A while back, I mentioned that I was putting together some material on writing and technology and thinking about launching a new site around it.
I decided to go ahead with that project, and am well into getting the site up and running. The site is called The Writer’s Technology Companion and will be launching sometime in March at www.writerstechnology.com. There’s a launch page there now, where you can sign up for email notifications or subscribe to the RSS feed so you’ll be informed when the site officially goes live.
Every semester, I spend a lot of time explaining the term paper assignments to students. I talk about them when I hand out my syllabus, I spend a good half-hour discussing the assignment about 3 weeks into the course, and I revisit the topic several times up until the last week before the due date.
Every time I bring it up, I ask if students have any questions. The questions I get are always about teh same damn thing: formatting. “Does it have to be typed?” “What size margins should I use?” “What style do you want the references in?”
I can only imagine that other professors and/or high school teachers hammer students over formatting, without paying much attention to their ideas — which are, ostensibly, what we assign papers to help students get at and express.