Learning is the journey, not the destination: Nine things I learned from writing my A-222 mid term

I passed in the paper– in the end there just wasn’t enough time to write it the way I wanted to.  As it was, I walked into class 10 minutes late.   I think it was a pretty good first draft, though.  Download it here, if you care to read it (10 pgs, double spaced) on Steven Salaita and academic freedom: KWMassey A222 Mid Term Paper

I console myself by remembering it’s not about the grade but about how much I’ve learned by attempting to do this paper.  Here are just some of them…

  1. I learned how to use Zotero instead of those old fashioned notecards.  It allowed me to bookmark, tag, take notes, keep track of what I read, search everything that I had read, attach pdfs of what I’d read, relate things to each other and BEST of ALL, a plug-in made it easy to cite and create a bibliography in Word.
  2. I’ve signed up for a bunch of newsletters– Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle Vitae, EdSurge, the Academe Blog, Inside Higher Ed, CoreyRobin.com, etc.
  3. I am using the Diigo  “Read Later” button to help manage the fire hose of information .  I could happily go down rabbit holes all day.  I don’t want to miss a thing.  However, it stresses me out to have 20 articles open in my web browser that I plan to read someday.  “Read Later” is just the thing to do that.  I know if I REALLY need to read that article later, I can look there.  AND, any time I have spare time (Heh!) I can go there and read some stuff I know will interest me.
  4. I learned SO MUCH about Higher Education!  I didn’t know that there was an American Association of University Professors and that they had a Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure before I took this class.
  5. In the process of exploring over 50 items on the Steven Salaita/UIUC controversy, I learned more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shared governance, how “civility” is used to marginalize groups, and the academic search process.
  6. I learned how to sign up and work with HGSE Academic writing services.  I originally did it because I hoped that having an appointment would force me to write my first draft much sooner than the hours before class.  THAT didn’t work, but it didn’t matter.  The writing coach was still very helpful.  Who knew you could just go in and talk if need be?
  7. I learned that whenever I get a writing assignment I should comb the internet and figure out best practices for that type of assignment.  For instance, this website:  “How to Write an Essay — 10 Easy Steps”: A Step-by-Step Guide For Students Writing Essays, or For College Instructors Teaching Essay Writing” might have helped a lot, had I looked at it when the paper was assigned.
  8. And I learned that the thornier an issue is the sooner I have to formulate an argument and limit myself to gathering information for and against that argument.
  9. I learned how to add a poll to this blog (see below).

There’s much more to write but I’ve miles of learning to do before I sleep… so I’ll leave you with this.

“Civility is not a state of mind. It’s a regime.”   Fired Professor Steven Salaita’s Speech at Columbia College Chicago on Israel, Civility & Academic Freedom | The Dissenter

2 thoughts on “Learning is the journey, not the destination: Nine things I learned from writing my A-222 mid term

  1. While I have used Zotero quite a bit, I don’t tend to use it to create bibliographies very frequently. Did you find that particular feature worked well?


    • We’ll see, Carli– I wasn’t able to proof the paper yet. : (

      Zotero DID generate a bibliography, though. The software worked. I just had a bit of a struggle when it came to naming the source… I could choose website or newspaper article but not a newspaper website article. I had to make some changes from what Zotero automatically chose. And I had to add some dates, etc. But it was SO much easier than typing all the info into Word.

      Thanks for the commment!


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