In ~350 words (ideally 2-3 short paragraphs), you have two goals: 1) to show me that you’ve read and thought critically about the reading; 2) to help advance our discussion about the reading, its utility, and how it fits into the course.
300 - 400 words
Clear, concise, and meaningful (no fluff!)
No quotations, except short phrases that you want to critique directly
3-5 citations to specific pages, like (Burdick, 22)
Posted to your blog before you go to bed the day before class
What to comment on
Below are a list of themes and questions you should be asking yourself and comment on in your response. This is not an exhaustive or restrictive list!
what did you take away as the main point or points?
what examples did the author(s) give to help make their point?
how does the piece fit into the course and other course readings?
how convincing was the author(s)?
how well was the main point supported by evidence?
do you agree or not with the premise of the piece?
who is the target audience? what does the author(s) think their audience knows?
was this relatively easy to read? what made it so? or not?
were you motivated appreciate the significance of the piece?
All responses will be graded on a 0-2 point scale, with the following logic:
0: You shouldn’t have bothered. The assignment does not show any serious engagement with the material, or is so sloppily written I can’t decipher it.
1: Clear evidence of casually reading the assignment, some critical thinking, and clear enough writing that I wasn’t totally confused.
2: Significant engagement with the material, original thinking that ties it to other readings (or discussions), and a clear exposition of your ideas.
3: I know I said 0-2 points, but sometimes you’ll be inspired by the reading to have some really great ideas, and to convey them in a particularly engaging and energetic way. So you get a bonus point for turning it up to 11…or 3, in this case.
fred gibbs ∗ history department ∗ university of new mexico