Eli's Portfolio

Cover Letter

I have chosen three works and my midterm to submit in my portfolio. I have chosen my Reflective annotated bibliography that I worked on with Peter and Daniel, my freebie assignment and a blog post from last semester. My midterm project was a mandatory addition to the portfolio but I chose the other three for specific reasons. The reflective annotated bibliography was brought to show my skills as a group worker. This is usually harder for writing assignments because between the dividing of work is hard to do for a writing piece. This is why skills of teamwork are very important and can be learned very well through collaborative writing. My next piece that I have submitted was my freebie assignment. I enjoyed immensely writing this piece because I got to be this snobby critic that focuses on the stupidest details of a movie and say why that made it so bad. It was a lot of fun and I think the writing piece I had the most fun with so I decided to add that to it. The last piece was a blog post from last semester to help demonstrate my progress that I have I gone through from the beginning of last semester all the way to the end of the school year. It has been a great learning experience this semester and I hope to learn the skill I have achieved in this class for the rest of my life. Enjoy the portfolio and have an excellent summer!

Midterm Project

Original Midterm

Original Midterm Project

Revision Proposal

The Audience

The audience I am going for are future doctors or people that plan on working as doctors. This would include premed majors in college or medical school students or even interns at hospitals since they too are still just starting getting into the career. I hope to target them so that they can learn further what type of career they are getting into and if they are suited for it. I also want to start them off in a them doing more research of their own into seeing if they like the medical profession.

Three Key Questions

Is conflict important to a discourse community?
How do Doctor’s use their passion of medicine while working?
Were my original ideas from the original midterm piece correct?

Writerly Challenges and Concrete Goals

Proving conflict and passion are necessary pieces of a working doctor’s community
I want to prove that my original assessment was correct. I am assuming that my analysis on the subjects will be different from what I originally believed since I am now using an actual doctor as a source. I still believe though that no matter what he says I can prove that these two things are necessary components to a discourse community. If I were to do this, it will be quite obvious to the reader because if I am unsuccessful I will have to admit it in the paper.
Using the interview I conducted affectively throughout the paper
The interview I conducted with the doctor is my pan as the basis of my paper. Basically using this information to top off my own analysis based off of my original research. I do not plan to use sources from the web. I want to just continue the discussion from my original draft using the interview as a main conduction of the ‘conversation’ about passion and conflict. If this occurs in my paper you will see at least a couple of actual quotes from the interview as well as many references to the interview itself saying how it changed, elaborated or proved my view on conflict and passion.

Start my paper with a personal story that will connect to the audience
As a student in college I know how tedious it can be to read so many different random papers. The good ones always usually start with a story in the beginning to catch my attention as the reader. It usually works so I am hoping to catch my audience with the same technique. It is important to make it relatable to them so it will probably be about college or going premed.

Genre Models

I am not basing my paper off of any other model. I originally thought I was going to base it off of an argumentative essay but I changed my mind since the point to my essay is to be argumentative but it is also an analysis essay. It is a combination of both analysis and argumentative. I do not want to base it off anything else I have seen before because I do not want to limit myself in anyway in my writing. I want my writing to form itself and not be pressured into something it is not. Therefore, I can say with certainty that my paper will be part argumentative and part analytical but after that I do not know.

Revised Midterm

When I was trying to think of a major for college, I very briefly considered going premed to become a doctor. When I was discussing this with my mother she said to me, “Medicine is not a career that you can be indecisive about, you are either all in or all out with no in between.” At the time I shrugged off what she said because I knew she was right but I didn’t realize how right she really was (don’t tell her I said this). The ability for the Doctor’s community to be such a perfect example of a discourse community (by providing the six criteria with many examples of each) makes it possible to use the doctor’s community as a model to add on to the definition of Swale’s Discourse community. Passion and conflict are key components to a doctor’s community, which would infer why they are necessary components to a discourse community in general. The reason these two attributes become so important is because passion provides people a need for being in the discourse community and conflict distinguishes the community from being one similar to a cult.
The amount of work involved in becoming a doctor is an insane amount. It culminates to four years as a premed undergraduate, four years of medical school and also one year of interning and a number of years in residency at a hospital. This means that doctors do not really start making much money until about thirty years old and even then, they are usually in a lot of debt from college and medical school. It is hard for me to think of someone that is not truly devoted to this field of work to put themselves through this painful process. In an interview with Dr. Jonathan David, a gastroenterologist, on the topic of what made him keep with the work he was doing he commented, “I thought it was interesting and the prospect of a rewarding career”(J. David, personal communication, 5/6/13). He believed that medicine would reward him not just monetarily but also emotionally. This could translate into what I want to call passion. He had passion when he was younger and striving to become a doctor. When asked if he has a passion for the field of work he is in he said “unfortunately, no” (J. David, personal communication, 5/6/13). but he still seems to say that in the beginning he had a sense of passion and once he became a full fledged doctor he found it not as rewarding as he originally thought. What this shows is that people need to want to become a doctor in order to put themselves through the hardest part, which would be the educational part. They need the passion. Once said person becomes a doctor though they might decide that they were wrong but still stick with medicine anyways like Dr. David. If they are lucky they might realize earlier on in the process so that they can drop out before getting in too deep.
As discussed, a doctor’s community is a prime example of Swale’s discourse community. Passion is such an important idea in the doctor’s world that it is easy to say that passion should be needed for all forms of discourse communities that fit Swale’s model. For example, take the sample that Swales used in his piece about discourse communities. The Hong Kong Study Circle (HKSC) is a group that circulates information on the postal history of Hong Kong. Anyone in his or her right mind that would join this to me is just such a boring person. The reason I think this though is because I do not have any sort of passion to want to be in this group. Swales did which is why he wanted to join it. He even had to show his passion to get in by being rejected the first time and having to reapply showing his devotion to the HKSC.
The second important attribute is conflict. When first doing my research, it seemed as though conflict was a necessary component in a community and that it was not always negative but positive in that it furthered patient care. In my interview with Dr. David though he explained to me that conflict in general is very negative. He seemed to explain that it would be a very rare occurrence that the conflict would be something positive. This was a big surprise to me since I find that in general, conflicting opinions can sometimes help create excellent outcomes. When I expressed my confusion he gave an example of a type of conflict that might arise. He explained that when a patient has a poor outcome from the care that he was given, doctors argue over who was responsible for the mistake. No good can come out of that because the patient has already been treated.
Although this new information about conflict came as a shock, it still seems that conflict (the negative side) is a necessary component of a doctor’s communities. The reason for this being that when people are passionate about something, (which they are about there discourse community as discussed above) they tend to defend themselves and their beliefs against people that have slightly different beliefs and people that have very different beliefs. This would be people inside the discourse community and people not in the community at all. Take Dr. David’s example where doctors squabble over whose fault it was when a patient is not treated properly. The reason this happened is because one doctor would believe that the patient should be treated like so and the other thinks he should be treated differently. They both have the same interest in mind of helping the patient but the slightly different belief is how to go about helping them. The reason conflict is necessary even if it is negative is because with great passion comes conflict. It is inevitable that when there is one of these comes the other.
Conflict is not only present in doctor’s communities but also in most all discourse communities that have passionate people (which should be all of them). Think about something you are passionate about. If someone were to question your passion in anyway would you not feel the need to defend your beliefs? It is very rare to come upon a person that would not. Therefore, since this is usually the case, it is safe to say that even if conflict is just negative, it is still a demonstration of the passion people have which is why it is necessary for it to exist.
Another important reason Conflict is so important is because if everyone in a discourse community agreed on everything, then the place could be considered something of a cult. People that are apart of cults follow blindly and do not question anything. These cults could totally be considered discourse communities in Swale’s definition in that they fit every single criterion to some respect. This would probably not make John Swales too happy to know this. What distinguishes the two type of groups is the conflict.
If people are uncomfortable with changing Swales’ model and adding onto it, passion and conflict can both be considered ‘tag along’ attribute of Swales’ discourse community. What this means is that it is definitely necessary to have passion and conflict but it is more that it can be thought of as one that is attached to the other six. Meaning, once you have all six attributes, the passion for that group is just there. Then, once the passion is there the conflict will arise by itself and also just exist. Once people devote themselves to something they develop a sense of passion for it no matter what. Once there is passion, there is conflict with no exceptions. This would still make passion a criteria but it is one that is an automatic criteria once the original six have been established. Although I believe that these two ideas should be considered main attributes of discourse communities, it possible to say, just for people who do not think these can be considered main attributes, that they can still be considered ‘tag along’ ideas.
Dr. David helped me expand my ideas of a doctor’s discourse community by giving me a personal account of what happens within it. For example, I originally though that conflict could be a positive attribute and Dr. David helped explain to me why I was wrong. He helped expand my learning of the doctor’s world, which shows a good reason as to why before pursuing medicine, people should talk to doctors and find out if they are well suited for the career. The main point is that knowing the profession that you are pursuing is important. I am sure that most people reading this have not thought about conflict and passion in their future workplace but as shown they are vital to a community. The best way to pursue this knowledge further is to get into a workplace and find out for you what it means to be part of that discourse community.

Self Assessment

Writing process

If you remember, I emailed you asking if it was okay for the revision to be an expansion on the original draft. It was my original idea since I knew I wanted to focus on certain aspects of my first draft. I quickly realized that this was a bad idea since some of my original thoughts were wrong (discussed later). I then took this into an approach of just discussing passion and conflict using my new ideas.
I started my piece knowing that I wanted to discuss passion and conflict not really knowing where it would take me. I started with my interview and how it would connect to my thoughts of these two topics. It was hard because I thought Dr. David would prove my original thoughts correctly that I discussed in my original midterm project. I ended up being wrong on a few accounts so this required reworking of my ideas and how I could still prove my point with the new information. (I am not going to go into the differences since they are evident in reading my original and revised pieces.) My next job was to take these new ideas and convert it into a way in which it would speak to my audience of future doctors. This was also a challenge because it made me have to keep the paper shorter than I wanted it to be because most people that go into science fields usually do not like writing or reading which is why they do it. After this is was a matter of taking my ideas and forming them together using discourse communities, doctor’s communities while still trying to focus on talking to future doctors and keeping it decently short. I think I was pretty much successful though.
After knowing my format and all the things I would need to discuss, I had to worry about the quotations. The official interview with Dr. David was over email since he was very busy so the answers he gave me were not ‘meaty’ (later on I discussed his answers with him in person in an unrecorded, unofficial sense which he helped elaborate some of his answers but with no quotations). I ended up using a couple of quotations that I admit are not the best and most elaborate but they got the job done in discussing the topics and giving the type of attitude that Dr. David had towards passion and conflict.
I will be honest; Most of the time the process of writing was thought about sentence by sentence not as a general idea. It was a lot of free writing being done to see what I could come up with and then editing it down by cutting out chunks of things that did not work at all. For example, in my first paragraph about passion, the way it was first written was about how passion is not needed at all but then as I kept free writing it led me to the idea that it is necessary but it might fade out as it is written now. This evolved because Dr. David’s interview made me think that passion would not be necessary but after reading into his answers him saying unfortunately made me realize that he either wanted it or that it used to be there and it no longer was. So it made me keep writing in a different manner. I then took out the whole first part about how it was not necessary and just kept elaborating on the new idea. Although this shows that my work was not always “well planned” it was the most effective way for me to write and I think this was the most thoughtful way I could have written because it allowed me to get my thoughts out by not confining them to a format already made up.

Successful writing choices

I define success for this project as being able to get my point across while still attacking the many aspects that needed to be dealt with. What I mean by this is that I want to prove the need of conflict and passion in a workplace while still attacking the audience, using my new information attained in the interview and being able to talk about discourse communities. The way I did this is discussed in the writing process section.
I believe I was successful in using my information attained in the interview. I was able to change my ideas based off the first hand information while still maintaining the essence of the paper. It was not easy since I needed to talk about the interview that shot down some of my ideas but through more analysis and elaborating on my old ideas I was able to successfully put together a piece that combined the ‘skepticism’ to my thoughts (the interview) to my original thought of how conflict and passion are necessary.
Another component I was successful in was being able to attract and target my target audience. I was able to do this by using my introduction and conclusion as direct references to them and their future work. This allowed them to see that it was meant for them and also would make them want to read it. It also allowed them to connect to their own lives and think about their future as doctors and hopefully be able to use what I write in furthering their research on whether or not they want be doctors. I think my most successful way in attracting the audience was my personal story because it probably referenced many things that are going through their minds now of whether they really want to be in the medical profession. I had someone to tell me that I might not be right for it but they might not and this paper helps them start the research if they are really interested in it or if they just think they are. It is a stepping-stone to future research that they do themselves which is what I wanted. I want the future doctors that would read this to now go to current doctors and ask questions of their own and see if they really want to do this. I will definitely use this story telling technique in the future.

Unsuccessful writing choices

Based off of what I defined success as for this paper in the above section, I believe that my least successful approach was using discourse communities in the paper. The irony behind this is that it was the original assignment but I realized in my revision that I did not want to reference it as much as I did in the original draft. My problem stemmed from the fact that the paper needed to do too many things so this caused the part about discourse communities to take a toll. I definitely made references to it but I do not know if it was enough to really say that the paper itself was about discourse communities.
If I had had more time I would have interviewed more doctors and tried to find a general sense of passion and conflict. The opinion I got was from one person and that is not a big enough sample size to say that all his ideas are general feelings or general thoughts. Between my school schedule and Dr. David’s very hectic doctoring schedule, it was even hard for him to find time to answer these emailed questions.
I would have also tried done the interview in person because I believe that although my questions were successful in finding the information I wanted, in doing the interview in person I could have based questions off of the answers, which could have helped me, learn a lot more. Although I did do this unofficially with Dr. David after the email interview, it still was not the same as it would have been being in an ‘on the record’ setting with it being more of a dialogue then a list of questions to answer.

Short Portfolio Pieces

RAB with Daniel and Peter

Link to RAB

link to freebie assignment

Blog Post from Last Semester

In Kaku’s article “A Day In The Life In 2100”, Kaku writes about a man in the year 2100 going about a daily routine (which ends up turning into a few years span). Kaku focuses a lot on futuristic technology and how it will impact the world, such as the ability to be in anywhere in the world in a second and the longevity of human life. He makes technology seem that it will adapt just as much as it did from 1910 to 2010 and even more so. He also discusses how technology will impact the world we have, not by just saying it straight it out, but implying it through the story about the man. Not only does he show you the common everyday technology (or what we assume is) but also Kaku is able to show what is behind the scenes through the man’s job (it talks about how the man is an engineer). Kaku is very optimistic about the future. Unlike some other authors who think that 100 years from now everything will be in terrible condition, Kaku believes that society will be able to develop enough to fix things like global warming and overpopulation. His reasoning behind all this must be that as little as the world seems to care about these problems, slowly but surely they will get fixed. He enthusiastically thinks that this will happen before the world is destroyed. Some big claims he makes is that the world will be taken over by robots and the only real job besides jobs in the arts will be designing and maintaining the robots. He assumes the world will get to this point, where society becomes so dependent on technology that we let it do everything for us, even find our dates. Kaku also talks about how people in the future will have no idea when to settle down because there lives will be so long that it is hard to tell when to get married and have kids. Society will have shifted based on our life expectancy going up, that he tries to picture a world where people can not tell if the person he is dating is 20 or 70. Even though Kaku did not explicitly mention overpopulation, I assume that he believes human longevity will actually fix this problem as opposed to causing it because he assumes humans will spread out there life more. Overall Kaku’s method is one that even though on the outside just seems like a story, has much more to it and can tell us a lot about what Kaku thinks about the future.
Kaku uses the format of “a day in the life of…” This is a good way to do it because he is able to hit many aspects of the future without going back and saying ‘oh by the way this happened, so now the world is like this’. It allows people to see themselves in the man especially since it is in second person. His method opens up your imagination in a sense because he provides you with the world and what an average person’s life would be like and then he leaves the rest to your imagination. Not only is his writing style very useful but also his approach to the future is very intriguing. He writes in a way that makes the reader feel invested in the future because it seems like it it written about the reader.It is not a factual list of things like Kaku does in some of his other writing, it is a story and stories are always more captivating.
Kaku seems like he a little too optimistic about the future. He believes that all this technology will be here in less than 100 years. This would have to assume that the rate of technology increase stays consistently great like it was for the past 100 years. It is good that he is so optimistic but there are points when people are too optimistic and they go past realistic. Another disadvantage to writing like this is that the reader is unable to see more of a general picture of the world because it is only in the view of that one person. I was unable to tell whether the technology that the man in the story was using was accessible by everyone, just by the rich or if it is actually out of date. It limits to just that man’s perspective which when you are talking about things of the future and what you think it will be like is very frustrating. Kaku is also unable to tell me as a reader whether he would be in favor or not of a future like this. It is impossible to tell whether he likes the changes made or not. The reason this is true is because whatever he writes is about the man in the story. He can make the man sound optimistic but I could think as a reader that he is just very good at giving the other perspective of future writing which in this case would be a positive one.

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