Reflections on ENGL119

Almost every student in an English course was told a story: employers told Dean of the Math Faculty that his students lack communication skills. Since then, all math and CS students have been required to take two communication courses, and probably everyone in this class of ENGL119 took this course for this reason. However, the course is not as bad as I expected.


Throughout the course, we were taught how to explain technical stuff to “normal people”. Unfortunately, it is not easy as it may seem. Technical jargon seems to be the most annoying to people, but in fact, these terms were invented to make explanation easier. Compressing and translating these ideas into slides took us a lot of time and efforts. After that, the proposal and the final report seemed even more challenging. Thanks to Sara, we learned how to write them in class, which made the assignments a little easier. Overall, the course has a relatively high workload, but the organization of contents and topics were designed reasonably.

After taking ENGL119, I also gained some other skills as well as writing. The rhetorical triangle is a good guide for how to convey my ideas, and I noticed that in a communication process, logos alone is not persuading enough, different from math where logos is everything. Also, citing the works of other is as important as writing my own work. In addition, searching for resources with the library database is extremely helpful. While writing the report, I needed some functions of Microsoft Word which I do not use often in daily life, such as table of

Lastly, I would like to share an idea. The most shocking fact that I learned in this course is, surprisingly, that the majority of the North American population do not take math after grade 10. This is really mind-blowing for me because in China, even when you plan to study literature in university, you will be tested on math for the entrance exam. However, math students have to continue studying communications. My question is that why arts students are not required to take two math courses, given that math occurs everywhere, just like communication.


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