Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS


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Try Writing

Storyshucker

“Thousands of people who write believe they are better than thousands of others. They believe they will pen the next great American novel but their writing is dull and full of grammatical errors. Why do they write anything intended to be read by the public? Why do they write?”

I read those lines and was impelled to respond. The blogger’s entire post was arrogant and sarcastic, but those lines were the cherries on top. After I acknowledged that he can post what he likes on his own blog, I then asked if rather than squelch ambitions with a negative message about imperfection, he could instead applaud people for their attempts, for our attempts because I am one of the imperfect. But, we still try.

I don’t necessarily like being serious because, well, it’s not funny. I love a little arrogance and sarcasm as much as anyone, maybe more than…

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The honesty threshold: It wasn’t plagiarized that much. Should I say something or let it slide?

Kaplan University

Dr. Tamara Fudge, professor in the School of IT

Honesty is an important workplace trait. Lack of honesty can be damaging to the person and to the company. To ensure student honesty, then, the first step in grading should be to send assignments to Turn-it-In. This tool provides reports that should be scrutinized for accuracy; it’s not infallible* but provides a backbone for checking originality.

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The good news is that a lion’s share of the work we send in results in low-percentage reports that erroneously label reference entries or cover page content as “copied.” We can ignore those without batting an eyelash. On the other end of the spectrum, high-percentage reports should be obvious: either give a stern warning and a zero, and let the advisor know, or send the work to the Provost for a plagiarism review. It’s a wake-up call the high-percentage student needs.

This post…

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4 Practical Tips for Writing with an Academic Voice

Kaplan University

Patricia Drown, Kaplan University Faculty, Social And Behavioral Sciences

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Nothing can put fear in to the heart faster than the prospect of academic writing. Our mind immediately fills with pictures of quill pens, dusty libraries, and some robed and bespectacled scholar bent over parchment spilling out polysyllabic words that will ring down through the ages. Relax. Academic writing is far less complex than it sounds.

I will leave it to others to explain the nuances of in-text citations, formatting, and references. What we want to think about first is voice. The tone of your paper is what makes it academic just as assuredly as the format–perhaps more so.

We have become a world of casual writers. Online students commonly use texts, emails, and Twitter to connect with peers and faculty, which can take academic writing from the realm of formal communication to something akin to chatting…

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