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Dr. Chamberlin's Fall 2002 Online Course Guidelines

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This page last updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2002 4:48 PM

12. Assignments: Group Thought Questions

The bulk of our assignments in this course center around our reading of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. At the end of each chapter in the study guide, you will find a series of Thought Questions, designed to get you to think about the novel and relate it to oceanography and other topics of interest. These Thought Questions serve to make you grapple with the factual information in the novel, determine its veracity and express your analysis in the form of writing. More than anything, these Thought Questions are designed to get you to think deeply, to go beyond a superficial, sound-bite, MTV-style understanding of oceanography and help you develop a profound and reasoned awareness of how our planet and ocean work.

To help you achieve this higher order of thinking, you will work together with a study group of your classmates to discover, discuss, debate and grapple with the oceanography as presented in the novel. At the end of Week One, you will be assigned to a study group of five students. You should make every effort to contact your team immediately, exchange pertinent information and get to know each other. At the end of Week Two, you will begin to work together to answer the Thought Questions from the chapter assigned to your group.

Each group will be assigned ONE chapter from the chapters that we are stuyding for that week. Each group will prepare the best possible answer for ONE question from that chapter and post it for grading in the appropriate topic on the discussion board at http://www.oceansonline.com/phpbb/. In total, each group will answer fourteen (14) questions.

Posted answers must consist of the following:

How you proceed to work within your group is entirely up to you. Each group will be given a private topic on the discussion board in which to carry out their discussions. However, I would recommend that you consider the following steps:

  1. take a head count for your group; ask each group member to post a hello to your group's discussion board; this would be a good time to exchange e-mail addresses
  2. choose a group leader, someone to ride herd on communications, rough drafts and deadlines; the group leader may be the person responsible for the final posting of the group's questions
  3. divide up the work; you can use the volunteer system, some kind of lottery, some kind of voting system, let the group leader decide or invent some other system. Just make sure that one or more persons has each of the fourteen questions covered. It may be wise to choose backup questions or have more than one person work on more than one question to make sure you have all bases covered.
  4. post rough drafts of your answers a week before they are due; critique the answers and assign responsibilties for following up and improving the answers. Check spelling and grammar.
  5. when everyone agrees that the answers are the best ones possible, post your final answers in the appropriate place on the discussion board

To successfully answer the Thought Questions, you will need to re-read the novel and study the web resources provided in the study guide. Put on your thinking cap and do some thinking! Discuss and debate the answers with your group members. Analyze and synthesize the information needed to answer the question. Then compose a well-crafted, grammatically correct, 250-500 word essay.

To earn full credit, you'll need to adhere to a few simple rules:

Up to ten (10) points will be awarded by the instructor based on the overall quality of the answer, including spelling, grammar, organization, logic, synthesis, analysis and thoughtfulness. Each answer will be graded by the instructor according to the following scale:

The total points for all fourteen essays (140 points) will be awarded to all members of the group, regardless of their contribution. The remaining 140 points will be awarded by the group to each group member in increments of 10 points. Each student will grade their own effort and the work of their group members according to the following scale:

Each group member will submit their grades for each member of their group (including themselves) to me via e-mail no later than one week following completion of the segment. Scores from each group member for each group member will be averaged and posted. Group members who do not submit grades will receive a zero. Failure of a group member to submit a grade will not affect the grades of the other group members.

The instructor total and group member total will be added for each student. Each student may earn up to 20 points for each Group Thought Question. Fourteen questions are assigned for a total of 280 points.

ANY student may change groups ONCE if the following conditions are met:

Stay tuned to the cybernauts mailing list for examples and further clarification of the above. Once you go through it once, it will be clear to you what's expected.

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