convinced that we can organize a
successful writing group for the English 301 course.
The main reason why I propose you to create the team, is that we both have medical background
and working experience in the health sphere. These common features will make our collaboration
more fruitful and prosperous. Furthermore, your professional writing skills in the scholarly area will
be a valuable tool for our team. Moreover, your industrious approach to work and thoroughness to
the details, as well as communication skills provide our future crew with broad benefits.
I am looking forward to hearing from you shortly to start our cooperation in this advantageous
writing course. See attached my letter of application for your reference.
Taras Shyp

301 Taras Shyp Application Letter


To: Erica Paterson (Instructor of ENGL 301 99A course)

From: Taras Shyp, Student of ENGL 301 99A course

Date: September 16, 2019

Subject: about posting Letter of Applicatiion


Dear Erica:

Thank you for instructing and guiding us through the course. I have just submitted and posted the letter of application in my blog to apply for a place in the technical writing team.

In the letter are included next positions:

  • My study and work experience
  • My strong points and shortcomings
  • My life and work philosophy

Please see attached my letter of application and do not hesitate to contact me if you will have any inquiries  or suggestions.


Taras Shyp

Enclosure: Application Letter

301 Taras Shyp Application Letter