Class Assignment Format For College

Formatting and presenting your assignments

Formatting and presenting your assignment correctly is important because almost all assignments include marks for presentation.

This may include marks for things such as formatting and layout, word count, APA referencing, writing style, grammar and spelling.

Before you start your assignment:

  • Check your learning materials, the course page, emails from your lecturer or the assignment question for how it should be presented.
  • Read the instructions carefully, and make sure you understand them and follow them exactly.
  • If you’re not clear about what’s required email your lecturer. You could phone but it’s better to have a record of the answer.

Some lecturers assume that students will know how to present work of the required standard or quality and don’t give specific instructions. If this is the case, follow the general guidelines below.

General guidelines for electronic submissions

File format

  • Most assignments need should be written using MS Word. If you don’t have MS Word go to Office 365 in My Open Polytechnic to download and access your free version.
  • Assignments can be submitted one of the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .rtf.
  • Do not submit html files, web pages, CAD files, Visio (.vsd), PowerPoint (.ppt), PDF s (.pdf) or zip files unless these are specifically required for your course.

 If you're not sure about the file format required contact your lecturer.

Fonts
  • Use a clear, readable, sans serif font such as Verdana, Calibri, Tahoma or Arial, and be consistent and use the same font throughout.
  • Use black text on a white background. Avoid coloured backgrounds or text in a colour other than black unless you have special permission to use them (for example, if you're dyslexic).
  • Use 11 or 12 point for the body of your assignment.
Spacing
  • Use 1.5 or double spacing and fairly wide margins. This leaves room for the marker’s comments.
  • Leave a blank line between paragraphs.
  • If the questions are short, leave a blank line between each question. If they are long, start each question on a new page.
  • Left-justify your work (also known as left-aligned). Block-justified (flush left and right) might look tidy, but it’s harder to read as it can result in gaps between words.
Headings
  • Use bold for headings. Not underlining or italics.
  • Essays do not usually require subheadings; reports usually do.
Title page

Most assignments require a title page, which should include the following:

  • the title and number of the assignment
  • the course number and name
  • the due date
  • your full name and student number.

This information should be centered, starting approximately one third of the way down the page.

Numbering
  • Number all pages except the title page.
  • Tables and figures must be numbered and clearly labelled. Table captions are placed above the table, while captions for a figures go below the figure.
  • Don't number the items in a reference list.
Headers and footers

Insert a header or footer on each page (except the title page). It should contain:

  • your name (last name, first name/s)
  • your student number
  • the course number
  • the assignment number
  • the page number.
Word count

Include a word count (the number of words in your assignment) at the end of the assignment, before the references and appendices. Your assignment should not more than 10% under or over the prescribed word count. Remember that the title/title page, reference list and appendices are not included in the word count.

Word count calculator - Massey University website (opens in a new window)

Reference list

The reference list comes at the end of the assignment, and should start on a new page labelled 'References'.

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

Appendices

Appendices are used for information that:

  • is too long to include in the body of your assignment, or
  • supplements or complements the information you are providing.

Start each appendix (if applicable) on a new page. If there's just one appendix label it ‘Appendix’ without a number, but if there are more than one label them Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. In the main text of your assignment, refer to the Appendix by the label, e.g. Appendix A.

Tops and bottoms of pages

Check the top and bottom of your pages to ensure they avoid:

  • widows - single lines of text at the top of a page
  • orphans - first lines of paragraphs at the bottom of a page
  • tombstones - headings or subheadings alone at the bottom of a page
  • split lists – lists that are divided between two pages (if possible).

General guidelines for hard copies

Most of the guidelines above also apply to hard copies (printed or hand-written documents). There are also a few additional things to note.

Handwritten submissions

Some courses allow handwritten answers, but make sure you check with your lecturer to make sure this is acceptable. When submitting a handwritten assignment:

  • Print or write on white A4 paper on one side only, using a blue or black pen.
  • Write legibly – if a marker can’t read what you’ve written, your answer might as well be wrong.
  • If you make a mistake, use correction fluid or draw a neat line through the mistake.
  • If there are too many mistakes and your work looks messy, rewrite it.
  • Use a ruler for tables and graphs.
  • Underline headings.
Stapling your assignment
  • Staple multi-page assignments in the top left corner only.
  • Don’t put your assignment in a plastic folder.
  • Attach an 'Assessment Return Sheet' (coversheet) to you assignment. (If you don't have one Contact us).

Related information

Submitting your assignments

Types of assignments

What lecturers want in your assignments


Directions

This assignment is designed to assess your critical thinking problem solving, and communication skills. Your answer will be judged for its clarity, relevance, coherence, logic, depth, consistency, and fairness. More specifically, the reader will be asking the following questions:
  1. Is the question at issue well stated? Is it clear and unbiased? Does the expression of the question do justice to the complexity of the matter at issue?

  2. Does the writer cite relevant evidence, experiences, and/or information essential to the issue?

  3. Does the writer clarify key concepts when necessary?

  4. Does the writer show a sensitivity to what he or she is assuming or taking for granted? (Insofar as those assumptions might reasonably questioned)?

  5. Does the writer develop a definite line of reasoning, explaining well how he or she is arriving at his or her conclusions?

  6. Is the writer's reasoning well- supported?

  7. Does the writer show sensitivity to alternative points of view or lines of reasoning? Does he or she consider and respond to objections framed from other points of view?

  8. Does the writer show sensitivity to the implications and consequences of the position he or she has taken?

Issue #1: Ecology

The nation is facing a variety of ecological problems that have the following general form: an established practice, whether on the part of business and industry or on the part of the public, is contributing to serious health problems for a large number of people. At the same time it would be costly to modify the practice so as to reduce the health problem.

People often say that the answer is one of achieving a "balance" between the amount of money we spend to correct the problem and the number of lives we would save by that expenditure.

Develop a point of view and some plausible criteria for telling how one would determine this "balance." Make sure you address any dilemmas inherent in your strategy for solving such problems.

Issue #2: Politics

There is a growing number of Americans who do not vote in national and local elections. Many of them explain their non-participation by saying that their vote would not make a difference.

Some go on to argue that this is true because "money plays such a large role in elections that the candidate with the highest paid, and the highest quality, media campaign wins." Most people agree that money sometimes plays an inappropriate role in determining the outcome of elections.

Develop a proposed solution to this problem that takes into account the view that people and organizations with money have a right to use that money to advance political causes they believe in. If you like, you may decide to develop a position to the effect that there is no solution to the problem and that we have no choice but to accept the status quo.

Issue #3: Morality

Sociologist Erving Goffman has pointed out that all social groups, including professions, develop a protective attitude toward members of their group, even when what some of the members do is seen as morally wrong. A sense of loyalty to the group often overrides what they would otherwise deem immoral.

Consider the arguments for and against exposing people with whom you are personally close or with whom you have close professional ties. Develop a position on this issue that could serve as a guide for anyone in such a position.

{This article is adapted from the resource: Critical Thinking Basic Theory and Instructional Structures.}

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