Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Startling Computer Illiteracy In The Younger Generation

I am impressed how many of the papers that I am grading have a hard return at the end of every line--rather like they think they are using a typewriter. 

8 comments:

Steve said...

Seriously? I've used word processors since high school, and that was the mid 80s.

Der Hahn said...

Pure speculation but I wonder if this is influenced by the rising use of instant messengers and texting where you do have to hit 'enter' or send to transmit the message.

Windy Wilson said...

Are you sure there isn't some sort of conversion between formats working here? I regularly get hard returns when I download lexis cases into Word format, which is tremendously annoying as the Lexis line is about 15-20 characters wider than the Word line, meaning I can't fix the matter by adjusting margins.

Clayton said...

These are Microsoft Word 2007 or later files--and most of them come through exactly as I would expect. Only a very few show this problem.

patrokov said...

I always laugh at generational articles that say that today's youth are tech savvy. They Facebook, text messaging, and maybe twitter, but that's it. Most of them have about as much clue about how computers work as they know about how cars work, "I put the key in the ignition and it comes on as long as I put gas in it..."

Students have no idea how to set margins, tab stops, or hanging indents. They don't even know how to plagiarize correctly. When they copy and paste from wikipedia, they leave in the hyperlinks. They also have no sense of aesthetics or design when it comes to creating posters.

bombloader80 said...

As far as conversion format issues, I know that certain openoffice files can show some irritating problems when converted into Word 2007 such as showing all changes made to the document unless you show click accept all changes. My experiences with this do make me wonder if your students did convert the files from another program into Word 2007 before sending them.

Rich Rostrom said...

Back in the 90s, I was a computer lab monitor at my college. One student came to me with a paper he wanted to reformat. It was written with WordPerfect, which at the time was the standard WP program on the computer lab stations.

The paper was beautifully formatted in standard MLA style. But the margins, line breaks, page breaks, centered titles and page numbers had all been hand-made by inserting spaces.

Mauser said...

I once wrote a plug-in for ClarisWorks that did all kinds of reformatting. Alas, it didn't ship with the product.

Of course, I'm still old-school enough that I put two spaces after sentence-ending punctuation, and HTML strips the second space out. Now they say it's Okay to put only one, but that looks wrong to me.

On the other hand, as a Programmer, I object to putting punctuation inside quotes that belongs outside to my way of thinking.