Substantive Responses to Discussion Questions: Throughout the course, reading assignments are accompanied by discussion questions requiring substantive student response. A substantive response—of 50 words or so—demonstrates that you have read, understood, and can apply the content presented in the reading material. “I agree” and “That’s an interesting point” are not substantive responses, nor are rhetorical questions or partisan polemics. Copying text from the reading material does not demonstrate understanding. You may add your opinion, but first ensure that you demonstrate mastery of the material. Your opinions and other inputs contribute to your participation and interaction score but not to your substantive response score.
Participation and Interaction: Participation and interaction is a graded activity. You are expected to make a substantive contribution to class discussion at least 3 of every 7 days (If everyone posts their responses on the last day of the week, there can be no discussion). And interaction with your classmates over the discussion questions is a measure of your respectful dialogue with your classmates. Full credit can be earned for a sincere response based on a misunderstanding. I don’t expect you to be right immediately; we’re here to learn.
Lessons Learned: Each week, you will submit approximately a 350-word summary of what you learned during the week. Concentrate on the big lessons and on what was newest and most useful to you in your academic and professional development. After documenting the lessons learned, you are welcome to add your personal opinions.
Term Paper: An independent research paper is due at the end of the semester. The term paper should have at minimum an opening, main body, and conclusion, be 20 to 25 pages or more, double spaced, and include headings, footnotes, page numbers, bibliography, etc. It should conform to the same formatting and style standards as the thesis due at the end of the master’s program. Scholarly papers will receive better grades than editorials, opinion pieces, and position papers.
Writing Issues: Graduate students must be able to communicate effectively in writing. Complete sentences, coherent paragraphs, and correct spelling are expected in your assignments. However, these rules do not strictly apply to class discussions as the style there is more informal and conversational. Higher standards are expected in your weekly lessons learned, and your term paper should meet full scholarly standards to receive the highest grade.