Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Three Enjoyable Writing Hats

Following on from my study with the FutureLearn academic writing programme (here) with the University of Reading, I have just started the edX Academic and Business Writing course with Berkley. 

A week has gone by very quickly, and suddenly I have my first assignment due. This first assignment requires me to write a paragraph about: (a) my typical writing type; (b) what I feel about writing; and (c) what I need to most improve. While this was not difficult, it required a little thought and planning.

What I came up with was:
When writing, I wear many hats. In my work as a lecturer, I prepare course materials such as the PowerPoint decks, course outlines, assignment outlines, and assessment feedback. As a junior academic, I am in the process of writing articles intended for peer reviewed journals, and undertaking my PhD. In my business consultancy role, I write pitches, tenders, business opinions, and client reports. I have had my own website and blog since 1999. I send out a client newsletter every three weeks, and a student newsletter every fortnight throughout the semester. In addition, each day I write 750 words, or morning words, on the website I have been doing this for 18 months as practice to hone my writing endurance.
Probably because I enjoy reading, I also enjoy informal, and semi-formal writing. I find that this type of writing is relatively easy. I am a daily writer, and am relatively fast, probably due to long practice. Writing is an enjoyable way of getting information out of my head and formalised. Almost all writing I do is reused in some way; and email may be expanded to form a blog post, or it may end up in my 750 words the next day.

My enjoyment of semi-formal writing has meant that it is my academic writing that needs work. As part of doing my PhD, I have a local mentor - a professor emeritus - who is an experienced academic writer. He suggested that I undertake a professional academic writing course to better help me structure my academic writing. As a result, I completed a University of Reading MOOC on the FutureLearn platform called “A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study”, and learned that there were a number of academic writing rules of which I was completely ignorant. I’m looking forward to taking my next steps into this area with this edX Academic and Business Writing course.
That seemed to flow easily. Also, I think I managed to get a topic sentence to lead every paragraph... so I learned something from the FutureLearn MOOC!


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