A Word About Assignment 5.1

Friday, 2 April 2010 at 12:19
As you know, we've got your examiner in over the next week or so and I wanted to take a minute to look at where you are in terms of your overall development as academic writers.

Jamie Cash (the Head of Media) and I agree that the standard of writing has massively improved on this course. That's great! But I can never just leave it at that, can I? Here's some general tips for overall improvements which I hope you'll agree are pretty obvious:

1. Ridonkluous (thanks Steve Dyer and GS9-1 for the word) spelling mistakes, grammar errors and lack of punctuation.
  • It's very simple, get someone from the skills team to read it before you hand it in.
  • Google the top 5 common grammar errors (they are blindingly stupid yet we do it all the time!)
  • Headers should have Title Case and should be bold. Brand names and names of people or things should be in Title Case. Your name should be in Title Case. Have you gone mad? Also, spellcheck your own name. You know who you are.
  • Break up your paragraphs. Academic paragraphs shopuld only take up 5-7 sentences. NO MORE!
2. Section structure. Wow, this was both annoying and a bit weird.
  • Follow the path of the assignment. If it asks for certain things in order to achieve a pass, merit or distinction criterion - follow it to the letter!
  • Use images and diagrams in your document to explain your arguments.
3. Appendix and Appendices. If you don't understand this word (or the pluralised version) for heaven's sake don't use it! It makes you look dumber than you never did before. I'm serious. An appendix is a place to put things that you couldn't fit into the main document, such as:
  • Passages of secondary research such as development blogs, reviews etc can go, in their entirety into an appendix.
  • Draft designs, concept drawings like your own workings out and drafts can go in an appendix.
  • Images pertaining to the main body of your work should not unless they are surplus to requirement but you want me to see them.
  • Academic writing should not go into an appendix. Please save the academic stuff like comments or critiques of research for the main body of the portfolio.
4. References. We'll look at this in more detail next term. You should now start to use references in a mature sense. So cut and pasting work and passing kit off as your own is what you did 5 essays ago - why are you still doing this? Here's some tips for referencing:
  • Find a good quote... Put it in speech marks. These are speech marks: "..." Then comment on the quote. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Do you admire the designer or producer more? If so, say so and then say why. At at the end of your document, and only at the end; list your quote as a weblink or entry from a book in a bibliography. Yes, a bibliography; not a webography (that's very GCSE and First Dip), or a title of References: that doesn't make any sense. It's just a plain old BIBLIOGRAPHY!
  • Footnotes and comments. If you are 100% sure how to use this part of Microsoft Word, please use it. If you are lazily using footnotes instead of referencing or quotes you are a douche. Footnotes appear at the end of each page mostly and you use footnotes to expalin things that are pertinent to the main document, so if you wanted to illustrate a wireframe style or rendering term, you could do it in a footnote.
  • Provide the full link or media titlein your bibliography (Various sources won't cut it dudes)
  • Don't ever use Wikipedia for anything other than linking to other documents. I don't want to see any more Wikipedia links in your bibliogrpahies please? I beg of you! It makes you look really stupid... and lazy! Gosh that's harsh.
5. La Passione. Gets some fire in your bellies. If you feel passionate about something, anything; for God's sake, share it! No one wants to read a piece of work that is bland and where you completely agree with a journalist who slates a game that you would lay your life on the line for. Let's face it, I would probably commit murder inthe name of Final Fantasy VII. PS: I really an joking, but your get the idea. Never agree with everything you read and see... It's a pointless exercise if you do.

6. Question everything. See point 5.

7. Missed deadlines. This is a low down dirty shame and in the coming week, you will all see exactly who is failing to present work on time. I am literally through with it and I'm ready to start picking off the deadwood. Is meeting a deadline too hard for you? Probably. Do you have a part-time job, are you a carer or have children to bring up? No. Sooooooooooooo, is meeting a deadline too hard for you? No. Are you spending time on Facebook, gaming in the evenings or whatever? Yes. Sooooooooooooo, is meeting a deadline too hard for you? No. No is the answer. Get a grip. You are taught for 12-16 hours a week, this is classed as a FULL-TIME course meaning that 12 hours a week should be spent doing homework, extra studies or doing assignments. It's embarrassing isn't it? Being called out like that, so get used to it you repeat offenders, because your life is about to get much worse. However, if you do have REAL, believeable reasons for missing deadlines you MUST see me well before the deadline itself; not on the day or after the event. Diatrbe over.

Like I said in the first paragraph, your work is to a really high standard but I'd like to see you off this course in 12 months or so as very well-versed academic writers and expert practitioners. It is possible, and I will do it. You may have to come over to my way of thinking kicking and screaming.


  1. Vero Says:

    Point 7 is NOT an academic passge btw, so I can make it as long as I like. Thanks!

  2. Ren Says:

    I love that there's a spelling mistake in this!

  3. Vero Says:

    Do as I say, not as I do is probably the best answer to this....

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