What is good writing – Revisited

Good writing is knowing the rhetorical situation in which you will be involved. Rhetoric means the way in which you communicate something. Rhetoric can change one message to mean many different things in many different situations. Each situation calls for a different form of rhetoric, as each places you in a difference discourse community. A discourse community is any group that you are involved in, because it will hold a certain identity that needs to be accommodated to in order to follow the social norm for that group. For instance, you will act different in your classes with your professors than you would with your sport team, sorority or fraternity, or even at home with your roommates. A discourse group dictates how you dress, act, and even write. Writing an academic paper for your professor will be much different than shooting a text to your best friend about the party happening this weekend at your place. Knowing which discourse community you are currently acting in and changing your communication style to correctly fit while writing will yield the best results.

    Coming with knowing the discourse community that you are involved in, you must also be able to know which rhetorical device to use when addressing this specific community. These include logos, ethos, and pathos, each of which are a different way to rhetorically address a situation. Logos, or logical appeal, is a way of making a point that using evidence to back up an argument. For instance, when writing on a public forum discussing corporate social responsibility and trying to make my case to compete strangers, I made sure to make my point by using my personal experiences to show that I had logically knew a different point of view and by challenging others through reasoning. I had decided that “many people had already taken apart… and I decided to take a more simple approach of addressing the fact that he had actually used extremely subjective approach to the situation rather than looking at the broader picture of the good that these companies are actually able to produce in comparison to the individual.”

Ethos, or the trust appeal, is a way to show legitimacy and build trust. For instance, in an assignment where I had to teach beginners how to meditate I told them “Being a recent beginner myself, I wanted to outline the simple steps for other new beginners with still pictures that they could look at and try themselves. Meditation isn’t usually what people think, so I wanted to dispel some assumptions while giving a quick guide!”. Making them comfortable by telling them that I have experience being a beginner and that looking at the images will be the easiest way was the best way for me to tell the audience that I knew what it was like to be a beginner.

Pathos, or the emotional appeal, is a way to connect to the human emotion that we all feel, using words or scenarios that might make somebody feel a certain way that you would like them to feel. For example, when telling my classmates how I felt about writing, I said “writing that moves us and causes us to act or change our mind is writing that carries some sort of identity through it’s style and presentation. You know it’s good when you don’t want to put it down, and when it captures your attention and truthfully holds it. For me, it is in this connection with another’s humanness and the ability to turn ideas into words that constitutes good writing”. By using words that appeal to the readers’ emotions, I was able to carry my point across about my personal connection to writing.

Being able to use each of these in the context of the rhetorical situation will be rewarded with an audience that responds well to your writing. From here, even if you are not writing for an audience using ethos, it is important to always use evidence and reasons behind your assertions. Having sources, stories, or further explanation will always make a more solid piece of writing. After making sure to write towards your audience and in a way that will capture their attention and in which they will best understand, you then must edit your work! Being clean and concise is important, as no matter how correctly you aim your writing at a discourse group, if they cannot read it then it will not be understood.


And here is a video that further explains how a rhetorical situation works!



How to get into a sorority

1) How to get into a sorority:

When speaking of sororities, the only way to get into one is to go through recruitment. Recruitment is a process that is different at every University due to logistical changes, yet essentially the same. Going through recruitment usually entails three stages, including learning about the sororities sisterhood, philanthropy, and living arrangements. After each day of recruitment, you are either called back or not called back. To show the girls that are essentially interviewing you and getting to know you that you should be a part of their sisterhood would be achieved in a few ways. One would be to listen attentively, hold interesting conversation, ask questions and seem genuinely interested, and connect with them on topics that are relevant to the sorority. Present your best self, no cussing, dress nicely, and appear as though you are professional yet personable, but mostly just that you want to be there. It is a two way choice that is decided between you choosing the top houses that you would like to be in and the house choosing you. If both coincide, then you get to come back each consecutive day to go through the next process. Each day gets more and more formal, you spend more time with each chapter, and the tone gets more serious as you delve deeper into the meaning of each sorority. By the last day, if you both choose each other then you will get a “bid”, meaning you have been conditionally invited to join the sisterhood. Because this invitation is conditional, take it seriously! Still put your best foot forward and realize that you have been invited to join something that is sacred to the rest of the group.

Following the conditional invitation is an initiation period. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the sorority and their specific rules. The initiation period involves getting acclimated to the sorority, their rules, their founding ideals, secrets, and basically the social rules within the group. After this period, if deemed successful, and if you feel it a right fit, then you will be initiated during a secret ceremony into the sisterhood. The most important thing to do during this part of the process is to make sure that you study! Knowing all you can, passing the tests that are given to you is extremely important. The second most important thing is to participate in absolutely everything you can. This is the stage that you are basically learning the culture of your sorority. This way, you and the sorority that chose you will both be able to tell if it is a right fit before you make it official! Participating will show your interest and also help you to learn the social cues, acceptances, and practices in your chapter. The more you focus on this step, the easier it will be to socialize into the group.


2) How to extend a deeper reach into the sorority:

Activities that are primarily associated with sororities are sisterhood activities, meetings, and mixers.

A sisterhood activity is something that all of the members of the sorority do together. Planned by someone in the sorority, the girls are invited to spend time together doing something they all enjoy to bond more and become a cohesive group. Sometimes, in cases of large sororities, it can even be to meet girls that members haven’t met yet. Mine was over two hundred girls and every sisterhood event gave me a chance to meet sisters that I hadn’t been able to talk to. Going to these and actively and genuinely participating will make you a more prominent member of your chapter as you begin to make relationships with every separate girl. This is where the effort is put in. Be as helpful and respectful as you can, treating this time with the utmost importance!

A meeting is more of the business training side of a sorority. This is where rules come in, as each member must attend these business meetings in order to participate in the social parts of membership. Most meetings are comprised of updates on financials, social events, help needed, and hearing from other chapters and news within their social circle. Dress appropriately for these meetings. You will need business attire, will need to show up on time, and will need to be quiet and take them seriously. The social aspect cannot come without the organization and business aspect of a sorority. By actively involving yourself in these meetings and sharing your perspective, you will automatically feel as though they are of importance, and therefore will be able to respect them and the time that the women in your chapter spend holding them.

A mixer or formal is when a sorority gets together with outside chapters, mainly fraternities, to socialize in some way. Sometimes activities are participated in, while sometimes there is just dancing and food and everybody dresses up. They are usually themed, so make sure to dress up! You will be associated with the group, can take fun pictures, and will have more fun with your date. While most people think that these events are time to go crazy, there can be dire consequences for getting too drunk or causing any trouble. There are legal and safety issues involved when conduct isn’t held to a high standard, and it is imperative to act your best at these events! No matter the amount of time and effort you have put in at this point, there is still the ability to get kicked out of the sorority for conduct that doesn’t match the overall image that it would like to portray.

3) How to make the sorority mean something deeper long term

Being a part of a sorority, there are certain aspects that keep people strongly associated with and interested long term. These are the reasons that one usually chooses to join a sorority, and can be broken up into community service and philanthropy, scholarship, and different leadership positions.

Each sorority has their own cause, or philanthropy that they raise money for. At least once a year, they put together some sort of event to raise money for their philanthropy. My sorority raises money to build strong women, and personally our chapter does that by creating events that raise money for the Girls on the Run program. Beyond that, many sororities also do community service, raising money and donating time and work to designated charities in their city. Getting involved in creating and putting on these events is not only sometimes mandatory, but also something that will tie you to a deeper meaning within a sorority. Knowing that as a group you can do so much good has a powerful feeling once realized. So make sure to understand your philanthropy and the importance of helping to contribute.

Scholarship refers to each chapter’s idea of academic success. Many of them compete against other sororities to have the best GPA, meaning they study together and overall try to help each other do the best they can in their studies. Sign up to study with a sister, tutor a sister, or hold group meetings at a coffee house. Your grades will improve, as well as those around you.

For professional and personal development, sororities can be helpful in that they are self-running. Meaning each chapter elects women to be in charge of certain aspects, and can learn many desirable leadership skills in finances, organization, event planning, or many other different areas of helping a large group to run successfully. If you successfully integrate into the group by doing all the things mentioned above, you will be able to run for and be voted into a position where you can lead other women to have the best experience possible in your own chapter!







Academic Writing

Academic writing is different than other forms of writing in that its main area of focus is to inform and outline ideas for the academic world to read about, therefore its formatting is meant to cater to this cause. In comparison to other forms of writing, it does a few things better, different and worse.

Academic writing is better at outlining ideas and setting up the reader to know what they will be reading. For example, there is table of contents that outlines the abstract, introduction, experiment, and results. The reader can easily skip to certain parts of the text that they need to read when referring back to it later. For example, in academic texts such as the Ariely, Kamenica, and Prelec’s study, it says things such as:

In this article, we focus on minimal perceived meaning by the labor producing force and investigate how it influences labor supply in controlled laboratory experiments. Our intention is to compare situations with no meaning (or as low a level of meanings as we can create) with situations having some small additional meaning. Thus, our investigations will focus not on occupations highly endowed with meaning, like medicine or teaching, but on the least-common-denominator of meaningfulness that is shared by virtually all compensated activities. (1)

It also is better at being more in depth of explanation with numbers and data to back up its claims and explain the reasoning behind certain assertions. For example, when explaining one of the experiments, instead of just saying how they worked, it goes into more detail by saying:

Subjects become faster as they build more Bionicles. To address this issue, we also use the speed of building the first Bionicle as the measure of productivity. We get qualitatively the same results. Specifically, the correlation is 0.454 (p<0.05) in the Meaningful condition and -0.274 (p=0.24) in Sisyphus. The exact two-sided p-value for the difference is 0.031. Hence, even when the selection effect cannot play a role, subjects’ productivity influences labor supply more strongly in the Meaningful condition. (6)

Academic writing is different in that it writes towards a different audience than most kinds of writing. Being written towards an academic audience creates the need to aim at keeping the attention of those that want direct and straightforward information rather than fluff and implied meanings. With this focus, it is different because it uses more specific writing styles and words to the academic community instead of using laymen’s terms where everybody could understand what was going on. For example, when saying:

While the magnitude of the difference in the implied reservation wages is somewhat surprising, the existence of the effect conforms with intuition. However, a priori intuitions about possible differences in the strength of the relationship between willingness and productivity are more varied. (6)

Another way in which it is different is with giving the thesis first in a summary of an abstract. This is in contrast to most other forms of writing, where the thesis can be found anywhere and does not necessarily thoroughly summarize the topic. Also, the academic writer uses much more quotes and previous academic studies to construct their argument and therefore their writing. For example:

We investigate how perceived meaning influences labor supply. In a laboratory setting, we manipulate the perceived meaning of simple, repetitive tasks and find a strong influence on subjects’ labor supply. Despite the fact that the wage and the task are identical across the conditions in each experiment, subjects in the less meaningful conditions exhibit reservation wages that are consistently much higher than the subjects in the more meaningful conditions. The result replicates across different types of tasks. Moreover, in the more meaningful conditions, subjects’ productivity influences supply more strongly. (1)

In relation to doing things worse, academic writing as a form is worse than most other types of writing in that it does not connect to the human emotion of an audience. It does not pull them in through ethos; rather it keeps them around through logos. For example, the only part of the written study that tries to connect to the emotional side of a reader, but would fail with a normal audience is when it says:

At least in the United States, ‘What do you do?’ has become as common a component of an introduction as the anachronistic ‘How do you do?’ once was, yet identity, pride, and meaning are all left out from standard models of labor supply. (1)

In conclusion, academic writing has a very different way of approaching its audience, and is able to thoroughly inform through the different forms of rhetoric.





Final- What is good writing?

I can say that I was very nervous to take this course, “Rhetoric and Academic Writing”.  I tend to struggle in writing and wouldn’t consider it a strong suit of mine.  After taking a three year break from college, I think this course was a great introductory, back to school, class for me.  Each assignment given prepared me for the next.  In this course you will learn proper MLA format and citing your evidence.  You will be able to understand the meaning of rhetoric writing, academic writing, and discourse community.  You will learn effective ways of writing by means of persuasion with ethos, pathos, and logos.  And most importantly, the definition of good writing.


What is good writing?  Is your paper clear and interesting for your audience?  Ideas should be presented clearly and logically keeping the audience in mind with the appropriate writing technique.  Have you provided enough evidence to support your argument?  With every point made, you should provide a reputable source to support the argument.  If you aren’t comfortable or don’t remember how to cite your work in MLA format, this course will be a great refresher.


This class will guide you and help to fully understand the meaning of rhetorical writing.  In this class I did things that I have never done before like making an instructional video, which was surprisingly fun.  Not only did I conquer my fear of being on camera, but I also learned how to edit videos! Since making the video, I have started filming my daily experiences such as mountain biking, just so I can go back and edit them and have something cool to look back on.  The assignment given was to make an instructional video of your choice and demonstrate the concept of a rhetorical situation.   I highly recommend watching this video on how to make a better video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF0z9k93Y9Q.


Here is the video I created. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OHsRRSKWpg


Means of persuasion.  You will learn how to use and define ethos, logos, and pathos and what role they play in rhetoric writing.  These all can contribute to great writing and will help you create a successful argument.


Ethos:  The credibility of the author; what type of expertise do they have on the subject and why you would trust their argument.  As an example from my academic writing assignment, “Man’s Search For Meaning: The Case of Legos they provide a professional background on the authors at the very beginning of the academic study by showing the schools attended for each author.  By using ethos, the authors have now gained the attention from their readers by stating their reputable background and enticing them to continue reading.”


Pathos:  The use of emotion to persuade the reader’s.  From our “public argument” essay, we were given the choice of a controversial argument to demonstrate how ethos, pathos, and logos can persuade your audience.  From my essay “Marriage Equality” I used an example of pathos, “He hopes that in the future, an increasing number of Christians will read the scriptures regarding homosexuality as all Christians today read the Bible’s passages on slavery.  Sermons being preached today about the illegitimate rights of homosexuals will be thought of by future generations with the same shame and regret which today’s generation feels toward the pro-slavery sermons of the past (Hamilton 2013). This is an emotional and relatable use of pathos, demonstrating the parallel between how slavery was once considered acceptable and the condemnation of homosexuals.”


Logos:  To persuade logically or with facts.  To support your argument with a factual statement or quote such as in my essay for “marriage equality,” the writer from the article I was quoting, supported his evidence from the bible.  “Steve Beard challenges Hamilton’s argument with a very thorough and logical rhetorical style.  He refutes Hamilton’s slavery comparison on the grounds that “the Bible never commands the practice of slavery, but regulates (in the Old Testament) a practice that was already embedded in the culture.”  He uses the example of Moses telling Pharaoh, “let my people go!”(Beard 2013).”


Discourse Community.  Defined by Linguist John Swales is, “groups that have goals or purposes, and use communication to achieve these goals.”  We were given a fun assignment to share an example of our personal discourse community. For this assignment I chose to write about mountain biking for beginners.  I created an outline for the most important steps needed to be a successful and safe rider.  It’s great to write about something you are very passionate about and that’s what this course offers.   http://summerwrit.richardcolby.net/dear-beginner-mountain-bikers


Rhetoric writing is not just about text on a paper.  You can expand your argument with video or images.  One of my favorite assignments was to create a visual argument.  For this I created and edited a photo (as best as I know how) to demonstrate how second hand smoke affects our pets too.  When people think about smoking and whom they are affecting, we often think of children first.  I have never seen an ad for our pets so I created one.  Here is a link to my visual argument.   http://summerwrit.richardcolby.net/visual-argument-which-life-would-you-choose/


Overall this course has been extremely helpful to prepare for future classes.  I recommend allowing plenty of time for editing.  Create outlines and rough drafts for  the important points and then piece them together for your essay.  Lastly, edit your work and read it out loud.  “Every good writing has a good editor” (Handley).

What is Good Writing?

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”  Steve Jobs

This quote is dedicated to the prospective student of writing.  This course will help you to not only connect the dots when it comes to writing, but also, when you are finished with this course, you can look back at all you have learned and connect the dots and use them to continue your progress forward with your newly acquired writing education.

In this course, you will learn rhetorical concepts, argument, claims, evidence and discourse communities but most importantly you will gain confidence about the quality of the writer you are.  The professor will guide you through your assignments and will praise what you have done well and then offer gentle, constructive criticism on what needs to be improved.  Here is one such quote from him to me, “I like the organization of this post because each graf has a loopback to the previous part of your theme.  It’s easy to follow that theme as a result of that organization.  Of course, you could totally rearrange the organization to capture each moment in time more.  For example, you could have done something like…….”  Professors like him don’t come around too often so treasure his words of advice because they  will be a crucial component of the writing process.

“How do I get started?” you ask.  Well, for starters, here are some supplies you will need in order to be a good, prepared writer:  a notebook, writing tools, a reliable computer/laptop, a good dictionary, an open mind and a good attitude.  Once you know what the topic you will be writing about, *TIP*, write out an overall outline of what your paper will look like:

  • Title:  A catchy one
  • Introduction
  • Thesis, part of  the introduction
  • Topic sentences, 3-4, that prove your thesis
  • Elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
  • Conclusion, restate your thesis
  • Work Cited

Do this for every essay you write.  It helps to see it and to write it out.  Then, as you begin the research portion of your writing, you can begin to fill in your outline with short passages/annotations.  Then in your notebook, start writing out your notes and start to develop your essay. *TIP* Don’t be afraid to use your dictionary to look up words you don’t know.  It makes life easier!

As you are writing, you will need to move your sentences around or insert new ones or delete other ones.  Before you know it, you will see an essay start to form right before your eyes? *TIP* Always go back to your outline and align it with your paper so that you know you have met all the requirements.  Do a check list of all the things you are required to have.  Now that you know the basic blueprint of writing, I think you are ready for me to break it down a bit more.

WHAT IS RHETORICAL CONCEPT?  Rhetoric means, “The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing.”  The rhetorical concepts are the ways you, the writer, appeal to the reader through:  ethos (credibility/trustworthiness of the writer), pathos (emotional) and logos (logic).

EXAMPLE OF ETHOS: From my article, “Academic Writing”

In “Men’s Search for Meaning:  The case of Legos,” the title is clear and the source is stated.  The three authors’ names are front and center wit their schools right under their names.  The date this article was received, revised and accepted is under the academic information of the authors.  Appealing to the ethos, all this information supplies the read with the necessary information to establish credibility.

EXAMPLE OF PATHOS: From my article: “Red, White and Blue”

Hilary’s politics are liberal and although she has not stated an official political stand as candidate, it can be expected that she will have a lot of things to say about women’s pay, time off for family or even sick pay for the lowest paid workers.  Appealing to the pathos, now women will be looking at her a serious contender.

EXAMPLE OF LOGOS:  From my Essay #2

He uses logos  when he mentions that corporations have set a goal of 1/1/1, meaning corporate giving is indeed one percent of profit but it is not the only target of CSR, corporations claim their contribution is multiplied by employee welfare and employee contributions to the community.

Now that we have that out of the way, “What is an argument?”  Your essay will have an argument–a statement (your interpretation) of something you want to prove or disprove.  Then you will use claims to convey your interpretation (argument) and make sure that your claims can be backed up with evidence (facts).

EXAMPLE:  From an essay I wrote that shows my argument and my three claims.  I will use the body of the essay to write one solid paragraph for each of the claims I am making and then I will back them up with evidence.

“In this paper I will argue that the epidemic of childhood obesity must be stopped because currently 18 percent of children in the United States are obese, because overweight and obese children and teens are at risk for developing Type-2 Diabetes and because the physical side effects of childhood obesity are bullying , low self-esteem, depression and suicide.”

*TIP* Always use quotation marks when using someone else’s work to give them credit for it.  Never use someone else’s words as you own.


Their message to managers, “Managers who wish to have motivated employees must recognize the work people perform.”  So the purpose of the experiments and the results show managers what they can do to increase employee production.

The different types of writing that we had in this course helped us to learn how to write each type.  One of the assignments we had to do, which I found to be fun and informative, was the discussion/forum writing.  Click on the link below to view it:


My favorite writing assignment was the Discourse Community.  I get to describe a particular club that I am a member of that not only is helping me with my goal of becoming an author, but also it cements what I want to do for the rest of my life.  It was an honor to share it with the class.  Please click on the to view:


All of the writing assignments were infinitely valuable to me because I learn to write and the writing assignments were personal.  It was a win-win situation.

What is good writing?  Good writing is good thinking.  Good writing is good preparation.  Good writing is communication.   Good writing makes sense to the reader.  The reader should not have to decipher what you as the writer are trying to convey.  Writing is used in emails, reports, documents, texts, letters, presentations, essays, websites, and social media.  We need format and structure.  We need good grammar, spelling, punctuation.  Good writing is the first impression you make on other people.  Our thoughts are in that writing.  In essence,  we are the writing.  Own it.  Communicate.   Last *TIP* Have Fun!  Now, I pass the baton on to you.  Take it and run with it!

Here is a Youtube video you can watch and get some extra pointers:


Book It!

                    Follow the Map to Become an Author!

START HERE: How to Become an Author of Children’s Books

1st STEP: Become a Member of Writing Children’s Books Club

2nd STEP: Establish Clear Goals

  • Learn the Craft
  • Love for Books
  • Joy of Thrilling Kids
  • Job I love

3rd STEP: Learning the Craft

  • Nuts & Bolts
  • Deciding Your Writing Style
  • Finding Illustrators
  • Dealing with Editors
  • Copyrighting
  • How to Get Published


Writing children’s books is not easy even though children’s books contain less words or simpler words than adult books.  I discovered books at the age of 4 and fell in love.  As I continued reading through my childhood and into my teens, I knew that I wanted to write children’s books one day.  I wanted children to love reading as much as I did.

I came across a club for anyone wanting to become an author of children’s books.  I have been a member since May 2013.  The club meets once a week and conducted by someone who teaches us the steps in writing, editing, and publishing.  We develop our creativity by drawing a few pictures then we start structuring a storyline.  It is important to create a plot. Sort of like an outline.  Then we proceed to deciding the style of our writing-begin the actual writing of the dialogue.We map the characters, procure the setting, set up the relationships in the story and find our viewpoint.  We pay close attention to what tense we are using ( I have problems with straying from the present to the past).

Writing a children’s book involves making many decisions.  What is my view?  Is the book going to be fiction, fantasy, science fiction, drama? We need to decide what age group we are writing for. What is the tone?  Once we have all of these things mapped out, then we can begin our first draft.  We have a whole session on what type of mistakes to avoid that will make the editors happy.    We learn how to copyright our stories and how to look for the right publishing company.

It is a complicated process but if you love what you are doing and you are determined that one day, children will be reading your books and finding joy in doing so, then this process is worth it.  I am lucky I am a member of this club.  I have learned so much and I am grateful that I have this opportunity.  GET READY, GET SET, BOOK IT!





Dear Beginner Mountain Bikers!

Mountain biking can be an extreme, adventurous, and exhilarating sport.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is the sport for you.  Many people have picked up the hobby and created biking groups to join for fun or for learning.  I started mountain biking last summer, I bought my first mountain bike and have been actively riding ever since.  I joined a womens club called the “Mountain Biker Betties.”  We met up once a week and rode different biking trails.  It was the perfect way to get out there, meet new people, and learn how to ride effectively and safely.  There are many rules to riding that any beginner should know before taking your first ride, beginning with proper etiquette, safety rules, the proper bike, and important tools needed.  My favorite thing that I learned about mountain biking is the awesome and welcoming atmosphere and no matter what your skill level, you are always welcome.


  • How to join the community. I found the “Mountain Biker Betties” on meetup.com.  There are several groups for mountain biking specifically on this site, whether you are looking for a skills session, or just looking to meet new people to ride with.  It is a fantastic way to get started.

group photo


  • What type of bike to choose. There are several models of bikes to choose from, but it is important to learn which type of bike will be appropriate for you. The first question to ask is would you like to start with a hard tail or a full suspension?  A hard tail bike has one suspension fork attached to the front wheel only.  A full suspension has two, one on both wheels.  Full suspension bikes are typically more expensive but can be more comfortable and allow more control.  Although, some people will argue that starting with a hard tail is the best way to learn because you will learn proper techniques and skills with out getting “spoiled” with a full suspension.  Many people upgrade to a full suspension when they become more advanced.   The best way to decide which bike to choose is test ride them!  Many biking companies host events where you can ride any bike available to see which best fits you.  These can be found online.


  • The tools you need.  It is important to have a helmet, gloves, a camel back, a small portable bike pump, an extra tube for your tire in case of a flat, small first aid kit, and protein! Always bring some type of snack with you.  Mountain biking can be very difficult and if you allow your body to fatigue, you run more risk of injuries.

Camelback Mulehelmet


  • Share the trail and learn the proper riding etiquette.  There are a few simple rules you should know before heading to the trails.  Mountain bikers are usually a very friendly group of people and love to see other riders on the trail so we all want to practice these common courtesy tips.  Stay on the trails! Show respect for our land and animals.  This will also prevent flat tires from thorns, or running into large rocks or trees.   Next is “yielding.” Any time you are riding in a group, the leader should always stop at a split in the trail, to insure that all riders have seen which direction to ride.   When you stop on a trail it is important for not only your safety but for other riders or hikers, that you pull off to the side as much as possible.  You never know when a downhiller might be headed right for you.  When riding it is important that you stop for any hikers or uphill bikers, they always have the right of away.   And lastly, be courteous to the other people on the trails, we all deserve the right to enjoy the nature.


  • Bike signals. Unfortunately bikes do not have blinkers so it is important to learn the hand signals.  If someone waves their hand up and down starting from their head to their front bike tire, this means to slow down, something may be ahead.  A flat palm down toward your left leg means stop.  To make a left turn, just point to the left with a straight arm.  And lastly, for a right turn,  put your left hand up in the air by your head with a flat palm.
  • Learn your bike.  Before hitting the trails you should test your bike on the road or a flat area.  It is important to learn how to shift, know the proper height for your seat, and  the proper form when riding.   For instance, when riding uphill, you want to keep your weight forward and always looking up.  The last thing you want is to fall backwards.  When riding downhill you always want to lean back, and have your butt off of the seat.   Your hands should be at the end of the handlebars and elbows and knees should be slightly bent. This will prevent you from flipping over the handlebars.



  • How to find trails for your skill level.  It is always best to talk to someone who has experience riding in your area.  If you do not know any fellow riders, you can always talk to your local bike shop.  They may even know of some beginner groups you can join.  Not all trails allow bicycles, and some may be very advanced and not ideal for a beginner.


There is so much to learn about mountain biking so start slow, learn your bike before hitting the trails, and ride with a friend.  Keep your eyes and attention on the trail and stay well hydrated.  Now go out, meet new people, and fall in love with this awesome sport.


Academic Writing

Academic writing is usually a clear and structured outline that stays focused on the subject.  This creates an appealing read  for the audience versus some writing such as technical writing, which can be direct instructions or notes without evidence or reason.  Academic writing can be better because it provides a professional outline with factual statements.  As an example, in “Man’s Search For Meaning: The Case of Legos” they provide a professional background on the authors at the very beginning of the academic study by showing the schools attended for each author.  By using ethos, the authors have now gained the attention from their readers by stating their reputable background and enticing them to continue.

Academic writing can vary from other styles in several different ways but not necessarily negatively.  It is typically some form of essay or reports used to explain truth or an argument,  then supported with evidence by using cited work.  In Dan Ariely’s articles about his experiments, he represents the same story but has three different articles based around the same few experiments.  The first article “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?” he demonstrates the power of meaningful work versus being “ignored”.  What makes people value their own work and remain motivated? “The good news is that by simply looking at something that somebody has done, scanning it and saying “uh huh,” that seems to be quite sufficient to dramatically improve people’s motivations.”  Similar to the other articles, he is demonstrating how we can improve employee’s productivity and happiness.  His argument is supported with the experiments and provides an interesting conclusion to make you think.  Comparatively to the Duke University press release “What Managers Can Learn From Legos,” he takes evidence from his own experiments and compares them to the overall objective he is trying to portray. “Adding to the evidence from the first experiment, this experiment also showed that meaning, even a very small meaning, can matter a lot.”

Unfortunately, academic writing can provide less emotion compared to magazines or a fictional story, which expresses a more free-form style.  Fictional writing allows the writer to express emotion and imagination.  It depends on the audience, or even the style sought out, but sometimes it’s nice to see something different than reality. It allows your mind to appreciate the creative imagination.

In conclusion, I believe that academic writing can be all three of these, better, different, or worse, and still have a necessary place in our world today.  Without it having these traits, it wouldn’t be good writing.

Academic Writing

Academic writing contains an argument that is credible.  It’s argument is logical and has evidence and reasoning that backs up the argument.

In, “Men’s Search for Meaning: The case of Legos,” the title is clear and the source is stated.  The three authors names are front and center with their schools right under their names.  The date this article was received, revised and accepted is under the academic information of the authors. All of this supplies the reader with credibility.  The reader is now privy to an, “abstract,” which gives the reader a short preview of what is to come with a result to back up their study.  The paper is written in outline style using Roman numerals.  The purpose of their study is clear, “In this article, we focus on minimal perceived meaning by the labor producing force and investigate how it influences labor supply in controlled laboratory experiments.”  Their intention is stated, “Our intention is to compare situations with no meaning (or as low a level of meaning as we can create) with situations having some small additional meaning.”  We immediately know that they are going to focus their study on, “The least common denominator of meaningfulness that is shared by virtually all compensated activities.” They then focus on, “Recognition and Purpose.”

In their evidence presentation they quote other sources that they used for their findings, “Frankl, Loewenstein, Preston and Leete,” who have done other studies on the same topic.  they explain in detail, the three conditions for their study so that the reader has a clear picture of what is happening.  The results are presented in each experiment.  They provide a colorful bar graph to expound on what their experiment entailed.  The results of each experiment are revealed along with numerical formulas, “The Spearman correlation between the number of Bionicles produced an average speed of building them is 0.838 (p<0.001) in the meaningful condition and 0.251 (p=0.29) in the Sisyphics condition.”  In their conclusion, they sum up their findings with data.  They  end their article with acknowledgements and a long list of references.

This news release has a title that is catchy, “What Managers  Can Learn from Legos,” but there is also credibility established by telling the reader that there is a, ” News Release,” and it comes from the, “Duke, Fuqua School of Business.”  Enough credibility has now been established for the reader.  The team of Ariely, Kamenica and Prelec state their purpose, “Set out to understand how perceived meaning affects a person’s willingness to work.”  They define meaning so that the reader fully understands what is happening in their findings.  The experiments are explained in detail with results being explicit.  Their message to managers, “Managers who wish to have motivated employees must recognize the work people perform.” So the purpose of the experiments and the results show managers what they can do to increase employee performance.  This news release does not meet the criteria for academic writing.

By establishing the purpose and presenting the evidence, the credibility of this experiment was proven. In the video, Dan Ariely: “What makes us feel good about our work? ” has interactive talk and is presenting to a local audience.  The written introduction tells us, “Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes, towards meaning in our work.”  The credibility is presented and established.  The viewer wants to learn about what makes us feel good about our work.  Ariely goes on to explain exactly what makes us feel good with the evidence and findings on the experiments conducted.  He takes the audience through the results, thus providing evidence. In the TED video, we can only imagine and visualize the experiment.  It is not academic writing and doesn’t meet the criteria to qualify as academic.

Specifically pertaining to academic writing, the News Release is not near the caliber of the Academic Journal.  The news release is more for entertaining purposes. The news release did not provide the credibility that the academic journal did.  The news release did not clearly state its purpose.  Evidence was not fully provided and it did not back up the intent.  the academic journal, even though it was lengthy, provided credibility and had all the elements necessary of academic writing.  It stated the purpose and appealed to the ethos by providing sufficient statistics.  Its results were provided.   According to an article on academic writing, by L. Lennie Irvin, professors at George Mason University were asked to outline three major characteristics of academic writing.  This is what they state, “Clear evidence in writing that the writers have been persistent, open-minded and disciplined in study.  The dominance of reason over emotional or sensual perception.  An imagined reader who is coolly rational, reading for information and intending to formulate a reasoned response.”

Literacy Autobiography

In my video I am trying to represent the most common forms of writing and reading that I use everyday.  I wanted the style of the video to represent how natural and frequently we use them.  Ultimately we may unknowingly rely on them. I showed my most frequently used forms such as emailing, Facebook, reading, writing school notes, and texting.  Social media is everywhere and has really advanced our writing.  It allows us to communicate quickly with many different styles whether it is an article, blog posts, or a personal profile.


As a kid I never really kept a journal or read books for fun.  I spent most of my time outside playing capture the flag or street hockey with the neighbor kids.  I tried to avoid teen magazines, I never really cared for the constant celebrity bashing or “what not to wear” but did occasionally read sports magazines.  In middle school, texting became very popular.  At first I didn’t really understand the fad, why would you not just call someone?  But sometimes it is much more convenient and now I use it everyday.   The next big thing was MySpace.  This was my first real exposure to social media.   The idea of being able to create an account online with pictures and have an “about me”  profile was intriguing because now you can create this more “appealing” image and portray your life to others with the positive experiences.  Then of course we now have Facebook.  I started using Facebook my first year of college about five years ago.  Personally, I love having one because it is easier to stay in touch with my family a thousand miles away.  I am the only one of my family in Colorado but I actually am able to communicate more frequently than before because of Facebook.  Even my grandmother has one!


Since technology has developed tremendously, sending letters in the mail has faded.  Actually, anytime I receive a personal letter in the mail I am thrilled.  So last year I made my New Years resolution, to send more letters.  Whether it be a thank you card or a birthday card, it’s always exciting to receive one so I bought multiple packs of cards and have been doing it ever since. I also used email as an example in the video.  Before I always thought emailing was for the adults and I never created an account until my senior year when applying for college.   Now, as an adult, it has become a bigger use in my life.  Sometimes it’s nice to just reach out with a personal and private message immediately rather than the wait of sending a letter.  Email is also very helpful when communicating with your teacher.


Social media has influenced my writing more than I realized.  I initially viewed the Internet as a waste of time or for procrastinating.  I never realized how much I actually depended on it and how it has affected me.  We can learn so much from it with IMG_0215the availability of reading and writing and the variety of styles and ideas.