But professor, I intend to write a good paper College Life / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

I got a very interesting comment from a student lately. The assignment was to write an outline for the paper that would be the major assignment for the whole semester. I gave an example of the proper format for a sentence outline, using Roman numerals and 1,2,3 and a,b,c. I did not give a specific example of the words to put in the outline, just a sample for formatting purposes.

One student, who is in graduate school, turned in a 3/4 page document with things like the following:

I. Introduction: I will write an introduction that introduces my three main points.

II. This is my first main point, where I will quote from the articles I read.

1. This is sub-point one.

2. This is sup-point two.

3. This is sub-point three. I will have three sub-points for each main point.

III. This is my second main point, where I will cite some additional articles.

IV. This is my third main point, where I will quote some more articles.

V. This is my conclusion, where I will summarize what I said in the paper.

Folks, I am not kidding. After this wonderful excursion into Outline Hades, the student attached a Reference page with 15 articles that were not mentioned once in the outline. When I flunked the assignment, the student emailed me to say that she/he (I know which sex the student was but chose not to share this information) had intentions of writing an excellent paper and that I should have seen that when I read the Reference page. Really? What grade do you think the student deserved on this document?

What examples of student-understanding challenges have you heard about or experienced?


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *