Question: What is the GoPost Discussion list and what is required of me for the class?

Answer: The idea of the discussion list is to provide a forum for students to think about and talk about issues of interest to the class in Environmental Science.  Each student will be required to make at least TWO posts to the class discussion list during the course of the quarter:  GoPosts should respond to previous posts in the thread and can take the form of (1) a QUESTION related to the topic thread or (2) an ANSWER which adds to the resolution of a QUESTION initially posted to the list.  Add to the existing conversations by posting additional material, including additional questions, under existing topics.

BE SURE TO CHECK THE SYLLABUS FOR EXACT DUE DATES.  It is best to post well ahead of the deadlines in case you have problems. Technical problems cannot be accepted as a valid reason for your not getting your post in on time if you wait until the last minute. The deadline for your first post will be around the middle of the quarter; the deadline for the second post will be closer to the end of the quarter. You can make as many posts as you want, but at least two in total must be posted.  We will use the UW GoPost system, which can be accessed by using the URL on the class page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that your GoPost shows online. Don't just assume that it posted correctly. MAKE SURE that the GoPost did post to the site, and check it a few times during the quarter, particularly immediately before the due dates. Ideally, take a screen snapshot of the post, and keep it. This could be your only proof that you indeed did make a post that contributed to the online discussion if it isn't there when we download the posts to grade. Otherwise, you will need to submit a late GoPost for a reduced grade after the due date.

Logon with your UW NetID and password, and follow the instructions.  Post as often as you want, but make sure your posts are high-quality (as well as CIVIL), since many students will read them.  Each post will be graded on a scale of 0-100% at the end of the quarter.  We will use the best two posts to determine your discussion post grade.  The quality of your posts on the discussion list will determine 25% of your overall grade.  See below for the grading criteria we will use.

Question: What makes an Acceptable Discussion Board GoPost?

Discussion boards are designed to allow students to have high-quality conversations about topics of interest in an ethernet world.  We want thought-provoking questions and well-rounded, thorough answers.  In order to receive optimum grades for a question post, try to steer clear of questions that can be answered from a textbook.  Instead, try to get people to think about facts in the context of their personal values.

An example of a bad question would be:

Example1: Unacceptable Discussion Post Question

"How is a rainbow made?"

Why is this a bad question?  It does not cause the reader to think through their current value judgments and discuss their VIEWS and OPINIONS upon a topic.  The question can be answered verbatim from a textbook with minimal thought in regards to how the topic actually affects their daily lives.
An example of an acceptable question would include:

 "Norway's fisheries minister this week said allowing tourists to hunt seals could help the country combat an overpopulation of the animals that is hurting the fishing industry. What do other people think about what the fisheries minister said? Should tourists be allowed to hunt seals to help a human industry? Can the revenue from hunting actually be used to protect the seals? Lots of information at : http://www.www.html"

Why is this better?  This topic brings up several issues that will be discussed in class later in the quarter.  It also addresses the issue of how we should go about trying to fix problems we have created.  There are MANY points one could address in an answer to this question, from the focus on tourism as a quick fix to the use of human meddling to fix a problem created by human meddling.  This question also forces fellow students to think about their own personal values in the context of an issue that is outside most people's personal realms (ie-outside of the PNW borders).

For examples of much better discussion post question, see the bottom of this page.

Answers to questions will be graded in a similar way, mostly for context and content.  A very good answer will not only include references to facts but will also discuss one's opinions or value beliefs in regards to those facts, such as whether you believe a statistics quote is accurate or whether you feel a certain fact tends to be distorted by mainstream thought. An excellent question will be unique, likely very timely, and show an excellent use of words to provoke thought and response. If you repeat a topic that has already been posted, you will still receive credit, but the best grades for questions and answers are reserved for topics that have not been covered. This requires you to check the previous GoPosts before you start your's.

You can use figures and images in the post, but do not attach files. These do not work well for a discussion list, can contain viruses, and will not be read or considered in grading.

I have two examples of bad answers for the discussion board.  The first is to simply cite sources where others may go for information.  Simply stating:

 "Go to this web site for great information on (ENTER TOPIC HERE)"

will not receive great marks.  Secondly, simply agreeing with a previous answer without fully developing your own thoughts will not suffice.  An example of this would be:

 "I agree with what (NAME) said. That fact is completely bogus."

For an example of an excellent discussion post answer, see the bottom of this page.

You will receive the best grades for the best developed questions and answers. Please state an opinion if you have one, but support it with as many facts as you can. Citing other links, newspaper articles, and other sources in such a way as to improve your post will give you the highest grade possible.

Note that it is very difficult for a student to earn a nearly perfect grade. Remember that a 94% is higher than a 4.0 (with the normal curve applied). It will be very hard to justify a grade higher than a 94% unless your work is truly outstanding and you can demonstrate that to me. This is the University of Washington, and outstanding writing, ideas and assimilated material are the norm, and graded accordingly. If there is a single grammatical mistake, your submission may not receive an "A". Your opinion in your original submission is great, but unless you have substantial environmental science concepts in your work, it doesn't merit a high grade.

If you have any questions in regards to the Discussion Board Assignment that is not addressed in this email, please do not hesitate to write to us at:

eschelp@u.washington.edu
 

Example2:  Better Discussion Post Question

Topic:  Management of our National Parks

Given that we are all enrolled in this environmental science course, I would suggest that it can be safely assumed that the majority of us are relatively aware of environmental issues. However, sometimes saying that you think forests should be conserved isn't enough (Stalson, 1987). There are decisions to be made regarding how you think forests should be conserved, and whether or not that includes using them for profit and resources.  Take Gifford Pinchot and John Muir. Both were conservationists and naturalists who devoted their lives to forestry. However, they had very different views and even had quite the battle over President Theodore Roosevelt between them.

Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief of the US Forestry Service (Pinchot website) and was interested in conservation through sustainable natural resource management. His ideas acknowledged that people needed to use nature in order to survive and the institute bearing his name that exists today finds ways to help people earn an income and provides goods for many from the forests while continuing to preserve them.

John Muir (Muir website) was a naturalist and conservationist who was the first president of the Sierra Club (Hartocollis, 1999). He has been called the “Father of our National Parks”. He was a wilderness explorer and writer who devoted his life to keeping the wild just that, wild. He believed that natural areas should remain the way that God made them and so untouched by humans (Sierra Club website). One of his many successful projects was the creation of the Yosemite National Park, though native Americans had lived in the area, and they were evicted from their homeland before the creation of Yosemite National Park and not allowed to return.

While both men are highly regarded for helping to conserve our national forests, they had different approaches to the problem that persisted throughout their lives and into today (USDA, 2010). Whose method of conserving is better and why? Do you think all of our national forests should follow one belief system? How should we decide? Are keeping areas pure and untouched worth it? Does keeping the forests "pure" mean that humans cannot use them? (Wflc website) Can we really conserve a forest and still use it for profit and resources (Harrison, 2005)?

References Cited:

Hartocollis, Anemona. 1999. "New York State Regulators Toughen Standards for Teachers." New York Times 18 Sep. 1999, New Enland: A12. Print.

Susskind, Lawrence E., and Louise Dunlap. "The Importance of Nonobjective Judgments in Environmental Impact Assessments." Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 2.4 (1981): 335-366. Print.

Harrison, R. (2005, July 5). Conversation on how to cite references for ESRM 100 [Personal Communication]. Pinchot website:
http://www.pinchot.org/

USDA 2010. Forest Service website: http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/ “caring for the land and serving the people”

Muir website: http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/

Sierra Club website : http://www.sierraclub.org/

Stalson, Helen. 1987. Intellectual Property Rights and U.S. Competitiveness in Trade. Washington, D.C.: National Planning Association, 1987. 52-67. Print.

Wflc website: http://www.wflc.org/


What makes an EXCELLENT Discussion post?

There is no specific formula here. In a discussion list, an excellent post depends as much on the context it was posted in as the content of the post itself. Keep the context of previous discussion posts in your own discussion to show us that you have read and thought about them in crafting your own post.

Some students in the past have expressed that if they follow the instructions, they expect a perfect grade. Please don't think this, as you are likely to be disappointed if you make a modest effort on the GoPost and expect an "A" grade. It is very difficult for a student to earn a nearly perfect grade. Remember that a 94% final percentage grade (including any "curve" which is applied) is a 4.0, the highest grade possible for the class. It will be very hard to justify a grade of 94% or higher unless the GoPost is truly outstanding, unique (not repeating material) and you can demonstrate that to me.

This is the University of Washington, and outstanding writing, ideas and assimilated material are the norm, and graded accordingly. Your opinion in your original submission is great, but unless you have substantial environmental science concepts and support for that in your work, it doesn't merit a high grade.

You need to bring in information from a variety of sources to support your discussion for an excellent post, and the internet is NOT an excellent source of information. Material cited from Wikipedia will not be accepted. Repeat, the internet is NOT an excellent source of information and you will not receive an excellent grade if you rely solely on the internet.

Another thing that will not get you a high grade is copying material and ideas from other sources without properly citing it. This is a serious issue. We will be looking for uniformity of style in the writing, and if we see large changes that indicate that material and ideas have been copied from elsewhere, we will research the posting extensively for plagiarism. Your own writing is essential for you to get a high grade. Plagiarized material will result in the post not being accepted and possible UW disciplinary actions, so this is definitely not the route to a high grade.

Remember that if you examine your GoPost later and aren't happy with it, you are welcome to post again until you think you have done your truly best. That is the outstanding performance in an environmental science class we are hoping to see from you. We do believe that it is there if you make the effort yourself.

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Again, plagiarism in GoPosts won't be accepted

You must also include a full reference to ALL the sources you use by using in-text citations as well as listing them in proper bibliographic format (in alphabetic order) on a separate reference page.  You may choose to use the APA or MLA styles of citation, but please be consistent in using one or the other throughout your paper and bibliography.

The following websites are great resources for helping you correctly format your in-text and bibliography citations.  There are also examples below of some popular kinds of citations in MLA and APA format.

MLA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
APA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
 Online citation creator:  http://citationmachine.net/

Examples of MLA Citation:

In-text citation:     (Author last name, page#)
                             (Smith, 272)
                            (Smith, Jones and McCoy, 272) - up to three authors
                            (Smith et al., 272) - for four or more authors

Here is an example of a research paper with citations in the form we would prefer:

http://soilslab.cfr.washington.edu/publications/Littke-etal-2011.pdf

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Book citation:
 Stalson, Helen. Intellectual Property Rights and U.S. Competitiveness in Trade. Washington, D.C.: National Planning Association, 1987. 52-67. Print.

Web page citation:
"Global Warming - Climate: Uncertainties." EPA Yosemite Information Page. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2002. Web. 13 January 2003. <http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/climateuncertainties .html>.

Newspaper article citation:
Hartocollis, Anemona. "New York State Regulators Toughen Standards for Teachers." New York Times 18 Sep. 1999, New Enland: A12. Print.

Popular magazine article citation:
Pooley, Eric. "How Conservative is McCain." Time 14 Feb. 2000: 40-42. Print.

Journal citation:
 Susskind, Lawrence E., and Louise Dunlap. "The Importance of Nonobjective Judgments in Environmental Impact Assessments." Environmental Impact Assessment Review. 2.4 (1981): 335-366. Print.

Oral (person's words) citation:
Harrison, Rob. Personal Communication. 25 Jul. 2005. Conversation on how to cite references for ESRM100.

Examples of APA Citation:

In-text citation: (Author last name, year published)
                        (Smith, 2002)
                         (Smith, Jones & McCoy, 2002) - up to five authors. For three or more authors, use this format the first time you use an in-text citation in your paper, and for subsequent in-text citations of the SAME SOURCE use (Smith, et al., 2002)
                         (Smith, et al., 2002) - six or more authors

Book citation:
 Stalson, H. (1987). Intellectual property rights and U.S. competitiveness in trade. Washington, D.C.: National Planning Association.

Web page citation:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . (2002). Global warming - climate: uncertainties. Retrieved from http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/climateuncertainties.html

Newspaper article citation:
Hartocollis, A. (1999, September 18). New York regulators toughen standards for teachers. New York Times, A12.

Popular magazine article citation:
 Pooley, E. (2000, February 14). How conservative is McCain. Time, 40-42.

Journal citation:
Susskind, L.E., & Dunlap, L. (1999). The Importance of nonobjective judgments in environmental impact assessments. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 2(4), 355-366.

Oral (person's words) citation:
Harrison, R. (Professor). (2005, July 5). Conversation on how to cite references for ESRM 100 [Personal Communication].