I have been marking a lot of work recently - about 70 EMAs and a large number of final TMAs. Something that strikes me is issues around use of sources and referencing.
One issue is that many students overquote and some even seem to think that there is only a need to reference if they quote. This seems a quite ineffective way of referring to knowledge of the course. The references are often too wordy for the point they need to make. Sometimes they do not make sense out of context - e.g. writing "now" or even "yesterday" when the student's work is about the situation a few years later.
Another issue is that many students put a full stop before a reference when the reference finished the sentence. Sometimes students even put a full stop before and after a reference. This seems to suggest that they consider the reference as being apart from the rest of the sentence rather than an integral part of the text.
These perhaps suggest that there need to be new ways of presenting how sources are used in academic contexts.
Those short mini courses about referencing in the OU library could be incorporated into the modules.
They are integrated into some modules. I think, though, that it is more related to a mindset of students writing in their own voices while showing that they know what others have written.
What are you studying?
Patrick, I am studying environmental management. What do you teach?
Presumably the use of sources is important in what you study.
I teach courses related to languages (mainly English but touching on languages more generally).
Yes, the use of sources is very important and referencing is strict and precise. A reader needs to be able to find the source so they can check it themselves, and it needs to be a good quality source.
Languages more generally… as in the way language is used generally? Or the actual languages?
To answer the question at the end, Jessica .....
It is about languages in general (eg what we do in language - give information, make jokes, tell stories etc) but there is some reference to languages other than English. For example, many languages (eg French, Russian and Chinese) have two or more words for you and some of the courses I teach on refer to these kind of phenomena.
I do not teach any of these languages systematically although I have studied French, Russian and Chinese.
Hi Patrick, I am studying Bachelor of Laws LLB (Honours), and will start my final year in October 2022. From my third year of study and currently, I leave two days prior to submission of my TMA's and EMA's to allow time to go through all referencing in text, reference list and bibliography. This has kept me on target to get all referencing as near correct as possible.
Your posts are very interesting. Thank you.
Thanks for the comment, Eliot
I am interested in how students use sources. It is interesting that you say you leave several days at the end. I tend to reference as I go along and then it just takes a few minutes to check at the end. I think tutors mainly focus on
- referring to appropriate sources
- integrating them into your own arguments
- the references being traceable- ie in text references being in the references list.
Does that fit your experience?
Good luck with the final part of your degree.