Papers: The Basic Idea
Papers are optional assignments, worth up to 100 points, which can be used to supplement the points you have scored on test and forum posts to help you reach your target score for the unit.
The basic idea of this assignment is to demonstrate that you can 1) correctly explain an authors ideas, and also 2) correctly show how those ideas would apply to a specific example which A) that author did not discuss and which B) your reader could independently fact check. In addition, I will expect you to offer your views on whether those ideas are good ideas, based on your demonstration of what they ideas would support in the case you have discussed.
Note: If you do not already have a suitable example in mind, you may use one of the case studies presented in the back of the book. If you do so, please keep in mind that the assignment is NOT to answer the questions at the end. They should just be considered food for thought. Also, be aware that those case studies deal with a wide variety of issues. It will be up to you to choose one that is relevant to the topic/author on which your paper focuses.
The scoring works like this: Your papers rubric score will be the percentage of the points you have remaining in the unit that I will assign. So lets say you have scored 150/200 points by means of the forum posts and test score. That is 75%, which would be a C for the unit if you do nothing further. But you have 50 points left you could potentially earn by writing the paper. Lets say you write a paper, and it earns an 80% rubric score. Then you will earn 40/50, for a total of 190/200, which is an A!
Please note, however, that I will not reward students who waste my time by turning in junk just to take a shot because they feel they have nothing to lose. I may not assign any credit at all to a paper which does not seem to me to demonstrate a good faith effort at fulfilling the basic goals indicated above.
Also keep in mind that this is a college course, which means that anything affecting the appearance of quality in your work can have an adverse effect on your grade. So attention in the areas of grammar, spelling, composition, and so on, will be important.
Think of yourself as writing for an audience of reasonably intelligent people who just dont happen to know much if anything at all about your subject. This means that while they would be capable of understanding a good explanation of the concepts you are dealing with, you cannot presume they understand anything unless you actually give the explanation. Thinking of things that way should help you get into the appropriate level of detail I need to see to demonstrate your understanding.
Paper Writing Guidelines:
There is more than one way to write a good essay. If you have a lot of writing experience, the guidelines I am about to provide may not be necessary. But if you do not have a lot of writing experience (and most who are taking this course dont!) these general guidelines will provide a template which, if followed, should make it almost impossible to go wrong, regardless of your topic!
Your essay should proceed in a step-by-step fashion from the introduction through the main body of your argument to culminate in its conclusion, at which point the thesis should be compellingly supported. The following outline details the tasks involved in this process, which are usually best taken in the order presented here. Approximately a paragraph should be dedicated to each.
1) The introduction must inform the reader of the topic you will address, mention any sources you plan to draw from in making your argument (such as the example of the issue you are writing about and the authors whose ideas you will discuss), and indicate the specific point the essay is intended to support (also known as your thesis). It is often good to open with a general statement of an important problem, a rhetorical question, or some sort of dramatic flourish which will attract your readers interest before narrowing in on the specifics of the paper.
2) The body of your essay should present the relevant details of the example you are using immediately after the introduction.
a. Note: the example may be real or fictional, e.g. taken from a film, but it cannot be a hypothetical of your own invention. It should also not be a personal anecdote, as that leaves a potential reader unable to fact-check your example. Anecdotes are better placed in the concluding section of your paper, where they can put a more personal spin on what has up until then been a more objective presentation.
3) Next, present the ideas of the author which you will use to analyze the example.
4) Show how those ideas apply to your example, indicating what you believe the author would have to say about it and why.
5) Offer your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with what you presented in step 4.
a. If you are only writing about one author, this step might turn out to be your conclusion.
6) If you are discussing a second author, step 3 must be repeated with regard to their ideas as well.
7) If you are discussing a second author, step 4 must also be repeated.
a. Note: if you plan to support one and oppose the other, discuss the one you oppose first. That way, your criticism of that author can serve as the transition to your presentation of the second, showing the importance of turning elsewhere for a better perspective.
8) If you are discussing a second author, step 5 must also be repeated.
a. If you are discussing two authors, this step may turn out to be your conclusion.
9) If you have additional observations of your own to add, or broader claims to make regarding the point you have shown in this paper, place them in the final paragraph, which will then be your conclusion.
Papers of 3-5 pages (approximately 900-1200 words) are likely to be sufficient to earn enough of the 100 possible points to effectively replace missing or poor test or forum scores. So if you do a good job here, you need not be worried about performing less well in those other areas. But only papers which successfully demonstrate sufficient knowledge of course concepts, application to examples, and compositional quality will earn very many points.
I will offer comments on your work for the sake of improving the quality of future performance and grades. I will also attach the case study (Case 22)
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