Self Assessment for English 21007
Writing for Engineers, English 21007, is a class designed for learning the writing skills necessary to an engineer in their profession. In the class I was tasked to write a self introduction, memo, technical description, lab, and proposal. Previously my writing skills have been used for non technical papers in classes such as English or history, so English 21007 taught me many essential skills for technical papers. In this paper I will address my experience in the class, writing the papers, my writing process, share my opinions on what I believe my strengths are, and what skills need to improve for the future.
My process for starting most papers are similar to my experience in writing papers for my history and english classes. I first start by looking at the structure and the purpose of the paper. I would ask myself questions like, is this paper persuasive in nature, is it a creative paper, or maybe analytical? In a historical paper, I might want to convince or prove a particular hypothesis using historical facts. In a creative paper, I might have more leeway to write whatever I want. This is the step where I find the purpose of the paper and the structure. The introduction was more of a creative paper where I wrote about myself, my reason for choosing an engineering profession, and my future goals. I did the same analysis for the other papers, where I analyzed the purpose and structure of the papers. This also includes understanding your audience, the language, and vocabulary used in the paper. Reading the sample on blackboard helps a lot in this step. Afterwards I brainstorm topics for the paper. This process can be very flexible. I might think of something while walking to school, or on the line for something. Sometimes I will just write different ideas in my notebook. I finish this process when I narrow my options down to one idea. This can take a couple of minutes or a couple of days. In my introduction paper, most of the ideas I was going to use for the paper took less than ten minutes to come up with. However, coming up with the Bialetti Moka Pot for the technical description paper, and the Food Spoilage Detection System Proposal took a couple of days of brainstorming. These first steps are really enjoyable and I usually have fun doing it.
The next step depends on the type of paper. For regular papers, the next step would be to begin the actual writing process, but for more technical papers the next step is to research sources. In class, we had a day where we were reminded of how to search up different sources on the the CCNY Library Database, and this helped a lot because at that point, it had been a while since I used the database. To be honest, this is one of the steps I dislike the most. It is frustrating and time consuming to search through the sometimes hundreds of files, or to narrow the search to your specific topic. In this step, I just keep changing the search words until I find documents that might seem useful for my topic. Afterwards I have to read and interpret the dense information needed for my paper. Next plan where I intend to use these sources and for what purpose. For example in the lab report I used the sources to verify what I was saying and make myself more credible. These steps were how I found my sources for the Proposal paper and the Density Lab Report.
Next comes one of my favorite parts of the writing process, which is the actual writing. With my general outline in place, I start by free writing in each section of my paper. I think free writing works best because otherwise, I might get caught up in writing perfectly which stresses me out. Even though I am free writing, I am still following the format of my outline so that my paper remains organized and logical. Throughout the writing process, I am constantly correcting my paper and polishing it. Once the paper is written, I read the paper to make sure its to the point, logical, and that it has flow. I trim the information that is not necessary, and make sure that the reader can follow the arguments, understand the layout of the paper, and the arguments. After that, I review the paper and polish until it is complete.
In my opinion when in comes my strengths in writing, I think they lie in my organization, logic, and flow of my paper produced by my system of writing. I think this is true since my professor gave similar comments on my submissions. My Professor commented, “You wrote a very good memo that was well organized “ in my memo. She also stated “Your lab report was clear and logically presented” in my group lab report. However, I do have many weaknesses I need to work on. Most of my issues are from the formats of the papers. Things such as making citations, references of illustrations, index, headers, title pages and so on. To be honest, I really dislike this part. I understand the importance of the format of the paper and citation, but I find it really confusing and tedious. My professor’s comments verifies my weakness in the layout of the paper. She commented on my group lab paper stating, “there were a few errors in referencing your Figures and your Appendices.”, and “In the future pay attention to formatting and visual placement. You also need to refer to your Figures and not just add “see below.”” in my technical description paper. However, I feel that I improved in the time between the technical description paper and the lab report. The issue I had with the technical paper, was that I did not start working on the citation format until after I completed the rest of the paper. If I would of started the format first, I would of gotten more feedback for it and been less confused. Also I learned from the mistakes of the technical paper and applied these lessons to the lab report.
Another large aspect of the class was working in groups. For my lab report, proposal, and presentation I had to work in a group. In the past I have worked in groups before, but this is the first time I was in the same team for more that one project. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and felt a camaraderie with my group. It was great that we can delegate tasks to each other and focus our attentions on our strength. For example in the Lab report I worked on the Introduction, results and conclusion, while my other group members did the layout, charts, procedures. It was great since I really do not like formating the essay or the reference page. I could focus on what I liked, which is the actual content of the paper and even ask for suggestions and opinions. Also if I had any questions for the citations, I could ask one of my group mates. I learned the importance of communication and to keeping a schedule. We used a Whatsapp group chat to schedule dates to work on the projects, and communicate. Our lab report and proposal were made on a shared google doc that allowed us to know what each of us was doing, and made the process more efficient. This was the first class I used a shared document and it will not be the last.
Overall, during the class I believe that most the important lessons I learned were the skills for working in teams, how to look up sources in the database, the format and layouts/structure for memos, technical descriptions, lab reports and proposals. These are all skills that I can see myself using in the future as a data scientist or programmer. My favorite paper I submitted was the technical description paper, since I got to write about something I liked and owned, the Bialetti Moka Pot. However I enjoyed writing all the papers and the writing process for the most part, except for the reference pages and citations, but the overall process was fulfilling at the end. My future goal is to work on the citation and paper format to improve my writing for the profession world.