Fidan's Final Portfolio

Final Portfolio Cover Letter

This semester has really taken a toll on me. All of my work was very difficult and required calculations and rational thought. I only had one writing class to quell my desire to express myself in a non-linear way, with words instead of numbers. Even so, most of the written work I'd done since February has been very calculated and highly structured. However, I've chosen to write about topics that were out of my comfort zone but which were very interesting to me. These choices have resulted in what I consider to be some of my best writing, ever, and the contents of this portfolio will show a variety of genres and an appeal to a variety of audiences.

My midterm piece is probably my favorite from this semester. While in development, I jokingly mentioned Reddit, a popular online forum, as a discourse community wherein I felt like an insider. The joke quickly become serious when I began drafting what would become a very sophisticate case study of a discourse community. This piece definitely took me out of my comfort zone, which was otherwise rational and structured. I got to write about something very fun and I learned a great deal about a community that I participate in very often, and in turn, I learned a great deal about people. In writing the piece I realized that I had done a lot of talking about genres used within the Reddit discourse community. That got me to thinking that these genres play a very important role as an adhesive in this community. This became the basis of the revision of this midterm which exists to describe the genres used on Reddit to anybody intending to use it either for personal enjoyment or as a means of networking for business.

The Third Progression project was also quite a fun experience. My assigned group chose to use the topic idea that I pitched before the projects began. I wanted to implement the popular game "Write it Do it", a game wherein a pair of students team up such that one member of the pair observes a structure and writes either a technical description or instruction to aid the second member of the pair in reconstructing the original structure without heaving ever seen it. Initially, I wanted to use the game to test whether or not our class has learned to effectively write technical descriptions and/or instructions, but my group and I soon came to turns with the difficulty in making such a bold conclusion out of an experiment that has so many variables and initial flaws. Thus, we decided to use the game to learn about how students write technical description and instructions in general, in hopes of learning something substantial. In the end we were able to take away that our methodology is pretty useful in learning about how students write instructions and descriptions, and that it could do a lot of good if it is implemented in a class like "Writing For Engineers" to make both teachers and students more aware of what their writing means to other people. The written report is a part of this portfolio and it is a (hopefully) successful complication of the work done by my group mates and myself, and we are very proud of it because the nature of our results, which were qualitative, made this a rather difficult project to put together.

Finally, I've chosen three other pieces for this portfolio, which I think show a bit variety in topic, genre, and addressed audience. The first piece that I chose is my favorite physics lab report from this semester. It is about an experiment that in which the objective was to use an "Atwood Machine" to calculated the acceleration due to gravity. I feel this was my most successful lab because my results had a small percent error, which was quantified, and because it did a good job of explaining a difficult physics concept. I thought that the way in which I wrote the lab proved that my results were useful and credible because every aspect of the experiment was described as though to somebody that has only a vague understanding of physics.

I also chose to use a piece that I wrote for "Writing for Engineers" at the beginning of the semester. The prompt was "How do you believe professionals in your field of interest use writing?" My resulting piece was an assertion of the importance of being able to communicate ideas to colleagues and a lament on the difficulty of not being adept at explaining one's thoughts to colleagues, based on my mother's and my own experiences as immigrants when we first arrived in the U.S. This piece was very expressive and emotional, and ultimately, very different from anything else I'd written for this class. It was also the first piece we were asked to write, and I felt that it was a good way to begin a semester of experimentation.

Finally, I included a piece that I wrote as part of an extra credit assignment for this class. The prompt was "Write a film review for a newsletter, Engineering in Culture." The purpose of the newsletter was to promote public interest in engineering and critique inaccurate, stereotyped, or negative representations of engineers. As soon as I read the prompt I knew that I would like to write about "Life of Pi," an incredible cinematic engineering feat that broke a lot of records and won a ton of awards. I was very inspired by the engineers behind the film because of their line of work. I felt that the people behind this movie could definitely put down all assumptions that engineers have dull lives and dull work and can never be creative. "Life of Pi" is by far the most beautiful visual representation of a novel that I have ever seen and I think that the piece that I wrote about it really shows the aesthetic potential of engineering.

I hope that my collected works in this portfolio reflect my diligence this semester. I have tried my best to put together works that are diverse both in style and in content to showcase that since this was my last semester of writing, I was bent on trying some different and daring projects. I hope that this portfolio will be as pleasing to its readers as it was for me to compile.

Third Progression Project: Evaluating The Effectiveness of Technical Descriptions/Instructions Written By Engineering Students

A Case Study of Reddit As A Discourse Community and An Observation On The Importance of Genre In Discourse Communities

A Collection of My Work Over The Course of This Semester

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