Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Outstanding writing by online students

James PappasFour Global Campus students have won top 10 honors out of 5,224 writers submitting work for the WSU Writing Portfolio.

“My first response was utter surprise,” said James Pappas, right, of Liberty Lake, Wash. “To say that I'm genuinely honored doesn't really begin to express my appreciation adequately.”

Every year, juniors must submit three writing samples to the Office of Undergraduate Education’s Writing Program to ensure their skills are up to snuff. The criteria are focus, supporting facts, organization, and grammar.

The top 10 percent are rated “Pass with Distinction.” Of those submissions, only 10 are chosen for the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Writing Excellence Award and Scholarship, which includes a $100 prize.

More... “James’s essays exhibit a real strength with exposition and argument,” said Brooklyn Walter, assessment coordinator for the Writing Program. “Each essay – all written for upper-division liberal arts courses – is organized logically with a clear purpose and developed with meaningful, careful evidence.”

Pappas served eight years abroad in the U.S. Marines and during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm War, and spent 20 years in corporate leadership. He is now earning a humanities degree and plans to get a Ph.D. so he can teach at the college level.

Pappas offers three tips for other writers: Read lots of scholarly works, seek feedback, and practice with an eye towards constant improvement.

Award winner Jesse Ashcraft of Brush Prairie, Wash., said his method is to start with an analytical approach to the material. “In doing so, I am able to shed any preconceptions or assumptions that might color my treatment of the material,” he said, “thus I am allowed to understand and synthesize multiple perspectives to which I might have otherwise been blind.”

Ashcraft is earning his humanities degree with the goal of becoming a high-school English teacher.

Amber Allshouse, an accounting major, came from the West Side to pick up her award. “It was a good opportunity to see the campus for the first—and maybe only—time,” she said.

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