Aside

Assessment of Group Work

To what degree does switching groupmates at the beginning of AWP 2B benefit the class in general? At this time, I can confidently answer this question. In this term, I participated in a freshly new group consisting of Oscar, Shuli, and me. While I, along with Shuli, was heartbroken for Flory’s departure, I found out that working in the new group still facilitated my growth as a writer, offering me more diverse perspectives about writing and the humor conversation.

Our group worked well in this quarter. As the last quarter’s tradition, we regularly met in Geisel Library to brainstorm our ideas. Because everyone strove for excellence in writing, no one was relaxed during the group meetings; we all shared our thoughts and disclosed each other’s mistakes. We also did our groupwork in a timely manner, providing feedback through discussion board before deadlines. Because we developed good relationships, we groupmates were also willing to help each other. As a result, the revised essays we produced were more outstanding than other groups.

However, some pitfalls were present in our group. Because of our lack of comprehension of English writing convention, we seldom discuss about grammar and style problem, which could have been resolved if we regularly consult reliable sources so that everyone in our group was able to give constructive feedback regarding grammar and style. Also, during group meeting, we were sometimes distracted by things outside of our class. If we focused only on AWP instead of extracurriculars, then our group meeting could be more efficient.

Besides these pitfalls, I contributed to this group a lot. In terms of writing, I took a particularly good stand about critical reading, use of evidence, and ethical citation. Based on my relatively accurate capture of different writers’ ideas, I could correct my groupmates’ pitfalls in demonstrating the reading materials. In addition, I helped them with using these articles as evidence for their arguments. By accurately presenting and using these articles, their essays seemed to be more sounding, too. Although Oscar and Shuli did not have serious citation problems throughout, I still reminded them of ethical citation when reading their papers, suggesting some places where they could cite better, like italicizing TV show and adding parentheses to an episode. Despite writing, I also provided technical supports such as reserving study rooms and drawing the conversation map.

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Other groupmates’ contributions are also unneglectable, and they helped me a lot in writing. Shuli is self-aware, often looking for help when she is unsure about her writing. She did not have perfect first strike, but her revision and reflection were thoughtful. She was also observant, being able to raise interesting questions and advance clear and claims. I learned from her that patiently working in weak spots could really pay off, and being vigilant with the conversation could season my papers, further engaging the readers. Oscar might not be very good at writing, but he tried hard to revise his works. Though sometimes having difficulty with the course, he dared to speaks out his voice, bravely asking for our help. Besides his direct request to look at his formal control, I also regularly spotted grammatical issues in his papers. By scrutinizing these grammar and style problems, I could reflect myself to ensure I did not have these mistakes, either.

Additionally, thanks to former groupmate Flory, I further developed my mindset of thinking during this quarter. Indeed, besides working with the current group, I also communicated with her to exchange our ideas. From her paper I saw that she can transfer her complicated thought system into a concise essay that engages me. Other classmates who worked with me or not were also appreciated. They demonstrated their diverse thinking in the subject matter.

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Aside

Reflection of group work

In this term, my group members Flory and Shuli collaborate well to accomplish tasks. They also help me to become a better writer because they can, as readers of my essays, discover the mistakes that I often neglect. I am still impressed by the many times we met in the group study room in Geisel Library to brainstorm ideas and craft our group works. Among the group works, drawing the conversation map is the first and the memorable one. In that meeting, we discussed our understanding of the course readings, and established a conversation among these articles. Shuli summarized the main arguments of each passage, and Flory and I made connections of different writers. After looking at Flory’s arranged notes of what we said, I put the contents into a conversation map.

Besides this first attempt to finish a group work, we do group project in a similar fashion. We would read the materials and discuss how to present them. Then, we make sure our presentation is sounding by practicing it. We will point out some mistakes if we notice a groupmate’s speech is not convincing. In this way, our group works well because everyone is engaged in the group project and has gripped his or her stances.

For essay revision, we normally give advice to each other through group discussion board. After looking at someone’s paper, we can point out its strengths and weaknesses and give suggestions to revise the essay. We reply to each other’s comment to ensure everyone has provided understandable and helpful feedback. If a groupmate does not give feedback timely, we will notice him or her through WeChat, an app that can display instant messages. This work mode is efficient since we all believe we are responsible for each other’s wellness in writing.

Of course, in the field of writing, I particularly contribute to the group about essays’ citation and organization. I am confident about these two aspects: I always cite ethically, and I regularly scrutinize my essay organization to ensure the transition is well-done. As a result, I can readily give advice to my groupmates’ mistakes about citation and organization. I also provide some technical supports: reserving group study rooms in library, making PowerPoint and video clips for the group presentations.

Still, I am concerned about misreading. Because of lack of common ground, we cannot necessarily comprehend some materials covered in the readings. When this comes to revision work, we may give incorrect suggestions for each other’s papers. For me, this will, indeed, be confusing because sometimes I think my groupmates’ advice on my analysis may be misleading. On the other hand, my groupmates will not trust me if my suggestions are not helpful. To resolve this issue, we may go back to the readings and discuss the part’s meanings, google the misunderstood part, or ask our instructor Dr. Gocsik for clarification.

Overall, I am honorable to be grouped with Flory and Shuli. They are thoughtful and see things in different perspectives. I am looking forward to complete more difficult tasks with them in the next term.

Aside

Reflection of writing in this term

In this term, I have achieved multiple skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking. These skills really give me new insights into the realm of college writing. For instance, instead of simply highlighting, I have learned to annotate in an article when I found somewhere interesting. I also gained the ability to raise an intriguing question. Of course, when answering the question, I have known to draw evidence from multiple sources. With the supporting evidence in hand, I can make my passage sensible. I have, too, understood how to ethically cite sources through studying academic integrity. With the rules in mind, I reached a higher level of thinking, that is, summarizing a passage. I have learned that writing a summary requires me to arrange the materials in a brief yet informational fashion. And after making sense of the summary, I started to synthesize the ideas from different writers and put them into a captivating conversation. I also learned to address counterargument to make my idea stronger, and demonstrate this aspect in my presentation. I internalized grammar and style principles, which are important tools in writing and revising my essays. Then, I understood how to strategically analyze how an argument is made. With reflecting skills, I can be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and work harder in my shortcomings.

This term has its special topic: humor. Reviewing my summary and synthesis paper, I learned how to demonstrate the conversation of different authors about humor’s functions in society. I am pleased to raise an interesting question and invite such many authors to speak for it. This skill is cultivated by studying raising a question and drawing evidence from course readings. The analysis paper also allows me to break down an article and illustrate how each part contributes to the argument. Specifically, when analyzing a comedy, I could apply humor theories, based on my understanding, to address how the comedian makes his or her points. That makes me excited because I can, out of my expectation, tackle the realm of humor with ease. Though most of the assignments are related to humor, the rules that apply to writing are basically the same when I address another discipline. So, I am confident that I can write college-level essays sensibly using the things I learned from the class.

Still, I am concerned about writing in an English convention. I am sure that I do not completely obey that convention when writing, and that makes my essay less understandable. I am also worried about articulating the context or larger conversation. Lacking common background in some fields, I certainly cannot resonate with the readers effectively. Nevertheless, I feel ready for AWP 2B. This class can keep helping me resolving the things I concerned, and proceeds by raising me to a higher level of thinking – argument. This thinking allows me to speak on my own and participate in the larger academic conversation. I feel this step-by-step development of my writing can be really a huge progress in my success in college.

Aside

Reflection of Summary and Synthesis Essay

The present society has many stereotypes that bother people a lot. These stereotypes impose negative attributes to certain individuals when, in fact, not all of them possess the negative attributes. Among the course readings, several authors address the widespread social issue and discuss about humor upending these stereotypes. Having been critical of the social ailments, I am interested in writing how humor fight against stereotypes. This question is debatable, and I want to synthesize it into a hodgepodge of ideas that speak to each other.

I visualize the Summary and Synthesis paper as a dinner party conversation. In this conversation, the invited guests will answer my motivating question. O’Hara, an observant writer in humor’s social functions, has met a lot of stakeholders. She has a standing to discuss about the way humor effect stereotypes in a social perspective. Critchley brings an insightful idea in how humor execute its function. He raises incongruity theory to address how humor make people laugh. And beyond the laughter, he also posits that humor can change the situation, including stereotypes. St. George sees the topic in a different facet, proposing a potential limitation for humor to function effectively. However, Peters and Farsad, two real-life examples about using humor to fight stereotypes, refute the limitation broached by St. George. These five guests comprise an intriguing conversation. But when put the conversation into words, I should know what each guest is talking about in his or her own article.

Indeed, writing the summary and synthesis essay requires comprehensive understanding of the course readings (Gocsik 50). They are the sources of the conversation and occupy most of the paper. Besides, the essay should connect those materials in a sensible way. By connecting the sources together, the readers can see how the conversation is going. Grammar and style also play indispensable roles in structuring the essay. Following certain stylistic rules can make me better demonstrate my understanding of the articles, and make the essay more readable.

Because I illustrate the conversation aptly and correct mistakes during the revision, the essay turns out to be successful. The first draft makes a good start. By inviting five guests with different arguments, I host a sounding conversation about the captivating question: How does humor fight against stereotypes. I organize the course materials sensibly so that each paragraph has its own main idea with connection to other guests’ sayings. The sentences are mostly cohesive through old-to-new principle, ensuring the readers can keep track of the progress. The paragraphs are also coherent by transitions; the readers can clearly see the connections among guests.

However, my introduction does not provide an accurate roadmap to my readers. I learn that I should work on introduction harder, because it guides me to write, too. O’Hara has several thoughtful stakeholders, and their quotes should be further unpacked to let the readers process their ideas effectively. A lot of unnecessary words and nominalizations are present. These words hinder me to demonstrate the conversation efficiently. I should, therefore, follow the actor/action and concision principles to correct the mistakes.

During revision of the first draft, I work hard in my weaknesses. At the same time, as I reread O’Hara’s article, I deepen my understanding to this material and change her role in the conversation: Instead of simply claiming humor can fight stereotypes, O’Hara provides an answer to my controlling question. And her argument is more persuasive when her stakeholders’ perspectives are analyzed.

So, from this revision, I also learn that I should come back to course readings to see if I get higher level of thinking about these passages. This is a part of the course objective “develop critical reading strategies for analyzing and responding to academic texts” (Gocsik 101). Another objective I should consider working on is “find and use evidence from multiple sources” (101). Though I can bring up a clear claim and answer a level-three question, as shown by the summary and synthesis paper, I ought to unpack how the claim is made effectively.

To meet these objectives, I plan to engage in discussion of my paper with my instructor and peers. They can give me advice to refine the essay and prompt me to internalize those suggestions. I also want to improve my writing through regular exercises. By practicing writing, I can explore my weaknesses that I should care, and the strengths I should keep. In addition to working on assignments, I will keep updating my weblog, where I can apply the principles I learned in class to write in broader context.

 

Work Cited

Gocsik, Karen Marie. “Chapter Nine: Writing the Summary & Synthesis Essay.” The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing, UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, p. 26.

 

Acknowledgement

I am grateful for my instructor Dr. Gocsik for facilitating me to write reflection effectively. The reflection helps me a lot in keeping track of what I learned in AWP class.

Aside

Response to one of my annotations

In the second page of Mary O’Hara’s A Serious Business: What Can Comedy Do?, I annotated on the sixth paragraph which starts with “One of the most enduring theories…”. I am curious about how she will support her view using this counterargument, and I asked, “Why does she put this paragraph in this place?” After reading through the text, I would like to address this question: Simply put, the author places this paragraph of weaker counterargument to foil the massive stronger arguments. To make the readers more intrigued after raising two questions about humor, she gives the background of research into humor and then directly points out the unconvincing idea from the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who thinks humor is malicious. By contrast, in the later discussion about the purpose of humor, the author refers to a lot of contemporary ideas that claim there are positive effects from humor. Those points are much more reassuring than the contrary so that the author can persuade the readers of how she views about humor. For example, the author cites Scott Weems’ book saying, “essentially, that humor is a form of psychological processing, a coping mechanism that helps people to deal with complex and contradictory messages”. This part makes connection to what Higgins said previously, “Laughter is a lubricant and is expected, and it’s really hard not to do it.”

 

Work Cited

O’Hara, Mary. “A serious business: what can comedy do?” Mosaic, 23 Aug. 2016, mosaicscience.com/story/comedy-humour-jokes-political-satire-taboo.

Aside

Launch a Project Experiment: Gibberellin and Brassinolide

AP Statistics Project Proposal

(It has to be an experiment, no observational study will be accepted)

Group members:

Name ID
Jiayi Liu 2014530054
Ziyi Wang 2014530070
Fan Xu 2014530268
Junhui He 2014530723
  1. Topic (What is the research question)

Comparison of the Effects of Gibberellin and Brassinolide on Soybean Seed Germination

  1. Sampling (Be specific about how subjects might be selected)

Randomly select 120 soybeans that are purchased from the same source.

  1. Variables:

Explanatory variables:

Type of plant hormone being used: categorical, no plant hormone (control), Gibberellin, Brassinolide, or both.

Response Variable: the height of seedlings after 2 days; the height of seedlings after 7 days.

  1. Treatment:

We have 4 kinds of treatments.

For the selected seeds, randomly assign them to different treatments, which is soaking the soybean seeds in specified solution for 12 hours. Each treatment has 30 seeds:

No plant hormone 10-6 mol/L Gibberellin
10-6 mol/L Brassinolide 5×10-7 mol/L Gibberellin + 5×10-7 mol/L Brassinolide

After soaking, transplant the seeds to soil. Water the seeds every 12 hours, take an account of the proportion of germinated seeds. Also measure the height of seedlings after 2 days and 7 days.

  1. What extraneous variables might influence the response?

Environmental factors, like temperature, light intensity, water, and even soil conditions all could have impact on seed germination.

  1. How does the design protect against its potential influence on the response through blocking, direct control, or randomization?

We would use preliminary experiment to ensure the optimal conditions for plant growth. Despite that, we would also apply:

Direct control: All the seeds are grown in the same room and are expose to the same environmental factors so that the extraneous factors’ effects are not confounded with those of the experimental variables.

Randomization: Randomly assign the seeds to different treatment groups to ensure that the experiment does not systematically favor one treatment over another.

Replication: There is considerable amount of individuals for each treatment to achieve an adequate number of observations for each experimental condition.

  1. Statistical method (e.g. we plan to use…method to explore … We hope to have a …result)

Normally, we would apply what we learned from descriptive statistics: Calculating important statistics, like the mean heights of seedlings, and representing them in the form of a bar chart for comparison.

For the part of inference, we plan to use two-sample t-test to explore whether there is a significant difference in the effects of different plant hormones in the heights of seedlings. We hope that there is significant difference so that we could have evidence to support that one plant hormone is greater in promoting germination than the other.

We also plan to use regression analysis to explore whether there is a linear relationship between the heights of seedlings after 2 days and those after 7 days for a specific treatment group, thus implicitly see if each hormone has prolonged effect.

Aside

How gift should be mattered?

(It’s Christmas now, I see classmates are enthusiastically exchanging gifts with each other. Surely, I got some gifts. But was I satisfied? Is it necessary for me to be regretful if I do not get any present? Here I would like to share my little thoughts about this aspect.)

In the present society, gift, or material reward, has been regarded as a manifestation for someone’s accomplishment of different goals. Basically, the larger the gift given, the prouder the receiver will feel. However, this is too a stereotypical view for me since it does not guarantee a student to have a good perception about the gift itself. What’s more important should be how the “gift” means.

I remembered a time when I had a birthday party. As usual, one of my best friends came in my house and greeted me, presenting a cheap but elegantly-made artifact. Inside this gift hid a letter with encouraging words for my later campus life. I speculated that the present would enthrall me a lot, not on the size, but on the conveyance of positive thoughts.

At the same time, I saw other students arrived and carried big toys into the room. They really looked precious and treasurable. But what’s their meanings? Even though these presents were expensive, at least in my thoughts, I did not think they could impress deep into my mind, since these toys were of not great significances but just a representation of givers’ benign toward their friends.

Therefore, it is to the gift’s own significance, not its price or size, that manifest the purest friendship. No wonder people nowadays need expensive stuffs for maintaining relations. But don’t forget the core value of gift-giving. If people truly consider about what they are supposed to present, I think the world will be filled with positive energy.

Aside

Rejected by ED – Bad News, or Good News for me?

Today, the college I applied for early decision has notified the admission results for all its applicants. At the moment I clicked the mailbox, my heart bumped so tightly, then loosely, then tightly again. This awkward sensation continued until the result was clear in front of my eye: “Dear Fan … I regret to have to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission.” Suddenly, I did feel something constraint was released, but did not feel anything sad at all. The little sentence that came out of my mind was “Well, this college is so cool that it just rejected a student who is going to shade great lights on it.”

Or, maybe not? In fact, this college is not of my first choice, but I did throw out a chance to ED it, because its fancy description of its biology majors catches my eyes. The drawback is, however, that I may not be so well behaved in the not-my-favorite, and the tuition fee is a bit high. So, I just wait until now to see the consequence.

My objectives now seem stereotypical for those “perfect” Chinese applicants, but there is a little trick with ACT test. Because when I hand in the application form to that ED college, my October ACT has not been released, so I have to fill in my April ACT score. The April score is decent, but not satisfactory in the present moment, because I truly made a progress during the half year period. Logically deducing, using my April score to apply for that college is risky, because my April result shows I am in 96th percentile of the examinees, while that college requires, presumably, 98th, or even 99th percentile. This is the gap that seems small but actually very steep, as you know about the normal distribution: The number of top 4% students is four times the top 1% students. That seems that I have only about a quarter of those top 1% students’ chance to be admitted, while not all the top 1% are eligible for admission. Unfortunately, when the satisfying October score is released, there is no time for me to send the corresponding report to my ED college.

Subjective information? It should be taken in account too. Well, I am confident that at least there is nothing fake, wrong or disappointing with personal statements.

During admission, we are not fond of geographic conditions. But it turns out that we still need a temperature range that is fit for our body conditions. Do not judge me through my slightly chubby bear-like appearance; I am really not tolerant of even below 0 degree Celsius. Glad that my ED college decided not to make me solely stand in its cold air. Otherwise, my nose would get a tough time sneezing in that chilly temperate climate. I live in Shenzhen, and been to Israel… Experiences tell me that, subtropical monsoon or Mediterranean climates might be better.

All right, enough for chit chat. There is a phrase remind me: “Good things are a long time in coming.” Certainly, my personal history has a lot of situations that are similar in their influence in my emotions. Initially I am depressed, but as I progress toward, I will twist up to the summit and enjoy the fruits of success. Just like when I was in 9th grade. At the beginning, I was only, to say, in upper middle position of my junior school, and people around me did not expect that I could even get into the top 8 high schools in my city. Many excellent students had already get enrolled into some of the famous high schools through early decision. However, as I worked hard for preparing the entrance exam, I got in Shenzhen Middle School! ACT score, too, does give me a lot of enlightenment on that. And I think it is time to boost me up to a higher level of education that I look upon to. Wish me good luck in the following months!

Aside

Why biology?

When first encountering the discipline – biology – I felt greatly astonished by its ability to help me explore about wonderful secrets about life: I knew how people grow, live, and have their common physiological processes being fixed and integrated. But in the real world, there are much imperfection in human bodies such as illness. Nowadays, medical technologies have been developed to an advanced level, improving much better in their treatments toward serious diseases. However, this development still does not benefit congenital ones.

I have met a younger child called Rain who was the son of my mother’s good friend. The first thing I noticed was his strange appearance. He was shorter than I expected, possessing a stagnant eyesight. Having a round face, big nostrils, and thick lips which even let me thought he was an alien, he kindly smiled and said hello. Forging my fear of approaching him, I kindly introduced myself and talked about what are going around my daily life. Rain, in turn, started long speech about his experiences. Though his illogical flow of words, with murmured pronunciation, was once difficult for me to understand his sentences, I finally came to fathom what he was talking about. From that day on, we became friends and frequently trade information between each other.

Still, my mother, being aware of Rain’s abnormality, asked his parents about what’s the problems with his appearance and speaking. The response was shocking: Rain got Down’s syndrome since he was born. His parents, though could not initially accept his strange outlook, raise him with the regard that he is a normal child. But years passed by, his parents discerned that there might be some problems. After sending Rain to have a professional physical examination, his parents were stunned at the addition of a chromosome. I thought that he could be normal again, but my mother told me that this disease could not be cured since it was inborn.

I could not bear the truth even though it was strongly corroborated. Hiding this secret to Rain, I gained deeper approach to him after series of recreational activities. In definition, Down’s syndrome had its patients unable to cognize the world holistically. But I saw his painting, which once really enthralled me by the portrayal of the animals and plants. Beside this, I admired his dancing skills which had the paces being coordinated and rhythmed. Even I could not reach that high standard. In general, I could perceive many of the life’s best details being captured by his little body, sparkling great amount of his knowledge of the world to me. Nevertheless, I did know that he could get out of the sufferings of his inborn disease.

Through high school study about biology, I came to know about more things about the virtue of lifeforms. There always exist materials of inheritance – genes – that can determine people’s physical and behavioral traits since their birth. But when abnormality comes, such as the alteration in humans’ chromosomes which hold many of the genes, people’s traits will be disrupted, forming some distinct but negative characteristics for them that prevent their life from proceeding like a normal person. Though in the present, there have not been cure for such diseases, gene therapy, a branch of the bioengineering, started to apply in various treatment toward different inborn diseases that were caused by only small changes in people’s genes.

But what about those diseases resulting from the anomaly of chromosomes? Basing on this question, here I apply for the college I applied for with the aim to seek the answer. Through various fields of research opportunities offered by the university I applied for, I could gain a lot of insight into the solution of many of these human sufferings, not only for the theoretical one, but also in the realm of real-life application, which could authentically provide the innocently influenced people with hopes to live a happy life.

Aside

On the Current Situation of Chinese Business & Science Students: What’s our future?

This problem has long been controversial since the strong wave of studying abroad. Chinese students, especially those who are in high school, who would like to pursue their profession in an international setting, go to foreign countries for college.

However, recent statistics show that most of those kind of Chinese students take business as their major. At least in our school which sends them out of China, the percentage has been up to about sixty percent. No wonder that since most of the students in SMS have their parents being in high positions hoping their children to replace them year long, the competitions among us are rather intensive, yet destructive to certain kind of students. I do not mean to say that debate – the activity which is deliberately emphasized as the “most” valuable event among SMS students by those “authority figures” – is what makes someone extremely reputed. But we cannot escape the atmosphere of debate. Even during presentation of researches, students still want to debunk others in order to highlight their presenting skills.

Maybe I digress from the main topic. OK, so here is the problem: Students who are interested in business are naturally more capable of persuading. It is not an inborn attribute, but, in my opinion, due to their career requirement. Because in reality, businessmen are really charismatic, not only in their tidy appearance, but also in their grandiose speech making talent, they surely practice corresponding ideology a lot. Well, what about we science students? You probably think that we are dull, nerdish, and incapable of good communication. This prejudice, though we do not care about (Why we care?), can seriously influence our career procedure. High school, for instance, plays an important role in developing individual’s personality. And the business students, who have already been fluent in English, become leaders in various situations, for their charisma. Science students, though envy about this thing, cannot naturally achieve leadership. Just like what I mention about the debate matter, business students have their inspiring speech widely dispersed around the hall, beating up science students strictly (if science students really compete in debate). This makes the “nerds” hard to stay in a peaceful situation. They like peace, but business students despoil it.

What’s ironic is that in China, those who are sent abroad to study business have their jobs being fixed with high salary. Because of the lack of job opportunities, science students who are placed in passive situations, are forced to open up companies for themselves. That sounds weird, but it is true. Colleges are sites for science students to improve their knowledge scale, and, with the aid of philosophy, dedicate into academia. But applications have flaws. Business students are able to make what’s wrong to true, so they basically can walk through the process very easily. But science students, being relatively lack of experiences, have to look for certain materials to fit in the personal essays, and finally act as victims of the discrimination. If science students do not get their deserved education, what could they do for research?

Actually, science students are not so that bad in their school. We focus on the practical matters, and pay great respect toward different scientific researches. They, or we, can have already been unmoved by the turbulent competitions. Business students seek benefits for themselves, but science students seek benefits for human society. (There might be some charitable business people and selfish scientists, but here what I talk about is the majority.) Therefore, as applicants, business and science students, in fact, have reach the same point in a race. Though science students are not appealing for their school, they can express their intentions toward the college staff, making them really be recognized by talented individuals. As a result, we, science students, are confident about our life in high school, whenever in what occasion we are. We are prudent in field study, but we are also determined in society.