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Making a Table of Contents
A Table of Contents has two purposes:
  1. Unification and Organization
  2. Assessment
Unification and Organization
In a project with fifteen to thirty parts, perhaps organized in different sections (for example, responses to essays, responses to visual images, and responses to model essays), organization of the materials becomes essential for both the student and the instructor.  For the student, the project has no center or connection of its parts without a Table of Contents.  Without one, the student types up entries, clips them together, and hands them in.  He or she is unsure if requirements are met and does not take responsibility for the organization of the materials into an interconnected whole.  In fact, students are unlikely to see it as a whole or understand it as a unified body of work.
The instructor who receives such a pile of papers has no idea if requirements are met and must organize the materials according to some scheme to determine if the assignment is complete.  If the assignment was meant to just get students to write and had no further agenda, i.e., response to certain texts, response to a certain number of visual images or model essays, or response to class discussions on key issues, then the instructor could just count up the pages and thumb through them, awarding a grade on productivity and creativity.
If however, the instructor is interested in what students responded to, how many texts they responded to and if they used different categories from Andrea J. Kaston’s twenty “Suggestions,” or if they met other requirements, a Table of Contents proves invaluable.   A quick look and, provided what is listed actually exists, an instructor knows if the student completed the assignment.
For an example of a Table of Contents, refer to the web site listed earlier: