Take my feedback if you want to pass.

As my students in a compressed online course start writing a term paper, I ponder the importance of feedback. I can’t force them to read it, but I do intend to give it. Should they choose to ignore it, I simply have to evaluate their work fairly and, if they ask for an explanation, encourage them to go back and read the feedback I’ve already given.

From my perspective, I can see that their lives would be so much simpler if they simply followed my instructions a little more closely, started a little earlier, and applied the detailed feedback I provided on their drafts. But millennials often prefer to forge ahead, figuring they can start the level over again after they learn where the traps are.

This afternoon I wrote 3,387 words of feedback. How much of that will the students read? It’s generalized advice that I usually give orally.

  • Why to use a library database instead of Google to find sources.
  • Why they need to learn how to construct a bibliography entry rather than copy-paste what an online tools tells them is the proper citation. (One of my students submitted a bibliography containing an article called something like “Authentication Request Denied” in the journal *Authentication Request Denied*.)
  • Why it is that professors are obsessed with peer-reviewed academic articles that are so much harder to find and harder to follow than encyclopedia articles and learning-avoidance websites like Shmoop.

I’ll probably work much of this feedback into a stand-alone handout that I’ll add to my existing writing process handouts: [ Titles | Thesis Statements | Blueprinting | Quoting | CitingMLA Format ]

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