Group Discussion Post Assignment
GROUP DISCUSSION POST ASSIGNMENT
Although we often think of reading as a solitary act, people who study literature rarely read alone. Instead, they share their readings with others in the hope of gaining new perspectives and new insights into texts. The Group Discussion Boards are meant to provide you with a discussion space for exploring your understanding of the assigned texts in collaboration with others. Especially with the rich, and sometimes difficult, texts we’ll be working with this term, you’ll need to keep reading, re-reading, and writing about what you read in order to fully articulate your understanding of them. You’ll also need to get other people’s perspectives on the texts to compare with your own.
Requirements: On the days when a Discussion Post is due, you are required to post 250-300 words before class in response to either the texts assigned for the day or to your peers’ responses. Typically, you will post one response to the text on Tuesdays and will respond to your peers’ posts on Thursdays (these responses should also be 250-300 words in length). See the course schedule for a detailed list of what responses are due and when.
Your posts do not need to be formal – use this space to test out ideas and take risks! However, your posts must be based on close reading of the texts being discussed in class. That means 1) you can’t make any assertions about a text without backing them up with textual details and 2) you need to properly cite any and all references using MLA format. You should spend about two hours per week (but no more than three) writing your posts.
In addition to your required posts, you are welcome to find your own uses for these boards (clarifying assignments requirements, swapping class notes, etc.). The only limitation (as for the class-wide discussion board) is that these are class boards and so all posts should be relevant to the class.
Close Reading: Your discussion board posts should address what work the text is trying to do and how that work is getting done (see the “Close Reading” handout for clarification). You want to make sure you always include 1) a presentation of the text in question (i.e. quote it) and 2) a reflection on / analysis of / interpretation of that text (remember that you can’t offer an analysis or critique of something without first establishing what that something is). One way to approach a close reading would be to cite the textual details you feel hold some significance, then raise some questions about them, attempt to address those questions, and finally offer a number of possible explanations of why those details are significant. In responding to a peer’s post then, you could raise further questions, offer possible explanations or other perspectives, or point to other relevant passages in that or another text.
Your First Post: Your first post is due by this Friday at 5pm. In this post I want you to post a 300-word introductory message to your group discussion board. Tell your fellow group members who you are and explain to them your relationship to reading (and anything else you think your group might be interested to know). This will give you a chance to get used to using the bulletin board and to get acquainted with the people you’ll be corresponding with all quarter.
Getting to the Discussion Boards: Getting to Blackboard (where the discussion boards are located) is fairly straightforward. First, go to the main Blackboard page at http://courses.creighton.edu When you get there, you will be asked to log in. Your user name is your Creighton ID (your initials and 5 numbers – it’s on your ID card). Your password is doit@ plus the last four numbers of your Social Security number (doit@####). Once you log in, you will be taken to your Blackboard home page. There you should see listed the courses you are taking. Click on the link for this course. This will take you to the Announcements page. On the left, you’ll see the navigation menu. Click on “Groups.” Now click on your group (A, B, or C). Now click on “Group Discussion Board.” Finally, click on “Group A/B/C Discussion Board.” You’re there! Please note that clicking on “Discussion Board” in the navigation menu will take you to the class-wide discussion board.
Submitting and Responding to Posts: If you want to post a new message, click on “Add New Thread.” A screen will appear in which you can type your post. When titling your posts, please use a phrase, sentence, or questions that clearly describes the content of your post so that your peers know what it’s about. Click “Submit” to post your response. To reply to a particular post, click on the title for the post. Now click on “Reply.” Type your response in the screen provided and then click “Submit” to post your response.