Thoughts of the flexibility, not having to wake up early to drive to the campus, examinations in the comfort of home, are just a few of the “perks” one may believe these students may be thrilled about. It’s often said that the students run circles around faculty when it comes to computers in this day. The realities of the shortcomings regarding the students’ inability to function in an online learning environment manifested when they were forced into the format following the Covid-19 mandates. It was at that point that many faculty members often displayed shock in the students’ inability to correctly use various computer programs.
The shock of misuse
Needless to say, when the transition began, it was assumed that faculty would struggle, and students would excel in computer usage. Many faculty members braced themselves to have to supply more support to those students who were born prior to 1995. It came as a shock that in fact, the students needing the bulk of the support when it came to formatting, submitting assignments correctly and navigating certain programs were those classified as Generation Z. Many programs were heavily used via the online platform including Microsoft Word, MS Teams and Outlook email. These three were often the topic of discussion in staff meetings, course meetings, and student-teacher conferences, as they often were misused and/or inappropriately used by students. This post will give some quick pointers to help guide students in the usage of Microsoft Word, MS Teams, and Outlook email.
As with most programs, the majority of the students’ assignments are to be typed using Microsoft Word. Over the last semester, once submissions began coming in, it was apparent there was a serious problem. From simple formatting to submission issues, the problems quickly rolled in. The problem seemed overwhelming initially, due to the fact that the majority of the students waited until the day of to submit assignments. However, after reviewing submission after submission, a few things became a common theme. One would initially believe the students were merely sharing assignments causing them to experience the same issues, however, the submissions that stuck out required each student to have a different topic, which would have rendered that idea useless. Instructors commonly noticed issues with the formatting being jumbled, due to the students using the “share” feature while using the online version of Microsoft Word, excessive spacing in tables and documents with pre-inserted lines, and varying fonts sizes. Many of these issues could have been avoided with a few simple tips.
Microsoft Word tips for students
- Check with the University IT department. Often students have access to and could download a free version of Microsoft office to their computers.
- Remind students that when submitting assignments to instructors via email, do not to hit the “share” button, instead, save the file to their drive and upload as an attachment.
- If a student is typing and notices the line is moving, or the boxes are expanding, simply hit the “delete” button to remove the extra space.
- Always do a Font check. Make sure your words are the same font type, size, and color.