As part of our Unit 1, Activity 2 feedback, some of us were asked to share our papers to be resources for others. I’ve included my paper below, and would be happy to answer any questions about it.
Please note that there are a few formatting differences demanded by the blog environment. I included my name on the title line as we were not using title pages for this paper. Other formatting differences are as follows: this is missing a running head, page numbers (upper right-hand corner), hanging indent for the resources, and double spacing throughout (with no extra spacing between paragraphs). The image above was not included in the paper and would have had to be directly related to the content of the artcile and included using APA style as a figure (American Psychological Associaltion, 2010, p. 151)
Reflection on my Academic Writing to Date by Lisa A. Gates
After careful review of the Royal Roads Academic Writing resources (RRU Library, n.d., Paragraph Section), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2010), along with my own papers and instructor feedback to date, I believe that there are specific places I can make improvements in my academic writing practices. I will address three issues in this paper: recognition of the difference between information that is self-evident and that which needs to be backed up with citation, which pieces of my analysis can be deepened, and places in which I could be using American Psychological Association (APA) Style writing more effectively – specifically around punctuation in citation and references. The first two issues are quite complex, the third much less so.
In APA Style (American Psychological Association, 2010) it is expected that any idea that comes from reading another’s work should be correctly cited and included in the reference list (p. 169). At this time, I am sometimes unsure as to which pieces of information are necessary to be cited, and what might be considered self-evident. I am gaining understanding of context in this new (to me) Masters’ level student role. My background is in teaching and writing curriculum for online courses and digital work (including managing social media, working online in groups, blogging, website building, and more). This varied background has left me with a set of skills and opinions that I am unsure where they originated from – whether the opinions developed are through years of reading, through experience, or some combination of the two is occasionally difficult to discern. LRNT521 dealt with digital learning environments, the power and social constructs that occur within them, and how that interplays with the work of teaching and learning. While I learned a vast amount in that course (I’ll probably read Teaching Crowds [Anderson & Dron, 2014] twice more), there were ideas in it that were not new to me. Teasing out which ones I should be crediting to these authors that I’m becoming acquainted with and which ideas are accepted as part of the general understanding of this field is an ongoing challenge, one that I welcome more feedback about. At this time, my intention is that, if I find an idea in the literature that supports my work, I will cite
As I’m developing my understanding of academic writing, I struggle to see the places in which I might be able to deepen or broaden the exploration of some points. In an assignment writing about specific actions that I’ll be taking this fall to facilitate my own students’ meaning making through group activities (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 39), the feedback from the instructor of LRNT521 was: “Unpacking this a bit more would deepen this section and allow you to see and reflect on the actions you are undertaking” (E. Childs, personal communication, June 27, 2019). I believe it will take more experience with writing to understand which pieces need further development. Going forward, I will endeavor to choose a limited number of points to make in my writing and try to expand on each within the constraints of the assignment. My hope is that, with fewer points, each will be more relevant to the topic, allowing for greater discussion.
Gaining better facility with the mechanics of APA Style (2011) writing is going to take practice and reading. Referring to feedback from previous papers, I’ve learned some specific places in which my punctuation can be improved. For example, in one of the early assignments, I was consistently putting a period in the wrong place in my citations when they fell at the end of sentences. This was easy to fix once it was brought to my attention. It changed the way that I read the APA Style guide – now I read it slowly, with much more care. In order to improve my overall understanding of this style, I am currently reading a chapter a week of the physical book, along with looking up specific cases on an as-needed basis both in the book and online.
The first two tasks of improving my writing are quite complex in that they depend on the context, the topic, and my ongoing learning of the writing process to improve on. The learning of APA Style will be simpler, but a continuing task. I’ll endeavour to keep the strategies outlined above in mind as I move into new writing throughout the next two years.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01
APA Style. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2019, from https://apastyle.apa.org website: https://apastyle.apa.org/index
Paragraphs | RRU Library [University]. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2019, from Royal Roads University Writing Centre website: https://library.royalroads.ca/writing-centre/writing/structure/paragraphs