Application project (would be determined in the instruction)

Assignment Requirements


I will upload all the instructions later. Please choose one topic as soon as possible, and I will send you the course material to finish this order. Between those two topic you could choose, I highly recommend you to choose the second one.

Application project 2: Units 4-5


Included in this document are:

  1. Project directions
  2. Topic choices
  3. Evaluation Rubric
  4. Sample debate (not the topic for this application project, just for format reference)

A.  Please script a debate between yourself and an imaginary opponent based on the topics listed in section B.  In crafting your debate:

  • We ask that you specifically quote from at least one of the course readings.
  • Aim for a minimum of 1375 words (note that this is relatively short, as we are seeking quality rather than quantity).
  • You are encouraged to research the topic, but of course, the final product must be wholly your own creation and entirely in your own words. Be sure to cite all outside sources used in researching your debate.

B. Topic choices:

1. Under the guise of entertainment, hardcore rap and its offshoots have reinforced negative stereotypes about black males as violent, anti-social, misogynistic, and ignorant.  They are modern day minstrel shows, and as such do a great disservice to African Americans.

2. In an increasingly isolated world, technology (e.g., Twitter, cell phones, Facebook) has increased our sense of connectivity and community.

C. Your application project will be evaluated according to the following rubric:


Thoughtfulness/critical thinking/level of effort Exceptional 150

Very good 130

Good 110

Adequate 90

Poor 0-89

Length Appropriate length 60

Slightly too short 50

Significantly too short 0-49

College level organization, spelling, and grammar College level 20

Mostly college level 15

Below college level 0-14

Reading reference Specifically referenced 20

Vaguely referenced 10

Not included 0

Total Possible Points 250


D. Sample Debate

Topic: computers should be disallowed in most college classrooms.

Speaker 1:  I support disallowing computers in most college classrooms.  In my experience, students who use computers to “take notes” in class are frequently surfing the web, thereby sabotaging classroom engagement.

Speaker 2:  Yes, it happens, but let’s not forget an important distinction: unmotivated and/or disengaged students are surfing the web.  The presence of the computer is a red herring—if these same students were taking notes with pencil and paper, they would be drawing pictures.  Does this mean we disallow pen and paper? The ban on computers just penalizes motivated students, and wrongly creates policy based on the weakest link: unmotivated students.

Speaker 1: I disagree.  I consider myself a motivated student, yet must confess that I am sorely tempted surf or look at Facebook pages during class.  And even if I resist, I can see the computer screens of others who haven’t been able to resist, and it creates an environment of disengagement (students not on task are “sucking air from the room”).

Speaker 2: Suppose for the sake of argument that I agree with your “temptation theory”—and frankly I don’t—let me remind you that we live in an age of multi-tasking. And further, the deliberate and linear approach of college classes is often just too slow for today’s learners, steeped as we are in high levels of stimulation.  Multitasking keeps us from expiring of boredom!

Speaker 1:  Hmmm. First of all, as Steven Johnson notes in his article College Classrooms Today, “multi-tasking is another name for doing several things poorly” (a notion given further credence by a recent Stanford University study).  And in my view, it’s also a dangerously convenient rationalization for “screwing around.”

Speaker 2: Now let me see if I understand your thinking here: you’re advocating that we deliberately not use one of the most potent inventions in human history, while we sit in classrooms that adhere a plodding and outdated 19th century learning model.  The computer is simultaneously a great learning tool and a labor saving device. Not using it just doesn’t make sense . . .

Speaker 1: I’ll not dispute the miracle of computing, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for all occasions.

Speaker 2: We can quibble about such things, but I think there’s a broad common sense issue at play here: banning computers in the classroom is an attempt to legislate behavior.  The Volstead Act did not prevent Americans from consuming alcohol, criminalizing marijuana has only served to turn otherwise good citizens into law breakers, and . . .  well, why go on?  Legislating behavior doesn’t work and never will.  Good students will pay attention and poor students won’t.

Speaker 1: Your analogy with constitutional amendments might be—how shall we say?—a little dramatic.  College professors are well within their rights to chart classroom policy, particularly in the service of creating the best learning environment for the most students.


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