21st Century students type papers, but still value handwrittten notes

Joe Freer Reporter

Students carry various different laptops around campus with them. Some are Macbooks, some are Microsoft Surfaces or HP laptops. Buley Library provides an assortment of machines, from varying manufacturers, that students can come and go to, writing essays and doing other homework. Many professors ask students to submit essays on Blackboard Learn 9, with specific guidelines that can only be accomplished on a computer. In 2018, do students prefer typing essays or hand writing them?

Senior Kristen Iadarola says that she likes typing in academic settings, but handwriting personal prompts.

“It goes a lot faster when typing,” Iadarola said, an English major, who said she writes an abundance of essays.

She said a con about typing is losing her train of thought when she has to backspace. That is why she said for her personal work, she prefers handwriting.

“You can see your progress more,” she said, “if I journal, I tend to scribble something out instead of just erasing it.”

Iadarola said scribbling and jotting down notes is not the best way to compose an academic piece.

She said the beginning of the process is free, and loose. She just lets herself type away.

“It’ll probably be the worst draft ever,” said Iadarola, “but then I go back and pick the parts I like best and go off of that.”

Tori Cristante, a junior, had the same opinion about academic writing.

“I prefer typing essays because it looks nicer,” said Cristante.

Cristante said she does prefer handwriting notes, however, to help her type papers. Handwritten notes help her stay organized, she said, especially if she is writing a paper based off in-class discussions. The notes, said Cristante, are easy to look back and study from, and convenient for her because they are in a different spot. She does not have to jump from window to window on her computer.

Molly Flanagan, a junior, said she likes handwriting, but prefers typing schoolwork because of its time efficiency.

“I like my own handwriting,” Flanagan said, “but I like to type because its faster and my brain works really fast.”

Flanagan said she actually prefers the handwriting for fiction work and for outlining academic pieces.

“I’ll probably start handwriting it at first,” Flanagan said, “if I’m not by a computer I’ll just write things down. For essays I do handwritten outlines first, then type them.”

She said that is how she ensures to get all of her ideas out of her head. From there, Flanagan said she will pick her best ideas from her notes and transpose them into essay form on her computer.

Another issue with working solely from the computer, Flanagan said, is the backlight from the monitor. She said the light it shines is distracting.

These three students prefer typing in an academic setting, but still think handwriting as a useful tool in the writing process. For Cristante and Flanagan, handwriting is helpful in their outlining and note taking stage, while Iadarola feels handwriting helps her in her own personal endeavors. For her, spilling all of her ideas into a typed draft is the best way for her writing to succeed.

Flanagan said, “I just like to have a notebook in front of me.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio


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