For each group of readings, first complete all readings. Then, write up a Reaction Paper responding to those readings and the material you have learned in class during that Unit by:
- demonstrating engagement with the readings for that Unit (e.g., mentioning key concepts);
- connecting something you have learned from this course during that Unit to something you have observed/experienced in your own everyday life; and
- composing an open-ended question that could guide/lead to further investigation into some issue from that Unit.
As you do the readings and listen to podcasts for this class, monitor for your ‘reactions’ to them:
What impact has course material had on you? What did you think of the material? Did it reveal something to you or teach you something that you had never known or even thought about before? Has it inspired you to be (more) curious about some aspect of your social world?
A reaction paper is more than a simple summary of the readings, and much more than a simple assessment or evaluation of the readings. You can state your opinion about a reading, but then you need to back your opinion up with a thoughtful elaboration about how and why you feel that way. And do not simply summarize the readings – instead, write up your reactions to them and demonstrate through your writing that you are actively engaging with material for the Unit by working to figure out how it fits within, and further develops our understanding of, the topic of this course.
Your Reaction Papers may be informal, and they should each be about 2-3 paragraphs long. Use active (not passive) voice in your writing. Write in the first person (using “I”). Assume your readers have also read the readings, but that they need a reminder about the specific details you wish to discuss. Run a spell-check and grammar-check on your Reaction Papers before posting them.
When you post your own Reaction Paper, read over your fellow students’ Reaction Papers.
This is a wonderful way for you to connect and communicate with one another. You may comment on others’ Reactions Papers – just be sure to follow one simple rule: Always be courteous and treat others’ contributions with respect.