Midweek Mare: Coursework or “Cursework”?

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Are you one of those wondering why so many students seem so terrified and shattered at the weekends and a month before Christmas?

Simple. November is the peak season for completing coursework. These past weeks have witnessed the unusual scramble to make sure all A-level coursework is safely gathered in: a struggle in itself, before the marking begins.

Exhausted colleagues emit sighs of despair. As one put it: “I’m not sure who hates coursework most – students or teachers.

Well, students, the research certifies.

It’s a now-familiar scenario. Students are finishing their A-levels. They’re under pressure to secure three A grades for that place at Loughborough University and finally analysed that they are behind with their work.

They’ve only skim-read the set books for history, classics, English; yet now they’re expected to write a 3,000-word essay on them. What would they do?

Sadly, in some cases they try and take the shortcut and cheat. Every year, coursework throws up its plagiarism scandals.

Faced with the inescapable fact that completing the essay will involve around 20 hours of hard writing and research, some students — and these tend to be mostly boys — take the easy option.

They try and plagiarise: either from the many companies charging fees for essay-writing, or as they tend to be euphemistically called now, “editing services”- by copying out excerpts from reputable academic sources and passing them off as their own; or even, in very sad cases, copying weak essays from other students.

Most of the students around the campus were observed partying less (No FND no drinks) than sitting in the library for 10-12 hours, sipping coffee and studying. Weekends are- after all- a time for relaxation and fun, that must occur even in the addition to many breaks that college students grant themselves during the regular workweek.

Coursework, that university claims to be designed as stress-free and students friendly, haunts students from different ethnic backgrounds with couple of issues, such as- Language barriers, writings, understanding the concepts, adapting new teaching techniques, and so on.

When asked a media student, Idayat, about the difficulties that might have come across during her research work, she said, “The coursework that we are asked to do is quite lengthy and within a short span of time it requires too much readings. The fear of not scoring high grades haunts me and keep me stressed & worried most of the time.”

“Understanding the language and writing an essay is a major task. We are still struggling to converse fluently in a language we have never spoken. Therefore, analysing an essay critically and presenting it with strong quotes and arguments increases the level of frustration, pressure and stress,” added another student facing problems related to coursework and projects.

Postgraduate students don’t much worry when entering their programs about the disparity between the length of funding and the average length of degree: they are confident they will do better than average. Today’s master’s students are likely to feel more pressure to complete. It’s good for the student, it demonstrates that the program is dynamic and efficient, and it helps attract future applicants. Still, it’s an odd business model: as it takes them away from the facilities available on the campus, making them confined to a place- rather making them feel prisoner to coursework than happy for the course.

Marissa Anita, an international student from the department of Social Science, responded positively when asked whether she liked the coursework. Like most of the students, she too feels occupied with the readings, due to which she is unable to explore the new country. “I am studying here on a scholarship (Chevening) and they encourage me to not only study but also to travel and see the UK. But I haven’t been able to travel or even think about it because coursework deadlines are looming. Forget about Christmas holidays, I have many essays due in early January,” she added.

-By  Aarzoo Snigdha

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About Author

This is Beatrice’s third year with LSU Media. In her first year she wrote for Label in both Features and News, her second year saw her take the position of Music Content Coordinator for LSU Media as well as Label Features Editor. Her third and final year with Label sees her take the position of Head of Online, Marketing and Distrubution where she hopes to maximise Label’s presence on and off campus.

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