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 can take the form of (1) a
QUESTION related to Environmental Science or (2) an ANSWER which
adds to the resolution of a QUESTION initially posted to the
list. Don't duplicate QUESTION topics, but do 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. 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
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
"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
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: