Friday, October 26, 2007

Using Citations


That is the sound of me banging my head on my desk.

I have spent the past two hours grading papers for my online Sociology class. It has been PAINFUL to see how many of these students are missing a key piece - properly using citations.

How is it that people can get all the way through high school and never have to learn this stuff?? MANY have said "well, I never had to do that before so I wasn't sure what you wanted." I understand and accept that. So the very first week of class I go over this again and again. I give them a specific assignment with very explicit directions and examples to show them what a citation is and explain when and why to use it. I give them all sorts of resources to refer back to. Still, here we are in the 5th week of class and they just aren't getting it. SIGH.

For anyone out there who is not clear on how to use a citation - I offer up the following resources:

"You Quote It, You Note It" - Vaughn Memorial Library

Research & Documentation Online by Diana Hackerman

The Owl at Purdue

Now I have to go back and figure out how I will respond to my student who wrote in her comments "I did not use a citation because I was quoting myself." or the one who said "Nothing I wrote was related to the chapters in our book."

Thump. Thump. Thump.


Mimi said...

Ouch, I'm banging my head along with you.

Anne Bradshaw said...

The student quoting herself had me laughing out loud. You must have a load of patience to deal with paper marking. Hats off to you.

Mr. H said...

You must understand you will have to teach them the basics or reteach them how to do it correctly.

Belladonna said...

Matthew - Oh, I totally get it that I need to teach them the basics. What I DON'T get is why even after I go over it 3 different times in different ways and give them exact examples of what they need to do, a large number of the students are still not putting ANY effort into even trying to use a citation and then there is another group who consistently does it wrong week after week after week even though I send them private e-mails with detailed feedback every single time.

Then, as icing on the cake, today when I was grading tests I came to the question that asks "Define structural mobility and give an example." Keep in mind this is an OPEN BOOK test. The correct answer is that structural mobility is social mobility either up or down the class ladder that occurs among large groups due to changes in the society rather than individual efforts. Examples might be moving UP when computers were invented allowing many previous blue collar workers to master technical skills or moving DOWN when industries began sending jobs overseas and downsized hundreds of people in order to preserve corporate profits. It's a pretty basic concept.

But I'm getting answers like "Structural mobility means having power over structures like Donald Trump because he owns some big buildings."


Ruth D~ said...

Ahhh, the bruised forehead syndrome teachers are prone to. Funny!

mr. h~ I assume you've never taught? :>)

Jen said...

My DH just started a doctoral program, and his first class is basically a run through of how to write a paper with citations & an abstract. Everyone in the program has a masters degree, and has hence, already written a thesis. It's unreal! Take your life seriously people!

papa herman said...

I am reminded of when I was taking a German class in college... I had to attempt to re-train myself regarding grammar. I was able to previously skate by without really knowing it.

I agree with Mr. H's statement.

The cool thing, knowing you, is that even with this frustration I know how much you value your students-- it is in that atmosphere that one can learn, because the teacher truly wants to teach them.

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