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Web Comment Guidelines

Each Monday evening, I will post questions written by the designated student discussion leader(s) for that week. Each student is required serve as a discussion leader a least once, and every student is required to post at least one a week comment in response to these questions. Ideally, the responses to particular questions should be posted before Wednesday’s class so that they can be referred to during class discussions. Keep in mind that the website is a valuable space to test out your ideas and articulate your thoughts before you sit down to write a formal paper. IMPORTANT: Make sure you sign in to comment using your full name so that I can give you credit. Please also keep the following points in mind:

  • Expressing Your Thoughts in Your Own Words: You will not receive credit for cutting and pasting something of the web and presenting it as your own thought (I may even seek disciplinary measures if anyone does this—plagiarism is a serious academic offense). In addition, you will not receive credit if you simply repeat what someone else has already posted. You certainly can react to what someone else has written, but you cannot merely agree or say the same thing worded differently. It is thus a good idea to post early before someone else comes up with a similar idea, as you will be graded on the originality of your contribution to the conversation.
  • Grading Criteria: Your website comments are 15% of your total grade. They will be graded on the quality and originality of thought, the way that they engage the questions, and the strength of the argument and evidence that they present. Grammar and spelling will not affect the grading of the website comments, but please do not use abbreviations.
  • Keep it Civil: I hope that you will have some lively online discussions, and you should feel free to disagree with your classmates. But please do not attack anyone personally! Remember to be respectful of other people’s ideas and feelings even if you disagree with them.
  • Tone: Comments may be less formal than a paper (for example, misspelled words won’t count against you here), but more formal than a text message or casual e-mail. Please do not use texting abbreviations or symbols.
  • Length: Your posts should be at least a full paragraph. You certainly may write more than that if you have more to say.
  • Relevance: Comments that have little or no relevance to the questions will not count toward your grade.
  • Images, Video Clips, and Links to External Documents: In your comments, you may provide links to historical documents, images, or even video clips, but you need to have a good reason to do so. For example, if you post a clip from a Hollywood movie, you need to explain how and why that clips relates to the questions that have been asked. If the clip or link is not directly related to the question, your post will not count toward your grade. Media should be historically relevant. (Keep in mind that the era covered by the course did not have sound or moving picture recording, and photography only emerged in the final decades. Nonetheless, there were certainly plenty of other forms of art to reference. Representations of earlier eras in modern media can be used, but should be handled very critically.)
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