114 How Seminars Will Be Graded – Part I
In each seminar, your assignment will be to ask a question that will help the other students gain a better understanding of some aspect of the chapter. You should try to post your question as early as possible in the module so that other students will have a chance to respond to it. You absolutely must post your question before the last day of the module. If you post your question on the last day, it will receive a score of zero. The reason for this is that if you post the question on the last day, many of the other students will not have enough time left in the module to respond to it. You will also receive a zero if you ask a question that is the same as or similar to a question already asked by another student.
In addition to posing your own question, you must make five responses to questions posed by other students. Overall, in each seminar, you must make six posts. The question you pose will count as one of the six posts. The five responses you make to other students will count as the other five posts. It is not necessary to respond to everyone who responds to you. The requirement is to pose one question and make five responses to other students.
The seminars in this course are not discussions. In a discussion it might be acceptable to simply state your opinion but that is absolutely not true in a seminar. I firmly believe that education is not merely about expressing your opinions. Rather, I believe it is about deciding whether to keep, revise or discard your opinions in light of new information. When you present facts to back up your views, you are helping your classmates to make this decision. Therefore, there will be an absolute, iron-clad rule in this course that in every seminar question or response, you must provide factual information. In the case of a question that you are posing to the class, you must provide information from the text to introduce the question. In the case of a response you are making to someone else’s question, you must provide facts from the text, another book or article, a web site or a personal experience. When you post a seminar response in this course, it is almost as if you are posting a mini-research paper.
It is important that the seminar not get too far away from the substance of the chapter. Questions that are not directly related to the text will receive a score of zero.
The seminars in this course will be very different from discussions you have experienced in either on-campus courses or other on-line courses. Some students are so used to merely expressing their views without any supporting facts that they don’t take me seriously when I say that it is not acceptable in this course. Please be aware that I will be very strict about enforcing the requirement that you must provide specific facts in every single post.
To be frank about these scoring guidelines, they will make you work harder to get a good grade on the seminars. Many of us are used to freely expressing our views on a subject when we participate in a discussion. It is easier to simply do that rather than to also search for information to support our views. It takes a little bit of work to look for the information. However, as I noted above, I really believe that education is about deciding whether to retain your opinions in light of new information. Therefore, I am going to be very strict about using these scoring guidelines.