Physical geography discussion (85 words)

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Topic: Seasons

I’d like you to think about your favorite season and answer the following prompts substantively (meaning elaborate on your responses, rather than a single sentence for each prompt). Make sure to give equal time to both parts/numbers 2 and 3 of your primary response. Many students tend to focus more on part 3 and gloss over part 2, so make sure you address them both equally to earn the maximum points.

Primary Response:

  1. What is your favorite season?
  2. Describe the physical geography of the season in the place that you would like to experience it. By this I mean what is the amount of daylight, average daytime temperature, precipitation (dry, rain, snow, storms, etc.) as well as any other descriptive physical properties like the leaves on the trees, flowers, lakes being frozen or thawed, insects or animals that are around and anything else you can think of in terms of the natural physical world. Basically, pretend that I have no idea what seasons are, and you have to describe your favorite to me in great detail so I understand.  
  3. What are the other social or cultural things that you love about this season? By this I mean the non-physical geography of the season, like maybe you love wearing scarves in the winter and drinking hot cocoa or maybe you love snow skiing.  Whatever it is, describe it in detail. What about these things or activities bring you joy and why?

Secondary Post:

After you post your initial response, read through the other entries and reply directly to one classmate by the discussion deadline. If they chose a season that you don’t like, perhaps ask them more questions about why they like that season, or perhaps offer more ideas to someone to help them appreciate a certain season more.  

As always, both responses must be substantive and a minimum of 85 words for full credit. Please go to the discussion requirements in the Orientation Module if you need further clarification and examples.

Discussion Rubrics:

Primary Post

You must post first, before you can see what anyone else posted. Your post should address all aspects of the discussion prompt, be a minimum of 85 words and be substantive. Substance means providing individual insight, engagement and depth on a topic:

5.0 pts = Sufficient*: Addresses the prompt, is substantive, respectful and is a minimum of 85 words4.0 pts = Almost Sufficient: Appropriate length, may be lacking in substance3.0 pts = Insufficient**: Does not address the prompt completely or correctly AND/OR lacking in terms of substance and length (50-84 words)2.0 pts = Poor***: Does not address the prompt correctly AND/OR is unsubstantial or sparse (<50 words).0.0 pts = Unacceptable: Unacceptable behavior and will be notified by the instructor

Secondary Post

Must be a minimum of 85 words and be substantive. Substance means providing individual insight, engagement, and depth on a topic. Engages with classmates beyond simply agreeing with them or reiterating what was already said in the primary post. 

5 pts = Sufficient: Addresses a classmate directly, demonstrating an understanding of their classmate’s perspective and offering a substantive, respectful response that is a minimum of 85 words

4 pts = Almost Sufficient: Addresses a classmate directly, demonstrating an understanding of their classmate’s perspective and offering a substantive, respectful response that is a minimum of 85 words. HOWEVER, was less than sufficient with the first post.

3 pts = Insufficient: Lacking in terms of substance and/or length (50-84 words).

2 pts = Poor: Lacking substance; and/or does not address their classmate directly or provide any new insight or reflection; and/or is sparse (<50 words)

1 pts = Incomplete: Failed to complete a secondary post, but did complete a primary post

0 pts = Unacceptable: Unacceptable behavior and will be contacted by the instructor

*Sufficient = 5-10 sentences (85-100 words), substantive, addresses the prompt and is respectful of other classmates.

**Insufficient = lacking in terms of length (2-3 sentences/ 50-80 words) and/or substance.

***Poor = sparse (1-2 sentence/ <50 words) and/or lacking substance and/or does not address the prompt.

Substance means providing individual insight, engagement, and depth on a topic.
Most of you have trouble with your responses to your classmates. Below, I offer examples of poor, insufficient, and sufficient responses. 

An example of a poor/ thin response: 

“Wow, I never thought of it that way. I agree, we really don’t think about the repercussions of fracking. It is really bad for the environment. We should consider better sources of energy. I personally prefer solar energy.”

An insufficient response would be:

Tina, I totally agree with your perspective on fracking. While fracking may be cheaper than renewable energy sources in the short-term, the long-term cost of fracking may be far greater when taking into account, for example, widespread damage to property and infrastructure over time. So maybe we should look into other renewable resources if at all possible.

A sufficient, substantive response would be:

“Tina, I appreciated your perspective on fracking. It seems that you are suggesting that we use more renewable resources such as wind and water instead of fracking. I’m wondering if these are as cost-effective as fracking. It might be quite expensive to build the infrastructure for hydropower in particular. At the same time, one has to compare the short-term and long-term costs. While fracking may be cheaper than renewable energy sources in the short-term, the long-term cost of fracking may be far greater when taking into account, for example, widespread damage to property and infrastructure over time. Still, hydropower may be just as damaging and disrupt marine ecosystems.

Grading for disrespectful or dishonest students will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.