Main Discussion Board General Directions
**Scroll down to see this week’s specific instructions**
Your Main DBs are a core part of the class and are meant to critically engage you with the material, each other, and occasionally with me. I monitor quietly and will “Like” your post once I’ve reviewed it. Occasionally I will ask you a question or request that you elaborate a bit more. Look for these throughout the term, as you will be prompted to improve your grade. If I do comment, it will be before the deadline so you have time to improve, if necessary.
In addition to noting the late guidelines in the syllabus about these assignments (make sure you understand these, as they differ from regular assignments), you should follow the required writing guidelines in your syllabus, as with all of your assignments for this class. I deduct points for not doing so.
Although Discussion Boards tend to lend themselves to brevity and colloquial language, you should not engage in either. Instead, think of these as thoughtful, “mini-essays” where you proofread, properly cite, and produce thoughtful, critical engagement with the questions and course material.
When responding to your colleagues, you should write a full paragraph. Be thoughtful and responsive, feel free to ask probing questions. Please do not “correct” one another, or leave any grading language in these responses. Do not write “good job!”, etc. Engage one another in your discussions. Be interesting and interested. You are required to respond to the Initial Posts of at least two colleagues in every Main Discussion Board. This is your engagement credit.
If I ask you a question, usually it’s to prompt you to grab at an opportunity to improve your grade. Watch for these queries throughout the term.
The rules of engagement are as follows; please respect our space in our learning community.
Ground Rules for All Discussions
- Confidentiality – Be sure to respect the privacy of other students in the classroom by refraining from identifying your colleagues when talking to people about the class. That is, what is said in class (or more specifically, who said what in class) should stay there.
- Respect – While it is difficult always to know what each person will consider “being respectful,” we can make an effort. These are some of the guidelines we should keep in mind:
- Make sure you understand what someone is saying before you respond. Don’t jump to the conclusion that you understand their intent; check it out with them first. Contact me when and if you think something is being said that shouldn’t.
- Remember that everyone has different knowledge bases. Assume that people aren’t willfully ignorant when they do not understand something.
- Own your attitudes and opinions. That is, don’t use passive voice when you are talking about something that you think or believe. If you say something that someone else takes offense to, acknowledge it and move on. This classroom is a safe space for everyone to express their opinions; all of them. Come to me with concerns, always.
- Do not dominate the class discussion. Discussion can get very interesting (which it should). Please, however, do not overpower your colleagues by saying everything that comes to mind. Remember many people in class have a lot to say, and some people can be shy, even in an online environment.
- Speak for yourself.
- NO ONE should be understood to be “representing” the racial/ethnic, gender, class, etc. group to which they belong. Very specifically, no Chicana/o speaks for all Chicana/os, no Vietnamese American speaks for all Vietnamese Americans, no Native American/Indian speaks for all Native Americans/Indians, no single parent speaks for all single parents, and so on. Among all groups there exists a diversity of opinions, feelings, and analyses. We can have access to this richness through discussion, readings, films, and other media – no one person can represent the complexity of any group.
For your first Main DB, you’ll be giving some responses to general questions below. While the questions most certainly ask for your thoughts/opinions/reflections, be mindful of your writing voice. We are here to learn, think, and critically assess the course material and to engage thoughtfully with one another. Avoid editorializing, impassioned remarks aimed at others (even and especially indirectly), or “soap boxing (Links to an external site.)” (I know, I know, I’m using Wikipedia. Please don’t follow my bad example; it’s just a great example).
In a short essay (about a page – measure that in MS Word and paste it into the Discussion – do not attach anything), reflect on the following. Bring in one quote from each section of the book and add your analysis as you tie in the overall discussion, which focuses on Getting Comfortable Talking about Race.
- Why are we “in trouble”?
- How has difference historically been socially constructed?
- What is a personal example you have where you’ve seen or experienced this “social construction” of ideas around race and racism?
- Use caution here – there’s no such thing as “reverse racism (Links to an external site.)”.
- What does socioeconomic class have to do with race and racism?
- Submit your Initial Post by Thursday, midnight.
- Respond to at least two people you don’t know.
- Follow the writing guidelines in the syllabus to the letter.
- Make sure you return to engage in more discussion – with me and with your colleagues.
- Have fun – you’re learning and it’s awesome!
Required Writing Guidelines:
- Twelve-point sized Times font, double-spaced
- 1” margins all around
- APA Citations where appropriate – credit must be given even where any ideas presented in the paper are not your own (see notes below about avoiding plagiarism)
- Title pages and bibliographies do not count as pages due
- Student information is at the top left of the page, single spaced
- There are no extra spaces between paragraphs.
- Paragraphs contain no less than four sentences.
- Magazines, newspapers, journals, and books are italicized. Movie titles, article titles, song titles, etc. are “in quotation marks.” Quotes inside of a quotation use ‘single quotation marks.’
- Avoid the universal “we”, “our”, “us” – ask yourself: Can I speak for everyone? If you cannot, do not write it. Also, avoid phrasing such as “nowadays…” and “since the beginning of time.” Be accurate. Know what you’re writing and why.
- Do not ever use Wikipedia, CliffNotes, or other such encyclopedic references. Wikipedia is not peer-reviewed and therefore unreliable. Do your own research. If you’re going to research online (which is encouraged and totally legit), make sure you understand what you’re looking for. Do a deep dive into the internet to find your stuff.
- Be sure that no more than 20% of your papers are outside sources. You must be providing your own analysis while you draw from material presented to you in class.