Millions of term papers have been written by college seniors who will be writing reports and publications as part of their professional responsibilities soon after graduation. While most term papers are graded and returned to student authors, a former student shared the observation that "nothing less than an 'A' is acceptable on the job." Writing assignments can be made more meaningful by giving student authors responsibility for their writing similar to those professionals have; their work will be edited, read and used by others. Student papers were first published on the Department's Cooperative Learning Center (CLC) local area network in 1991, after development of the Educators Software Package (ESP) for preparing hypertext information systems. Since then, over 2000 files have been published by CLC students in several courses. An immediate improvement in the quality of writing is observed when students know that the criterion for excellence is "acceptable for publication," and their papers will be read by students for years to come. Editorial guidelines remind students that disciplined scientific writing is different from creative writing as a result of the comments of student editors. The student-authored information systems, complimented by professionally-authored files, are accessed through course, subject, and species menus. Search functions enable students to find information on our CLC network that others have written, and links to libraries and the World-Wide Web provide access to other publications. While the information on our CLC network is of significant value to the students, the greater long-term value lies in the development of professional responsibilities for writing and editing. Rather than writing a term paper and taking what they get for a grade, our students write and rewrite until their paper is accepted for publication. Student editors, graduate assistants, and course professors help the students reach that goal, and when it is reached, everyone benefits, including students in the future.
Moen, Aaron N.; Hall, Spencer R.; and Moen, Thomas N.
"Student authoring, editing and electronic publishing,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 7, Article 25.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol7/iss1/25