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Amanda Macaraeg
Writing 39C
Professor McClure
30 August 2015
Final Reflection Essay
As an avid learner in both school settings and everyday situations, my knowledge
continues to grow. During the 10-week summer session, the Writing 39C: Loving Animals
course has helped me improve my skills as a researcher, rhetorician, writer, and overall
communicator. Being my second and final course in the WR39 series, Writing 37 being my first,
I have previously been exposed to these techniques. In Writing 37, I learned various methods of
rhetoric by writing a literature review, rhetorical analysis essay, and participating in a RIP
Seminar. Professor McClures Writing 39C course has helped me further ameliorate these skills
using different means: a historical conversations project (HCP), advocacy project (AP), and
social media campaign. I learned how to research efficiently by utilizing multiple databases,
improved my peer review ability, strengthened my collaborative skills, and reviewed basic
writing etiquette. With all these new and renewed insights and techniques, I have developed
various habits of mind that have helped me mature as a communicator.
One of the most important aspects of Writing 39C in which I feel is the foundation of the
course is finding and reiterating useful research. Because the class itself is a research course, we
began the research process early on in the quarter. This has helped me gain a sense of both
persistence and engagement. I had to sustain interest in my animal studies topic of choice, rabbit
behavior, and have a sense of investment when doing research. Although the focus of each
research task changed depending on the assignment we were working on, I stayed invested in the
overall subject of rabbits because I researched about them throughout the entire 10-week period.
The first major project that we researched for was the Historical Conversations Project.
The prompt was to research an Animal Studies topic and write a scientific literature review that
could further lead to advocacy. Prior to taking this course, the only online source I used was

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google.com; however, the UCI Libraries website introduced me to multiple databases that
provide links with access to scholarly articlesmost of which are inaccessible on public search
engines such as yahoo.com and google.com. Some of the databases that I found useful included
Academic Search Complete and the Melvyl catalog. The process was difficult at first, what with
deciding what key words to use when searching for information, but with time it got simpler.
Many pre-writing and research tasks aided my transition into research. During week 3,
we researched potential HCP animal studies topics and posted three tweets to our Twitter
accounts involving research we discovered. Provided is a screenshot of the first two posts I
created on Twitter (Figure 1. Animal Welfare and Animal Advocacy Tweets. Twitter.). I believe
that the links provided in each tweet were interesting to the public and informative at the same
time.
Throughout
the research process, I
also learned the
importance of citing
scholarly sources
because quoting
Figure 1. Animal Welfare and Animal Advoacy Tweets. Twitter.

notable scholars
would increase my own credibility as a scholar as well. By using different terms (rabbit behavior
study, rabbit environmental enrichment, etc.), I was exposed to a variety of scholarly articles that
could potentially be used in my HCP.
Utilizing the articles I found, I was able to narrow them down to a few that I found would
be meaningful to my subject of choice and thatbeing a historical conversations project were
similar to one another. When writing a historical conversations paper, it is important that the

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facts used are organized in chronological order; this way, the paper will flow more smoothly and
the audience will have a better understanding of how the issue has evolved throughout the years.
Another habit of mind that I acquired from the research process is a sense of curiosity.
With all that the web has to offer, I was extremely intrigued when it came to discovering new
things about animals. My refined sense of curiosity has further helped me achieve a sense of
openness. Often times, people are closed-minded when it comes to learning new information.
Before this class, I was very uneducated and had a narrow outlook on animal studies. After being
exposed to unfamiliar and contrastive information from various resources, I have become more
open-minded when it comes to learning new information and deciding on what is meaningful
enough to cite.
With research being the basis of the class, it has further made my communication excel
through rhetorical, argumentative, and multi-modal practices. One of the assignments that
ameliorated my multi-modal communication skills was the social media campaign. For this
project, we were assigned to work in groups of three to advocate against an animal studies issue
through social media websites. My groupmates and I created a Wix home base, Twitter page, and
Instagram account to advocate against animal cruelty in laboratory practices.
Working with others for an online course was difficult; however, because of it, I have
adapted to having a more flexible schedule. Although our schedules collided, getting in contact
with one another was necessary when it came to discussing matters regarding the project. Using
a 7-day plan was very advantageous to our group because we were able to plan out who would
post on which platform every day. As far as the social media aspect of the project, I have
enhanced the habit of mind of creativity. Websites are generally used by anyone with Internet
access, but the key to attracting visitors is to enrich the platform with educative information
while keeping it visually attractive at the same time. Provided is a screenshot of the About Us
page of our home base website (Figure 2. About Us Page. Wix). The page has a short

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description of what our group advocates against, but also includes a visual (the image of three
bunnies) to make it more appealing. Each page holds an organized layout that is uniform for the
entire site.
Social media has become very popular in the 21st century, and as a constant social media
user, I am familiar with the platforms used in the social media campaign. I did not have any
trouble navigating through Twitter and Instagram. I was also aware that posts created on these
sites are accessible for the public to see. This may negatively affect some people depending on
what they post; however, Ive learned that it is a fast and efficient way to spread information.
On the other hand, although scholarly works arent as popular as social media in modern
society, the advocacy project (AP) aided my improvement in the rhetorical and argumentative
aspects of communication. The goal of this essay was to use the historical research from our
literature reviews, define current issues involving the animal discussed, and to advocate solutions
for the problem. The issue that I decided to advocate against is rabbit abuse in laboratory

Figure 2. "About Us" Page. Wix.

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settings. Along with text, we were also required to include a multi-modal component (image,
video, infographic, etc.) in the essay.
Advocating similar issues using various forms of media has given me a better
understanding of how to captivate different audiences. Social media is an informal source used
by people of all ages across the globe while scholars are the main audiences of formal, scholarly
texts. The one thing that all forms of media have in common is that they appeal to people with
the same interests. Because the social media campaign, HCP, and AP all required multi-modal
elements, I learned how to choose the proper visual for each medium. For example, in my AP, I
included an infographic with information about rabbits killed in laboratories for meat. The
inclusion of statistical facts about rabbit slaughter in laboratories appeals to a scholarly audience.
On the other hand, the visuals that I included on Twitter and Instagram included things such as
links to interesting videos and images of vulnerable animals in laboratories. Provided is an
Instagram post that I made for our social media campaign (Figure 3. Dogs in gas masks.
Instagram).

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Beyond
composing essays,
we also peer
reviewed our
classmates work.
After writing
rough drafts for
the HCP and AP,
Figure 3. Dogs in gas masks. Instagram.

each
individual uploaded his/her draft to google docs for another student to peer review. Even though
I have participated in peer reviews before, I found this process to be unlike others. Reading
student works that reiterated research allowed me to see how other students reworked their own
findings. After writing the first draft of my HCP, I received insightful criticism from my peers.
The following excerpt is from my draft:
Using Whary et. als study, researchers J.P. Morisse and R. Maurice in
Ploufragan, France performed an experiment on the effect of environmental changes on
a group of ninety 30-day old rabbits.

After reviewing the excerpt, I revised this excerpt to be the following:


In 1996, another study focusing on rabbit behavior was done by Doctor J.P.
Morisse and R. Maurice, scientists at the Centre National dEtudes Veterinaires et
Alimentaires in Ploufragan, France. Using the results found in Whary et. als study,
Morisse and Maurice performed an experiment on the effect of environmental changes on
a group of ninety 30-day old rabbits.

Although the revision is longer than the original, I redrafted it to provide more
information about the scholars, but to also be straightforward and make obvious to the reader
what study I was going to discuss next.

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Peer review is always a learning experience, and through it I was able to develop
metacognition. Not only did I receive useful feedback, but I also learned from the peer reviewing
that I did myself. Using the mistakes I found in my peers papers, I was able to look at my work
from a different perspective and implement these revision tactics to my own essay. For example,
I added transitions into my final HCP draft to make it flow more smoothly. For the AP, I made
structural revisions because I did not follow the rubric in terms of organization. To do so, I went
back and altered evidence for the latter portion of the essay to make it focus more on advocacy as
opposed to adding onto the historical aspect. The peer review process allowed me to reflect on
my own learning, thus allowing me to improve my communication skills as both a reader and a
writer.
Writing multiple drafts for each essay provided room for improvement. After composing
first drafts, I was able to look back and decide which sections needed more support and which
information was irrelevant enough to be excluded. This part of the revision process has helped
me realize that as a writer, all the information that one provides in his/her work must be goaldirected and have purpose to the paper in one way or another.
Overall, this class has taught me a great deal about communication as a researcher,
rhetorician, and scholar. The final habit of mind that Ive acquired from this course is
responsibility. Whether it be in school or everyday life, I am responsible for my own decisions
and it is up to me to get things done in a timely and orderly manner.
Although this is not the first WR39 class that I have taken, I have gained a lot from it. Of
all the things Ive learned from this course, I feel as if I have exceled in the research aspect. I am
better able to examine different pieces and decide whether or not they will be meaningful to my
work. Performing research has helped me improve my sense of engagement, persistence,
curiosity, and overall shaped me into an open-minded individual. Along with research, I have
become a better writer. I now know how to structure essays to be organized, informational, and

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easy to understand. Although I do not write papers on a daily basis, I can use these skills for
future classes or social media posts. Multi-modal communication has taught me that being
creative is essential when it comes to keeping others engaged. I learned how to work more
efficiently with others and that flexibility is important to consider when it comes to working with
others. For example, I have daily meetings with my boss just to see what progress I have made
with the work he assigns. Regardless of our schedule differences, we still have to accommodate
one another into each others schedules. Ive also learned how to utilize social media to its full
extent: as a way to inform others about current issues that should be addressed. Lastly, peer
review has ameliorated my metacognition skillsallowing me to reflect on and learn from my
own mistakes in all situations. Whether it be following an incorrect format for my essay, or
taking a wrong turn while driving, metacognition is the main habit of mind that can be used in
everyday situations. Although this is my final lower division writing class at UCI, I will apply
these new and renewed comprehensions to everyday life and continue to improve my skills as a
communicator.