Each week we will be looking at a set period from our past. Although these are our ancestors, it will seem like we are studying a distant planet, inhabited by people with the strangest of habits. Fortunately, these subjects of our observation give us abundant clues about who they are. Their art, their writing, their technology, the way they do business, the way they govern themselves all feed into a picture we will attempt to paint for ourselves each week. Understanding who they were will help us understand who we are.
Each week you will be given three or four questions pertaining to important topics covered in the materials provided in the question itself, the textbook, the lectures, the other materials provided, and my comments in my Live Session. You choose the one you like and post a response of 125 words or more. You also need to respond to another post from one of your fellow students. This second post should be at least 60 or so words long and should not just agree with or repeat what has been said.
Please use an example that has not already been used in the discussion.
1 Your book describes the end of the 19th century as the Fin de Siecle (the French for it). Many things reached a high point in terms of art, writing, and science. It was the culmination of a tumultuous century. How do Art Nouveau and Impressionist painting reflect the state of European and American culture at the end of the century? Use an example from each artistic trend to support your points.
2. Both van Gogh and Gaugin led tumultuous lives. Each man left his home country and found their best inspiration and did their best work in other lands. Using specific paintings that they did, compare and contrast their works and lives.
3. Choose two inventions from this Era of Invention (1850-1900) and explain why they changed the world of their time and why they are still important. Use specific examples and identify the people who were the agents of change in each example.
4. Why did the European nations suddenly begin to colonize Africa? How did they do it? Which European nation got what? What has come to exist today in the places where the Europeans laid claim? Use at least one specific example of a part of Africa that was colonized.
5. Your book has an excellent section on the early days of film beginning on page 1166. Choose a woman working in film then and compare her to your favorite woman working in film today. Directors, producers, and actors are all welcome examples. Who made a difference? Who is making a difference? What has and can film do to record and reflect the time in which it is made?
How to Improve Your Score with Discussion Boards
With the first week of Discussion Boards in front of us, it is a good time to pause and reflect before moving forward. If the score is the only thing you look at and moved on, you are doing yourself a disservice. Read the feedback and consider why you lost points, to prevent the same thing happening week after week.
Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
- Not writing enough. This is a writing class. You are expected to read and listen to the materials, analyze and write an understandable response that covers the subject and answers the questions. Use complete sentences, as these are not short-answer questions. You might need to do a bit of extra research.
- Cite your sources at the end of the initial post. Never cut-and-paste materials from sources. We want to see your thoughts and not those of others. If you summarize someone else’s thoughts or you use a direct quote, cite them. With assignments of this length, do not use long quotes. A short phrase is the maximum.
- If your response to your classmates is “Great post!” “I agree with you!” are all you write, then you will not get points. Read their posts and find something they say that you can comment on. You can agree or disagree but provide evidence to prove your claims. The length here is important as well. Say something interesting that relates to the subject. Again, if you use outside sources, cite them.
- Make sure your comments are organized, relate to the subject and make sense.
- Check grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. As a college student, mistakes in these areas should not be present in your writing. When they are present, go back and review and learn why you made the mistake, so that you will not make them next time.
- When you have completed your post, before you post it, re-read and edit it. You send your best work to be graded. Grading should not be an editing service, but a confirmation of your hard work. You are not done and should not post until you have edited your work for errors.
- As a southerner, I often tell myself…Self, you cannot write the way you speak. Use your formal voice, with correct grammar and diction. To be honest, I was born a redneck, but I work hard to keep it under wraps in my writing. Writing well will become one of the greatest skills you can develop, but it takes constant work.
- Try to check and respond to your classmates throughout the week. Read my responses to your classmates as well. You will find that the give and take of the responses will add much to your understanding.
Hopefully, these thoughts will help. Go through this process each week after grades are posted. It is always about continual improvement. I often say that for any of us, there is no finish line in writing. We will work to improve throughout our lives. Dr. Mike