Journal Response

Bos 101 – Virtual Boston Fall, 2018 Reflective Journal Assignments: At least 4 times throughout the semester, you will be expected to write a thoughtful, analytical 2-3 page response to the readings/viewings for the week/s of your choosing. These responses are due each week before class begins (before we discuss the readings/viewings in class). These deadlines are to ensure that you are well-prepared for discussion in class and have a strong understanding of the materials. I will not accept these late (so please do not ask); if you miss turning in a written response one week, you’ll have to just wait until the next week to turn one in. The journal responses will constitute 20% of your final grade (5% each). * When you turn in your work, you MUST label which journal entry you are turning in (using the following format, in the upper left hand corner of the first page): YOUR NAME (Last, First) Virtual Boston – BOS 101 (Monday or Thursday class?) Prof. Erickson Journal Assignment # (1-4)ßyou must put which # it is for you (i.e. your 2nd turned in assignment) Date You must turn in at least 2 of your total 4 responses by October 15th (which is around the halfway point of the semester). I require this so that you all don’t wait until near the end of the semester to suddenly start doing these. I will NOT accept more than 2 journal responses after this date. Many of the readings and viewings assigned for this class are arranged in a particular order so as to reflect certain dialogues or “conversations” about Virtual Boston, as well as offer examples of what is being discussed. So each week, when you read assigned work, look at websites, or watch assigned videos, think about how the authors and/or producers all “speak” to one another (or are in conversation with one another), how certain assigned viewings, readings, or links exemplify those conversations, what themes are discussed, what arguments or main points are made, and how the authors offer similar and/or different views. You are expected to engage these readings and viewings by writing critical, analytical response papers. You will, in essence, think critically about what you read and enter into those scholarly and/or professional conversations by offering your own informed arguments. You should use class readings, applicable outside sources and examples, and logic to back up your claims. * Additionally, because of the nature of this course, and our constant quest to tie larger conversations to Boston, specifically, you are required to always offer a few examples of your own, when discussing the theme for that week. For instance, if you turn in a paper during the week in which we discuss Boston & Digital Democracy, do some research online and find a few examples of how the City of Boston or larger organizations or groups within Boston are working towards democratic engagement using digital tools and platforms. Summarize, Synthesize, and Analyze. Throughout each 2-3 page written response, you should be doing the following: Summarize: While I do expect a very brief summarization of the main arguments and/or points of the readings/viewings you are writing about, do so briefly. You shouldn’t need to spend more than a paragraph or two briefly summarizing the main points or purpose of the readings/viewings for that week. I have read and viewed the materials, so all I really want to know in regards to a brief summarization, is how you would quickly sum up the primary arguments or points being made. After doing so, you should quickly get to your main argument/thesis. Synthesize: You should be able to tell me how the articles, readings, viewings, etc. all relate to one another. What is the larger conversation about? What questions or concerns are being raised? What points/arguments are being made? What critical views or opinions are being offered, and how do the readings/viewings support or contradict one another or offer examples for larger arguments? Think about why the readings/viewings are grouped together to help support that week’s theme – and be sure to synthesize the work in your written response. Analyze: This is where you enter the larger conversation. After you’ve briefly discussed what the readings/viewings are about and made connections between them – or explain how they “speak” to one another, what is your contribution to the larger conversation? What argument are you making and why? How will you support your claims? Be sure to engage with the readings and viewings and point to specific arguments, points, passages, and quotes (as needed). It is also perfectly acceptable to (at times) simply raise critical questions. Because of the introductory nature of this course, we will not always have a chance to dive deeply into specific issues. That said, even if the readings/viewings for the week are offering more of a view of what is available (in terms of certain digital initiatives within Boston), you should still think and write critically. What questions come up for you, for example, when learning about specific programs or initiatives? What concerns might you have that may call for further research or inquiry? Why? A few things to keep in mind: – This is a writing intensive course, so proofread your papers before turning them in. If you struggle with grammar or writing, I recommend you make use of the Simmons College Writing Center: institutes/the-writing-center and work with our class writing assistant. – Do not overuse quotes, and do not let quotes speak for you. You can occasionally make use of a brief quote when you think that the quote says something important in a way that you could not paraphrase as effectively. Always introduce a quote and explain its relevance to your paper. You should never merely drop a quote into your writing with no explanation or elaboration (that would be letting the quote speak for you). – Even when paraphrasing, be sure to properly cite your sources. For each response paper, you must include a full works cited page, as well (and the works cited page does not count towards your 2-3 pages required). Do not rely on the syllabus for the full bibliographic citation; you must acquire these on your own (i.e. if I provide you a link to an article, then you must locate all the information you need for proper citation from that link).

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