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Ssk12 Assisgnment

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Submitted By frantelle
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Log Section 1 - Two reflective entries

Reflective entry 1: New Beginnings

Deciding to attend university as a mature age student was a decision I did not take lightly. I am working towards furthering my education in order to gain the necessary qualifications that will help me in my future business endeavour.

I have found that after so long out of the education system it has been a difficult transition juggling study and work. The first units that were chosen for me in study period 2, I thought were difficult to understand having never written an essay before and without the knowledge or know how, I was not able to complete these units.

SSK12 has given me a good understanding of what it takes at becoming a university student and in particular the skills on writing essays. As I have mentioned previously up until study period 2, I had never written an essay and did not fully comprehend how important the set out of a university essay was.

Choosing an Essay Question was an important part of my learning in week 6 because this has now given me the beginning step in writing a university essay using the correct format. I am feeling a lot more confident when approaching the subject of essays as I now understand and have the knowledge on the procedure in completing an academic essay and what is required. I now know that by firstly choosing a question will then help you to with your thesis and this in turn will give you your main idea and sets the way in which to write your essay.

During the time that I was employed by the government it was necessary for me to constantly refer to certain policies and procedures on a daily basis. I was able to use the marking text system to allow me easy reference by indicated the pages with tabs and then within the contents I would use a highlighter or make notes on the side of the page. I am currently using this system in my university studies however I believe that I can improve and refine these skills when using them on my own essay writing to ensure that I have written a coherent essay.

Reflective entry 2: University Studies up until now.

I find myself looking back over past ten weeks and admiring the achievements that I have accomplished. Feeling very apprehensive at the beginning I did not believe that I would be able to continue my studies having not been a student for a long period of time. Not knowing what to expect or what I would be required to do.

I must admit that study period 2 was when I commenced my studies and was unable to complete these units with confidence because they were far beyond my comprehension at the time. The units that were chosen for me where, what I believed, not suitable for a new student to university. SSK12 should be the first unit all first time university students undertake.

This unit has given me the confidence and the knowledge on how to be an independent learner at a university level and has expanded my personal world view. I can look at people’s views from both sides and have an unbiased opinion but I do know that I have only just scratched the surface and that I have so much more to do and learn. At this point I am happy with a “Pass” but as I gain more confidence and experience I believe that I will be capable of receiving much higher grades.

I am looking forward to my studies in the future and receiving my undergraduate degree in Internet Communications.

Log Section 2 - Five learning skills exercises:

A Learning Companion - Exercise 21

Understanding the nature of university essays

Submit only the following:

In your Learning Log address the section in the box on page 238.

Exercise 21: Understanding the nature of university essays.

I am a mature age student and until I commenced university studies in study period 2, I had never written an essay. Because of my lack of knowledge on university essay writing my first essay was of a very poor standard, however, I was surprised that I did received a pass mark for my efforts.

The essay that I wrote in study period two was a 1000 words and the topic was “using the internet in everyday life”. I did not analyse or ask questions about this topic so in actual fact I did not really understand the way in which to approach this essay. Nor did I write a thesis that clearly outlined my argument or stated what my main points were going to be, therefore there was no clear direction for my essay to go.

Because my thesis was not clearly defined, the main body of the essay was also not clear. I failed to include topic sentences which would have developed my argument and outlined the main points. My paragraphs did not link together and they did not give any logical support to my argument.

My conclusion was a summary of what I had written however it did not properly sum up my argument or give an appropriate amount of evidence to support that. It was a brief overview of my work.

The skills that I need to develop and refine for my upcoming essays is firstly analyse the topic and ensure that I understand what the requirements are. To have a thesis that outlines the purpose, after all this set’s up what the rest of the essay is going to be about. I believe that SSK12 is the first unit that all first year university students should undertake because this gives you an idea of what is expected from you as a student and how to prepare your studies.


A Learning Companion - Exercise 23

Choosing an essay question

Submit only the following:

Using the diagram on page 269 as a model, show your process of choosing your essay question 

(simply use Microsft Word using text boxes or shapes).

This exercise has helped me to understand the process needed to analyse a topic and why this is important. By using the topics given for Essay 2, I was able to determine which one I had more knowledge about and which one I had more interest in. I could then break down the topics and identify a number of parts such as what references to use and what my main ideas were. From this I was able to choose the essay question I was going to use.

This has given me the confidence and knowledge of how to commence writing an essay beginning with how to arrive at a topic question which I believe is the basis for writing your essay around. I could have been better prepared in the few essays that I have previously written if I had completed this unit first and known how to approach each topic.

A Learning Companion - Exercise 17

Notemaking from reading

Submit only the following:

In your Learning Log address the section in the box on page 146.

This activity shows us a system of ‘marking up’ and takings notes to highlight and identify the thesis and its supporting reasons. You can also use it to differentiate between your own interests, reflections and key ideas. It gives more extent to the skills of making linear and non-linear notes.

I have used a number of different ways in ‘marking up’ and taking notes in both my personal and professional fields. Underlining and highlighting main points that I would need to refer back to frequently, I find to be an easy and convenient way to make these points prominent when needing them as quick reference and also using different coloured highlighters help distinguish between similar topics.

Another system that I have used in the past and continue to use now to ‘mark up’ text is to use asterisks at the side of each point of interest. This is what I am currently using in my studies for SSK12 to indicate what I believe to be a major point to help me further in becoming an independent learner. To locate the pages that I have ‘marked up’, I use yellow sticky notes to indicate where I need to refer back to.

Reflection: Although I already mark my notes, this exercise has highlighted how important this skill is and I will continue to use this as part of my university studies. It has also shown me other techniques I will put into place that will help me to improve on my essay skills one of which is to use headings and sub headings to provide a framework for information (Marshall, 2006 P144).

Lorraine Marshall (2006), A Leaning Companion, Your guide to practising independent learning. Frenchs Forest (NSW): Pearson Education Australia.

A Learning Companion - Exercise 26

Writing the first draft

Submit only the following:

In your Learning Log address the five sections in the box on page 298.

Activity 1: The essay writing process

The approach I use for writing essays is as follows: 1. I determine the topic as chosen by the tutor and ensure that I understand what the requirements are. 2. Establish a thesis in which to base my essay on 3. Brainstorm what I already know and what I need to research 4. Research using the internet and highlighting any readings that contain important information that will support my essay 5. Make a note of all the references I use 6. Write my first draft 7. Continue to find other sources of information 8. Get study partner to read draft 9. Complete final copy and sent to Turnitin 10. When satisfied, submit essay and wait patiently for results.

Reflection: The process in which I approach writing essays needs to be refined as I have discovered by completing this activity. I can see that there is a lot more I can do to improve on my essay writing and by using the circular model this is certainly going to help me. I will be putting a lot more thought into how I develop my essays in the future using this creative process.

Activity 2: Assessing progress

As I work through writing my second essay for SSK12, I have noticed that my structure is not the same as the circular model I learnt in exercise 23. I have created my thesis by working through the “choosing an essay question” model and had drafted my introduction paragraph instead of following the circular model. After I had established what my thesis was, I began to research for information and then I commenced writing the body of the essay. I affirm that by neglecting to plan correctly for my essay I am finding it difficult to construct a logical argument to suit my thesis.

By choosing to complete this activity during this stage of my essay writing, it has given me the opportunity to go back and follow the circular model more closely by planning and researching more before I commence writing again.

Reflection: This activity has been a great source of information in the process of writing a university essay. It has shown me how important it is to have a number of drafts and that planning is something that is needed in order for an essay to flow in a logical way. The circular model is definitely a process that I feel is going to be a great benefit to me in my future writings.

Activity 3: The argument and structure of essays

The thesis or conclusion:
One advantage that I have found while completing this activity is to be able to discuss the best way in which to create a thesis for my essay, with my study partner.
As I am currently working in China I do not have the same easy access to other students doing this unit as those who live in Australia, however, I do have the benefit of my husband completing the same unit. During our discussions we both agree that creating a thesis for university essays is potentially harder than writing the body of the essay.

I have a need to understand more about the process of creating an essay thesis that I can logically prove in the body of the essays I am writing. Once I master this skill I am confident I will be able to write essays and consistently obtain high grades. I have found that writing a conclusion is one of the simplest parts of an essay as long as I have logically presented my thesis to the reader.

The premises or reasons to be covered that support your thesis:
After reading the three topics nominated in this unit for Essay 2, I have decided to choose topic number three. I have just completed discussing with my study partner the choices we made and why I chose this topic, however, although we have both chosen a different topic our reasons appear to be the same. By discussing these topics, I decided I had more knowledge and my world view related to the third topic more than the other two. I believe the knowledge I have gained from the readings that are available on this subject will benefit me as I create my argument for this essay.

The organisation/structure or order of your premises or reasons:
Prior to studying SSK12 and the text books for this unit, my first two attempts at writing a university standard essay in SP2 followed no structure or organisation that allowed my tutor to give me more than just a pass grade. Without the structure that I have now learnt through this unit my essays followed no logical pattern or conclusion.

I believe that the essay I am currently writing will be of a higher standard because I have now learnt to organise my thoughts and my paragraphs within the essay to create a logical sequence for the reader to follow. Commencing with my short thesis statement followed by the introduction I know that the body of the essay will lead the reader in the direction of my thesis argument. I am aware that I still need to learn more about this subject but I am determined to become a competent university essay writer.

This activity has shown me that by getting construction criticism from a study partner and brainstorming can be of a great benefit. The argument can sometimes get lost and the structure can become unorganised however, a study partner can see things from a different perspective and give you suggestions for improvement.

Activity 4: The importance of writing to you

Do you like to write? To be honest, I really do not like to write. I become frustrated when I get stuck with what to write next and become distracted and lose my train of thought. I find writing to be a little difficult at times and I would rather read what someone else has written.

Does writing come easily to you? Writing is not something that I can do easily. I have plenty of thoughts and ideas running through my head, however when I am going to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, my mind goes blank and all the thoughts I previously had disappear. I find myself starting with one thing then changing my mind half way through and then discover that it doesn’t fit in and does not make sense.

What do you write? The main things that I write nowadays are emails to family and friends, lessons, and lesson plans for my classes. I also add to the discussion board on the weekly topics given by the tutor. I communicate through the Chinese messaging system of QQ to my students and/or teachers. On the odd occasion I will write a letter but this is mainly for business and I also chat on facebook. Since I have commenced my university studies I can now add essays onto this list.

Who reads your writing? My study partner reads my essays to give me some suggestions and feedback and also my tutor reads my essays. The tutor and other students read any comments that I have posted on the discussion board.

Reflection: I know that I need to complete numerous amounts of essays on many different topics during the time that I am studying at university and I need to improve on my writing skills. This exercise has shown that by using the technique of free writing and letting your ideas flow from the brain to the pen and to continue writing it helps to capture your thoughts naturally. This is one technique that is going to help me in my future writing essays.

Activity 5: Strategies to improve writing

My current skill level for writing is of a lower standard than is required at this point in my university studies. I need to create a number of new strategies that will assist me in becoming a more skilful essay writer one of which I believe should include writing more often about topics that I have minimal knowledge about. Free writing is a strategy that will help me improve my skills by writing as many words as I can on a topic, then research that topic and then do a rewrite. Once I am satisfied with what I have produced I will ask my study partner to proof read and then I will practice my editing skills.

In addition to writing more often another strategy that I will improve on is the ability to complete a thorough research on the chosen topics. To this point I only conduct a minimal search so in my future studies I will utilise the university libraries more, the internet and also defining my word searches as I learnt in the Lite modules.

Reflection: This activity has highlighted areas in which I need to become more competent at in order to produce a university essay to a high standard. I now have new strategies to apply when I commence my essays and I am confident that when I follow these I will be able to present a quality essay.

Exercise 27

Editing the first draft

Submit only the following:

In your Learning Log address the sections in the box on page 310.

Activity 1: Evaluate essay writing skills

When it comes to my essay writing skills I have to say that at this time they are of a low standard. The main area that I find very challenging is writing the thesis statement and the introduction, these areas I need to improve on immensely in order to achieve a high grade. The research is also another area that I need to improve on to become proficient in choosing the right resources to use. I don’t have any problems in finding different websites however I do need to be able to refine my search so I only have a minimal amount to choose from.

I am able to confidently look at my final draft and also my study partners and carefully check the grammar, spelling and know if it requires a word change. As I continue my studies, the need to improve my essay writing skills will be evident, but I am confident with the time and practice this will become apparent in the work I produce.

Reflection: With the use of Marshall (2006) I have gained many techniques and skills which I will use to help with not only my essay writing but also my university learning. I believe that as I progress through my studies, I will be able to produce essays that will be of an academic level and worthy of a high grade.

Question for the tutor:
Can you recommend other text books or other readings that will assist with my learning how to write a thesis?

Lorraine Marshall (2006), A Leaning Companion, Your guide to practising independent learning. Frenchs Forest (NSW): Pearson Education Australia

Log Section 3 - (Two reading reviews)

Reading review 1:
This reading review must include:

- full citation details (in Chicago referencing styles, as used in a reference list);
- the thesis
- the main supporting points in the reading;
- a reflective and critical comment on the reading.

What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College?

Bizzell suggests that basic writers are noticeable in the college community due to their lack of preparedness for this life. She continues on to discuss three major points of what happens when a basic writer enters college.

The first approach that Bizzell discusses is the large gap between the Standard English and a person’s home dialect. She further states “these students feel that if only they could learn to write grammatically their problems would be solved” (Bizzell, 1986 p294). Some would agree with this and believe that it is required to become part of the college community. While others, like James Sledd, have argued that the basic writer should be given the “option of learning Standard English, if they so desire, or writing and speaking in school in their home dialects”.

She discusses as the second approach, a basic writer is confronted with a difference in the dialogue. They are unfamiliar with the way writings will be accepted in an academic community and use what they are familiar with. By writing in the way they are familiar with they discover this will not win “academic arguments” and as Bizzell explains “Basic writers will be puzzled at the unenthusiastic reception afforded such papers by their teachers, especially if they have managed to write them in Standard English” (Bizzell, 1986 p295).

Bizzell’s third approach is the way a basic writing is thinking. When first entering college they feel that they do not have the knowledge or understanding and believe that they are “too dumb for college”. This is a thinking problem and as the student loses confidence they believe they don’t have a writing problem they have a problem understanding what the teacher wants. The author goes on to explain that these problems with the basic writers can be corrected through the adjustment to our world views from culture to academic.

This paper goes on to explain that when the student enters higher education they enter an academic community and this is “a community united almost entirely by its language” and is a dialect known as Standard English that constitutes the academic communities world view. When a basic writer enters university they arrive with a cultural world view not a language based view and they need to learn new skills in order to succeed in an academic community.

The reading introduces the importance of combining the basic writers cultural view and with the learned academic view discusses what is at stake for the basic writer in learning these new skills but as Bizzell concludes, “ basic writers have more to lose in modifying their earlier world views. But precisely because of the hegemonic power of the academic world view, my hypothesis is that they will also find its acquisition well worth the risks.” (Bizzell, 1986 p301).

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986. What happens when basic writers come to college? College Composition and Communication. 37(3).

Reading review 2:

This reading review must include:

- full citation details (in Chicago referencing styles, as used in a reference list);
- the thesis
- the main supporting points in the reading;
- a reflective and critical comment on the reading.

Reading Review 2 - Karen Warren: The critical self

Craig (1994) states “To be critical in your thinking or arguing means that you question the phenomenon of study rather than simply accept and repeat the facts”. I found when reading Warrens The critical self, the author goes on to explain the relationship between critical thinking and the critical thinking self and this is also extended into how a student learning can develop when they encompass this critical thinking process and the benefits they receive from it.

Warren commences this reading by introducing how she became involved with teaching critical thinking skills as she discussed when she was teaching students at the University of Massachusetts. She found “They were unable to articulate Plato's argument because they lacked the critical thinking skills necessary to do so, for example, the skill of recognising and formulating an argument (or, identifying the premises and conclusion of a passage).” (K. Warren, 1995) With this realisation she commenced her lifetime of teaching critical thinking to students of all ages.

Further into this reading Warren expands on Craig’s definition by stating that, “critical thinking is both necessary and vital to learning itself, no matter what the age of the learner”. As critical thinking holds the key to a student’s future learning and ability to write critical essays, this reading goes on to explore the relationship between critical thinking and reflective thinking. As discussed by the author his process involves the use of ‘the 3 C’s’ which are critical thinking, creative thinking and content knowledge. Each of these involves different skills that when combined together create an overlapping thought pattern. Warren demonstrates this as “Taken together, critical thinking involves correctness, creating thinking involves richness and novelty, and content knowledge provides the relevant subject matters. They are all involved in reflective thinking, or the reflective self.” (K. Warren 1995)

The reading shows the link between the nature of critical thinking and critical self by introducing what is traditionally accepted as the difference between human and non human and that is the ability of rational thinking, “rationality has been not only the hallmark of what distinguishes humans from non humans, but also what has made humans superior to non humans.” (K Warren, 1995). The importance of being able to think rationally means we also have the ability to think critically which in turn is critical thinking self.

Once Warren had established the link between the critical thinking thought to the rational self she goes on to discuss the importance of critical self to the learner, “to engage the critical self is to realize one's full human potential as a learner” and this established for me the need for a student to learn the skills of critical thinking as early as they can in their university life.

In conclusion I believe Warren has been successful in showing the need for a student to develop the skills of critical thinking and in turn combined this with the thinking of critical self. Warren articulated this extremely well in her conclusion by arguing “The personal growth rewards are immense, the increased ability to process information about oneself and one's world are intensified, and the learning process itself takes on a whole new 'alive' dimension. After all, if part of what it is to be actualized humans is to be self-reflective critical selves, we cannot realize our full human potentials unless we do”. ( K.Warren, 1995)


Craig, A.P. et al. 1994. Conceptual Dictionary. Kenwyn, South Africa: Juta, University of Natal.

Warren Karen.1995.’ The critical self’. Perth: Murdoch University

Special Interests:
World view as a mature age student and an International Student

What do you know already?
My view as a mature aged student
View of international students living in Australia
View of international students living in China
Difficulties faced when at university

What sources of information are available
Own experience
Google Scholar
SSK readings
Murdoch Library
Curtin Library

Why are you interested in this question?
Can you develop an argument within the question that is relevant to the unit you are studying?
Can you find sources and collect date within the given time limits?
Are you already biased about the “answer” to this question?
Do you have access to different sides of the question?

Is the world view of a university student an advantage or a disadvantage?

How does the world view of a mature age student/international student effect their learning?
What difficulties are faced at university by mature age/international students?
Is the world view of a university student an advantage or disadvantage?

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