04 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

Course Overview

How will this class work?

I've tried to pace the course so that we're heavy on lectures, reading and short exercises in the beginning, but lighter on that stuff so there is more room for you to focus on your in-depth research projects towards the end.

In addition to submitting exercises and components of the term project, this course also asks you to participate in an online discussion of every item that the course website flags as a "Class Topic" or a "Reading." 

I'll provide you with more details on how to respond to discussion topics, but in general I am not fishing for any one specific "correct" answer -- I am asking you to practice identifying subjects that you think are worthy of discussion, to practice taking stands on debatable issues and evaluating evidence to support your position, and to seek out alternative and opposing viewponts in order to help you understand an issue broadly.

A good response to a reading or class topic might
  • start with a brief quote from the assigned material
  • continue with an explanation of why you think it is important, and
  • conclude with an open-ended question for your classmates. 
Participating fully in the online environment also includes posting 2-4 responses to what your peers had to say, and contributing promptly and thoughtfully to the ongoing discussion.

While you may carry out all your online participation simply by writing out plain text comments and URLs, once you have started blogging on your own SHU blog, I invite you also to post images, audio and video if you feel it would help you make your point.

Reminder: The last half of the "Introduction to the Course" page includes a breakdown of the first few assignments. You can also see an overview of any day's assignments by clicking the date on the calendar.


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