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Post #1

As we approach Milestone #1 — Topic Write-Up with 3 Sources (with Annotations),***In a 125 word post, please tell us your best idea (or two ideas if you have 2 possibilities) so far for a topic for the research paper. Which main film (or main book)? Create a title for your ‘project’ that fits (The Portrayal of ??? in [FILM]). Do you have a copy of your film (or book)? What 3 research questions will you answer in your paper?


Post #2

Today, evolutionary psychologists have a good deal of research that suggests we have evolved to win arguments and to be seen agreeing with the right people (our in-group peers). The evidence shows we are not very good at logic. Since classical times, writers like Plato tried to separate out logical argument from emotional appeals (which of course are not logical).

In a post of at least 125 words, answer a few of these questions in several short paragraphs. Do you think most people argue primarily with logic (facts and evidence) vs. emotion? Is this different in professional settings like the court system or in science? How is arguing different on social media (for example) versus college papers and professional settings?

Do you think our experience and expertise in building arguments in our personal lives or on social media is a help or a hindrance when it comes to creating other arguments in serious settings, like the legal system or in college research papers? Finally, how do we change our style of writing and arguing to build these other kinds of arguments that we might not be so familiar with?

In your response, try to anchor what you say with at least one specific example drawn from your knowledge or experience with social media or another class where ‘evidence’ was important (like Mathematics or Biology or Criminal Justice).


Post #3

Some writers plan everything out. Others are more improvisational. Moreover, certain kinds of writing require more planning than others. (You can be inspired to write a poem, but a college paper means more structure, research and since it’s longer than most papers or poems, we need to plan more to be successful.)

In a 100-150 word post, tell use two things. First, in a few sentences, tell us whether you are naturally a writer who plans their work or not? Are you a planner or an improvisor?

Secondly, give us a specific example of a paper or assignment for another class where you were able to complete work successfully? How did you make a plan (even if you aren’t naturally a planner)? What tools (outlines, notes, software, etc.) and strategies did  you use to finish your paper? What time management techniques? How did you break up your work over multiple sessions to be more successful? Finally, what did you learn about that experience and how can it help you complete your research paper for this class. What ‘best practice’ or tip(s) can you give the rest of the class for researching and writing a longer paper (since for some of us in class, this may be our longest research paper assignment yet).


Post #4

Hollywood films, which many of you are writing on for portrayals of minds on film or artificial intelligence, are sometimes realistic and sometimes not. Of course, for a realistic film, like telling a real person’s life story (Temple Grandin in the HBO movie of the same name or John Nash in A Beautiful Mind) the rules are different than for a pure science fiction movie (like I, Robot for AI or The Island). However, even for sci-fi films, filmmakers feel a responsibility to show us plausible technology or realistic CGI. (Today, film fans on Rotten Tomatoes or similar fan-driven sites will point out things and CGI that doesn’t look ‘real’ enough. If this happens, a movie will be ‘finished’ with movie fans.)

In a 100-150 word post, answer a few of the following prompt questions. Use full sentences, capitalization and check for grammar in your post. (Remember, you can respond in ‘chunks’ or short paragraphs — your answer does not have to be all in one ‘block.’ Did you know that many 21st-century online writers use this essential technique? For research papers and ‘formal’ writing, we use longer paragraphs, but not when writing online. You need to know how to use both styles.)

  • Are Hollywood films, even when they treat biographical or historical subjects, usually realistic or not? Give us one example in support of your general argument FOR or AGAINST this idea. What was it about this film that is realistic or not?
  • Why do you think Hollywood filmmakers bend the truth about realistic subjects?
  • Do you think independent filmmakers or documentary filmmakers do things differently than Hollywood movies?
  • Also — if you are writing on a sci fi film, is there anything ‘realistic’ about science fiction films made by Hollywood studios? (Special effects, ‘real’ characters / emotions / or something else?) Try to anchor what you say with a few details from a sci-fi movie you have seen recently.

Of course, for any of your responses, you may use the film you are writing about for this class, but you don’t have to!


Post #5

The Week 9 and Week 10 Discussion Board post gives you a chance to plan and reflect on where you are at with your Research Paper Draft.

In a 125 word post, answer at least 3 of the following prompt questions in about 25 – 50 words each to meet this total word count. Use full sentences, capitalization and check for grammar in your post.

  • Which 2 sources do you need to find for your paper?
  • When will you make some time this week to write a few pages using the materials for Week 9?
  • Did you make a plan or essay map to sketch out the shape of your paper?
  • Do you have a body paragraph planned that will use close reading of several key scenes / stills from your film?
  • Do you have a body paragraph planned for that will use 2 encyclopedia articles for facts about your topic?
  • Do you have a body paragraph planned that will incorporate 2 journalistic articles (like film reviews or background on your topic)?
  • What’s the most challenging thing you have to think about as you complete your Preliminary Draft?


This week’s Discussion Board post give you a chance to plan and reflect on where you are at with your Final Research Paper Draft using the  ‘Body Paragraph Checkup’ handout posted here:

Body Paragraph ‘Checkup’

In a 100 to 125-word post, answer at least 2 of the following prompt questions in about 25 – 50 words each to meet this total word count. Use full sentences, capitalization and check for grammar in your post.

•         What 2 areas do you need to work in your paper? These areas can be things like finishing the body paragraphs, fixing cites, or finding missing sources, or the writing style?

•         Is there a Body Paragraph (or two) that needs work in your paper? (Do you need to add a topic sentence, quotes / cites, quote sandwiches or a ‘closing the argument’ warrant sentence? See handout #2 for details.)

•         When will you make time this week (and next) week to work on your paper draft?

In your response, try to be specific with details from your actual paper.


Post #6


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