The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Reflections on Improving Writing from Your Peers

A couple of weeks ago, after returning your second essay to you, I asked you to reflect on ways you could improve as a writer based on the feedback you were given from me and from your peers on that second essay. Some of you made some very insightful comments in your reflections. I thought you all might benefit from hearing some of your peers' thoughts on improving their writing.

Here are a few (de-identified) highlights from the reflections:

  • “Dr. Bruff mentioned that I could still do some work with developing my voice, and I think this will come as I write more and more at this level.  It seems that the more familiar I am with the material I am writing about, the better I can explain them in a fitting manner, kind of as if I was giving an oral presentation (to my peers, to a scholarly audience, to the general public); the audience will influence the voice I use.”
  • “I need to make better use of the Delicious feed and the Barr textbook.  I think both of these are valuable sources, and I haven’t taken advantage of them.”
  • “For the next paper, I need to make sure that I keep everything organized.  I usually brainstorm by just writing ideas all over the page, so when I write the paper, sometimes my ideas jump all around like my notes.  I need to learn to think things out better beforehand, and make an outline that keeps me on track.”
  • “One general writing skill I can work on in the future is writing concisely.  I sometimes get into long, winding paragraphs that could be shortened and clarified to create a more effective, efficient paper.”
  • “Connections to other topics in the course would make my paper stronger. We see these connections in almost all of our discussions, and there are many which relate to my paper topic. While I did mention a few, discussing others and in a bit more depth would have made the paper more accessible and more interesting.”
  • “What I realized that I need to work on as a writer is developing a more entertaining voice.  This is difficult to do, however, when the topic discussed is not particularly entertaining.  Perhaps trying to connect more with the topic about which I am writing will give me a more unique and interesting voice.”

Image: "Pen and paper," LucasTheExperience, Flickr (CC)


Resources from November 30th - Security and Privacy


Problem Set 8

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for commenting. I did this for myself as well as for my students. Sometimes we need reminding about how much we have accomplished!

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