What does contemporary Australian television reveal about Australia’s national culture(s)? In your response refer to at least one Australian television program that is currently broadcast.
Q: How do I decide on what topic to choose?
Choose the essay topic that you find most interesting and would be happy to explore in more depth. Q: How much research do I have to do for my essays?
Aim for at least five academic references beyond the set readings. Follow the academic trail: footnotes, endnotes, reference lists, bibliographies – make use of the research cues these provide. Go to the library (or library website) and find out which database is good for you. Consult the journals most relevant to MAS104 and find the articles best suited to your topic (many of these journals feature in the unit reader). Also, scan the bookshelves: books will usually provide discussion of issues in more detail and depth than you’ll find elsewhere. Basically, the wider (and wiser) your researcher choices are, the stronger your grasp of the issues, and the better informed you would be.
Q: What referencing system should I use?
We recommend you use the Harvard Style referencing system. Information about this style can be found in the unit reader (Week 13).
Q: What if I forget to reference a reading or two?
Don’t forget. Failure to reference a source may see you accused of “plagiarism” and there are serious penalties for it. You must acknowledge every intellectual/academic debt, and provide the reader/marker with the correct reference.
Q: How do I go about proposing a good argument?
To start with, decide why you are writing your essay. A good argument is one that can be articulated succinctly and convincingly. That is, it can be demonstrated, not just asserted. What can you show, using the evidence you’ve found? To get to that point – being able to construct an argument simply and demonstrably – requires reading, research and careful consideration. Essay writing is a process! Once you’ve decided on an argument, it will underpin your entire essay; in fact, it is the reason you’re writing an essay: to make a good argument.
Q: How should I structure my essays?
An academic essay should consist of an introduction, discussion and conclusion.
Once you have a central argument, state it point-blank in the introduction of your essay, and flag the various points you’ll present to make your case. Then, discuss each point in detail and depth (your essay’s main body). Finally, end with a closing paragraph (the conclusion) that sums up your central argument and unifies the various points put forward. You want to leave the reader/marker feeling intellectually satisfied; i.e. you’ve made a strong, convincing case and provided solid evidence (research) logically and efficiently. More information can be found in the unit readings for Week 13.
Q: What writing style is appropriate for my essays?
Obviously, your writing should be clear, well punctuated and grammatically correct. This is a basic requirement and writing that is sloppy or incoherent will be marked down accordingly. Specifically though, we want a writing style that delivers your ideas simply and succinctly. Always aim for language that is tight – do not ?over write’ or weigh your work down with florid, pompous or superfluous expression. Keep it clean and to the point. Also, there’s no room for typographical errors or odd syntax. Before you hit ?PRINT’ read you work aloud off the screen. Before you submit, read the hard copy aloud. You’ll be surprised how many errors you’ll notice – make sure these are rectified before the essay is submitted.
Q: Is there anywhere I can get help or advice on essay writing?
Yes, Macquarie University Library offers writing skills workshops for students. See: http://www.students.mq.edu.au/support/learning_skills/undergraduate/workshops/ Q: Are word limits strictly enforced?
Yes. Essays that are more than 10% over or under the word limit will be marked down. Q: How should I present my written work?
Assignments should be typed, double-spaced, on white A4 paper. Use a 12-point font. Remember to proofread and use a spell-checker. Generally, pictures, graphs, and tables etc. will not be needed for MAS104 essays, so there’s little point including them. Avoid plastic folders, binders or sleeves (they’re generally not returned), just staple the corner. Always keep an electronic copy of written assignments for yourself. You will lose marks if you don’t follow these very simple guidelines.
Q: I need more time for my assignment. Can I get an extension?
No, not unless you have a medical certificate. An ability to meet deadlines is an important aspect of Media courses (and professional work in media industries). Late assignments will be penalised by 5 per cent per day (including weekends), unless an extension has been arranged with your tutor beforehand, and documented evidence of illness or serious misadventure is submitted (this does not include having to work).
Q: What kind of feedback can I expect on my essays?
Quite simply, we want every student to become a more competent scholar with every assessment – in other words, your tutor is acutely sensitive to the strengths and weaknesses in your work, and will thus alert you to them, constructively. Feedback should thus identify where your work meets the assessment criteria well, and which areas need to be strengthened. If you feel your feedback does not help prepare you for your next assessment, please speak to your tutor; if that is not an option (for whatever reason) please arrange to speak to the convener.
Q: Where do I submit my essays?
Online through iLearn.
ESSAY ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
Three sets of criteria are assessed in essays: reading and research; argument and analysis; and writing and structure. Within each of these sets, markers are looking for the following:
*Reading and research: evidence of critical engagement with set course materials; evidence of independent reading of appropriate academic material; evidence of thorough research (books, journals, the Internet, media sources and archives).
*Argument and analysis: Well-articulated and well-supported argument; evidence of critical thinking (through taking a position in relation to key ideas from the course, and supporting this position); evidence of relational thinking (through making connections between key ideas from the course and wider literature, and supporting these connections).
*Writing and structure: clear, logical and coherent structure; clarity of expression; adequate referencing.
When marking your essay your tutor will consider the assessment criteria above. It is in your interest to use the following as a checklist before submitting your paper
*Does the essay have a clear introduction, body and conclusion? *Does the introduction outline the essay’s main points?
*Is the language clear, concise and appropriate to an academic essay? *Is the punctuation correct?
*Are commas and apostrophes where they should be and nowhere else?
*Have relevant set readings been referred to?
*Have at least 5 independently sourced academic resources been used?
*Does the essay present a coherent and well-supported argument?
*Is there evidence of critical engagement with the set course material?
*Does this essay show a broader understanding of this particular topic?
*Has the essay been double spaced?
*Has 12 point font size been used?
*Is the essay referenced correctly?
*Is the bibliography presented adequately?
*Has the essay been proof-read?
*Is there a hard copy ?back-up’ of the essay?
*Has the cover sheet been correctly filled and attached?
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