The Waiting Room

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Can't Explain

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I received an email from one of my students complaining that she has to resubmit her annotated bibliography. She sent me an email stating that she can't understand why she has to re-do it because she looked up how to do the bibliography on a website and just followed the examples.

So, I asked her to send me the link to the website that she used. Well, the first problem was that the website was for a course taught at another college. The course requires the student to use the Chicago Style Manual. I require MLA. It's stated in the assignment and in my syllabus. I emailed the student and explained to her that she followed the wrong citation form and I sent her a link explaining MLA.

I thought that was the end of it...but no.

She sends me another message saying, "Well, I just don't understand how mine is any different." I have the author, title and date.

Um, no you don't. my dear. Not even close.

She has an article from a newspaper which has the title with all lower case letters, the name of the newspaper and the date showing as month/day/year. No edition or page/section number.

Incorrect. Big time.

Also, I am guessing that she found the article on line, becuase I seriously doubt she has the newspaper from 2004. So, she should have cited it as an online source.

I attached her bibliography with comments on how the cite should look. I also told her that she should stop by my office to discuss this becuase it is just to hard to explain via email.

Do you think she just doesn't get it or is it another case of not using one's whole ass? (I checked her schedule and she is taking Writing I where this is covered).

Good grief, my head hurts.


Anonymous said...

my guess is, she really doesn't understand why or how it could possibly matter, no one has required her to do it the right way before--as in, as long as most or all of the information is there, who cares about the format--and because of that, she is not using her whole ass.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'd guess that she doesn't get it. Think about most of her written communication -- text messages and e-mail aren't exactly places for formal conventions.

It sounds like even if she used Chicago, she'd have it wrong.

From my perspective, some instructors get pretty wrapped up in MLA/APA/Chicago disputes, which my students just don't understand. Frankly, I don't care which one they use -- as long as they use one of them. It sounds like she didn't use one of them.

Astroprof said...

She probably doesn't understand, or care, why she needs to cite sources, anyway. I don't care what format my students use as long as it is a proper citation. Her citation is not proper. But, I had a student a few years ago that simply had as her bibliography: Internet. Yeah, like that's a proper citation!

Seeking Solace said...

Astroprof: Internet as a citation! I love it. It's up there with the slide rule.

rented life said...

Once, someone came in (this was when I was at the big university by us) and color coded the assignment and his paper to show me where and how he thought he answered the questions. So it could be worse!!

I'd say she doesn't get/doesn't care. Even though you said in your syllabus, and probably many times in class, I had people try to fight with me on stuff like that too. I personally push APA and give them worksheets and everything and still have people who just list the book or something instead.

Abbey said...

I don't think she doesn't get it. I think she just doesn't want to redo it. I just couldn't imagine saying to a prof grading my paper that I didn't see the point in doing it their way. Wait, maybe I have...well, you get my point.

Anonymous said...

oh dear. the dangers of the internet and poor reading skills.

Anonymous said...

I think she doesn't get it in one sense (which actually despite being in law and therefore having to put up with a very specific footnoting method, I still don't get myself.) She has a bibliography where she cites material that isn't hers. Therefore she has told you what material she used, and where she got it, in a format that means you could find it again if you had to check it. So she asks herself- what does it matter which format I used, given that fact? And honestly, I have no answer to that. I'd be interested in knowing if you did- perhaps it would make me less angry about having to use the legal bluebook.

Seeking Solace said...

Anonymous: This was a undergraduate Critical Thinking class, so I use either MLA or APA which there is no reason why she should not know what to do, especially when I gave her a citation guide at the beginning of the project.

But, I totally get your frustration with Blue Book citation. I had trouble with it when I was in law school and I think I just fudged it when I was a practicing lawyer. It really doesn't make much sense, given the other forms of citation that is available. I think the most important thing is getting the case citation correct because that can be the kiss of death if someone Shepardized your cases.