Student View

My student and teacher perspectives on issues of writing are, rather, two sides of the same coin. I have an awareness that my own writing skills are fairly good and that I have spent my whole student life having my writing channeled into a set form. For me the channel has been a research based channel. Research, Write, Repeat.

My Writing Education

I have learned the tricks of trade in classes and through trial and error, things like documentation, citation, how to write thesis statements, introductions, conclusions, and the difference between there, their, and they're. But to be honest I don't remember a single teacher teaching me how to write. I remember teachers that practically wrapped my knuckles over comma usage, which I still have trouble with, but no one ever really helped me learn how to write. And perhaps I still struggle in ways I don't recognize.

Reading, a Writing Tool

My thinking is, however, that the biggest enhancement to writing is reading. And I think that we too often focus on the writing when careful reading and careful thinking are more beneficial. I think that if you can recognize good writing and if you can ask thoughtful questions about the world around you the writing will come.

Academic Form

So how does this apply to an article on web writing? It is my feeling that we are too obsessed with the form of the research paper. As a student of writing I feel as though I almost missed the opportunity to experiment with other forms of analytical writing because of academia's obsession with the form of the research paper.

I have nothing against the form of the research paper and I'm sure that learning how to write one has improved my writing skills but this is not the only style of writing and it is certainly not the most used or most useful form when one heads out into the world seeking a job in a field other than academia. I am not suggesting that job training needs to be the focus of academics. What I am saying is the world is changing and a well rounded writing experience is potentially as beneficial to students as interdisciplinary study.

Is There Room For Flexibility?

Different forms of writing serve different purposes and different modes of delivery. As our world becomes more web based we need to look at what opportunities it offers, how the writing may need to be adapted to fit the medium, the evolving reader, and the ways in which writing become more flexible.
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