Learning Outside the Classroom

Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center: Learning through Peer-Writer Tutoring

Working in the Student Writing Center has really shown me a new way to look at writing and working with writers. I enjoyed writing when I was younger, but kept what I wrote to myself while still criticizing myself. This created many strictly lain paths, which may be seen in some of my earlier assignments. Working in the center has shown me the many various topics to focus on when considering writing. The many discussions I have had with student writers have also improved my understanding of the various strategies writers use to create language. These strategies are important to understand when considering writing as a part of my future profession, and the constant, varied work I do with the center benefits me in every way. The final motivation comes with the high marks my own tutees give me.

Environment Oregon: Learning through Leadership and Advocation

The summer I spent canvassing for Environment Oregon was one I will always remember, as it greatly helped me to break from some social shell, and placed me in a position of responsibility that I hadn’t been before. By the end of my three months of work, I had become a Field Manager for the Eugene, OR branch of the organization. This position meant I was responsible for the logistical planning of the entire office, which generally ranged between 10 and 30 people. Also, as a leader in the office, I was partially responsible for employee training, both group and one-on-one training sessions.

These responsibilities thrust me into a kind of spot light where I literally had to lead people in conversation and role-playing scenarios. Every day for two to three hours we would be practicing our “rap” and teaching it to newcomers. As a leader of this sort, I greatly learned how to better communicate with not only coworkers, but also new people face-to-face, every day as the job determined. Some people wanted to have me in for coffee, and others wanted me off their property in five seconds. These kinds of situations exposed me to new strategies of communication that I had never seen before. In a big relation to career writers, this experience gave me an excellent representation of who potential audiences could be, what they look like, and what they sound like.

What the Tech?!: Learning through Educational Journalism

I greatly enjoyed writing the What the Tech?! series for SLCC’s Globe student newspaper. This project started out as a desire to have my work printed outside of my own abilities, and also to gain experience writing for a publication. I initially had the idea of creating an educational column because I wanted to write short, informational articles, but I’m not necessarily into writing about news or current events. Instead of these, I thought it would be cool to have a source of writing that taught readers about basic computer theories and practices. I approached the faculty adviser for the Globe and learned that she had been trying to get something like this written for over a year, but hadn’t found the writer. I saw this as an excellent opportunity.

I completed ten articles in the series, and certainly learned about the process of writing to a weekly deadline. When the project started, I created a list of topics I thought would be interesting to talk about. This worked for the first few articles. But then I noticed that topics started coming from people who knew about the column and had their own questions that needed answered. I felt thankful to have this support because it eventually became challenging to come up with relevant topics to write about, considering the direction I was taking the series.

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Created by Joe McCormick ©2010.


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