Writing with Sources

IMG_1183Good Morning from my class,

I am currently sitting in the back of my 9:00 a.m. #Foundations of College Writing course. As I do every semester, I have the #Bloomsburg Writing Center come to class and have them do this presentation for my course. What is evident, both from experience as well as research by the Writing Center director, #Dr. Ted Roggenbuck, many students do not have a very good handle on the ethical or correct use of sources. Most do not intentionally misuse a source, but their lack of understanding, particularly when it comes to paraphrase  or summary, results all too often in unintentional plagiarism. I always do this presentation at the beginning of he semester because I do want to move students beyond the understanding that served them all to well in high school. I am reminded of my own experience with a high school in the area. Those 12th grade students were told by their senior project advisor they did not need a works cited page on their projects. NOT GOOD!!!

I was actually pleasantly surprised in the first class and now in the second one (Yes, it is actually later as I continue to write this. I am now in my 11:00 a.m. Foundations course.), that students seem to be more honest about having some concerns about their writing and ability to use sources. There does seem to be an issue with clickers this morning, but I think we can still work with it. Actually, while I have heard this presentation many times, I always seem to learn something that I might find helpful. I think the point made this morning that most caught me by surprise was when the student presenter said, “If you do not understand the source, you should probably not be using it.” I guess I had not thought of that, but it is certainly a truism.

In addition this morning, I saw my summer student who had some health issues. It was good to catch up and give them a sense of what needs to be done to complete the course. This was a sad situation because I do believe the student is capable, but due to a number of issues, the student could not finish the course. This will, at the very least, allow from completion and receving credit for the summer class. This was a new experience for me here at this university, but because of my own health issues, I know how those issues can get in the way of life. Yet, one still needs to manage the assignments and the work.

We are headed into the Labor Day weekend. This is the traditional end of summer. What I am realizing is the summer flew by; in fact, I am not sure where it all went and how I feel like I somehow missed it. I wrote on my #Facebook page yesterday that we were four days into class and somehow I have ended up a week behind. I hope that is not a harbinger of the semester. Somehow, I am quite sure it might be the case. Yesterday someone asked me about the fall and the return to school. What I remember growing up is an excitement of being back in school. It is interesting the images that come to mind. I think the fall I most remember the excitement of school was in 1977 when I was a student at Iowa State University (#ISU). I still remember walking down Welch Avenue toward the campus and the sounds and smells of the fall. Autumn is certainly my favorite season. I so appreciate the cool nights and the warm afternoons. One of the things I have noticed this past week is how it has gotten significantly later before it is light outside and it is becoming darker much earlier. In fact, at least as far as the calendar, there are only three weeks of summer left, or in another way to think about it . . . we are half way to the shortest day of the year.

Well, I am very happpy for the three day weekend; it will be a catch up and get organized time. Hopefully, next week I will not feel quite as harried.

Thanks for reading,

Michael (aka: Dr. Martin)

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