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.


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.

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.

Major Writing Assignment #1 Postmortem

This writing assignment ended up being a little bit easier than I had initially anticipated. In other classes, writing 5-7 pages in 11-point font with 1.15 spacing is quite a daunting task, but because of the structure of the paper (6 sections to discuss per assignment), I was able to write this much faster than normal. I started the assignment on Sunday by writing part of the executive summary, the interview summary, and the titles for the sections. I then wrote the analysis for each piece (one each) on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Finally, I proofread and put on some finishing touches on Wednesday and Thursday morning. This time frame was a little more spread out than other papers that I’ve done in the past, primarily due to the changing due date, which was nice. However, I wish that I had allocated more time for proofreading and revising.

The main surprising thing about doing this assignment was how quickly it went by. Like I mentioned earlier, papers of this length typically take me much longer. It was also surprising to me that all of the people who I emailed about the interview were willing to respond; I didn’t expect to have to tell people that someone else had beat them to responding. The hardest part of this essay was avoiding writing in the first person, especially in the interview summary: it is very natural to say “I interviewed [subject]”, and seemingly more awkward to say “[subject] was interview”. The easiest part, as mentioned a couple of times above, was reaching the length suggestion. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had assumed that it would be one of the harder parts.

To proofread the paper, I read over it on the computer screen, then printed it and edited it with a red pen. I like to do this for all long writing assignments, as I typically find more errors on the physical copy than I can see on a screen. I’ve even used this technique for debugging code in the past. The next time I do an assignment like this, I will be sure to leave more time for proofreading and revising. I liked writing one analysis at a time, as I didn’t experience significant writer’s block. If someone doing this assignment asked me for advice, I would tell them to split the work up between different nights. This helps by both lessening the amount of continuous time spent in front of a computer screen, as well as giving the mind a chance to take a break between writing something and revising it. I find that this break is important; when I don’t take a break, my papers tend to be more error prone.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this assignment. It didn’t take nearly as long as I expected, and it helped me learn about what I will be writing and reading in the workplace.

Critique #1 Postmortem

This assignment was different from most other English assignments that I have done both in high school and in college, primarily because of the tight constraint on the length of the paper. When I write a paper I write out all my thoughts, ignoring how long my paper is, and adjust the length after that. Typically in reviewing I have to cut out or add a few things, but in this assignment I had to remove an entire paragraph’s worth of text. Normally that wouldn’t be too difficult, but when the assignment is only one page long, removing a paragraph means taking out about 30% of the material, which is not a trivial task.

I started this assignment on Sunday evening, when I read the article. On Monday morning, in a break between classes, I wrote my initial draft. I revised it and shortened it on Monday evening, and added the finishing touches on Tuesday morning. This is actually a very good time frame for me, considering my past record. I typically start a paper the night before the due date and end up staying up too late to finish it.

The most surprising thing about this assignment was just how short it had to be. I included what I considered to be a minimal amount of crucial information in the summary section, but it was still too long for me to fit in a response that was a reasonable length. Unfortunately I had to cut out of my summary some of what I would consider the author’s main points.

The hardest part of this assignment was definitely cutting down on the length. As I detailed in the first paragraph, my initial draft was significantly too long, and I had to remove much of my content. The easiest part was summarizing the article, because the article was well-structured; it was easy to pick out what the author intended to be the main points.

Next time I do a critique I think I’ll aim for the same approach that I used this time. The time frame worked very well; I appreciate being well rested today and waking up early enough to go to the gym this morning. If someone else doing this assignment asked me for advice, I would tell him or her to follow the same time frame that I did. It helps not to do everything in one sitting; especially writing and reviewing. I find that I catch significantly more errors if I review something the day after I write it, instead of immediately after finishing.

Hopefully my next critique will go as smoothly as this one did.