History of Latin America - Assignments


Discussion Boards

Small discussion groups will be assigned the first day of class. These small groups will occasionally do in-class activities together, and will also discuss weekly readings outside of class time using D2L.

Twelve formal Discussion Board assignments are scheduled. I will drop the lowest two grades at the end of the semester. Discussion opens when I post the questions on Monday evening, and is formally closed at midnight on Thursday. I will never, under any circumstances, extend this deadline . You will be graded according to the following criteria:



Scoring Criteria Description



If you were there, we couldn't see you.



You responded minimally to the DB prompts. You showed up a few times, but your postings did not add new insight or concepts to the discussion. Your replies went something like “I agree”, “well-said”, “right on!” or “you go, girl!”




You responded in a satisfactory way to the DB prompts, and posted at least one substantive timely response to someone else's posting. You vaguely referred to specific parts of the readings.





You responded in a satisfactory way to the DB prompts, posted at least two substantive timely responses, and initiated at least one original thread responding to the discussion topic question in a way that contributed to class understanding. You referenced specific portions of the readings in your discussion.





Participant Plus

You responded thoughtfully to the DB prompts, posted at least four substantive and timely responses, and initiated at least one original thread that contributed to class understanding.  You referenced specific portions of the readings, as well as information from lecture and/or other class material.







While staying focused on the assigned discussion topic and reaching level 4, you went beyond the basic question to initiate interaction with others about the discussion topic. You specifically referenced the readings, lecture and/or other class material, and/or introduced additional relevant information, materials, experiences, etc. to the discussion to “kick it up a notch”.

(borrowed and adapted from Clark, National Louis University , June 2005)

Reasonable (not perfect) grammar and spelling is expected in Discussion Boards, and so is professionalism – i.e., no MySpace-style abbreviations, offensive language, or personal attacks. When things get heated, it is your collective responsibility to keep the tone of the Discussion Board professional and courteous in the midst of debate!! Major points will be docked from individuals not adhering to this code of conduct!!

Feel free to use the Discussion Boards to share ideas, ask questions of each other, and prepare for your midterm and final reports. Finally, keep in mind that I and the TA will read and occasionally participate in the Discussion Boards , so don't write anything you wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with us.


A Map Quiz is scheduled on Sept. 7 at the beginning of discussion section.

Three Quizzes will help you periodically take stock of what we've covered so far. Using the quizzes, we will collectively compile a list of possible themes for you to choose from when writing your final paper.


A Note on Class Attendance and Participation . Attendance in lecture is taken, and active participation (for instance, responding to questions by the professor) noted. At the end of the semester I compile these attendance and participation figures while calculating final grades, and use them as ‘extra credit' to bump up borderline cases (for instance, between an AB and an A, a C and a BC, or even an F and a D). In accordance with Marquette policy, anyone who misses more than three weeks worth of lecture and/or discussion section will be withdrawn from the course with a grade of WA .


All work in this class is expected to be your own. Any cheating or plagiarism will be reported to the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of your major, and may result in failure of the course. You are expected to know the standards set forth in the MU code of academic honesty (see http://www.marquette.edu/academics/regulations/acaddishonesty.html ) and the dos and don'ts of plagiarism. Guidelines for avoiding plagiarism are given at Marquette 's Writing Center site, http://www.marquette.edu/wac/plagiarism/Avoiding.Plagiarism2/shtml , and from Duke University , http://library.duke.edu/research/citing/ .


BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL NOT TO CUT AND PASTE FROM THE WEB . The same rules of plagiarism and referencing apply to electronic sources. If you are in doubt, speak with the TA or myself about it.


Late papers will be docked a ½ letter grade (for instance, from an A to an AB) for each day they are late.


Computer problems will not be accepted as an excuse for late or poorly executed work. Please start early on your Discussion Boards, and keep backups of your written work at all times.


If you have special needs, athletics conflicts, etc ., you must submit them to me in writing WITHIN THE FIRST THREE WEEKS OF CLASS. Issues that arise during the semester must be addressed with me as soon as humanly possible.

In general, if you have any concerns or questions about your performance in the class, I strongly encourage you to speak with me or the TA about them, the sooner the better.


Discussion Sections

Five times during the semester -- Jan. 26, Feb. 16, March 9, April 20, and May 4 -- Friday lecture is cancelled and you will attend Discussion Sections instead. These Discussion Sections are mandatory . Attendance and participation will be assessed by the TA, and will comprise 10 points (out of 100) of your Final Current Events Report. In other words, if you never attend Discussion Section, the absolute highest grade you are eligible to receive on your Final Current Events Report is a 90. If you receive a grade of "7" in the Discussion Section, the highest grade you can receive on the Final Current Events Report is a 97.

Mid-term and Final Current Events Papers

These formal papers are separate components of an ongoing, semester-long project. You will select a current events topic in Latin America to research (due Sept. 14). The Mid-Term Paper (due Oct. 16) will explain your topic and why you chose it, and compare and contrast your sources. Your research mostly completed, you will spend the second half of the course developing connections between your current event and historical themes we have discussed in class. An outline of the Final Paper (due Nov. 20) will help you identify the historical themes most applicable to your topic. The Final Paper (due Dec. 7) should represent the culmination of your thinking about your chosen current event in a deeper, historically-minded way. You will receive more information about these assignments in class.