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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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In the Introduction to “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff, and Cathy Birkenstein provide templates designed to provide inexperienced writers with the tools to understand another writer’s ideas and formulate their own response. Specifically, Graff and Birkenstein argue that the types of writing templates they offer can influence a student\'s mind to be more creative. As the authors themselves put it, “In our view, the above template and the others in this book will actually help your writing become more original and creative, not less.”. Although some people believe that this type of structure can decrease the complexity of students’ writing skills, Graff and Birkenstein insist that it will increase the originality and give inexperienced writers the tools they need to have success in academic writing.

I have mixed feelings. In my view, the types of templates that the authors recommend have not proved their value yet, I will need to test them more to see improvement in my writing. For instance, I like the idea because it has improved my writing in this piece. In addition, I can see other improvements that would be made if I used different types of templates they offer. Some might object of course, on the grounds that these templates do not improve your writing because it is stolen from someone else. Yet, I would argue that it only gives students the tools to create good writing and it is not doing all the work for the student. Overall then, I believe these templates will continue to help me in my writing career- an important to make given is that I will commit and pursue this book’s techniques to improve my writing.

Reading Response for June 5th Blog Post

In discussions of abortion one controversial issue has been the availability to perform the procedure. On the one hand, some argue that abortion procedures should not have any restrictions because it is a woman’s right to be able to choose whether or not to have a baby. On the other hand, others contend that there should be some restrictions on the procedure since the life of the baby is in obvious danger. Others even maintain that there should be no abortion procedures in any scenario because of how precious the life of the baby is. My own view is that there should be very little to no abortions occurring, the only situation where an abortion procedure should be allowed to take place, is if the mother’s life is in danger.

The first view that I mentioned supports the availability for abortion procedures for any scenario. They announce that they are protecting women’s rights because they are giving women the option to have abortions. However, the reason why the defenders of this view are contradicting themselves is because they are not protecting the rights of the unborn children, and it is not a woman’s right to be able to terminate the life of something that is not theirs. They insist that they are protecting women’s rights, however they contradict themselves because they are condemning the rights of the unborn baby. They cannot argue that the baby is not alive, and we should not be able to decide whether or not we are able to terminate it because of it’s age. They also contradict themselves when they talk about protecting women’s rights. The reason they contradict themselves is because the baby inside them is not a part of them. It is not their life to decide what to do with. In conclusion, those who support the view of no restrictions on abortions cannot maintain the view that they are protecting people’s rights because they are not protecting the rights of the child inside the mother.

The second view I mentioned supports the idea that there should be only some restrictions on abortion procedures. They claim that since abortion is very drastic, there should only be certain scenarios where you may have an abortion. Some of the scenario’s they believe that prohibit abortion are when the baby is too old, or if not enough doctors recommend the woman to do the abortion. The reason why these supporters cannot maintain these views is because it is impossible to say what restrictions should be allowed because of the life at stake. Since all people have the right to life in the United States, we should not be able to put restrictions on those rights. In conclusion, those who maintain this view cannot hold their view because we cannot put restrictions on the lives of these unborn children.

  The third view I mentioned supports the idea that there should be no abortions. They claim that the rights of the unborn child should always be protected. The reason that this view cannot be supported is because they are not protecting the rights of the mother. Since they are not giving the ability to have an abortion when their life is in danger, that is not giving the mom the right to her life. Since her rights are not protected, these views cannot be viewed as constitutional and they cannot be enforced as laws. Overall my view does not have any of these contradictions.

In conclusion, The most radical views and the views with some restrictions cannot be supported because of the contradictions they contain when it comes to being constitutional. They claim to protect the rights of the people, yet they cannot maintain these claims because they have contradictions in the way they protect the people’s rights. They are not able to protect all of the people’s rights in the way they restrict or don’t restrict these procedures. My view is able to maintain all people’s rights while protecting people’s lives. It preserves the right to life for all people constitutionally.

“The 7 Deadly Sins of Students” Response

 In the “The 7 Deadly Sins of Students”, Thomas H. Benton explains the many different mistakes students can make during their college career. Specifically, Benton contends that envy is a major part of why students gain a lot of happiness in school. In his article, Benton says, But the envious student, perhaps daunted by some temporary setback, comes to believe that education is ‘a rigged game.’”. When students consider school, a major part of their life, to be rigged or stacked against them, they can feel very defeated and very worthless. Benton explains that it can be a big road block when persevering because of how they bad they feel and how bitter they feel when they see the success of your peers. He argues that they have very little to no sense of success.

I agree with this view. In my view, when students are envious of others, they can get very discouraged very quickly when compared to other students. For instance, I sometimes feel very bad about my work when I see how well others have done. Next, when people get discouraged because of envy, their quality of work decreases and they don’t do very well. Some might argue that envy creates competition, which creates better work. However, Benton and I, would argue that it only creates competition up to a point. Once students are overwhelmed by other’s work, they can sometimes begin to feel inadequate which would decrease their efficiency. Overall, In agree with Benton’s view, that envy causes a lot of problems in school and college.

Reading Response for June 22nd Blog Post

The discussions of technology’s effect on the intelligence of humans have been very controversial and there has been many arguments made, because of how new this technology is. On the one hand, Nicholas Carr argues that the integration of technology into our lives is not helping our intellectual abilities because of how much we rely on it. He argues that this technology is making us very simple minded and we are not going to be able to handle very much if we continue to use this technology as our “crutch”. On the other hand, Clive Thompson contends that technology will help us become smarter because of how great technology can be for humans in a partnership like a racecar and a driver. He argues that technology is what can make humans more knowledgeable and faster and humans can provide the common sense and the intuition that cannot come from a computer. With this partnership the computer could be very helpful to the human and it would help the human get smarter in the process. My own opinion on this is that technology can be an amazing tool to someone who is very knowledgable already. However, if a person is relying on all the information to be held in the computer, the human will not be getting smarter, it will only be relying on the computer. This is because we need to understand that computers are tools, they should not substitute our minds. We also need to realize that humans cannot get smarter if they are constantly relying on the mind of the computer. Overall, the way that technology is used determines whether or not the human in the situation gets smarter. If you use it as a tool along with your previous and background knowledge, then you will be a great partnership, but if you substitute the computer for your mind, you will not grow in any kind of knowledge.

The reason that humans will not grow in knowledge if the computers are substituted for our minds is because we will only be relying on the computer for all of our knowledge. The only way we will grow in knowledge if we use computers like this is memorizing what the computer says or does and doing it ourselves. However, when we use the computers and technology as a tool in a partnership along with us recognizing our role as a human is to provide common sense and intuition, we can continue to grow smarter. This is because if we use our own knowledge, we will continue to grow in knowledge because of our experiences in the situations we happen to be in. Then, the computer itself is our partner and it can help us a ton. I think Carr is mistaken when he says that working with machines will continue to dumb us down because we are just relying on the information. The reason he is mistaken is because when we use technology as a tool, we are not relying on the computer to help us, we can use it as advice and then use our own mind and reason to see if we will do what the computer says what we should do.

Although I disagree with much that Carr says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that if we continue to rely on computer for our own knowledge and develop the needed communication, common sense, and intuition that humans should have, we will continue to become dumber because of how we will rely more and more on the computer for this knowledge instead of developing it ourselves. Though I concede that technology has ways of not making us smarter, I still insist that if you use technology in the right way, we can and will improve our intelligence with the technology by our side. Clive is right that technology and humans should be in a partnership and it will help increase the intelligence of the human because of the computer being used to help the human out. I completely agree with his statement if technology is being used in the right way. With technology as our partner, we are able to grow and be smarter individuals.

Reading Response for June 29th Blog Post

Is College the Best Option?

In the discussion of whether or not students should go to college, one controversial issue has been whether or not going to college is worth it. With all the student debt and the expenses of college, many people worry if they should just stick with their high school education and continue onto a new job instead of skipping the highly expensive university to get a higher paying job. On one hand Freeman Hrabowski argues that college is very essential to students and is worth it not only because of the education it provides, but because of the skills it teaches you. He continues to write that college’s worth not only lies within the knowledge, but the wisdom is also very helpful students and contributes to why college is so expensive in the first place. On the other hand, Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill contend that college will not pay off for some students because of the lack of planning they have and they are just told to join college and they blindly do it instead of figuring out how it will impact their life and if they should actually do it. My own view is that college is very beneficial to any student who approaches it the right way. The right way to approach college is with a very strict plan with student debt, payout and multiple other factors. If students approach college the right way, they will be able to excel into an amazing job and they will leave having benefitted massively from the experiences in college. Overall, college is not very beneficial to those who do not approach it with the right plan because it will cost them a lot, also, college will be very beneficial to the ones who approach it with a great plan including scholarships, jobs, debts, time, and many other factors because they are able to get the most of their situation.

Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill argue that college can be an absolute disservice to the students who do not consider all the factors inside of it. I agree with this statement because they had shown many different graphs that show that college does not pay off unless you are able to plan the way you’re going to handle your student debts well and you’re are going to get a very good degree for economic reasons like Engineering, math, computers, science, and business as examples. In their own words, “One of the most important takeaways from the PayScale data is that not every bachelor’s degree is a smart investment”. In their writing, they are explaining that data from “PayScale” is showing that some bachelor’s degrees are not a smart investment. In other words, when you get a not very beneficial degree, you might end up paying more than what you actually get out of your better job from the degree. Overall, if you do not check if your degree is not a smart investment, it will not be very beneficial to you at all because you will not get much of a better job than if you didn’t get a degree.

“Students and families should learn as much as possible about each institution they are considering. They should also estimate net costs, looking carefully at expenses and anticipated grants and loans.” Hrabowski states. Though I concede that college is not a smart decision for those who are not going to plan their financial situation and the potential increase in salary from a job you could get from your degree, I still insist that it is a very smart decision for those who are going to be able to invest in the right degree and be able to plan how they will handle their debts. According to both Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill, “Study after study reminds us that higher education is one of the best investments we can make…”. Basically, they are saying that college does pay off and can be very beneficial to those who invest in it. Yet, it can be very detrimental if it is used in the wrong way. However, knowledge isn’t the only thing that we invest in college for. Freeman Hrabowski insists that, “... but more critically, they prepare people for life”. I agree with Hrabowski’s statement that college is also useful for wisdom because college is a place where a lot of life experiences happen and can help students with communication skills and decision making skills. Overall, college is the best option for those who are going to invest time to plan out if it will benefit them, if they are unable to invest that time, it will be very unlikely that it will help you.

Reading Response for July 3rd Blog Post

Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

In the discussions of free market and it’s effects on people, one controversial issue has been the free market’s effect on the moral character of people involved in it. This is such a controversial issue because you benefit most from getting the best deals for the least amount of work or value. When this idea is put to an extreme, people can ignore their moral values very easily to get the most beneficial deal out of the market. On one hand, Kay S. Hymowitz argues that the free market can tear apart families and separate them, and without the moral teachings, the kids will have less moral character. On another hand, Robert B. Reich contends that the free market disguises all of the effects of our choices in the free market and therefore, we don’t want to address the conflict between our moral character and the most beneficial option in the free market. Lastly, Ayaan Hirsi Ali claims that the free market does not corrode moral character at all because the structure of our moral character should be the pursuit of our goals and reaching towards them, which the free market encourages. My opinion is that the free market does indeed corrode moral character, except that it is not very easy to find how it has corroded our personal morals. I believe this because it encourages kids to not worry about others and it separates from their families, and it also corrodes moral character because we start to ignore the effects of our choices in terms of the deals we invest in or the choices we make.

In Kay S. Hymowotz’s view, the free market tears apart families. She argues that inventions like cars, tvs, and airplanes have spread out families farther than they ever have been, and without their family instilling moral values, kids are starting to have less and less moral character. I agree that the free market did indeed cause this and that kids are starting to have less moral character because of this, however a point that needs to be emphasized is that the inventions that were made by the free market are the ones that caused it, the free market is indirectly causing this. Hymowotz also argues that the free market is encouraging kids to have less moral character by showing them a lot of things with very little moral character like Grand Theft Auto and Paris Hilton. I agree with this because kids are starting to think that the things in these games are normal and therefore have less moral character.

Another way that the free market corrodes moral character is through the deals that we purchase. Reich contends that the deals that we buy at the store contribute to the corrosion of our moral character because we are sacrificing our neighbors jobs by buying the cheaper products which were probably made with cheap labor in a different country. Indirectly, the free market makes us choose to feed the companies with cheap labor instead of feeding the companies that pay their employees well and that have our neighbors as employees. I agree with Reich’s view because of the free market’s ability to hide the conflict between the moral character and the most beneficial deal in the free market. A point that also needs emphasizing is that we start to ignore the consequences of our decisions in the free market. In other words, We don’t think about where our money is going to and how it affects the other people involved in making the product we buy.

I do agree with both of these authors, however, I do not agree with Ali because I think she is mistaken with what moral character is. Since she views moral character as the pursuit of self goals, I believe her vision is not accurate to what moral character is. She overlooks that moral character is putting others above yourself, the want to do things for the greater good, not a pursuit of self. Overall, The free market does corrode moral character because of the way it makes us concentrate on ourselves and not think of the consequences of our decisions in the market.

Reading Response for July 6th Blog Post

Will Money Solve Africa’s development problem?

In discussions of Africa’s development problems, one controversial issue has been if money is able to solve the issues in it. On one hand, Ashraf Ghadi argues that investing in the right institutions and infrastructure, Africa will be poised to join the world’s trade market and be able to solve a lot of economic problems that are in Africa. On another hand, Dr. Donald Kaberuka contends that money cannot undo the history in Africa with all of it’s bad government leaders and all of the horrible event during colonial times and nothing can erase all of that pain. He claims that unless countries help support Africa’s leaders and people to empower the right leaders, money will not help. Lastly, Iqbal Z. Quadir believes that the money will help solve Africa’s development problems if it is invested in the business leaders in Africa and empower the people. My personal opinion is that Africa needs the support of other countries to help get involved in world trade, get better leaders, and improve the infrastructure. Money alone cannot solve all the problems in Africa.

Dr. Donald Kaberuka emphasizes that money cannot undo the history of bad leaders and the horrible events of the colonial times. This damage Kaberuka emphasizes has left its mark on the government in Africa. The leadership in Africa has a damaged history and for those problems to be solved, I claim that we need to support the governments and help them get involved in world trade. If more developed countries help Africa get better leaders and get involved in world trade, the people in Africa will be more motivated to work for their country and be more united. I wholeheartedly agree what Dr. Kaberuka talks about when he claims that money alone cannot solve Africa’s issues. I think the point that really needs to be emphasized is that Africa’s issues need money to be spent in the right way, and once money is spent in the right way, we need to support the countries in Africa so they are able to use those dollars to heal their natural resources and Infrastructure. Overall, money alone cannot solve all the problems Africa has, we need to support good leaders and include them in world trade as well.

Although I do agree with Ashraf

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