Critical Thinking


1. As a final requirement for this course, you’ll submit a longer, original piece of argumentative and research writing. In the remainder of the course, we’ll work on carefully constructing that essay. We’ll begin this week on an outline. You should choose some topic of social, political, or current event interest. Please do not choose abortion, and please do not choose the election (it will be over before your essay is due). This may be a topic that is of particular interest to you, or it may be a topic that you’re exploring carefully in another class, or at your job, etc. Contact the instructor early in the week if you have trouble with a topic. In your first post, please compose a formal outline for your final essay. Your final essay will have an intro, conclusion, and at least three supporting paragraphs. Use the notes from the text and the videos to begin to organize your final argumentative essay, by outlining your main points. This is due Wednesday by 5pm.

2. In order to ensure that everyone gets a peer-reviewed reply, and that no student gets many, in your second post simply “claim” a thread for yourself. It may be easiest to claim someone who read the same essay as you, but it is not necessary. You can do this simply by typing “Hi, Robert. This is interesting, and I’ll reply to your post by the end of the week”. Of course, if someone else has already “claimed” a thread, then please choose another. This strategy will guarantee that no two students are working to peer review the same essay. Please do this step as soon as possible, but no later than Friday at 5pm.

3. In your third post, use the “Checklist for organizing an Argument” (p. 251 7/e, 253 8/e, and at this link), and give a meaningful, and critical peer review of the student’s analysis. You’ll use this checklist not just to comment on what the student has included in his/her outline, but also to recommend elements that he/she will want to consider for the final essay. Remember that critical does not mean negative; it simply means that you should add something meaningful that was not already included in the original. If you agree, can you think of something to add which the student overlooked, or which would somehow strengthen the student’s main point? This is due by Sunday at 5pm.