I have to agree with Marcy that bagging the current-traditional term
paper may not be a huge loss, though I continue to believe that even bad
writing contexts are better than no writing contexts at all. But
stifling plagiarism is just such a bad reason for doing this. Wouldn't
it better to bag the c-t term paper because it's not an especially good
way to teach academic discourse, and then get on to the long, grinding,
Sisyphian job of promoting better models that ask students to engage
with genuine inquiry? I realize that generations of WAC footsoldiers
have fallen bearing this flag, but it seems a little early to give up
Of course, a lot of this has to do with increasing class size as well,
and plagiarism may be a convenient out for profs who can't face one more
late night marking disengaged writing. But there are fixes for that,
too, besides giving it up entirely.
Russ Hunt wrote:
>Well, Marcy, come the spring and the crick don't rise, I _will_
>be at Inkshed, and I hope we all (except Marcy) get to talk
>about this. If anybody hasn't read my piece in the last Inkshed
>Newsletter about this (shame on you), have a look. And have a
>look, maybe, even if you did read it, because it may read a
>little differently in the current context. It's here:
>What Marcy says is worth considering, I think.
>>. . . but I have to ask: What's "right" in this context? We've gone
>>around and around about how the term paper - school writing - is an empty
>>exercise, devoid of real purpose and audience. So what's the loss?
>>I think I'd make the argument that the loss may be the experience students
>>get with synthesizing different authors' arguments, and making an argument
>>of their own. But there are other ways to do this besides the term paper.
>Yep yep yep. Well, and I'd add that another part of "the loss"
>may be the chance to acquire the ability and disposition to
>include other people's language in your own.
>But I don't think this is mainly true in "content-heavy
>disciplines." And the conventional term paper is, in fact, a
>pretty poor way to give folks this experience in any discipline.
>St. Thomas University
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Dr. Doug Brent
Associate Dean (Academic)
Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
Voice: (403) 220-5458 Fax: (403) 282-6716
To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to