Dr. John Laflin
Courses Taught: Literature, Desktop Publishing, Documentation and Presentation, Text Markup and Processing
Because all of the classes he teaches require ENGL 101 as a prerequisite, Dr. Laflin expects that his students will already be able to write, to be able to document sources, to support an argument using research, and to conduct an argument in a paper whether it is an essay, exam or a research paper.
Dr. John Laflin teaches classes in both the English and Mass Communication genres. The courses he teaches range from conventional literature classes, to design classes such as Desktop Publishing and Documentation & Presentation, to unconventional classes such as Text Markup and Processing that use computer programs to analyze literary texts.
When asked about his own style of writing, Dr. Laflin debunks the fallacy that college students should prefer ornate language in their writing in order to sound intellectual, stating "I try very hard to be clear rather than impressive. I can write a sentence of 50 to 75 words; I can use three, four, and five syllable words, but I feel I don't have to impress anybody. I would rather try to communicate; therefore, if a simpler word or phrase would do, when I edit a paper, I edit for clarity."
Dr. Laflin does not deny the wealth of information that can be found on the Internet, but he does lament that students do not pay enough attention to where they are getting their information. "I do not have a major problem with typing a set of search criteria in Google, but students need to evaluate what they get back. I think too many students take the first five hits and I always find it laughable when a college student cites page a web page that ends in 'hs.edu'," said Dr. Laflin.
Lack of discrimination in information is not the only way Dr. Laflin sees students abusing technology. "If I can find the full text of an article that is going to help my research, that is an appropriate use of technology, but then if I copy and paste that article into my paper, I have just plagiarized it. Plagiarism has become excessively easy and that is one huge down side of that technology," said Dr. Laflin.
Dr. Laflin underscores the importance of being able to communicate effectively with this final statement of advice:
"Unbelievably you are judged by others on your ability to communicate, [. . .] both written and oral communication. Too many students have the feeling that writing is not important; that learning how to speak properly is not important. When you get outside of school, your employer expects a certain level of correctness. The way you present yourself when you communicate is vital to your success."