Critique #3 Postmortem

This critique was easier than the other critiques, primarily because of the small amount of source content that we were required to analyze. I made changes to the draft that I had ready on Tuesday, because I had not referenced an external source in my analysis. The requirements for this critique were the first that did not refer to including an outside source, so I assumed that such a reference was not required. It was nice to have the time to add it in after that requirement was explicitly stated on Tuesday.

I started this assignment on the day it was assigned, and finished it (in the form that I had ready on Tuesday) on the next day. I revised it based on Tuesday’s class yesterday and this morning. This time frame was accelerated because I was focusing on a large project for another class and could not afford to dedicate a large chunk of time near yesterday, May 1 (which was when the other project was due).

I was surprised to find that the video did not work in the instructions. I expected the instructions to be bad, but not quite that bad. However, as far as the actual composition of the assignment went, nothing surprised me, given that this is the third critique we have done.

The hardest part was finding the time to write the paper, due to the project mentioned earlier. The easiest part was the summary, because there was very little content in the instructions we were analyzing.

If someone were to ask me for advice about this assignment, I would tell them to follow the time frame I did, especially if they are as busy as I am. Following this time frame allowed me to focus on my other project without having a paper for another class hanging over my head.

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Critique #2 Postmortem

This critique went a little bit easier than the first critique, mainly because I knew what to expect. It was nice having the feedback from the first one available so that I could avoid making the same mistakes this time around.

I started this assignment last Friday, when I began reading the essay. I read a little bit each day, until yesterday when I finished it and wrote the paper. I put the final touches on it this morning. This is a fairly typical time frame for me, and it seems to work well.

Nothing surprised me about this assignment. Last time it was difficult to compress the amount of information into one page, so I knew that coming in this time. Knowing this, I kept mental notes of the most important information as I was reading through the article so that the summary would be easier.

However, the hardest part was still keeping it to one page. I didn’t go enormously over this time, but I found myself having to reword things multiple times to be as concise as possible. The easiest part was reaching the required length; there was so much content in this article that the summary itself could have easily spanned multiple pages.

I proofread my paper by printing it out and marking it up with a red pen, like I always do. I read through it myself about three times, and had Mr. Long read through it during his office hours this morning.

I will start earlier for the final critique assignment, knowing that I will not have an opportunity to rewrite it. I will take it in to Mr. Long’s office before the morning that it is due so that I can get feedback earlier. I will make sure that I keep mental notes in the same way that I did for this assignment; the summary was made easy because of this. I will also be sure to split the reading up into multiple days again. I would advise someone doing this assignment to do the same; it is much easier to read this article in multiple blocks instead of trying to knock it out in one sitting.

Proposal for Major Writing Assignment #3: Writing Instructions

The following are three potential tours of Waco that I am proposing for my third major writing assignment.

1) Tour down University Parks
Potential stops:
– The Ferrell Center
– Baylor Ballpark
– The suspension bridge
– Waco Vietnam Memorial
– Cameron Park
Notes:
– This could be fun for those getting around on foot or by bike. It is not a particularly short distance, but it could provide some good exercise!

2) Colleges in Waco
Potential stops:
– Baylor
– TSTC
– MCC
– TCU (It used to be in Waco!)
Notes:
– I think this tour would be interesting mostly because I did not know that TCU used to be in Waco. I’m curious to see where the campus was before it was destroyed in a fire.

3) “First” churches in Waco
Potential stops:
– First Baptist Church of Waco
– First Presbyterian Church of Waco
– First United Methodist Church of Waco
– First Church of Christ Science
– First Lutheran Church
Notes:
– There are so many “first” churches here. Why not visit them all in one go?

Good & Bad Instructions

In this post I will analyze two examples of instructions found online, one that represents a good set of instructions, and one that is not so good.

The good set of instructions is titled “How to Make a Kindle Paperwhite Protective Book Case” and can be found here: http://snapguide.com/guides/make-a-kindle-paperwhite-protective-book-case. As the title suggests, the instructions walk you through how to create a case for an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite out of a book. These instructions are good for the following reasons.
– The final product is clearly identified both at the beginning of the instructions and at the end.
– All of the necessary materials and tools are identified in a picture in the very first slide of the instructions. They are also clearly enumerated in the “Supplies” tab.
– There is no indication of how long it will take, but by simply reading through the instructions quickly you can determine that it will not be a very short process – the longest step by far will be gluing all the pages together.
– This is very obviously going to be a solo job.
– The steps are in a logical sequence – it progresses from collecting the materials, to cutting out the pages, then to gluing.
– The steps are clear and concise; there are only 8 slides, and each one states clearly what you should be doing.
– There are no safety warnings, but perhaps there should be, especially regarding the “sharp razor knife.”
– There are no age requirements, but again perhaps there should be because of the knife.
– There are sufficient visual aids included with each step

The bad set of instructions is titled “how to take screen shots” and can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-take-screen-shots. Using the same categories as above, let’s determine why these instructions are so awful.
– The final product is visible but not clearly identified; the first step shows a screenshot, but nothing identifies it as what you are trying to create.
– The materials listed are not necessary for taking screenshots.
– No tools are listed.
– There is no indication of how long it will take, but reading through the instructions makes it clear that it will not take long.
– This is clearly a solo activity
– The steps are in a logical sequence, but there are additional steps included that are completely unnecessary (notably: copying the image into MS Paint, and uploading it to the Internet)
– The steps are not clear at all. The writer of the instructions assumes that everyone will be using a computer that has a “prt sc sys rq” button on it. Many computers do not have this button, or have different text on it. Also, he highlights the “fn” button because apparently it needs to be pressed on his laptop, but that is definitely not the case for all computers. The steps are also ineffective because of the vast amount of misspellings and grammar mistakes (e.g. “ya i know never head of it but it is their!”)
– There are no safety warnings, but none are necessary
– There are no age requirements, but none are necessary
– There are visual aids, but they are not applicable to all computers (as stated above), so they are not useful.

Major Writing Assignment #2 Postmortem

This major writing assignment was a little bit easier than the first one, mostly because I knew what to expect. I planned out my time a little bit better, but still ended up putting on the final touches the morning of the due date. One major thing that made it easier was that it didn’t rely on a third-party for an interview.

I started this assignment on Sunday morning at about 9:00. I completed it at about noon today (Tuesday). This time frame was very similar to how I approached major writing assignment #1, and it seems to work well for me.

The main thing that surprised me about this assignment was how much time it took. I thought, judging by MWA #1, that it would go by much faster, but the screenshots and especially the flowchart took a lot of time. It was also somewhat surprising how long my paper ended up being; I didn’t expect it to exceed the suggested length by so much.

The hardest part was definitely drawing the flowchart. It wasn’t that difficult in and of itself, but it took quite a bit of time, and the work was tedious and repetitive. The easiest part was the analysis of the design. I am personally interested in web design, so I enjoyed taking a close look at a professional website, and analyzing its strengths and weaknesses.

I proofread my paper about 2.5 times. The .5 time was a very quick read through. For the other two times, I printed out the document and edited it with a red pen. I like doing this because I can walk away from my computer and read through the entire paper without distractions. During the second proofread, I read it aloud.

For the next major writing assignment, I would like to finish a bit earlier. I like the starting time, because it definitely gives me enough to finish without losing focus on the assignment at hand, so I would keep that the same. If someone asked me for advice about this paper, I would tell him or her to get the flowchart out of the way early; it was definitely the most tedious part, and doing it early would give me a good overview of the structure of the site, before even writing any of the content of the essay.