How Writing College Papers has changed over the years: Complexity, creativity, the internet, technical proficiency, even gender & race have affected student’s academic essay approach.
We take everything for granted and don’t think about how simple things of our daily lives were 50-100 years ago. Let’s get to know how college papers writing is different now than in the past.
Then. Students had only several sources to work with, and they did in-depth research based on each of them. So, the topics were sometimes more complex than now. As education was more exclusive and mostly for elites only the complexity was something that should have defined quality. Though often it defined only the desire of a particular professor to show-off, the same as nowadays.
Now. Students get more papers which include a necessity for research of many sources. The more sources students need to analyze, the more shallow the research is. It is not a necessarily bad thing, as students get to see a broader picture.
Then. Creativity was not the most popular idea among professors some time ago. You should have been reading given sources, focusing your attention on them and them only. Creativity was allowed when it came to something like essays related to personal experience. The creativity in ‘form’ wasn’t accepted at all. Of course, there were professors who allowed all that, interested in the creative development of their students, but they were genuinely scarce.
Now. Creative Writing itself appeared not long ago, and creativity now is one of the most valuable criteria for successful academic papers. Of course, you should still be accurate, follow the basic rules, and remember about formatting, but you can show your creative side much more than you could 70 years ago, for example.
Access to Information
Then. Libraries rocked! You needed access to the library to write anything. Students literally lived in libraries for days to finish their papers, even essays, not only research or term papers. Now we think it is romantic, but then it was tiring, time-consuming, dusty, and still, you didn’t have much access to information. The information you had access to was limited by the studies and books available in your library.
Now. You have access to any information. Yes, some of databases and magazine are not free of charge, but they are not too expensive, and they have great discounts for students. You can get your hands on research made in India while writing your thesis in Canada. Unfortunately, sometimes students simply drown in this amount of information and can’t get their papers written on time.
Grammar and Style
Then. Style of academic was much more formal than it is now. For example, you were obliged to use Passive Voice in your academic papers. Grammar was challenging, the same as now.
Now. You should write ‘lighter’ – it means that finally, you can abandon some of that Passive Voice obsession of the old times. You should also write in shorter sentences. The simplest way to check whether the sentence is short enough or not is to read it aloud. If one breath is enough to read it – everything is fine, if not, you need to cut it into several sentences. Of course, jargon is still not allowed in academic papers.
Then. Writing load very much depended on the fact that the student had to write their papers by hand, and they could not do it as fast as we do now. Their writing load was about 40% less than now, but it wasn’t less challenging.
Now. Nowadays students are snowed under papers and they often simply can’t deal with all the writing assignments. That is why many students address professional essay writing services where they can find someone to write college papers for them. It is a necessity often, and to stop it, colleges and universities should make a writing load less.
Then. Well, it is obvious that technical means were rather scarce. You had a pen and paper, and library, and some friends who could help you to proofread your paper. Sounds very limited, doesn’t it?
Now. Well, you have plenty of technical means to benefit from. For example, you can use grammar and style checkers online, you can use citation generators to form in-text citations and bibliography entries, you can use vocabularies, you can use Google translate to translate some Chinese text into English. Of course, with such technical means, it is easier to write more quality papers, but because of the writing load, students can’t pay enough attention to the details.
Then. Of course, plagiarism wasn’t welcome, but it was much harder to check whether a student plagiarized some thoughts or not.
Now. Anti-plagiarism checkers get more and more advanced which means you have to be very careful when writing your papers. Even if you don’t steal something deliberately, you should try also to avoid technical plagiarism.
Relationships Between Students and Professors
Then. More formal, more dominating. Professors were more distant and it was considered a good thing in terms of discipline and authority.
Now. Often, the best professors are those, who can establish a good connection with students. Authority still matters, but to get authority professor has to be experienced, able to explain difficult things in a simple way and understand students and their world.
Gender, Equality, Tolerance
Then. Didn’t matter much.
Now. We have moved forward rather much with it. Nowadays gender, race, other types of intolerant language in your essay can get you into serious trouble. Some students claim it to be unfair, but it is the price we pay to be called a civilized nation.