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This opportunity for a wider audience has been key for my students in opening their work to critique from the class as a whole, rather than depending on me as the instructor to pass judgment on the final version. Although peer responding sessions and group projects give them a glimpse of varying reader responses to their work, I find that they still tend to fall back on my reactions as more central to revising strat- egies.
With the Web project, students seem to get a clearer sense that their peers are the final arbiters of effectiveness: the evaluation is no longer a private one between instructor and student. A Web project of this nature is necessarily complicated, and its success or failure is dependent on the focus of the course as a whole. It involves creating a Web document with some depth, a clear idea of purpose, and careful attention to the mechanics of buy essay writing organization and outlining to obtain the desired effect. Assessing themselves as writers and researchers is a difficult task for stu- dents. Unless they can become adept at self-conscious assessment of their writing, they will not have the necessary perspective for cohesive purpose. Successful completion of this assignment de- mands an awareness of the underpinnings of their writing process - 227 - SUPPORTING PRACTICES — identification of what they are doing right (and wrong) — and the ability to buy essay writing invent strategies to capitalize on their strengths as writers while minimizing or eliminating weaknesses. The homepage itself offers students a firsthand look buy essay writing at the benefits of outlining and organization. The index page should demonstrate a clear controlling purpose and be organized with an eye to guiding readers quickly and efficiently through the docu- ment. In short, the homepage should contain all of the same kinds of information, coherence, and documentation in the form of links to particular essays students have written as any well-conceived traditional essay. The object of the writingjs the same, but the medium forces the writer to look at the actual construction in novel ways.
This project requires some technological expertise on the part of both students and instructor. Creating a detailed Web page demands either a knowledge pf HTML coding, access to Web publishing software, or access to one of the newer word proces- sors.
Its format is nearly identi- cal to Word, and thus students who are fairly adept at using any word-processing program need only minimal instruction to use it. The project, from start to uploaded finish, takes about three weeks. The students spend the first two weeks planning and writ- ing and the last week critiquing, revising, and uploading to the WebCT course I set up at the beginning of the semester. The WebCT course tool allows them to publish their work but avoids privacy issues since only members of the class have access to the pages. The advantages become almost immediately obvious as the students use their ability to add backgrounds, graphics, and im- ages to customize their portfolios. One student in my class cre- ated a jungle safari theme and carried it through the pages of the document as a symbolic representation of her journey through - 228 - Reading the Writing Process on the Web the semester. Another chose a brick wall background to empha- size his attempt throughout his writing to build a solid founda- tion for each essay. In each case, the student had the opportunity to personalize her or his project to reflect personality and voice in novel ways.
A project of this nature can only work as the culmination of an overall semester-long commitment on the part of both instruc- tor and students to exploring writing as an individual process unique to each student and writing situation. I believe that what my students gain in terms of insight into their writing and its effect on readers more than compensates for a few mechanical difficulties that are rela- tively easy to overcome. I have constructed my own Web portfolio -229 - SUPPORTING PRACTICES along with students, focusing it on my controlling purpose for the course, which they also critique and compare with what they believed they have accomplished. In addition to whatever specific changes my students make to improve their writing, they gain a coherent vision of themselves as writers and a plan for future development beyond their first-year writing experience. Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives. Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process. AWP is a program designed specifically for first-year students who need additional attention to their writ- ing. The AWP classroom is designed to promote close interaction between students and instructors and therefore is capped at six- teen students. The University of Illinois is a Research I institution with a student population of approximately 37,000 (28,000 un- dergraduates and 9,000 graduate students). And as the university offers over 150 programs of study, the students I encounter represent help with research papers a wide range of edu- cational experiences and interests. Significantly, although they may come from very buy essay writing different communities and have very differ- ent academic experiences and goals, my students articulate the same feelings of insecurity about their abilities as writers. I structure every course I teach around portfolios in an effort to create a space in which writing is approached as a process and -235 - 261 TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT attention to revision is privileged. I believe this concept to be at the center of learning. In an effort to create a space in which students actively par- ticipate in the making of knowledge, I require students to con- tinually draft and revisit (revise) between five to seven three-page essays throughout the semester before submitting their writing portfolio for a final custom research paper service grade at the close of the semester. Students understand that the portfolio grade counts for 60 percent of their final course grades (with daily assignments and participation constituting the remaining 40 percent). I use the verb per- form here intentionally, because when we assess, I think, we of- ten feel least like ourselves. While most of us receive training in many areas of course design and assignment development and feel as though - 236 - Taking Out the Guesswork we are perhaps better prepared teachers as a result, the teachers with whom I work (from new graduate student instructors to tenured professors) continue to describe feelings of isolation, confusion, and even despair when talking about assessment prac- tices.