Bellerbys Economics - Mr Stephenson

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Collaborative Essays

Students are often surprised when I say to them at the beginning of the year that I have no objection to them doing their homework together, or in groups. In fact, I encourage it!

Of course there's no point in just copying someone else's work - trying to cheat - that's just a waste of time - teachers aren't stupid and no one is fooled. Also, it's crazy to buy an essay or a dissertation from the Internet and then try to present it as your own. This is fraud, it's illegal and most universities will remove you from the college immediately.

There's nothing wrong, however, in quoting someone else's work if you wish, provided you make the source of the work clear - this is research. Also, there's nothing wrong in reading someone else's essay and learning from that.

Students who genuinely share ideas or provoke each other's thoughts, who learn how to divide up work and then report back, who learn from the best practice of others, these students are developing skills of teamwork and analysis that will be invaluable later in life.

This type of approach to student education is perhaps more advanced in the US where it is called collaborative education. It's just a question of being responsible and grown-up about it.

Here are some useful banks of essays:

They cover a wide range of topics and you can learn a great deal just by browsing through them on a rainy afternoon


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