Goal

Over all, your cover letter should communicate the growth you achieved as a writer over the course of the semester. This is represented in your progress, from abstract, to proposal, to rough draft, to final revised essay. Your other work as documented by your student wiki page also gives evidence. In the cover letter, you name specifics and make a case (tell a story) about the areas where you placed your effort and earned results.

Specific references are important. Simply saying: “I worked hard to improve my essay when I revised it” does not have much concrete weight. Instead, devote a paragraph to the steps you took to refine your research question from A to B, by redrafting it three times (quote it), choosing to omit aspect C (name it) and integrating a new perspective for source D (name it).

Approaches

If you are stuck on how to approach the cover letter, here are several strategies that past students have utilized. Don't try to answer all three questions; it will be too much.

1. Reflection on A Few Process Steps:

I'd like to learn more about how you experienced the research process, and in particular, how you were able to use the various steps laid out for the class (brainstorming, identifying conversations, framing a research question, evaluating sources etc.) If you can identify two or three specific entries in your blog that your growth, discovery, and decision-making process, that would be great. Did your mini-essay or multi-media project contribute? How ?Use your own judgment about what helped you most during the research process. Please reference relevant items in your portfolio or posts on your blog, and explain how the activities helped and why they were significant steps in your larger research process.

2. Reflection on Draft Revision:

I'd like you to tell me about your revising, what did (and perhaps did not) go well for you. Talk about the progress you made and what helped you most as you worked on pulling your sources together for your own purpose. You can reference things we did as a class, steps you took in response to comments and individual discussion, or moves you made on your own. Please try to include specific discussion of at least one aspect of your draft that was improved; you may also choose to disclose things that you'd like to be able to do better in the future as well.

3. Reflection on the Digital Dimension

Use of networked computers, the web, and databases are a requirement for conducting 21st century research. But it is not a university-wide requirement that English 202 be taught in a computer classroom, or that students use blogs for research journals, or do group collaborations through a wiki. Reflect on your progress as a digital researcher. How did you make use of these tools in your own research this semester? In what ways did you become more skilled writing and reading in a networked environment? What struggles did such work present for you? As above, try to point to specific posts, assignments, activities, or readings to exemplify your progress.