FIRST: Read this set of notes on citation of sources. This is important.  Lack of proper citation can amount to plagiarism, which is a serious matter.  Beyond that, it's important  to start adopting good scholarly habits regarding use of sources.

NOW, for assignments: there are three types of writing assignments for this class, some more intensive and formal than others...

  1. Reading 'log' Log entries are flexible vehicles for your own thought about class readings.  They should use the readings (and, potentially, class discussion) as a springboard for developing your own question, critique, argument, hypothesis; they should NOT be just a summary or digest of what you've read.
* While entries should have some clear root in class readings or discussion, they might range widely from there; you might bring in reference or comparison to other materials, or explore implications and extrapolations.
* They should NOT be JUST
'position statements' or statements of belief.  They might state a position or assert a belief, but shouldn't stop there. Go on from , "I think/believe...," to say WHY you think it, what assumptions are implied, what questions raised.  Whether you disagree or agree with something is a starting point, but not very interesting until you analyze your position. To put it more bluntly, I'm not interested in WHAT you think so much as WHY you think it.
* A GOOD starting point can be a careful analysis of assumptions being made by a writer (or by yourself) in reaching some conclusion.
* Keep them short; maximum of about 500 words per entry.
Writing matters; do not ignore syntax, grammar, spelling, organization; treat these as small but carefully composed essays. 
    Use a shared google doc as your vehicle for logs.  EACH OF YOU should create a SINGLE google doc to house your log and share it with me.  Start each log entry on a new page in the doc. Make sure that you set the sharing properties to allow me to comment on your document.
    There'll be  SIX entries (roughly every other week)
. Due dates are: 1 March, 18 March, 1 April,  19 April, 3 May, 17 May

    2. Critical analyses: These are more extended essays, generally focused on analysis of one substantial reading/publication   beyond material assigned for the class.  'Substantial' means that the piece you're reviewing has enough 'meat' to support a substantive analysis and discussion of 4-5 pages.  That would usually mean an extended article in a magazine or journal (technical or not) -- or, potentially, two or three shorter but closely linked pieces.  At least one of these essays should address something of book length or substance.  Go HERE for more detailed guidelines, suggestions, etc.  These analyses could address media other than a traditional paper or book, but it will need to be substantive enough to support such analysis; 'TED-talks' and similar formats are not usually appropriate (too superficial), but might give you a starting point to look for interesting materials.  SUBMIT THESE either as editable word-processor file ('.doc' or '.docx') as an email attachment, OR as a shared google doc.  
    DUE DATES: 11 March; 8 April;  10 May

    3. Annotated bibliography/sources page:   This is a bit more experimental  Part of your job is to be reading and researching  beyond what's assigned, what goes into your critical analyses, and general background for the class.  I'll create a google doc that I'll share with all of you, and everyone should use it to develop a cumulative bibliography of interesting and at least somewhat relevant (to the questions of the class) material.  Source and nature of material is quite flexible  --  newspaper articles, websites, podcasts, technical articles, books, whatever.  Entries might be things you've read researching one of your other papers, or something encountered by accident, or something semi-peripheral you looked up out of interest ("Where does okra come from, anyhow?  Just how has beer consumption in China affected land-use in Canada?  Where do those population projections come from? Are there people who disagree with Jared Diamond about Easter Island?"....).  They might be things you find convincing, wildly wrong, etc.
    The 'annotation' part of this is what's most important.  It doesn't call for a full synopsis or even a whole paragraph, but every bibliography entry should be followed with some brief commentary (one to a few sentences) as to what value you found in the reading and why someone else might (or might not) want to look at it -- a central point, an important perspective, a piece of information that helps you think about something, or whatever.  (One kind of information that's frequently likely to be valuable would be a thought about source/author and their agenda.) 
    You should be adding to your bibliography every week or two; don't let it slide long.  By the end of the term, each of you should have from 15-20 entries (at least), so the whole collective resource should become pretty substantial.
    EACH ENTRY should include a full citation of the source (appropriate to medium and form), and, at the end of the annotation, YOUR NAME.
    You should absolutely READ EACH OTHER's entries as well as doing your own research.  If you want to comment on a source already added by a classmate, GO AHEAD AND ADD YOUR ANNOTATION to the same entry.  

   I will check these at mid-term and near end of term.


I emphasize, again, that quality of writing counts in all assignments.  That means taking pains to write clearly, efficiently, and correctly.  Say what you have to say clearly and concisely.  Keep it simple and straightforward; if a word doesn't contribute substance, don't use it!  Read Elements of Style by Strunk and White if you haven't.  Here are some links that may be helpful.  Or amusing.
    - tongue-in-cheek and more along same lines 
    - also a bit tongue-in cheek, but pointing out a number of common problems (Goldwasser, 1998, Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, vol. 79:148-150
     - serious writing guidelines from William Cronon (environmental historian and superb writer)