Each week we will be looking at a set period from our past. Although these are our ancestors, it will seem like we are studying a distant planet, inhabited by people with the strangest of habits. Fortunately, these subjects of our observation give us abundant clues about who they are. Their art, their writing, their technology, the way they do business, the way they govern themselves all feed into a picture we will attempt to paint for ourselves each week. Understanding who they were will help us understand who we are.
Each week you will be given three or four questions pertaining to important topics covered in the materials provided in the question itself, the textbook, the lectures, the other materials provided, and my comments in my Live Session. You choose the one you like and post a response of 125 words or more. You also need to respond to another post from one of your fellow students. This second post should be at least 60 or so words long and should not just agree with or repeat what has been said.
Please use an example that has not already been used in the discussion.
1. Impressionist painters sought to portray the world they saw in emotional and immediate terms. Russian realist painters sought to preserve national traditions and lifestyles in their work. Both contributed to their national cultures by capturing the world around them in their painting, often showing an idealized version of that world. Choose one Impressionist painter and one Realist painter and compare ;their contributions to their nation’s identity. How did their art define something important about their national identity? Chapter 31 has some great examples.
2. What does the Crystal Palace tell us about Britain in terms of technology, the economy, and society at the end of the 19th century?
3. How did Edgar Degas portray women in his artwork? How did Mary Cassatt portray women in her art? Compare the two visions of women using some specific examples that demonstrate the roles these artists saw women playing in their time? Chapter 32 has some great examples.
4. George Catlin’s artwork was exquisite but so were the many pieces of art created by the various Native American art traditions described in Chapter 32. Compare Catlin’s work with one of those artistic traditions and what it produced. Please use specific examples.
5. America created its own Crystal Palace with the Columbian Exhibition of 1893. What was the purpose of this exhibition? What picture of America does this exhibition paint?
6. Your book has a short but good section on the birth of jazz. Jazz is a uniquely American art form. How did it reflect America in the time in which it was being born? What picture of our country did this spectacularly creative art form paint? Why did jazz come into being during a time when so much else was going on in America? How does jazz today define America?
How to Improve Your Score with Discussion Boards
With the first week of Discussion Boards in front of us, it is a good time to pause and reflect before moving forward. If the score is the only thing you look at and moved on, you are doing yourself a disservice. Read the feedback and consider why you lost points, to prevent the same thing happening week after week.
Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
- Not writing enough. This is a writing class. You are expected to read and listen to the materials, analyze and write an understandable response that covers the subject and answers the questions. Use complete sentences, as these are not short-answer questions. You might need to do a bit of extra research.
- Cite your sources at the end of the initial post. Never cut-and-paste materials from sources. We want to see your thoughts and not those of others. If you summarize someone else’s thoughts or you use a direct quote, cite them. With assignments of this length, do not use long quotes. A short phrase is the maximum.
- If your response to your classmates is “Great post!” “I agree with you!” are all you write, then you will not get points. Read their posts and find something they say that you can comment on. You can agree or disagree but provide evidence to prove your claims. The length here is important as well. Say something interesting that relates to the subject. Again, if you use outside sources, cite them.
- Make sure your comments are organized, relate to the subject and make sense.
- Check grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. As a college student, mistakes in these areas should not be present in your writing. When they are present, go back and review and learn why you made the mistake, so that you will not make them next time.
- When you have completed your post, before you post it, re-read and edit it. You send your best work to be graded. Grading should not be an editing service, but a confirmation of your hard work. You are not done and should not post until you have edited your work for errors.
- As a southerner, I often tell myself…Self, you cannot write the way you speak. Use your formal voice, with correct grammar and diction. To be honest, I was born a redneck, but I work hard to keep it under wraps in my writing. Writing well will become one of the greatest skills you can develop, but it takes constant work.
- Try to check and respond to your classmates throughout the week. Read my responses to your classmates as well. You will find that the give and take of the responses will add much to your understanding.
Hopefully, these thoughts will help. Go through this process each week after grades are posted. It is always about continual improvement. I often say that for any of us, there is no finish line in writing. We will work to improve throughout our lives. Dr. Mike