Friday, March 18, 2011

My brain hurts.

Our two year old is starting to use the potty. Our three month old is already ready for the jumper, but not really willing to take a bottle or use a pacifier (the only pacifier she's willing to use is me). I'm teaching two composition classes in which my students write 1000 words on their blogs with comments on two classmates' blogs every week (and I have to grade them every weekend), and assisting a colleague in teaching a literature class online.

I've also started the process of trying to write an academic paper about the future of academic citation heading toward linking sources rather than the current mess that no one department can agree on. I can think of three different citation styles--MLA (used by English Language & Literature classes), APA (Psychology), and Chicago (used by communications departments). Each has different rules, the internal citation model in APA and MLA tend to obstruct the flow of the text, and it's a pain to seek out the sources cited.

I think that students will, eventually, cite their sources with hyperlinks as a matter of course. I think that if those of us who teach courses in which research papers make up even a portion of the grade won't change the way we cite our sources (and teach students to cite their sources), our classes will continue to become more and more irrelevant to our students' lives. I think that the world as a whole is moving away from older research models, and toward hyperlinking sources.

We need to simplify things, and to agree on a method of simplification. I think that no one department is willing to agree on someone else's model. I think that our only real choice is a brand new model: to move toward hyperlinking in the text, and using some type of standardized works cited/bibliography page.

Any thoughts?

Update: The little girl will now take bottles. She still will not take a pacifier, but will take my knuckle instead of nursing constantly--thank God, as she's started teething.


  1. I can understand how all that would hurt your brain!

    I would have appreciated a uniform format in grad school--hated learning APA style coming from MLA for high school and undergrad. Of course, there was also the little detail that no one told me about the awesomeness of NoodleTools to do most of the work FOR me until I was student teaching and wasn't writing any more papers.

    Of course, right now I am teaching 6th graders to do formal research papers. . . and they just do NOT get why they have "do all this just to write a stupid little paper."

  2. Try asking them how they'd feel if someone took something they'd done, and took total credit for it in front of the world. Tell them that it's kind of like theft, kind of like rape--essentially, by taking credit for someone else's thoughts, they're taking part of that individual's *self*.

    Then tell them that if they do it in college, they fail the class for the semester at best, and get put on probation or kicked out at worst, because sixth graders are notorious little sociopaths that won't care unless it's in their own best interests.

    Maybe someday the other reasons will stick.

    (I've had a couple of my students citing sources by hyperlinking them in their papers. I've been accepting it for anything that isn't the actual research paper I'm required to teach. It seems easier for them.)


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