In earlier posts I’ve written about setting up templates and shortcuts to reduce the time you spend on repetitive administrative activities. Once you’ve got something that works, I don’t see a lot of value in redoing it dozens of times when there’s no longer any learning benefit. But if you could automate even more of the paper-writing process, is it worth the time savings if you’re learning less?
I recently ran across a product called sCoolWork that’s in the early stages of development. When it launches, it aims to make research easier (by crowd-sourcing the rating of search results), writing papers easier (by leveraging templates and wizards), selecting topics easier, and it will even check for plagiarism issues while you work. It promises to allow you to focus more on the writing by reducing the attention you need to give to administration activities.
I strongly support finding effective shortcuts, reusing assets you develop and automating whatever you can – if you’re the one who developed everything and you understand what’s happening behind the scenes. For anything you don’t understand, it seems risky to rely on software to develop your bibliography, lay out your paper, do your research and review your writing for you. Some of these are essential skills to master, both for school and the workforce, and there’s a lot of risk involved with trusting a third party to “help” with your work.
Regardless, check sCoolWork out in case it automates any processes you don’t think there’s value in performing – just don’t get lazy!