The course syllabus asks students to identify a major issue in each class, and asks students to explain the issue with reference to the material presented in class and in one of the secondary readings. In other words, students are asked to make an analytical argument about the issue showing that the student understands the issue.

    • The issue students select may involve something that the entire class addresses or the issue may be more tightly focused, perhaps on one of the subheadings provided in each class.
    • In thinking about the issue, students are encouraged to ask themselves how and why did events turn out the way they did and not another? How does the issue compare with other issues discussed in that or in previous classes? What kinds of useful contrasts can be made? What do students think is the issue’s significance?
    • In thinking about their arguments, students should ask themselves if their Reflection explains the issue, and if it includes the perspective of one of the readings (not just the facts or data but the author’s own argument about the material). Student views do not have to agree with that of the reading, but if they don’t they need to explain why.
  • A model Reflection is concise. It identifies an issue and its significance in the opening sentences, and makes a reasoned argument explaining it using material online and useful references to the secondary reading. Students are free to be use their imaginations in explaining the issue but need still address the issue identified.
  • With regard to format, short essays like this do not need a separate title page. If you are citing one of the materials listed on the syllabus, please identify it once and feel free to identify page number in parentheses. If you reference any other material, you must include a full citation as a footnote or endnote – proper citation styles can be found on the link below.

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