WRT105: Analysis, Argument, and Academic Writing
Fall 2007 | Section UC118 | TR 7-8:20 | Syllabus | Syracuse University

Writing Program Course Evaluation

Instructor: Derek Mueller                    Course & Section: WRT105: Analysis, Argument and Academic Writing

1. What is the most significant thing you learned about writing or about yourself as a writer in this course?

  1. I learned that although it can seem a chore it can still be fun and I can still be me. I can be honest and not just simply write what was expected. I calso learned (well actually still learning) to let go of all ambiguity, it only hinders.
  2. Get out of the box. You don't have to stick to the 5 paragraph essay form taught in high school
  3. I still have a lot of things to learn and my writing definately needs to develop more.
  4. I learned to trust myself. I began this course with very little confidence in my writing and have found that just by writing as I would speak that I am much better than I had thought. Derrick gave me the support & belief.
  5. That it's okay to step outside the thinking box. To try tackling topics you feel strongly about.
  6. Sometimes it is beneficial to edit/remove certain parts of a paper to strengthen it.
  7. The most significant thing I've learned in WRT105 is that you don't have to stick to a mold. Throughout my years of writing I've stuck to a specific style and I've learned it was always good to try new styles of writing.

2. Comment on how writing was useful in addressing issues of diversity and difference across local and/or global communities. Please be specific in referencing assignments, exercises, heuristics, etc.

  1. Well when you address diversity on a local or global level you are in for a challenge but it helped free my judgemental side. Meaning for me not to be so quick to comment on what I don't understand.
  2. The spatial analysis assignment was a great learning tool for addressing local issues, etc. It was my greatest experience in the actual writing because I learned new ways to evaluate, analyze, etc., Everything was looked at at new angles.
  3. All of our projects addressed arguing about issues in today's society or addressing them.
  4. I really enjoyed the second writing assignment. It made me take a stand in something I believed in & allowed me to put into words my thoughts and feelings.
  5. The newly learned skills and web resources that were taught are very informative. Learning how to site online resources and the MLA writing format.
  6. The assignment #1 where we saw that one can help identify diversity/difference acting locally while keeping a global perspective.
  7. The class was wonderful for opening us up to the different types of writing based on viewpoints and explanations. Especially in project 3 when we had to argue our point. Project one was also had us expand on how people view things differently.

3. Comment on the role of the readings in the course: How did your reading practices change or evolve across the semester? What ideas, perspectives, arguments did the readings invite you to engage with?

  1. Just get it done! You have to read it so just read it. That's how they evolved. Many ideas came and I like to argue so, it opened up some "new stuff in me."
  2. Although I did not enjoy everything that was assigned for reading, I learned hot to "skim" or "Read just enough" to get an understanding of the text and also give the reading a chance.
  3. The readings engaged me to look at arguments and arguing in a different light.
  4. At first I did not like the readings. I thought them boring and nonargumental. Derrick showed me the arguments within the written word. I think that this has helped me w/ my writing.
  5. I've learned to start taking notes, jotting down things that pop out at me and slowly starting to highlight passages so I can find them quickly when flipping through the book. All different perspectives and arguments. Derek always listens to and considers each and every argument and perspective that is thrown at him.
  6. The readings aided in lending material and perspective to the great classroom discussions.
  7. Some readings were very bland and hard to get into. Some were very enjoyable. This semester I found myself jumping around in the text rather than reading it straight through. "Writing Analytically" was a wonderful writing motivator. The one thing all the pieces had in common is that every writer could grasp your attention until you believed what they were writing about.

4. What role did research play in your writing process or your ability to understand new topics and ideas? Provide a few specific examples of the research you undertook this semester.

  1. Derek taught us how to use the internet and academic sources in my writing process. It wasn't always easy but he made his self available to me when I needed assistance.
  2. This is the most research that I've done not that it was so much during the course but because there was so much info out there that I was unaware of.
  3. Research was a big role in the semester from Project I researching about claims in Paul Farmer's book to Project III researching a subject we're arguing about.
  4. A bit of research this semester was taking a harder look at topics I felt strongly about. With my New Orleans project & my water project I looked at the government side harder than I had before.
  5. Research played a very powerful role. The final project needed a lot of research. Knowing how many search engines that are out there and knowing keywords to choose rom to narrow that search has helped a lot this semester with writing.
  6. Research provided perspectives that often differed from what I originally thought. Research was also instrumental in supporting my argument in assignment #3.
  7. The thing I liked about having Derek as an instructor is that he believes in the internet as being a resource. Many teachers like to stick to print research. Derek understands the internet is a wonderful tool for research.

5. What was challenging about this course? Please explain.

  1. Actually sitting down and putting it all together. Becoming disciplined enough to follow through on what I said I was going to do. I realized that I have time management issues that need to be addressed in order for me to be successful in my academic career.
  2. Actually accepting the fact that I would write on this level! Citing was the most difficult because it was fairly new to me and required such grave detail.
  3. The audio visual for Project III was something I just couldn't grasp.
  4. The time constraints were a great challenge to me. I did not think I would be able to complete the given assignments. Derrick has great patience & took the time with us individually to show us our strengths & weaknesses. For me, I learned time management.
  5. Trying to find topics that suited the essay requirements. I don't tune into the news or other social happenings so I find it hard to choose just one topic. I often end up changing a essay topic shortly before it's due.
  6. Each of the three assignments seemed to not only build upon each other, but increase in difficulty.
  7. I'm a person that likes specific details so that I can just follow them precisely. This course was a lot broader, allowing more thought. We had to make the pinpoint ourselves, which was difficult for myself.

6. Would you describe your instructor as:

a. Knowledgeable about teaching writing yes (7) no (0)
b. Available outside of class yes (6) no (0)
c.. Prepared for class yes (7) no (0)
d. Skilled at facilitating classroom discussion yes (7) no (0)
e. Open to student views yes (7) no (0)
f. Enthusiastic about classroom assignments and activities yes (7) no (0)
g. Intellectually challenging yes (7) no (0)

Please provide one or two examples to illustrate your comments above.

  1. I definitely felt challenged to step it up, regarding my writing. I thought I knew alot but I have gained a great deal from Derek. Also, I can tell he is excited about writing, not just knowledgeable. This helped me. I could tell he cared if I did well or bad.
  2. Derek was always prepared with assignments and discussion but we weren't always locked into "what was planned." We were able to discuss topics freely and in depth even if it wasn't on the agenda.
  3. ---
  4. Derrick's computer knowledge & web site were a great help to me. Whenever I needed to know something about class I just used his web site. Derrick was very interested in our opinion as a whole & individually. He was open to what we thought about his choices & allowed us to participate in making choices for the class.
  5. F. Derek is extremely enthusiastic about our assignments. He's more than willing to try to accomodate for us. He urges us on when we just don't know what to do next. G. He always has an answer and if he doesn't he's not afraid to say so an almost always has the answer the next class.
  6. B. Mr. Mueller was always willing to meet/answer any questions about reading and assignment content during all three assignments. D. Mr. Mueller was always open to the very diverse student views while steering conversation/debate back towards the topic(s).
  7. For availability outside of class, Derek clearly stated anytime after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m., as long as he didn't have a class, he was available either in a classroom setting or more relaxed at a Starbucks. As for openness to student views, a great majority of his class was based on student views.

7. Comment on the instructor's feedback on your writing. Was it helpful? Timely?

  1. Well, I can honestly say "ouch" to alot of the comments, but again I needed the honesty to bring out the areas of my writing that I was clack in or just didn't know what I was doing. I welcomed his comments and asked questions when necessary.
  2. Derek's comments were always helpful negative or positive. The comments that lead toward me improving an essay weren't given in a demeaning tone always advisable.
  3. It was timely and constructive.
  4. Derrick's feedback was very timely & thorough. You could tell that he cared about how we grew in his class.
  5. Derek is very efficient on giving feedback. If he says that he'll get it back to us by a certain date he's almost always early. I find his feedback very helpful, it's an outside view on something that's just starting to take form. It helps to make it more substantial. It helps me to focus on what I need to focus on.
  6. Comments were always timely and informative.
  7. He always had it back next class. Although length, it was a full layout on what your strong and weak parts were, it ended up allowing me to know exactly what I needed to work on.

8. Would you recommend any changes to this course? Please explain.

  1. Actually yes. If there is a required reading over the summer, I would recommend UC [University College] make sure ALL of the students get the materials to make it fair. I was a bit overwhelmed at the beginning due to now having a book like others did.
  2. Add a class specifically for web research! (there are so many sights to choose from)
  3. No the course syllabus was great.
  4. I would not recommend any changes.
  5. No, I wouldn't recommend any changes.
  6. None.
  7. No-This was by far my favorite course this semester and my most enjoyable class taken in college so far. Derek was an exceptional instructor, we had a great class--you couldn't have asked for a better class.

9. Use the space below for any additional comments about the instructor or the course.

  1. I really enjoyed Derek as a person. He is honest and fair and that is why I could take it when a comment wasn't necessarily what I wanted to hear. Because I knew if I listened, it can only make me better. I really enjoyed project 2 regarding spatial analysis!
  2. I really enjoyed this course and the way it was taught and I am looking forward to hopefully take another course taught by Derek.
  3. He is a great instructor maybe too (re)lax for the classroom. Some students need the teacher to be a little firm in order to stay on the ball (ie, me) :)
  4. I surprised myself that I was able to complete the assignment portfolios. He believed in all of us individually and as a group.
  5. Derek is an exceptional teacher. He listens to his students and even if they throw something wild at him he still tries to understand why they were thinking that. He's very flexible with his teaching schedule. He leaves enough time in class so if the class goes off into another direction than he had previously thought of then he doesn't waste any time because he had prepared those few extra minutes into class.
  6. Many college instructors are experts in their fields of study but are very poor at conveying their knowledge. Derek Mueller combines both an excellent base of knowledge and the compassion and ability to teach it. Thank you so much for having instructors like him in your program/department.
  7. Again, this has to be the best course I've taken. Nonetheless, the only class I actually looked forward to. D. Mueller did wonderfully as an instructor and I'm glad I got to experience it.