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Thursday, 09 March 2017 15:17

Student Writing: Compare & Contrast Essay

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The "compare and contrast essay" is a favorite of writing teachers. I recently assigned it to my Thursday online writing class, and here are some of their papers. The students had total freedom to pick their topic. 

I think the students do a particularly strong job with word choice, punctuation variety, and organization. I especially like how Justin ended "with a bang."

Take a look!




Facebook vs. Reddit


In the age of the internet, there are many websites that connect users all over the web. Facebook is one of these sites-- and it is also the most popular. However, many other sites have popped up over the years, usually gone unnoticed by the casual surfer. An example of this is Reddit: “the front page of the Internet.” Both websites allow users to interact with each other and discuss topics, but the two sites also have a variety of different characteristics.

Anonymity is the major difference between Facebook and Reddit. On Facebook, users create profiles based on themselves, and friend profiles of people they know in real life. In contrast, Reddit users have close-to-anonymous profiles; with only the username giving any clue of the “redditor’s” identity. Because of this, redditors can post and comment more freely, without the pressure from being judged by friends or family, or recognized by peers. It is a different situation on Facebook-- users are completely recognizable, and can be judged both online and in real life.

Another difference between the websites is the content shown and how it is organized. Reddit has all of its topics filtered into “subreddits,” which are essentially forums for a that topic, and the top posts from certain, chosen subreddits make the front page of Reddit. Some of these top posts come from the “universal” subreddits, like /r/AskReddit, /r/News, /r/Pics, and more. If a user is an avid baseball fan, then he or she could visit /r/baseball. If another user is not a baseball fan, but a music lover, then /r/music would make him or her feel at home. The organization of posts on Facebook is not distinct, but instead, an endless news feed of posts by friends and liked pages with an ad or two.

Despite the differences, both Facebook and Reddit are both embraced by their users and used as communication platforms on the web. They both provide enjoyment, and are good for pleasure reading for anyone with internet access. Different people prefer different styles of social media, but everyone should try both sites before making any judgements-- don’t judge a book by its cover!

--Justin in Hsinchu, Taiwan


Industrial Revolution vs. Technological Revolution

Throughout the history of mankind, advancements were continuously made as the byproduct of our curiosity. In early civilizations, few technological advances were made; most of our energy was focused on survival. However, as time went on, mankind's curiosity bloomed as a result of ensured survival due to more advanced societies, leading to more developments and even some imaginative concepts being discussed. This was how the Industrial Revolution came about in England and soon Europe from 1760 to around the 1830's. This time period brought about the idea of mass production and using machines to replace manpower. As this ideology matured, another revolution began to take place: the Technological Revolution. Also known as the digital revolution, this age, which began in 1980's and is still continuing, has allowed humanity to harness the power of digital information and produce electrical appliances in large numbers. There are many similarities and differences when comparing the two revolutions, especially when causing factors, benefits, and consequences are discussed.

Even though the revolutions each served different purposes, they both have almost identical causing factors: scarcity and demand. The lack of a product that is needed increases the demand for an item, which in turn stimulates the population to find methods to accommodate the world's never-ending lust for technological advancements. However, when the outcomes of each age of development are brought up, one can see major differences. The Industrial Revolution brought forward the idea of machines replacing humans for completing tasks while the Technological Revolution brought the idea of massive data storage and production through the now perfected assembly line system used by many companies around the world. Meanwhile, even with these differences in benefits, the consequences of such progress in the world are dangerously similar: abuse. Back in the 1700's and the 1800's, child labor became a byproduct of progress due to the managers' desire to obtain more wealth through cheap labor. Nowadays, illegal migrants and forced laborers make up the backbone our world's food industry; they rely on modern technology to kill dozens of pigs at once or clear a farm in minutes. From the drawbacks of the two revolutions, one can conclude that even though many benefits can seem very favorable (as it had), there will always be a price to be payed for the actions that one takes.

--Aaron in Hsinchu, Taiwan


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Read 21182 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 August 2017 20:53
Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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