Discussion Leadership Signup
Each student will need to sign up for 3 (THREE) discussion leadership days. To sign up, students will need to type their name in three places on the course schedule (the Google spreadsheet that is linked at the bottom of main syllabus page for our class). Signups are due by 11:59pm on the day of Session 1.
Students should be careful to make note of the discussion days they are leading because missing a leadership day will result in a 0 for that assignment and rescheduling a leadership day will only be possible in extremely rare cases.
This assignment will be evaluated for completion.
Each student will be assigned to lead 3 discussions throughout the semester. Generally there will be 3 leaders assigned to each session, but this is an individual assignment. This assignment has 2 parts:
Part 1) For each assigned leadership day, you should compose 10 in-depth analysis questions covering that session’s reading and/or lecture video. Each question should spark discussion and should include some commentary to help get your classmates thinking. This commentary could be a quote from the text, your thoughts on the importance or relevance of the question, your own answer to the question, etc. These questions must be submitted to the appropriate Canvas Dropbox by 11:59pm on the day before the discussion is to take place.
Please note: While there is not a specific length requirement for the list of questions, students who receive full points generally submit a document that is 300+ words. In fact, to orient you to the depth of analysis expected, it might be helpful to think about this as 1-2 page essay (just in question form).
In terms of content, your questions must:
- Highlight & build on topics raised in the reading and the lecture video
- Bring in important elements of the reading that were not mentioned in the lecture video
- Compare this text to others from class
- Bring in additional information from an outside source (a news report, statistic, historical fact, etc.) with a citation
Your questions might also:
- Break down the complexities and major points of the reading
- Ask for analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s position
- Ask classmates to evaluate the author’s assertions based on their own experiences and values
- Include information about the author's life and how that might impact their work or the meaning of their work
- Pull out and analyze quotes from the text that seem particularly poignant or problematic
- Relate the topic to current events (at the campus, state, national, or global level)
Part 2) For each assigned leadership day, you should be prepared to lead the discussion for that session. This means that you will need to spend extra time preparing for your assigned sessions, and you should consider yourself one of the "experts" for that session. More specifically, you will need to:
- Demonstrate "leader-level engagement" with the text
- Help classmates engage more deeply with the text
- Provide some personal reflections and thoughts
- Contribute to the learning of classmates beyond normal participation requirements
- Keep the conversation on topic (The instructor realizes that this may not be totally within the control of the leader, but attempts should be made nonetheless.)
Note: In addition to their leadership responsibilities, discussion leaders are still held to all of the normal participation or response expectations.
For face-to-face sessions/sections:
- Each student leader should be prepared to sit at the front of the room and facilitate discussion throughout their assigned class session. Each leader should participate in keeping the conversation on topic and managing group dynamics.
- If a student leads class discussion but does not submit their list of questions to the Dropbox or visa versa, a maximum of half credit can be earned for that assignment.
For online sessions/sections:
- Our goal is to make our online discussion as much like a real-time discussion as possible.
- The discussion leader should group their 10 prepared questions into 3 sets of somewhat related questions then record & post a video for each set of questions. (Note: This means that the discussion leader will be responsible for posting 5 videos—- 3 with questions, 1 with a response to a question, and 1 with a responses to a response.) Each session’s discussion forum will open at 4am, and each student leader should have the video of their first set of questions posted in the relevant discussion forum by 10am on the day assigned. Ideally, the second video of questions should be posted midday, and the third video should be posted before 4pm; however, posting all three videos by 10am is acceptable.
- Leaders should also be prepared to facilitate discussion throughout the day; this includes keeping the conversation on topic and managing group dynamics.
- If a student posts videos in the discussion forum but does not submit their list of questions to the Dropbox or visa versa, a maximum of half credit can be earned for that assignment.
This assignment will be evaluated as follows:
Discussion Preparation (Quizzes)
By 11:59pm on the day before each class session, students will read/watch the assigned texts and/or videos and complete a short quiz.
All quizzes take be one of the following:
- 5 multiple choice questions with a 10 minute time limit
- a set of questions requiring some outside research (instructions are given in Canvas before the quiz time starts) with a 10 minute time limit
- 1 essay question with no time limit
Each quiz, regardless of its format, is worth 10 points, and at the end of the course, each student’s 1 lowest quiz score will be dropped.
Advice for Success: Read carefully and looking for major themes. When you finish a reading, make a few notes about any major take away points you found— the author’s argument, the major theme being considered, or the major action. Think for a second about why I would ask you to read that particular text— how does it relate to the human condition, why is it an important text historically or sociologically, etc. Lastly, think for a second about the details of the reading— character names, time period written, setting, notable aspects of the form/tone, author’s name & profession.
Discussion Participation (Attendance)
Discussion participation should be thought of as a student's responsibility to the learning community. Each community member should expect to learn from their classmates and contribute to their classmates' learning.
For face-to-face sessions/sections:
- Contributing To Classmates- Students will earn full credit for contributing to their classmates’ learning if they contribute at least 1 substantive comment during that day’s class session.
- Learning from Classmates- Students will earn full credit for learning from their classmates on a given day if they are attentively listening for the entire class session. Deductions may be taken for being tardy, leaving early, sleeping, wearing headphones, being excessively distracted or distracting, etc. Such deductions may occur without notification to the student.
- Making Up Missed Discussion Participation- Each class session is a unique learning opportunity that cannot be recreated, so every effort should be made to be present for all sessions. If a student does miss a class session (for any reason), points will be lost unless a 400+ word reflection essay on that day’s reading/film is submitted to the appropriate Canvas Dropbox between 4:00am & 11:59pm on the day after the absence. This essay should not be understood as a punishment but as a substitute for the learning opportunity lost by the absence. Note: If a student misses 1/5 of the class’s sessions (that is 6 class meetings for a full semester class), even if that student submits reflection essays, that student’s grade may be negatively impacted or, in some cases, the student may fail the course. If this policy will present problems for a student, that student should speak to the instructor during the first week of the semester to make other arrangements.
For online sessions/sections:
- Our goal is to make our online discussion as much like a real-time discussion as possible, and this will be accomplished in two ways— semi-synchronous posting and the use of video instead of text.
- Our discussions will take place between 4am and 11:59pm each session day ("session day" here means meeting day). Note that while the forum will open at 4am, discussion leaders are given until 10am to post their first video of questions. This means that people who like to post early may need to prepare a response to the reading/film without a specific prompt.
- Our discussion will be entirely in video form. Except in extremely rare circumstances, text posts will not be accepted.
- Each student is responsible for posting 2 x 2+ minute videos during each discussion session. These posts should meet these guidelines:
- Post 1: Contributing To Classmates- Students will earn full credit for contributing to their classmates’ learning by posting a 2+ minute video that substantively responds to one of the discussion leader’s questions. Students are not required to respond to all of a discussion leaders questions or to all of the discussion leaders. Instead, students should pick something they find interesting in one of the discussion leader's posts and respond to that element of the conversation. If absolutely necessary, this video may be prepared ahead of time and posted before a discussion leader's prompt is posted. In that case, the content of the post should be a general response to the reading/film. This element of discussion participation is worth 5 points per session.
- Post 2: Learning from Classmates- Students will earn full credit for learning from their classmates’ by posting a 2+ minute video that substantively responds to another student’s response to a discussion leader’s question. This video may not be prepared ahead of time and must demonstrate that the student has listened to the views of classmates. This element of discussion participation is worth 5 points per session.
- Making Up Missed Discussion Participation- Each class discussion is a unique learning opportunity that cannot be recreated (and viewing the discussion later without being required to respond does not require the same level of engagement), so every effort should be made to be post on time during all sessions. If a student does miss posting for a particular class session (for any reason), points for that session will be lost unless a 400+ word reflection essay that summarizes & responds to the entire Canvas discussion is submitted to the Canvas Dropbox between 4:00am & 11:59pm on the day after the missed posts. This essay should not be understood as a punishment but as a substitute for the learning opportunity lost by the student’s absence from the discussion. Note: Students are *strongly* encouraged to participate fully in the conversations through video; however, to accommodate certain student schedules, students may participate via reflection essays throughout the course. If a student plans to participate only through reflections essays, the student should contact the instructor at the beginning of the course to clarify this.