What My College Freshmen Do Badly

College papers are not Facebook rants.  Students need our help distinguishing the two.

It’s time for final papers in my online course, which ended this weekend.  Some are fantastic.  Some others? Not so much.

This year I have noticed an alarming trend in their writing, and today I felt compelled to rant.  So here goes.

The amount of sweeping generalizations that they put in their papers is horrifying.

Let me give you some actual examples:

“Conservatives only watch Fox News.”

“This topic is very much in the minds of Americans today.”

“Religions are portayed negatively in the media.”

A majority of my feedback to students sounds something like this:

“How do you KNOW this particular fact?  Who says? When did they say it?  Have there been research studies about this? What proof do you have?  What examples can you share?  You just can’t write a sentence like that in a college paper without references or citations.”

Student needs our help distinguishing academic, professional writing from broad statements that fly in social media without proof or sources.

How do we do this?

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