Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Guise of the Plagiarize

I once heard a man on the street say “plagiarism is dumb.” Okay, he didn’t say that. And yes, I know that that wasn’t a profound statement in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I don’t know if
I’ve ever heard a man on the street say anything about plagiarism, but my blog is now started and I can continue chit chattin about plagiarism. There are a few reasons why I think people plagiarize. First of all, I think that often students think that plagiarizing is the easy way out and that their assignments will be much easier. In reality, plagiarism is actually harder and more time consuming than actually doing the assignment. In order to not get caught, it would be a very difficult process. But, alas, therein lies the conundrum. The student is lazy in the first place and therefore doesn’t put the brain power forth to realize that cheating is actually more work than actually doing the assignment.

Reason number dos, citing. I think that students don’t now how to cite correctly. So, they include quotes and whatnot and don’t correctly cite the information. Either that or they are too lazy to figure out how to do it correctly and just throw it all there.

Next, feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes a student may not feel that they can adequately or eloquently state what they want to, so they get overwhelmed and just put someone else’s words into their work. Writing a paper can be a hassle and a great task for some. They may just get so distraught over it that they throw their hands in the air, and with terror exclaim, “I cannot do it!” So there is another one of my reasons.

And some people just like the thrill of cheating. Living on the edge if you will. Perhaps they just want to see how far they can push the envelope. But, these people are few and far between, and I imagine that this case isn’t often seen.

On a similar note, my friend Dave has recently taken a bet in which he will read all the Twilight novels in 24 hours. We were discussing this on Friday night at our Beto’s Council. His stance is that the novels are childish and that reading them in 24 hours is only proof of their childishness. Many people (mostly those of the Twilight persuasion) contend sharply with him. But I believe in Dave, or 8 Mile as I affectionately call him. If anyone wishes to add his or her two cents on this subject please feel free to share. I’ve never read the Twilight books and have no desire within my being to do so. As I blogged earlier, I think that Vampires have been long due for extinction from the media. I hope that Dave’s undertaking will raise awareness and help send the vampires back to the darkness where we can shun them and their kind forever more. Do you not believe this noble truth? Then “you can’t handle the truth!”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Videos

Hi all. As promised, here are two videos I'd like to see you all respond to.

On the Unintentional

I don't think plagiarism is as simple as "he's lazy" or "he wants a better grade than he can get himself," though those are obviously factors in some cases. A lot of it, I firmly believe, is accidental.

I saw a biomed paper yesterday (of course I did) that was well-structured, well-written and provided a lot of interesting information, but there wasn't a single citation. It was an OWL so of course I had no dialogue with the writer, but I'm sure it was either a function of forgetting to include the citations, of having not cited an early draft or of not being confident with the citation process. I've also seen a couple of papers from students who just aren't sure when to cite what. We've had to sit down and hash out whether huge portions of their work constitute common knowledge or whether it was time to pull out ye old APA manual.

I think the influence of technology on this generation is a factor as well. I have a looser sense of author's rights than my professors probably do because I have grown up in a different intellectual climate. The free proliferation of knowledge seems like a natural expectation to me, thanks primarily to the omnipresence of the internet over my childhood. If I ever had a question, any curiosity about anything, I could answer it in detail with next to no effort. Because of the autonomous and unregulated nature of the internet, adequate citation is a rarity, and I think I've grown up fostering a different attitude than the previous generation. Of course knowledge is free. Of course it belongs to everyone. That's how it's always been. (For me.)

Hippie claptrap, I know. does the blogger spellcheck catch "internet" but not "claptrap?"

It's also fair to say that plagiarizing is a lot easier now. With all the information necessary at a student's beckon call, most of it anonymous and difficult to pinpoint, of course the temptation will be there. I don't think most students have malicious intent when they consider ripping off another person's work, but it's just so damn easy. If you have a student whose grade is hanging by a thread and who is sensitive and insecure about the quality of his own writing, supplementing with definitions from the internet will naturally seem like a viable alternative.

I dunno. There are still plenty of straight-up cheaters out there, but I don't believe most of our students would plagiarize out of generally being dishonest brats. We tread a much finer line than our predecessors did, and some of us walk it better than others. The rest just need a little help.

/naive young educator

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hmm..."To be or not to be"...sounds familiar

I am not exactly sure why some people want to plagiarize. Having never experienced the process myself (at least…not intentionally. I do not think I have done it unitentionally either) I am not sure why someone would want to. It could be that the student thinks an assignment is simply too overwhelming or too big for them to handle and so cop out with a plagiarized paper. Or they could have the intent of just sounding smarter than they are? I really do not know. Another reason could actually be that they are not sure how to correctly write a good paper and so rely on what others have written to voice their own thoughts. I know that this can happen a lot with earlier students. A lot of the time when I am tutoring papers in the DELC or English 1010 papers I notice that a lot of the actual information in the paper is quotes and paraphrases, with a summary or short agreement surrounding the quote. I have read papers that even have entire paragraphs that are just quote and nothing else. In this case, plagiarism may be more of a mistake than a purposeful attempt to not do their own work.
This kind of reminds me of what Michelle and Michael were talking about all last year when it came to plagiarism…I think they were talking about something to do with plagiarism being a good idea actually…I can’t remember why. Michael tried to explain it to me once but after about 5 minutes or so of a lot of big words I sort of tuned out a little. Whoops.
Anyway, I am assuming that we are supposed to take from this that plagiarism is bad. Obviously. And now I keep thinking of Howlers…which naturally leads to Harry Potter! Hooray Harry Potter! I was incredibly depressed once I finished the last book. Of course there is still the last movie to look foraward two (which they are apparently going to split into two parts. Which is understandable because I cannot see how they could leave anything in that book out. I am really not looking forward to seeing Fred dying, though. I nearly cried when I got to that part in the book. I mean, George losing his ear was bad enough, but Fred dying! The horror!), but I am not looking forward to the empty feeling of utter dejection once all the movies are done with also. I am assuming I will move on…just as long as I do not rebound again with the Twilight series. That was just downright painful (beautifully mockable as the first movie is, I would rather watch a documentary on the growth patterns of legumes.). If anything I will probably schedule a few movie marathons to revel in the Harry Potter gloriousness. Or simply opt for a Lord of the Rings marathon again (even though my eyeballs were burning, it was still totally worth it.).
Anyway, talk about a major tangent! Plagiarism is a no-no. Don’t do it….

And then it all blew up.

There are a myriad of reasons to explain why people plagiarize. Perhaps they were never taught that it was wrong. Perhaps they accidentally copy and paste a quote into their essay to either quote or look at as they are paraphrasing it, then have to leave it, and then come back and forget to properly cite it or edit it out. Perhaps they do indeed get so frustrated, so overwhelmed with the assignment, that they reason with themselves that no one will notice. Perhaps they have gotten away with doing it ever since grade school and see no reason to stop now.

Or perhaps the zombies invade and steal their brains.

Though quite a bit of the time from what I see, it seems to be at least partially related to the first reason. It goes back to what we were discussing in class--some grade school teachers could care less what was written in their students' papers, just as long as the assignment got done and met the minimum requirements for page length, font, and type size. Some kids learned at an early age from these teachers that all they had to do was write as much as the teacher would read, and then copy and paste the rest, or just write an introduction and conclusion and then copy and paste all the other stuff because it's written better than they could ever write. Then they get to lovely college and life hits them in the face like a special-infected hunter zombie.

Other students come from different cultures where they may not have been asked to write research/argumentative papers (as most plagriarized works I've heard of or seen are in this genre of assignment). They may have been taught the rules, but unless they have used them, then they hardly remember how or why or when to employ them.

The majority, however, as seen from the current Health Science 1110 students, just have no idea how to cite their sources to avoid plagiarism. Some are non-traditional students who have never had to write a research paper like that in their entire lives. Others were never taught how to cite their sources. They just don't know, and most don't have that programmed into their sense of right or wrong.

It usually all goes back to another part of our discussion--the internet. There are millions--billions--of possible sources to use for papers. Take a little here, take a little there, and some people think that no one will notice their patchwork mess of an essay. They have also been copy and pasting everything from newspaper articles to books onto blogs, journals, Twitter, Facebook, and the entire face of the internet world. If I looked hard enough, right now I could find not only the latest bestselling book completely typed up and slapped onto a hidden blog, but I could also find illegal uploads of movies that have barely made it into theaters (the average upload time for these is usually two days after it's been released on theaters in the US); video games that have been ripped, stuck into a torrent, and offered to the world free of cost (moneywise, anyway, since getting a virus is a cost that is very probable); the latest hip song along with the rest of the album it often comes with; puchase keys and codes for a variety of programs that are free to download and try for the first 30 days, and then require the purchase keys/codes that everyone else so "generously" provides.

There is no owerership on the internet. Anything that can be uploaded, downloaded, copyed, pasted, and ripped is free game. Many students have grown up with this mindset. Some students just don't care; they only want a passing grade and that's that, because they're probably never going to be writing papers in their respective fields.

I had a tutee tell me that. He was going into Nursing, but was taking his pre-requisites, including the English composition classes. He sighed and told me he was frustrated with this class because he was going into a field that would never require him to write a paper like this every again.

The next day, I got a 12 page paper from a student who was writing it for one of the Nursing program classes. And what about the BioMed students? It doesn't matter what prgoram they're going into--they're going to have to write, and many of them are going to end up plagirizing because they don't take the time to learn it the right way. They just don't realize.

As for the zombies stealing their brains? Left 4 Dead 2 came out this week. So zombies may actually be involved. But who knows? There is always a reason, but just like people, each reason is variously different.


On Missed Opportunities

You know, I don't think I was ever formally instructed on how to write an argument? Granted, I've been naturally gifted with contrariness - a claim none of you will debate, I'm sure, but no one ever sat me down and explained the finer points of literary persuasion to me. I kind of wish someone had. I still don't feel I have an excellent grip on the concept if just because I've never had to learn. The writing I've produced has been good enough to pass myself through high school, 1010 and 2010 without a lot of effort, so my actual understanding of the construction involved is less stellar than it really should be.

I do remember my first introduction to the subject matter. It was Mr. Shoemaker's eighth grade composition class, and I made a point of sitting in the back and quietly doodling through the hour. It was easier to tune my teachers out that way. I looked up, and he was mapping out some sort of vague explanation to what an argumentative essay was and how it differed from a demonstrative essay. This interested me. I thought the definitions were self-explanatory, but the idea of writing with the aim of changing a person's mind seemed to imbue language with a power and resonance I had not previously afforded it. It seemed relevant. More importantly, it seemed like something I might want to try.

We got our homework assignments. I don't remember what it was on. Construction of some argument or other, I'm sure. I spent the afternoon dreaming up what I would say, how I would support it, and how brilliant I would sound; I was enraptured with the idea of the praise and respect that would follow my God-given verbosity. It meant something to me. Then, for whatever reason, I got home and just.. never did the paper. Never even tried.

I don't often slave as feverishly over the content of my papers as I did that afternoon, but the attraction holds fast. I still see myself in the best possible terms when I look through a literary tint. I still feel better about myself, more powerful, brighter and more independent when I compose a persuasive piece. Something about the idea of changing minds with words, just words, remains novel to me. I don't pursue that the way I should. Maybe I should start.

Maybe the fact that I never properly learned is my fault, and maybe it boils down to that one afternoon. I dunno. I still don't know why I gave up before I started, especially with a predilection for the gravity of language. Making the transition from 1010 to a more demanding 2010 was good for me, but I certainly wasn't instructed on the basics - and why should I have been? A higher level of proficiency was expected of me, and I happily delivered. I just didn't entirely know what I was doing.

(Do I ever?)

It's weird to think of myself in terms of an "English major" while still wrestling with some of the more basic concepts. My capacity for independent analysis has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and I think working in the center has tightened up a lot of the basic skills I've let slide, but I should still really go back and start fine tuning it myself. I will never know why some of the things I want the most are the things I'm most willing to slack on.

All the same, I wish I had stumbled my way into the classroom of someone deeply passionate before I got to Weber. It does bother me to think that I could be so much more advanced than I am right now, employing more sophisticated devices and developing more respectable papers. I missed out on a very basic building block, and it does sting.

But no time like the present, I guess. Maybe I'll spend my winter break writing about cylons and goddess worship.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Midterms

I know it's pointless to talk about this when finals are snaking their way around the corner, but you know what, whatever.

Midterms were okay for me. You tell me, professor - you graded half of mine. I didn't have a whole lot in the way of real work to do and managed to slide past in my usual 'look at me I can write a seven page paper in four hours' fashion, but the stress is starting to get to me right about now. Everything is either really funny or really aggravating. Often both. This mostly applies to Ben.

I'm worried about this semester. I put such pride and such emphasis on being a perfect student that it's starting to become part of my identity, and I know it's not an aspect I can maintain. My GPA will slip this year whether I like it or not. Freaking out about it is silly, but unavoidable.

Also: I am officially so tired that words, grammar and punctuation itself is starting to lose all meaning. Fair warning.

What really concerns me is whether my work performance is slipping in the face of the end of semester grind. I can't be sure, but I think I've been more brusque, less welcoming; more snippish, less patient. As the weeks wear on, I am becoming more and more tempted to tell that one jackoff that neeeeeds you to pleeeeeeeease do the citations for him precisely where he can stick his APA manual. I never do, obviously, but I think my frustration is becoming more evident. It's not the job, although if I never see another biomed paper, I will die happy. It's more the extraneous factors surrounding the job. And is anyone else really concerned about their capacity to write this bib paper?

I guess it's just a hodgepodge of personal drama, finals sneaking up and increasing sleep deprivation, but I will be immensely relieved when winter break finally descends upon us.

And I swear to god, Kyle, if you give me swine flu, I will never speak to you again.

Bib Essay! What!

Am I freaking out about the bib essay? Why yes, I am. Thank you for asking. I would have to say that the main reason I am freaking out about the essay is because; well I have not started yet. It seems the common consensus that most of my fellow tutors are on the freaking out side. Some people who have already been working on in for a month are not freaking out. Lucky them. From talking to other tutors in the Writing Center, or as I like to call it the WC, most of my coworkers have gotten some sort of a start. The start may only be looking at sources, but that is a lot more than I have done. I am still working through what my topic will be. I need to start looking.

I have a plan though. This weekend I will find sources. No playing for me. My top priority is my bib essay. I can afford to wait until Thanksgiving break to do the essay. I absolutely have to have the bib essay done before this Thanksgiving. Why is this, do you ask? Well, conditions permitting, Snowbasin will be opening on Thanksgiving. And what is more important than snowboarding? That is a rhetorical question. But for those who did not get that the answer is nothing. Nothing is more important than snowboarding. Surely not a grade. Snowboarding is el numero uno. But I still really like good grades, so that is why I need to get this beast of a paper done by Thanksgiving. So, if I find all my sources this weekend and get a start, then proceed to work on it through the week, I should be able to accomplish this task.

Hmm… this writing of the blog has been therapeutic. I am not as nervous as I was before. I have a plan now. I will get this danged paper finished. And I will do it well. Somehow when the pressure is on, I am always able to pull a paper out of fat air in the nick o’ time. Do not get me wrong, I am still freaking out, I am just not freaking out on a Mad Max level anymore.

Well that is all I really have concerns about. Actually getting started is the hard part, but once I start the paper will practically write itself. Now to answer Derek’s question of who would win between Voldemort and Darth Vader. Seriously? Voldemort would win that fight so easily. What does Vader have on Voldemort? The force? Lame. The force has nothing on magic. What is Vader going to do choke ol’ Voldy. Yeah right. Knock his wand out of his hand with the force. HA. Voldemort does not even need his wand to kill Vader. Plus if the and did happen to get knocked out of his hand he can just summon it. All Voldemort would have to do is Avada Kadavra, flash of green light, and Vader is dead. Voldemont would not even have to say it out loud.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For my Friday presentation

Whomever wants to read this article to help with the discussion on Friday. Please print if off to do so.

Thanks and I appreciate it!!


P.S. I will be bringing donuts so you'd better help me out.

Labels: , ,

Effort is a thing of the past

What drives our decisions? Is it fear or is it laziness?

I believe the majority of human decisions were made through the motivation of either fear or laziness. When specifically talking about plagiarism and this generation of students, I believe that laziness is a growing personality defect and is the number one cause of plagiarism in the university.

Instant gratifaction. What a great way to sum up the "advancement" of the last decade or so. This generation has been raised and nourished in the motherly embrace of technological advancements and widely accepted social norms that only advocate laziness. Today, we seem to be obsessed with the notion of little work resulting in a big pay-off. But I do not believe this is entirely our fault.

To evolve from a world that involves strenuous labor to accomplish our everyday tasks, our nation's intelligent souls created a handy little device that required less work. Why spend your time tediously searching for the perfect book, when you can offer up this task for something else to do? Why break your back opening up that library book miss, when all you've got to do is scroll down using your index finger? Why spend the time looking for the newspaper stories you'd like to read when you've got something else to do it for you? Effort is a thing of the past. Thank you Mozilla Firefox!

We are lazy because we have been bred to adopt this trait. We want the information to be to-the-point, and instantly available. We no longer read stories, we read headlines. We no longer photo-copy books or copy down sentences, (with a pencil and paper!) we cut and paste. We want our cheeseburgers and milkshakes NOW dammit!

With the dense amount of information that is easily and instantly accesible, it is not difficult to imagine students utterly baffled by the concept of crediting an author. Information is everywhere. It is buzzing about our ears and displayed on strange and portable screens. All you need is an index finger. We do not value the owner, the abundance of information belongs to us.

I also mentioned some faulty social norms that also helped to brew our lazy spirits. Laziness, I believe, is also evident in all of these horrid law suits that we throw around like tennis balls. This generation has seen quite the display of a socially-acceptable "blame game." We cop-out of consequences and give them to someone else to bear. Very similar to internet, eh?

Plagiarism is birthed through lazy decision-making, nurtured by the overwhelming laziness evident in society. We do not understand why we should go to the effort of writing something sentence by sentence when we have been taught that someone/something could do it for us. Besides, we have better things to do, like updating our facebook status.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Copy, Paste, Repeat...

In a time when the world is available at the touch of a button, it's easy to imagine the thousands of quote "perfect" essays out there available for download, not to mention the billions of people who've said things that can be used to flesh out a paper. The idea is supremely simple, even if it's very difficult to carry out. Cheating is a lot harder than it appears.

There are different ways to cheat, of course. Aside from the obvious copying someone else's work and claiming it, misquoting or paraphrasing someone's words is also considered cheating. Additionally, making up sources or faking data is cheating too.

So why would people cheat? A few reasons come to mind, but the biggest ones to me are the fact that people think it'll be easier, and that they simply don't have the time.

1. School is hard. There are expectations and pressures from everyone and everywhere. That can include anything from the older brother who didn't end up graduating (and therefore depends on you to graduate) to your own fear of failing. I can relate; it's hard to face your friends, family, or self and tell them you got a C+ in Calc II.

2. People are lazy procrastinators. I don't think they realize that cheating is usually more effort. Note that I don't say always, because I think that sometimes, cheating can be a lot simpler than actually doing the work, especially if a person is considering faking data or sources. If a person hasn't read the assigned texts, or has only a few hours to crank out a 12+ page paper, cheating is one of the only avenues left. Waiting too long for something can (and will) make the internet seem mighty friendly.

3. There's a strange feeling of satisfaction when you get away with breaking the rules. I had a friend in high school who would cheat all the time. He was brilliant, and could have done the work himself, but he considered it a bigger challenge to get away with cheating. I reported him once (anonymously, to preserve our friendship), but he'd been smart enough to cheat out of a book, and the teacher had no proof. My friend was watched closely for the rest of the year, but he didn't ever get caught. He was addicted to the rush he got when he "pulled the wool over a teacher's eyes."

4. People are stupid. If a student is supposed to have learned about something, but didn't understand, there's a panic that sets in. I feel helpless when I feel ignorant. Humans like having a certain amount of control over their own lives, so when they don't know something, they have no control. Cheating is one way to counteract that helplessness.

Are there any solutions? is one. For online classes, it's great. It helps students and teachers see how much of the paper is plagiarized. The catch is that it is an internet-submitted service. For papers that students turn in as a hard copy, the teacher has to type it to submit it. Other than that, good luck. You're stuck catching plagiarizers on your own.


Do people plagiarize? To me that's like asking if people lie. Of course they do. I know that student's plagiarize regularly for a variety of reasons. There are the "I just like to cheat" people, but more often, I think plagiarism is a symptom of a larger epidemic of not enough time and ignorance.

Weber State University is made of mostly students who have things going on outside of class and school. Most do not live on campus, hold down at least part-time jobs if not full-time jobs and many have either spouses or family. Sometimes, you get to the end of a semester, you have three papers due, you are working extra hours for holiday money and something’s got to give.

However, I have been in this situation and not cheated. I just did really badly on one of my papers. Dr. Elsley guilted me about it and the next paper I wrote for her was great. So there are consequences even if you do not cheat. I digress, again.

There is also the aspect of maintaining a GPA for a certain program. Sometimes when people are taking a lot of credit hours and have to maintain say a 3.4 or higher or be kicked out of their program, they will resort to plagiarism to keep up their GPA. It seems that the danger of being caught plagiarizing is less than the danger of getting a bad grade and being kicked out of the program. They seem to see the short term "easy" way out over the longer term of actually doing the work.

I also have seen people who have so little faith in their own ability to write that they would rather cheat than fail at something so relatively personal. I also think people have unreasonable assumptions about how much time writing actually takes.

Finally, a big reason I see is ignorance. People do not know how to cite, so they simply don't. Or they have never been taught that they need to give credit to sources. Or finally, if it is a primary text, they assume the professor has read it and thus knows what they are citing. All of these assumptions are false, but ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law.

If you couple all of this with a general disregard for intellectual property, people believe that it is okay to just take information without citation. If you don't have to pay for movies and for music, why should you give some dead dude credit for something they said like a million years ago? This leads to plagiarism.

I was lucky and I had the fear of God driven into me by an English teacher in my younger days. Plus, I realized that you can add a bunch to your own words as long as you give credit to someone. That seems totally easy and helps make my lone seven pages of text into fifteen. This is good. I never understood why someone would intentionally steal and pass it off as their own. I do, however, understand the ignorance issue. I also feel for the strapped for time issue. However, most professors would offer an extension. There is a general lack of knowledge of resources that contributes to this phenomenon as well. People might not know about the writing center and turn to copying out of desperation.

All in all, this is not going away. People lie, people cheat. If you watched last week's Community you know--people are evil.


Why do you think people plagiarize? Let's try to get beyond the stock "Some people want to cheat" response. Do they get frustrated? Do they get overwhelmed? Do they place expectations that are too high on themselves?
I know I am beginning to stress when I start to forget things like submitting a blog response. That being said, of course I am starting to freak out about the bibliographic essay. This freak out response was initiated by the enormity of the bibliographic essay, but my distress is only compounded as I realize that the semester is drawing much too quickly to a close. As much as I am looking forward to this semester being over, I can’t help but to feel enormous pressure as finals week draws near. Even though I will have several final exams to deal with before this semester can officially end, the good thing is that this bibliographic essay will be completed and submitted before any of my finals take place!

The most difficult thing about this essay is that we cannot argue a side of the issues we are examining. By now the first thing I look for when reading an article is it’s argumentative value, and then I decide how I stand on the issue. This form of evaluating an article cannot help me with this essay since this is not what the assignment is about. Another thing that makes this assignment a pain is that I am having some difficulty finding relevant sources. The second part to this problem is that when I do find a good source I realize that it is about 50 to 60 pages in length. This isn’t so bad as long as when I’m finished reading the 50 to 60 pages I have a lot of good information to use. When I have spent an hour looking for a source and then spend an additional hour deciphering the information, I want results.

The good thing is that I already have about six or seven really good sources. Even though it has taken me hours of searching to accumulate those sources, I am smarter about how I go about locating sources now. This hopefully means that the final three or four sources I will need will be a piece of cake to find. One positive aspect to this assignment is that we were able to choose our writing center topic. This makes the assignment much more bearable because I chose a topic that I really wanted to know more about, but if this hadn’t been an assignment I wouldn’t have had time to research it.

I have set a goal to have the bulk of my essay written by the end of this week. If all goes according to plan I shouldn’t have to worry about this assignment over Thanksgiving Break! How great would it be to have four days to relax before dead week and finals week? I can’t imagine I have never had that luxury before. I don’t know how probable this is, but like I said this is my goal. Now that I think about it, maybe this is more of a very wishful dream. It is comforting to know that all of you are experiencing the same stresses and difficulties. We will manage as long as we keep reminding ourselves that in 14 short days this essay will be behind us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm good, not freaking out about my paper.

I'm not worried about the bib essay. Why?

I've been working on this thing for a month now. I honestly don't want to read any more about distance learning. But it has been interesting, I'll admit. My plan is to write this in single spaced and then make it into double spaced. This is almost like a mind trick that I do to myself. It's going to be close to 20 pages, so making it into a 10 page paper makes it more manageable. I'll break this down into three sections. The first section is going to be on the history on distance learning. this may take up to 3 pages. Next, I plan on writing about what people are saying about distance education and online writing. This will be up to 4 pages as well. Finally, I plan on finishing with a "what makes a good online tutor" section. This will take up 3 pages. I wasn't sure how to put these subjects together. Dr. Rogers said it would be OK to split these subjects up into as many sections as I need. I have started on the essay. I'm starting this paper by going backwards on it. I am writing about how to be an online tutor. Also, I'm listening to a lot of instrumental music as I type this paper. I don't know why this is helpful but it is. John Williams helps bring out the writer in me I guess. I plan on finishing this essay by next Wednesday because I want to have it done before Thanksgiving. I realize that I will not have any time to write it on that day as well as Friday. Saturday maybe and Sunday is just plain old pushing it.

I know many students would probably be freaking out. It's not that I think I'm a better student than them, it's just that I have experience on how to schedule a plan on how to write an essay. I learned in my undergrad work how to write under pressure. It's all about knowing how to use your time. Time management of course. I try and remind the students that I tutor on the advantages of this. The biggest advantage is that you will not be freaking out about your paper.

I wish all of you guys good luck on your papers.