On two days during the semester, the in-class discussion will be led by the students on assigned scholarly articles.

Handout:

 

A loosely-structured seminar discussion is the typical format of upper-level undergraduate courses as well as all graduate work (masters and doctoral level). The point of a seminar discussion is precisely that: to discuss. In the process of discussing, you are forced to clarify what you think by articulating your ideas in a clear and persuasive manner, and at the same time you learn from the wide array of perspectives and experiences that your peers bring into the conversation. The discussion may organically move to unexpected topics, but the main takeaway from a learning experience like this one is that all of your knowledge and resources are related—there is no such thing as a separation of academic subjects when you really approach a topic critically. Your familiarity with the assigned material, your own initiative in doing additional research, and your engagement with each other is what will make for an effective and enjoyable class.

Dates

  • BMCC, 0701 (MW): October 15, November 14
  • BMCC, 2001 (TTh): October 9, November 6
  • QCC, all sections: October 16, November 20

Assigned articles

You will be randomly assigned to read only one of these articles. Half of the class will prepare one article, and the other half of the class will prepare the other.

Articles will be emailed to you directly. If you haven’t received your email, please let me know.

  • BMCC: aljones@bmcc.cuny.edu
  • QCC: music.drjones@gmail.com

How to prepare for these discussions:

  1. Read your assigned article: read multiple times, take notes, reflect on it, think about objections to the author’s thinking, alternative examples they could have used or that they perhaps ignored, consider the context in which the author was writing—in other words, do what we do in class on your own
  2. Refer to notes you’ve taken in class over the course of the semester, past lecture slides, and previous Online Discussions to make sure you’re correctly understanding as many concepts as possible. Read additional sources as necessary to ensure that you know what you’re talking about with this topic.
  3. Prepare thoughts, questions, and ideas that you have about the topic. These can approach the topic from any and all angles—make use of the various brainstorming methods we’ve undertaken in class, and draw upon your outside knowledge, expertise, and experiences.

Be ready to have a rich, engaging, and involved discussion with the other people in your class who prepared the same article as you. Ask each other questions. Offer comments. Respond to each other. If you were not assigned the article being discussed, take notes on what your classmates are saying. Halfway through the session, we will switch roles and the other half of the class will discuss their article. I will not participate in this discussion.