Guidelines for Response Papers

Often this semester, you’ll be writing a short paper in response to questions I post here at the blog. (In general, I’ll try to post those prompts right after class on Monday afternoons.) I’ll expect that each response will demonstrate engagement with assigned readings, a video conversation, and/or an experience (faculty or alumni interview, site visit). Some will also have you try to make a connection between what we’re discussing in Intro to History and another course you’re taking at Bethel.

Unless otherwise stated, assume that any week with a scheduled response, it will be due on Moodle by Wednesday at noon.

Grading rubric

Together, these responses will count for 20% of your course grade. I’ll grade using a simple 10-point rubric (note that much of this mirrors the general writing expectations I lay out in the syllabus):

Comprehension/Engagement: Was it clear that you understood the questions and engaged thoughtfully with the assigned reading, video, interview, or site? (You’ll generally have two or three question prompts to choose from — some will be focus more on one type of source or another, but generally the strongest responses will tend to draw on multiple sources.) Could you draw on the source for specific examples in support of your arguments? (4 pts)

Analysis/Original Thought: Did you understand the significance of the issues raised by the source to which you’re responding? Did you offer analysis, personal reflection, or other original thought rather than simply summarizing what you read or saw? (3 pts)

Quality of Writing: Was your writing succinct (about 300 words), clear, and polished? Was it clear that you had revised/edited your work? Be sure to review my writing expectations, especially nos. 4-5. (3 pts)

Citation (response papers only)

Note one deviation from the writing expectations: because many of these assignments will find you responding to the same readings, I won’t expect you to use footnotes or endnotes. A parenthetical note with the author and page number would suffice. For example: (Fea, p. 3). If you quote from a video conversation, identify whom you’re quoting and give a time stamp. For example: (Poppinga, 3:25).

For the annotated bibliography and essays, I’ll expect you to use the Chicago notes/bibliography style laid out in your Turabian guide, as stated in the syllabus.