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14 Best Steps on How to Make an Assignment on MS Word

How to Make an Assignment on MS Word

Nowadays, it is very common for students to complete their assignments using Microsoft Word. Thus, they look up how to make an assignment on MS Word. Because of the numerous options provided by MS Word, it might be difficult for a beginner to handle. All you have to do is become familiar with MS Word’s options before moving on to the assignment. 

Here in this blog, we will explain 14 best steps you need to follow in order to know how to make an assignment on MS word.

How to make an assignment on MS word 

Table of Contents

Yes, we understand that completing an assignment is challenging for most students. Because some of them are worried about completing the task like write my paper , and even if they aren’t worried, they don’t know how to use Microsoft Word effectively, which can be disastrous for many. Similarly, we are publishing this blog to teach you how to make an assignment in Microsoft Word.

Yes, we understand that completing an assignment is challenging for most students. Because some of them are worried about completing the task, and even if they aren’t worried, they don’t know how to use Microsoft Word effectively, which can be disastrous for many. This blog is being published to teach you how to make an assignment in Microsoft Word.

1. Setting the layout of the page for your assignment

On the Toolbar, select the Page Layout tab. Likewise, Page Setup options will appear.

2. Set Margins

Set the margins as follows (Standard measure for the margin):

  • Bottom: 2.5cm
  • Left: 2.5cm (or 3.2cm)
  • Right: 2.5cm (or 3.2cm)

3. Setting Orientation of the page

  • Orientation: Portrait

4. Setting Size

  • Set to A4 unless otherwise specified. 

5. Setting styles

Go Back to the Home tab, You will find the Styles options in the right of the toolbar you will need to use these steps to set the headings and paragraph text for your work.

6. For Headings

Always use the first three headings (Heading 1,2 and 3)

  • H1: Arial 14 pt bold
  • H2: Arial 12 pt bold, italics
  • H3: Arial 10.5-11 pt bold

And the text type should be Normal text

  • Times New Roman 12 pt (or equivalent) 

7. To set the headings styles for your work, you will have to

  • Click the small Styles icon/button.
  • Select/highlight the style to modify (e.g. ‘H1’), and then right-click >Modify. Likewise, the Modify Style dialog box will appear.
  • Under Formatting, You can change the font style and size as per your need.
  • Click OK. 

8. Setting up your assignment as the one document

Also, your Work, including the title page and references ( not the Assignment Attachment form*), must be aggregated as a single word (.docx) report. 

Therefore, it is simpler to make one record, embed your significant headings, and enter the content from that point. But, if you decide to make separate documents while setting up your task (for example, a different record for references), you will need to copy and paste the final contents into the one-word document and finalize the formatting there.

*The assignment attachment structure is either submitted electronically as a different document or attached to a submitted printed copy.

If you face any issues related to PowerPoint or find it difficult to complete your PowerPoint homework, use our PowerPoint PPT Homework Help by Experts .

9. Inserting section breaks, page breaks, and page numbers

The document has two sections

Section 1 Contains

  • The title page
  • Table of contents 

Section 2 Contains

  • The remainder of the assignment.

There are then page breaks within each section i.e

(e.g. between ‘Abstract’ and ‘Table of contents’; ‘Conclusion’ and ‘References’). 

To insert the Section break (i.e. make two sections)

  • Position your cursor at the end of the Table of contents. (Just have this as a heading; the actual table will be added at the end.)
  • From the toolbar at the top of your document, open the Page Layout tab and select Breaks>Section Breaks>Next Page. Under Section break types, select ‘Next page’. This has now divided the assignment into two sections.

Now to insert the page breaks

  • Place your cursor at the foot of the title (cover) page.
  • Select the Page Layout tab>Breaks>Page Breaks>Page. This has now created a page break between the title page and Abstract.
  • Place the cursor at the foot of the Abstract page and repeat to make the break between the Abstract and Table of contents.
  • Place a page break between the Conclusion in the next section.

10. Now to add the page numbers

For section 1:.

  • Place your cursor within the title page. Click on the Insert tab and then select Page Number in the Header & Footer set of options.
  • Select Top of Page>Plain Number 3 (‘right’ alignment). Do not close the Header and Footer just yet.
  • Check the box for Different First Page. (This will remove the page number from the title page.)
  • In the Header & Footer group of options to the left of the toolbar, select Page Number>Format Page Numbers. Select i, ii, iii .. from the Number format
  • Drop-down list. Under Page numbering, click the Start at the radio button (if not already activated) and select i. Click OK.
  • Close the Header and Footer. [This will paginate slightly differently from the example, with Abstract on page ii. ]

For section 2:

  • Go to the start of section 2 (i.e. beginning at the ‘Introduction’) and double click on the existing page number. This will open the Header settings options.
  • In the Header & Footer options section on the toolbar, select Page Number>Format Page Numbers.
  • Make sure the ‘Show number on the first page is selected (i.e. the box is ticked).
  • Select 1, 2, 3 from the Number format drop-down list. Under Page numbering, Click on the Start at the radio button and set the start on page 1.

11. Inserting the Table of contents

  • Move the cursor under the ‘Table of contents’ heading. 
  • Check the checkboxes for ‘Show page numbers’ and ‘Right align page numbers’.In the (last) Show levels box, set it to either just ‘1’ (i.e. list only the heading 1 level headings) or ‘2’ (to show both H1, and H2 headings).
  • To update the table anytime, right-click on the table and it’s almost done.

12. The title page

Follow these steps as the model for your work:

  • Assignment title: Arial 28 pt, italics, centered
  • (Assignment number): Arial 18 pt, italics, centered
  • Other details: Times New Roman 14 pt, left-justified; single tab spacing for items on the one line.

13. Word count

Show the word count properly for the body of your assignment, because it’s’ important.

  • Place your cursor on the Introduction title, hold the Shift key down, and got to the end of the Conclusion.
  • And then Tools>Word Count and record the number of words. 

14. Spelling and Grammar Check

Always keep an eye on spelling and sentence structure and Before you get a printed copy of your task,

What you have to do is

  • Run the word spell and sentence structure, and carefully look at your Work. (Tools>Spelling and Grammar.)
  • Ensure the Dictionary Language is set to English (Australia, UK, Canada).

Get the Best Excel Assignment Help Now

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To this end, now you know the 14 best steps on how to make an assignment on MS Word in detail. Many times students are worried about their assignments but we are here to assist you with all your problems. You can contact our experts anytime if you have an issue with MS Office assignment help.

As a result, Our computer science assignment help experts are available for you to provide help 24/7.

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9 Microsoft Word Tips to Edit Your College Assignment Faster

Struggling to edit your college assignments efficiently? Here are some useful Microsoft Word tips to accelerate your editing process and save time.

Assignments at the college and university levels are research-heavy, and you’re often expected to produce write-ups with a significant number of pages. Just when you think you’re done with producing the required word count, the next step is equally challenging and time-consuming: editing.

From keyboard shortcuts to simple, built-in features such as Find and Replace and the automatic table of contents, here are several tips you can use to edit and format your college assignment more efficiently in Microsoft Word.

1. Leave Paragraph Spacing as Your Last Step

Let’s first start on the right track. When you have a 3,000-word essay or report ahead, it’s tempting to set double-spacing when you only write a few sentences or a paragraph at most. It gives the comforting illusion that you have done more work than you actually have.

But to be more efficient at the final editing stage, it’s best to leave paragraph spacing as your last step. This way, you save time because you don’t have to scroll up and down much more than you need to while navigating through different sections and pages of your text.

2. Learn to Utilize Keyboard Shortcut Keys

Keyboard shortcuts make editing and formatting much faster compared to using a mouse. For example, when you use your mouse to select some words, you’ll probably miss a letter or two and have to re-highlight, or overshoot and include a period when you don’t need to.

In this case, you can select text accurately by using Ctrl + Shift , and the left and right arrow keys in Windows. There are many more Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts that will enable you to get most editing done on the keyboard, without having to switch to your mouse or trackpad. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you save with this method!

3. Hide the Headers and Footers

When you’re reading through a continuous body of text, the blank headers and footers may feel disruptive. To have a smoother reading and editing experience, hide the headers and footers to join all the pages together.

Hover your cursor over the gray space between your current page and the next, then double-click. When you need to use the headers and footers in Microsoft Word again, unhide them by hovering your cursor over the page separator line and double-click.

4. Collapse the Headings and Subheadings

For long report-style assignments, you’ll likely split your content into headings and subheadings. As you move from one section to the next, or jump between sections to rewrite and edit, make it easier to scroll through your text by collapsing the headings.

Hover over the heading title, then click the triangle icon that appears next to it to hide the content. If you want to hide all headings at once, right-click on any heading, and select Expand/Collapse > Collapse All Headings .

5. Automatically Sort References by Alphabetical Order

The works cited list is an essential section in any higher education assignment and is usually sorted by alphabetical order. You’ve likely added references to the list as you cite them in your essay, but when it comes to sorting at the end, it’s unfeasible and time-consuming to sort them manually. You can simply sort them automatically in Microsoft Word.

Select all your references and go to the Home tab. Under the Paragraph section, click the Sort icon (A and Z, with a downward arrow). In the Sort by field, choose Paragraphs . In the Type field, select Text . Then, select Ascending and click OK . The list will now be sorted by alphabetical order.

However, you might notice a couple of outliers. For example, when some references start with symbols instead of a letter, they will all likely be pushed to the very top. These are the few ones you’ll then need to manually reinsert into your list correctly.

6. Use Find and Replace to Avoid Spelling Mistakes

Whether they’re textbooks or journal articles, every student has probably encountered authors with surnames that are a little tricky to spell. Typing the name over and over for each in-text citation is prone to human error. To avoid misspellings, you can use Find and Replace.

First, use a unique abbreviation as a placeholder when you write your assignment. I recommend including a number in this abbreviation. This is because if your abbreviation only consists of letters, there’s a chance that this short combination of letters may have appeared elsewhere, as a part of a word, in your essay.

Once you’re done with the body content, it’s time to replace the abbreviation with the actual surname. In the Home tab, click Replace in the Editing tab. In the Find what field, type your abbreviation. In the Replace with field, type the actual author's name. Then, click Replace All . All your abbreviations will now be replaced with the correct author surname.

7. Insert Your Picture Into an Invisible Table

If you haven’t quite got the hang of formatting pictures in Microsoft Word, here’s a simple alternative that helps guarantee your image won’t cause your text to break up at weird places: insert your picture into an invisible table.

Go to the part of the text where you want your picture to appear. Press Enter to go to a new paragraph. Head to the Insert tab, click Table , and select one box to create a 1x1 table. With the cursor inside your table, click Pictures > Insert Picture > This Device to upload your picture into the document.

You can resize your picture within the table. Once you’re satisfied, highlight the table, go to the Table Design tab, click Borders > No Border . The black table border will then disappear. Your picture now appears to be perfectly fitted between two paragraphs of text.

8. Have an Overview of Multiple Page at Once

When you’re almost done editing, it’s best to scroll through all the pages to make sure there are no odd blank pages, separate sections, or incorrect image displays. But if you have more than 20 pages worth of content, scrolling through that much content quickly is just dizzying.

Instead, go to the View tab. In the Zoom section, click Multiple Pages . This zooms out your Microsoft Word document , so you can view two or three pages at once. You can also click the Zoom slider at the bottom right to zoom out even more and view more pages at once.

9. Automatically Create a Table of Contents

One of the final assignment components is the table of contents. If you’ve been manually keying in each heading, typing a line of periods that end with the heading’s corresponding page number, and double-checking the said page number yourself, it’s time to let Microsoft Word handle the task.

First, make sure you have applied the correct style to your headings. You can check this by clicking on each heading and see which style is selected in the Home tab. Then, number the pages of your Microsoft Word document .

Finally, go to the blank page where you want to insert your Table of Contents. Head to the References tab, click on Table of Contents , and select one of the Automatic Tables . Microsoft Word instantly generates a table of contents for you.

Improve Your Editing Process in Microsoft Word

By applying the above tips, you can revise your assignment more quickly and effectively without burdening yourself with eye fatigue. Cut down on the excessive scrolling and other manual tasks that can be done automatically by Microsoft Word.

Plus, saving time on editing means you have even more time to proofread and review your essays thoroughly, enabling you to produce higher-quality essays and reports.

how to write an assignment using word

Basic tasks in Word

Word 2016 is designed to help you create professional-quality documents. Word can also help you organize and write documents more efficiently.

When you create a document in Word, you can choose to start from a blank document or let a template do much of the work for you. From then on, the basic steps in creating and sharing documents are the same. And Word's powerful editing and reviewing tools can help you work with others to make your document great.

Tip:  To learn about new features, see What's new in Word 2016 .

Start a document

It’s often easier to create a new document using a template instead of starting with a blank page. Word templates come ready-to-use with pre-set themes and styles. All you need to do is add your content.

Each time you start Word, you can choose a template from the gallery, click a category to see more templates, or search for more templates online.

For a closer look at any template, click it to open a large preview.

If you’d rather not use a template, click Blank document .

how to write an assignment using word

Open a document

Every time you start Word, you’ll see a list of your most recently used documents in the left column. If the document you’re looking for isn’t there, click Open Other Documents .

A list of the most recently used documents is shown.

If you’re already in Word, click File > Open and then browse to the file’s location.

When you open a document that was created in earlier versions of Word, you see Compatibility Mode in the title bar of the document window. You can work in compatibility more or you can upgrade the document to use Word 2016. 

Save a document

To save a document for the first time, do the following:

On the File tab, click Save As .

Browse to the location where you’d like to save your document.

Note:  To save the document on your computer, choose a folder under This PC or click Browse . To save your document online, choose an online location under Save As or click Add a Place . When your files are online, you can share, give feedback and work together on them in real time.

Click Save .

Note:  Word automatically saves files in the .docx file format. To save your document in a format other than .docx, click the Save as type list, and then select the file format that you want.

To save your document as you continue to work on it, click Save in the Quick Access Toolbar.

The Save icon is displayed in the Quick Access Toolbar

Read documents

Open your document in Read Mode to hide most of the buttons and tools so you can get absorbed in your reading without distractions.

Read mode

Open the document you want to read.

Note:  Some documents open in Read Mode automatically, such as protected documents or attachments.

Click View > Read Mode .

To move from page to page in a document, do one of the following:

Click the arrows on the left and right sides of the pages.

Press page down and page up or the spacebar and backspace on the keyboard. You can also use the arrow keys or the scroll wheel on your mouse.

If you’re on a touch device, swipe left or right with your finger.

Tip:  Click View > Edit Document to edit the document again.

Track changes

When you’re working on a document with other people or editing a document yourself, turn on Track Changes to see every change. Word marks all additions, deletions, moves, and formatting changes.

Open the document to be reviewed.

Click Review and then on the Track Changes button, select Track Changes .

When you click the Track Changes button, the available options are highlighted

Read Track changes to learn more.

Print your document

All in one place, you can see how your document will look when printed, set your print options, and print the file.

On the File tab, click Print .

Print in the Backstage view

Do the following:

Under Print , in the Copies box, enter the number of copies you want.

Under Printer , make sure the printer you want is selected.

Under Settings , the default print settings for your printer are selected for you. If you want to change a setting, just click the setting you want to change and then select a new setting.

When you’re satisfied with the settings, click Print .

For details, see Print a document .

Beyond the basics

For more on the fundamentals of using Word, see What's new in Word 2016 .

Top of Page

With Word for the web, you use your web browser to create, view, and edit the personal documents that you store on OneDrive . If your organization or college has a Microsoft 365 plan or SharePoint site, start using Word for the web by creating or storing documents in libraries on your site.Save changes

Word saves your changes automatically. Look on the status bar at the bottom left corner of Word for the web. It will either show Saved or Saving .

how to write an assignment using word

Share documents online

Because your document is online, you can share it by sending a link instead of an email attachment. People can read it in their web browser or mobile device.

Click File > Share > Share with People .

how to write an assignment using word

Comment in the browser

A comment balloon shows where comments have been made in the doc.

how to write an assignment using word

Reply to comments, and check off items you’ve addressed.

Threaded comments in Word Online

Edit in the browser

If you try to type in the document and nothing happens, you’re probably in Reading view. Switch to Editing view: click Edit Document > Edit in Word for the web .

how to write an assignment using word

Type and format text, add pictures, adjust the layout of the page, and more. For more advanced editing, click Open in Word .

Open In Word from Edit view in Word Online

Work together on the same doc

To work together in Word for the web, you edit a document as you normally would. If others are also editing it, Word for the web alerts you to their presence. You can see everyone who is currently working in the document by clicking in the ribbon.

Image of authors in Word Online

Clicking on an author’s name jumps you to where they’re working in the doc. And you’ll see the changes they make as they’re happening.

Add a header or footer

Go to Insert > Header & Footer to add headers and footers to your document.

Image of Header & Footer button in Word Online

Click Options to choose how you’d like them to appear.

Image of Header and Footer Options menu in Word Online

Add page numbers

Click Insert > Page Numbers and then choose from the gallery where you’d like the page numbers to appear.

how to write an assignment using word

Select Include Page Count to show the current page number along with the total number of pages (page X of Y).

Find and replace text

Quickly search for every occurrence of a specific word or phrase in your document by clicking Home > Find (or type Ctrl+F). Results appear next to your document so you can see the term in context. Clicking on a search result jumps you to that occurrence.

Image of Find pane in Word Online

Click Replace (or type Ctrl+H) to find and replace text.

Print in Word for the web

Go to File > Print . Word for the web creates a PDF preview of your document that keeps all the layout and formatting of your document. Send the PDF to your printer and it will print the way you expect.

how to write an assignment using word

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that they will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove their point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, they still have to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and they already know everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality they expect.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Academic writing skills guide: structuring your assignment.

  • Key Features of Academic Writing
  • The Writing Process
  • Understanding Assignments
  • Brainstorming Techniques
  • Planning Your Assignments
  • Thesis Statements
  • Writing Drafts
  • Structuring Your Assignment
  • How to Deal With Writer's Block
  • Using Paragraphs
  • Conclusions
  • Introductions
  • Revising & Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Grammar & Punctuation
  • Reporting Verbs
  • Signposting, Transitions & Linking Words/Phrases
  • Using Lecturers' Feedback

Keep referring back to the question and assignment brief and make sure that your structure matches what you have been asked to do and check to see if you have appropriate and sufficient evidence to support all of your points. Plans can be structured/restructured at any time during the writing process.

Once you have decided on your key point(s), draw a line through any points that no longer seem to fit. This will mean you are eliminating some ideas and potentially letting go of one or two points that you wanted to make. However, this process is all about improving the relevance and coherence of your writing. Writing involves making choices, including the tough choice to sideline ideas that, however promising, do not fit into your main discussion.

Eventually, you will have a structure that is detailed enough for you to start writing. You will know which ideas go into each section and, ideally, each paragraph and in what order. You will also know which evidence for those ideas from your notes you will be using for each section and paragraph.

Once you have a map/framework of the proposed structure, this forms the skeleton of your assignment and if you have invested enough time and effort into researching and brainstorming your ideas beforehand, it should make it easier to flesh it out. Ultimately, you are aiming for a final draft where you can sum up each paragraph in a couple of words as each paragraph focuses on one main point or idea.

how to write an assignment using word

Communications from the Library:  Please note all communications from the library, concerning renewal of books, overdue books and reservations will be sent to your NCI student email account.

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How to Write a Perfect Assignment: Step-By-Step Guide

image

Table of contents

  • 1 How to Structure an Assignment?
  • 2.1 The research part
  • 2.2 Planning your text
  • 2.3 Writing major parts
  • 3 Expert Tips for your Writing Assignment
  • 4 Will I succeed with my assignments?
  • 5 Conclusion

How to Structure an Assignment?

To cope with assignments, you should familiarize yourself with the tips on formatting and presenting assignments or any written paper, which are given below. It is worth paying attention to the content of the paper, making it structured and understandable so that ideas are not lost and thoughts do not refute each other.

If the topic is free or you can choose from the given list — be sure to choose the one you understand best. Especially if that could affect your semester score or scholarship. It is important to select an  engaging title that is contextualized within your topic. A topic that should captivate you or at least give you a general sense of what is needed there. It’s easier to dwell upon what interests you, so the process goes faster.

To construct an assignment structure, use outlines. These are pieces of text that relate to your topic. It can be ideas, quotes, all your thoughts, or disparate arguments. Type in everything that you think about. Separate thoughts scattered across the sheets of Word will help in the next step.

Then it is time to form the text. At this stage, you have to form a coherent story from separate pieces, where each new thought reinforces the previous one, and one idea smoothly flows into another.

Main Steps of Assignment Writing

These are steps to take to get a worthy paper. If you complete these step-by-step, your text will be among the most exemplary ones.

The research part

If the topic is unique and no one has written about it yet, look at materials close to this topic to gain thoughts about it. You should feel that you are ready to express your thoughts. Also, while reading, get acquainted with the format of the articles, study the details, collect material for your thoughts, and accumulate different points of view for your article. Be careful at this stage, as the process can help you develop your ideas. If you are already struggling here, pay for assignment to be done , and it will be processed in a split second via special services. These services are especially helpful when the deadline is near as they guarantee fast delivery of high-quality papers on any subject.

If you use Google to search for material for your assignment, you will, of course, find a lot of information very quickly. Still, the databases available on your library’s website will give you the clearest and most reliable facts that satisfy your teacher or professor. Be sure you copy the addresses of all the web pages you will use when composing your paper, so you don’t lose them. You can use them later in your bibliography if you add a bit of description! Select resources and extract quotes from them that you can use while working. At this stage, you may also create a  request for late assignment if you realize the paper requires a lot of effort and is time-consuming. This way, you’ll have a backup plan if something goes wrong.

Planning your text

Assemble a layout. It may be appropriate to use the structure of the paper of some outstanding scientists in your field and argue it in one of the parts. As the planning progresses, you can add suggestions that come to mind. If you use citations that require footnotes, and if you use single spacing throughout the paper and double spacing at the end, it will take you a very long time to make sure that all the citations are on the exact pages you specified! Add a reference list or bibliography. If you haven’t already done so, don’t put off writing an essay until the last day. It will be more difficult to do later as you will be stressed out because of time pressure.

Writing major parts

It happens that there is simply no mood or strength to get started and zero thoughts. In that case, postpone this process for 2-3 hours, and, perhaps, soon, you will be able to start with renewed vigor. Writing essays is a great (albeit controversial) way to improve your skills. This experience will not be forgotten. It will certainly come in handy and bring many benefits in the future. Do your best here because asking for an extension is not always possible, so you probably won’t have time to redo it later. And the quality of this part defines the success of the whole paper.

Writing the major part does not mean the matter is finished. To review the text, make sure that the ideas of the introduction and conclusion coincide because such a discrepancy is the first thing that will catch the reader’s eye and can spoil the impression. Add or remove anything from your intro to edit it to fit the entire paper. Also, check your spelling and grammar to ensure there are no typos or draft comments. Check the sources of your quotes so that your it is honest and does not violate any rules. And do not forget the formatting rules.

with the right tips and guidance, it can be easier than it looks. To make the process even more straightforward, students can also use an assignment service to get the job done. This way they can get professional assistance and make sure that their assignments are up to the mark. At PapersOwl, we provide a professional writing service where students can order custom-made assignments that meet their exact requirements.

Expert Tips for your Writing Assignment

Want to write like a pro? Here’s what you should consider:

  • Save the document! Send the finished document by email to yourself so you have a backup copy in case your computer crashes.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to complete a list of citations or a bibliography after the paper is finished. It will be much longer and more difficult, so add to them as you go.
  • If you find a lot of information on the topic of your search, then arrange it in a separate paragraph.
  • If possible, choose a topic that you know and are interested in.
  • Believe in yourself! If you set yourself up well and use your limited time wisely, you will be able to deliver the paper on time.
  • Do not copy information directly from the Internet without citing them.

Writing assignments is a tedious and time-consuming process. It requires a lot of research and hard work to produce a quality paper. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty understanding the concept, you may want to consider getting accounting homework help online . Professional experts can assist you in understanding how to complete your assignment effectively. PapersOwl.com offers expert help from highly qualified and experienced writers who can provide you with the homework help you need.

Will I succeed with my assignments?

Anyone can learn how to be good at writing: follow simple rules of creating the structure and be creative where it is appropriate. At one moment, you will need some additional study tools, study support, or solid study tips. And you can easily get help in writing assignments or any other work. This is especially useful since the strategy of learning how to write an assignment can take more time than a student has.

Therefore all students are happy that there is an option to  order your paper at a professional service to pass all the courses perfectly and sleep still at night. You can also find the sample of the assignment there to check if you are on the same page and if not — focus on your papers more diligently.

So, in the times of studies online, the desire and skill to research and write may be lost. Planning your assignment carefully and presenting arguments step-by-step is necessary to succeed with your homework. When going through your references, note the questions that appear and answer them, building your text. Create a cover page, proofread the whole text, and take care of formatting. Feel free to use these rules for passing your next assignments.

When it comes to writing an assignment, it can be overwhelming and stressful, but Papersowl is here to make it easier for you. With a range of helpful resources available, Papersowl can assist you in creating high-quality written work, regardless of whether you’re starting from scratch or refining an existing draft. From conducting research to creating an outline, and from proofreading to formatting, the team at Papersowl has the expertise to guide you through the entire writing process and ensure that your assignment meets all the necessary requirements.

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how to write an assignment using word

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Sep 21, 2022

Facilitate collaboration by assigning tasks in Word

Rubba Ashwas

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Hi, Office Insiders! My name is Rubba Ashwas and I’m a Product Manager on the Word team. I’m excited to share that you can now assign tasks with @mentions in documents in Word for Windows and Word for Mac!

Assign tasks

This feature allows you and your team to conveniently create and assign tasks directly from within your Word document using @mentions in comments. The people you assign the tasks to will receive email notifications, letting them know they need to take action.

Many of you have enjoyed using the feature in Word for the web. We’re thrilled to now be bringing it to Word for Windows and Word for Mac.

How it works

  • Open an existing document saved to OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • Highlight the text that contains the information you want to comment on and select the New Comment button,

New Comment button

  • Write your comment and type @ followed by the name of the team member you want to tag.
  • Select the  Assign to check box to convert your comment into a task.
  • Click the blue arrow or press  Ctrl + Enter to post your comment.

Scenarios to try

  • Reassign a task: Type  @ followed by the name of the team member you want to reassign the task to in the response field, select the  Reassign to  check box, and then click the blue arrow or press Ctrl + Enter . The person to whom you reassigned the task will be notified via email that they’ve been assigned the task.

Task with the Reassign to check box selected

  • Resolve a task: Hover over the circle at the top of the comment and click the  Resolve task button.

Resolved task

  • Reopen a resolved task: In the right-hand margin or in Comments pane, click the comment that was closed, and then click the Reopen button.

Comment with a Task completed flag

Availability

This feature is available in Word for the Web, and to Insiders running the following Beta Channel builds:

  • Windows: Version 2206 (Build 15321.10000) or later
  • Mac: Version 16.66 (Build 22090700) or later  

Don’t have it yet? It’s probably us, not you. 

Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it. 

We are actively working on this feature, and your feedback is key to guiding future improvements. You can submit comments by clicking  Help  >  Feedback. Please tag your feedback with  #AssignTasks so that we can easily find input about the feature.

Learn what  other information you should include in your feedback  to ensure its actionable and reaches the right people. We are excited to hear from you!  

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The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives. The Purdue OWL offers global support through online reference materials and services.

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The Purdue OWL® is committed to supporting  students, instructors, and writers by offering a wide range of resources that are developed and revised with them in mind. To do this, the OWL team is always exploring possibilties for a better design, allowing accessibility and user experience to guide our process. As the OWL undergoes some changes, we welcome your feedback and suggestions by email at any time.

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How to Insert Checkbox in Word [For Students]

As a full-time writer, I've encountered the same challenges many students face: the inability to insert checkboxes in Word for their assignments or to-do lists. But fear not! Through my experiences, I've discovered simple solutions to tackle these issues.

Common Problems About Inserting Checkboxes in Word

While checkboxes are a handy tool for creating to-do lists, forms, and questionnaires in Word, you might encounter some issues when using them. Here's a breakdown of common problems you might face:

1. Missing Checkbox Feature:

In some versions of Word, the checkbox functionality might not be readily available on the main toolbar. This can be confusing, especially for those accustomed to using it.

2. Unclickable Checkboxes:

You might insert a checkbox, but it doesn't respond to clicks. This could be because you've inserted a static checkbox meant for printing purposes only, rather than an interactive one for digital forms.

3. Limited Customization:

The default appearance of checkboxes might not always match your needs. You might want to change the size, shape, or even add a checkmark or cross symbol, but find limited options for customization.

4. Compatibility Issues:

If you're sharing a Word document with someone using a different version, there's a chance the checkboxes won't display or function correctly on their end.

These are some of the common roadblocks you might encounter when working with checkboxes in Word. In the next part, we'll explore solutions to address these issues and effectively use checkboxes in your documents.

How to Insert Checkboxes in Word

Now it's time to fight back and become a Word checkbox master. In this part, we'll tackle how to insert these handy squares and even customize them a bit.

To insert checkboxes in Word, follow these simple steps using a to-do list sample:

Using Customized Option:

Step 1 . Click on the "File" tab in the Word toolbar.

Step 2. Select "Options" from the menu.

Step 3. In the Word Options dialog box, choose "Customize Ribbon" from the list on the left.

Step 4. Check the box next to "Developer" in the right-hand column.

Step 5. Click "OK" to confirm and close the Word Options dialog box.

Step 6. Now, you will see the "Developer" tab appear on the Word toolbar.

Using the Developer:

Step 1. With the "Developer" tab now visible, click on it to access its options.

Step 2. From the right side of the Developer tab, locate the "Controls" group.

Step 3. Check the box next to "Checkbox" to insert a checkbox into your document.

Step 4. You can now customize the appearance and properties of the checkbox as needed.

How to Edit the Checkbox in Word

We've conquered inserting checkboxes, but what about fine-tuning their appearance? While Word doesn't offer extensive editing options, there are a few tricks you can use:

Limited Editing:

Unfortunately, double-clicking a checkbox in Word doesn't bring up a detailed editing menu like some sources might suggest. However, there are still a couple of ways to make small adjustments:

Ticking the Box : This might seem obvious, but it's the primary way to interact with the checkbox. Click on the box to add a checkmark, signifying completion of a task.

Pre-Populated Checkboxes (Not recommended) :

While not ideal for most cases, you can technically type an "X" or a checkmark symbol (like ✓) directly inside the checkbox. However, this isn't a true edit and might cause formatting issues later. It's generally better to leave the checkbox empty and tick it as needed.

Focus on Using the Developer Tab:

For more significant changes, remember the Developer tab is your friend! Here's how you can use it for some customization:

Change Checkbox Symbol : If the default "X" doesn't suit your fancy, you can switch it to a checkmark.

Font Size Adjustments : Though limited, you can slightly increase the checkbox size for better visibility. Here's how:

Highlight the checkbox.

Go to the Developer tab.

Click "Check Box Properties."

Click the "Font" button.

Increase the font size slightly (e.g., from 8pt to 9pt). Be cautious with large font sizes as they might distort the checkbox appearance.

Click "OK" on all open windows.

These editing options are fairly basic. While they can provide a touch of customization, Word doesn't offer in-depth formatting features for checkboxes.

For situations where extensive customization is crucial (like creating a complex form), consider using a different tool like a dedicated form-building application or exploring online templates that offer more design flexibility.

Use WPS AI to Polish Your Writing/To-do Lists

Conquered the checkbox basics? Now let's talk about taking your writing and to-do lists to the next level with WPS AI, a built-in feature in WPS Office.

Think of WPS AI as your personal writing assistant and to-do list guru. It uses artificial intelligence to analyze your work and offer smart suggestions, making you a more efficient and polished writer.

Here's how WPS AI can be a game-changer for students:

Grammar and Style : We all make typos and grammar mistakes. But fret no more! WPS AI acts like a grammar police officer with a helpful side. It identifies errors in your writing, from misplaced commas to subject-verb agreement issues. It also suggests improvements to sentence structure and phrasing, making your writing clearer and more impactful.

Writing Confidence Booster : Staring at a blank page or struggling to express yourself clearly? WPS AI can be your brainstorming buddy. It analyzes your writing and provides suggestions for improvement. Whether it's strengthening your arguments or crafting a smoother narrative flow, WPS AI helps you refine your writing and express your ideas with confidence.

To-Do List Efficiency : WPS AI can be your secret weapon for managing to-do lists. While it can't magically complete your tasks (sorry!), it can help you prioritize effectively. Imagine highlighting a crucial task on your list and having WPS AI automatically suggest sub-tasks or deadlines, keeping you organized and on track.

Think of it this way: You've mastered the art of inserting checkboxes, now WPS AI helps you ensure those tasks are well-written and efficiently managed. It's the ultimate student power combo!

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Converting Your Writing/To-do Lists to PDF without losing Format

So you've crafted a stellar to-do list or resume, complete with perfectly placed checkboxes. But sometimes, converting your masterpiece from Word to PDF can be a formatting nightmare. Fear not, for WPS Office offers a smooth and reliable solution!

Here's how to effortlessly convert your Word doc to PDF in WPS Office, ensuring your formatting stays crisp:

Step 1 : Open your Document:

Launch WPS Office Writer and open your meticulously crafted to-do list or resume.

Step 2 : Head to the Export Menu:

Navigate to the "File" menu at the top left corner of your screen.

Step 3 : Choose the PDF Path:

In the "File" menu, select "Export" and then hover over "Create PDF/XPS". A submenu will appear.

Step 4 : Export with Confidence:

Click on "Export" in the submenu. This will open a "Save As" dialog box where you can choose the destination folder and filename for your PDF.

Step 5 : Conversion Complete!

Click "Save" and WPS Office will seamlessly convert your document to a pristine PDF, preserving all your formatting efforts. Now you can share your to-do list or resume with confidence, knowing it will look exactly as intended.

Bonus Tip :

For even more control over the conversion process, explore the "Export" options within the "Create PDF/XPS" submenu. You can adjust settings like page layout, image quality, and security to further customize your PDF output.

By following these steps, you can effortlessly convert your writing assignments or to-do lists from Word to PDF format while preserving the original formatting and layout.

FAQs about Inserting Checkboxes in Word   

Q1. can the size and shape of the checkbox be customized.

Yes, to a limited extent. While Word doesn't offer extensive editing options for checkboxes, you can slightly change the size using the Developer tab. However, you cannot modify the shape of the checkbox itself.

Q2. How can I Delete Checkboxes in Word?

To delete checkboxes in Word, simply select the checkbox you want to remove and press the "Delete" or "Backspace" key on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can right-click on the checkbox and select the "Cut" or "Delete" option from the context menu.

Q3. Can I Insert Checkboxes in Word Online?

Unfortunately, inserting checkboxes is not currently supported in Word Online. This functionality is available in the desktop version of Word.

In this guide, I've covered the process of inserting checkboxes in Word for students' writing assignments and to-do lists. I've addressed common issues, provided easy-to-follow steps, and emphasized the importance of using WPS Office for seamless document creation. With WPS Office's intuitive tools and helpful features, students can overcome challenges and enhance the quality of their work, ultimately empowering them to excel in their academic endeavors.

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Five Tips for Writing Academic Integrity Statements in the Age of AI 

  • May 10, 2024
  • Torrey Trust, PhD

Author Rie Kudan received a prestigious Japanese literary award for her book, The Tokyo Tower of Sympathy, and then disclosed that 5% of her book was written word-for-word by ChatGPT (Choi & Annio, 2024).  

Would you let your students submit a paper where 5% of the text was written by ChatGPT?  

What about if they disclosed their use of ChatGPT ahead of time?  

Or, if they cited ChatGPT as a source?  

The rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Copilot, Claude, Gemini, DALL-E, and Meta AI has created a pressing new challenge for educators: defining academic integrity in the age of AI.  

As educators and students grapple with what is allowed when using generative AI (GenAI) tools, I have compiled five tips to help you design or redesign academic integrity statements for your syllabus, assignments, exams, and course activities.  

1. Banning GenAI tools is not the solution  

Many students use GenAI tools to aid their learning. In a meta-analysis on the use of AI chatbots in education, Wu and Yu (2023) found that AI chatbots can significantly improve learning outcomes, specifically in the areas of learning performance, motivation, self-efficacy, interest, and perceived value of learning. Additionally, non-native English speakers and students with language and learning disabilities often turn to these tools to support their thinking, communication, and learning.  

Students also need opportunities to learn how to use, and critically analyze, GenAI tools in order to prepare for their future careers. The number of US job postings on LinkedIn that mention “GPT” has increased 79% year over year and the majority of employers believe that employees will need new skills, including analytical judgment about AI outputs and AI prompt engineering, to be prepared for the future (Microsoft, 2023). The Modern Language Association of America and Conference on College Composition and Communication (MLA-CCCC) Joint Task Force on Writing an AI recently noted that: 

Refusing to engage with GAI helps neither students nor the academic enterprise, as research, writing, reading, and other companion thinking tools are developing at a whirlwind rate and being integrated into students’ future workplaces from tech firms to K–12 education to government offices. We simply cannot afford to adopt a stance of complete hostility to GAI: such a stance incurs the risk of GAI tools being integrated into the fabric of intellectual life without the benefit of humanistic and rhetorical expertise. (pp. 8-9) 

Ultimately, banning GenAI tools in a course could negatively impact student learning and exacerbate the digital divide between students who have opportunities to learn how to use these tools and those who do not (Trust, 2023). And, banning these tools won’t stop students from using them–when universities tried to ban TikTok, students just used cellular data and VPNs to circumvent the ban (Alonso, 2023).  

However, you do not have to allow students to use GenAI tools all the time in your courses. Students might benefit from using these tools on some assignments, but not others. Or for some class activities, but not others. It is up to you to decide when these tools might be allowed in your courses and to make that clear to your students. Which leads to my next point… 

2. Tell your students what YOU allow  

Every college and university has an academic integrity/honesty or academic dishonesty statement. However, these statements are either written so broadly that there can be different interpretations of the language, or these statements indicate that the responsibility of determining what is allowable depends on the instructor, or both!  

Take a look at UC San Diego’s Academic Honesty Policy (2023) (highlights were added for emphasis).  

While this policy is detailed and specific, there is still room for interpretation of the text; and the responsibility of determining whether students can use GenAI tools as a learning aid (section “e”) relies solely on the instructor.  

Keeping the UC San Diego academic honesty policy in mind, consider the following: 

  • A student prompted Gemini to rewrite their text to improve the quality of their writing and submitted the AI-generated version of their text.  
  • A student used ChatGPT to write their conclusion word-for-word, but they cited ChatGPT as a source. 
  • A student prompted ChatGPT to draft sentence starters for each paragraph in their midterm paper.   
  • A student used ChatGPT as an aid by prompting it to summarize course readings and make them easier to understand. 

Which of these examples is a violation of the policy? This is up to you to determine based on your interpretation of the policy.  

Now, think about your students. Some students take three, four, five, and even six classes a semester. Each class is taught by a different instructor who might have their own unique interpretation of the university’s academic integrity policy and a different perspective regarding what is allowable when it comes to GenAI tools and what is not.  

Unfortunately, most instructors do not make their perspectives regarding GenAI tools clear to students. This leaves students guessing what is allowed in each course they take and if they guess wrong, they could fail an assignment, fail a course, or even get suspended – these are devastating consequences for a student who is unsure about what is allowed when it comes to using GenAI tools for their learning because their instructors do not make it clear to them.  

Ultimately, it is up to you, as the instructor, to determine what you allow, and then to let your students know! Write your own GenAI policy to include in your syllabus. Write your own GenAI use policies for assignments, exams, or even class activities. And then, talk with students about these policies and clarify any confusion they might have. 

3. Use the three W’s to tell students what you allow  

  • W hat GenAI tools are allowed? 
  • W hen are GenAI tools allowed (or not allowed)? 
  • W hy are GenAI tools allowed (or not allowed)? 

The 3 W’s can be used as a model to write your academic integrity statement in a clear and concise manner.  

Let’s start with the first W: W hat GenAI tools are allowed ?  

Will you allow your students to use AI text generators? AI image creators? AI video, speech, and audio producers? What about Grammarly? Khanmigo? Or, GenAI tools embedded into Google Workspace ? 

If you do not clarify what GenAI tools are allowed, students might end up using an AI-enhanced tool, like Grammarly, and be accused of using AI to cheat because they did not know that when you said “No GenAI tools” you meant “No Grammarly, either” (read: She used Grammarly to proofread her paper. Now she’s accused of ‘unintentionally cheating.’ ).  

Please do not put students in a situation of guessing what GenAI tools are allowed or not. The consequences can be dire and students deserve the transparency.  

The next W is When are GenAI tools allowed (or not allowed) ? 

If you simply list what GenAI tools you allow, students might think it is okay to use the tools you listed for every assignment, learning activity, and learning experience in your class.  

Students need specific directions for when GenAI tools can be used and when they cannot be used. Do you allow students to use GenAI tools on only one assignment? Every assignment? One part of an assignment? Or, what about for one aspect of learning (e.g., brainstorming) but not another (e.g., writing)? Or, for one class activity (e.g., simulating a virtual debate) but not another (e.g., practicing public speaking by engaging in a class debate)?  

To determine when GenAI tools could be used in your classes, you might start with the learning outcomes for an activity or assessment and then identify how GenAI tools might support or subvert these outcomes (MLA-CCCC, 2024). When GenAI tools support, enhance, or enrich learning, it might be worthwhile to allow students to use these tools. When GenAI tools take away from or replace learning, you might tell students not to use these tools.  

Making it clear when students can and cannot use GenAI tools will eliminate any guesswork from students and reduce instances of students using GenAI tools when you did not want them to.  

The final W is W hy are GenAI tools allowed (or not allowed) ? 

Being transparent about why GenAI tools are allowed or are not allowed helps students understand your reasoning and creates a learning environment where students are more likely to do what you ask them to do.  

In the case of writing, for example, you might allow students to use GenAI tools to help with brainstorming ideas, but not with writing or rewriting their work because you believe that the process of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) is essential for deepening understanding of the course content. Telling students this will give them a clearer sense of why you are asking them to do what you are asking them to do.  

If you simply state: “Do not use GenAI tools during your writing process” students might wonder, Why? and might very well use these tools exactly how you asked them not to because they were not given a reason why not to.  

To sum up, the three W’s model brings transparency into teaching and learning and makes it clear and easy for students to understand when, where, and why they can use GenAI tools. This eliminates the guesswork from students, and reduces potential fears, anxieties, and stressors about the use of these tools in your courses.  

You can use the thre W’s as a model for crafting your academic integrity statement for your syllabus and also as a model for clarifying AI use in an assignment (see the image below), on an exam, or during a class activity. 

4. Clarify how you will identify AI-generated work and what you will do about it  

Even when you provide a detailed AI academic integrity policy and increase transparency around the use of GenAI tools in your courses, students may still use these tools in ways that you do not allow.  

It is important to let students know how you plan to identify AI-generated work.  

Will you use an AI text detector? (Note that these tools are notoriously unreliable, inaccurate, and biased against non-native English speakers and students with disabilities; Liang et al., 2023; Perkins et al., 2024; Weber-Wulff et al., 2023) 

Will you simply be on the lookout for text that looks AI-generated? If so, what will you look for? A change in writing voice and tone? Overuse of certain phrases like “delve”? A Google Docs version history where it appears as though text was copied and pasted in all at once? (see Detecting AI-Generated Text: 12 Things to Watch For ) 

Keep in mind that your own assumptions and biases might negatively impact certain groups of students as you seek to identify AI-generated work. The MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force (2024) noted that “literature across a number of disciplines has shown that international students and multilingual students who are writing in English are more likely to be accused of GAI-related academic misconduct” both because “GAI detectors are more likely to flag English prose written by nonnative speakers” and “suspicions of misuse of GAI are often due to complex factors, including culture, context, and unconscious ‘native-speakerism’ rather than actual misconduct” (p. 9).  

Also, consider what happens if a student submits content that looks or is identified by a detector as AI-generated. Will they automatically fail the assignment? Need to have a conversation with you? Need to prove their knowledge to you in another way (e.g., oral exam)? Be referred to the Dean of Students? 

Whatever you decide, being upfront about your expectations can foster a culture of trust between you and your students, and it might even deter students from using the tools in ways that you do not allow them to.  

5. Consider whether you will allow students to cite GenAI tools as a source  

One final point to consider as you are writing your academic integrity statement is whether students should be allowed to cite GenAI tools as a source. 

Many college and university academic integrity/honesty statements indicate that as long as the student cites their sources, including GenAI tools, they are not violating academic integrity. AI syllabus policies , too, often state that students can use GenAI tools as long as they cite them. 

But, should students really be encouraged to cite GenAI tools as a source?  

Consider, for example, that many of the popular GenAI tools were designed by stealing tons of copyrighted data from the Internet. The companies that created these tools “received billions of dollars of investment while using copyrighted work taken without permission or compensation. This is not fair” (Syed, 2023).  

While several companies are currently being sued for using copyrighted data to make their GenAI tools, in many cases, artists, authors, and other individuals whose work has been used without their permission to train these tools are losing their cases because of US copyright law and fair use. GenAI companies are arguing that their tools transform the copyrighted data they scraped from the Internet in a way that falls under fair use protections. However, a study found that large language models, like ChatGPT, sometimes generate text of over 1,000 words long that has been copied word-for-word from the original training data (McCoy et al., 2023) – making ChatGPT a plagiarism machine! 

Consider also that GenAI tools can make up (“hallucinate”) content and present harmful and biased information. Do you want students to cite information from a tool that is not designed with the intent of providing factual information?  

In a recent class activity, I asked my students (future educators) to write their own AI policy statements. Before they wrote their statements, I explained how GenAI tools were designed by scraping copyrighted data from the Internet and then they interrogated a GenAI tool by asking it at least 10 questions about whether it violated intellectual property rights. Across the board, my students decided that citing GenAI tools is not allowed and that they want their future students to cite an original source instead.  

It is up to you whether you allow students to cite GenAI as a source or not. The most important thing is to be transparent with your students about whether you allow them to cite GenAI tools as a source; and if you do, let them know how much text you would allow them to copy word-for-word into their work as long as they cite a GenAI tool. 

So, this returns us back to the question at the start: Would you let your students submit a paper where 5% of the text was written by ChatGPT…as long as they cited ChatGPT as a source?  

GenAI Disclosure : The author used Gemini and ChatGPT 3.5 to assist with revising text to improve the quality of the writing. All text was originally written by the author, but some of the text was revised based on suggestions from Gemini and ChatGPT 3.5.  

Author Bio  

Torrey Trust, PhD, is a professor of learning technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work centers on the critical examination of the relationship between teaching, learning, and technology; and how technology can enhance teacher and student learning. Dr. Trust has received the University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award (2023), the College of Education Outstanding Teaching Award (2020), and the ISTE Making IT Happen Award (2018), which “honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage and persistence in improving digital learning opportunities for students.”   

References  

Alonso, J. (2023, January 19). Students and experts agree: TikTok bans are useless. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2023/01/20/university-tiktok-bans-cause-concern-and-confusion   

Choi, C. & Annio, F. (2024, January 19). The winner of a prestigious Japanese literary award has confirmed AI helped write her book . CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/19/style/rie-kudan-akutagawa-prize-chatgpt/index.html   

Liang, W., Yuksekgonul, M., Mao, Y., Wu, E., & Zou, J. (2023). GPT detectors are biased against non-native English writers. Patterns, 4 (7).  

McCoy, R. T., Smolensky, P., Linzen, T., Gao, J., & Celikyilmaz, A. (2023). How much do language models copy from their training data? Evaluating linguistic novelty in text generation using raven. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 11, 652-670. 

Microsoft. (2023). Work trend annual index report. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/will-ai-fix-work/   

Modern Language Association of America and Conference on College Composition and Communication. (2024). Generative AI and policy development: Guidance from the MLA-CCCC task force . https://cccc.ncte.org/mla-cccc-joint-task-force-on-writing-and-ai   

Perkins, M., Roe, J., Vu, B. H., Postma, D., Hickerson, D., McGaughran, J., & Khuat, H. Q. (2024). GenAI detection tools, adversarial techniques and implications for inclusivity in higher education. arXiv preprint. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2403/2403.19148.pdf   

Syed, N. (2023, November 18). ‘Unmasking AI’ and the fight for algorithmic justice . The Markup. https://themarkup.org/hello-world/2023/11/18/unmasking-ai-and-the-fight-for-algorithmic-justice   

Trust, T. (2023, August 2). Essential considerations for addressing the possibility of AI-driven cheating, part 1. Faculty Focus. https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/essential-considerations-for-addressing-the-possibility-of-ai-driven-cheating-part-1/   

UC San Diego. (2023). UC San Diego academic integrity policy . https://senate.ucsd.edu/Operating-Procedures/Senate-Manual/Appendices/2   

Weber-Wulff, D., Anohina-Naumeca, A., Bjelobaba, S., Foltýnek, T., Guerrero-Dib, J., Popoola, O., … & Waddington, L. (2023). Testing of detection tools for AI-generated text. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 19 (1), 26. 

Wu, R. & Yu, Z. (2023). Do AI chatbots improve students learning outcomes? Evidence from a meta-analysis. British Journal of Educational Technology, 55 (1), 10-33.  

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