• Monday, November 28 by 10 pm


As you know, we will be designing the final exam prompts for this class together. We are doing this because this class has been discussion-based all semester, which means that you have often dictated the direction of discussion in class. I therefore need your help in deciding what to include — and how to include it — in our final exam. You should think of this not as another pro forma exercise that you need to complete, but rather as a genuine opportunity to direct your own learning. What are the main concepts that we have read and discussed in this class? What do you want to carry forward with you?

Please post your final exam prompts in the Discussion Board of our Blackboard site. Go to the Discussion Board page, and select the “Final Exam Prompts” forum. Start your own thread for your prompts by selecting “Create Thread,” giving your post a title (something with your name is fine, like “Lindsay’s Final Exam Prompts”), filling out your post with your prompts, and submitting it.

Here are the guidelines:

  • Please post at least 4 possible final exam prompts.
  • Take some time to craft what you believe to be fair, thoughtful prompts that get at the core of what we have been discussing all semester long. This should not necessarily be easy.
  • Your prompts should be answerable in a minimum of 5ish paragraphs, and maximum of something like 8-9.
  • Any course material is fair game, but think about how you can combine materials and concepts to create effective and comprehensive prompts.
  • Your prompts should be as specific as possible. This means they should refer specifically to at least one text we have read in class, and to at least one concept/idea we have read about/discussed.
  • You should think about how to put two or more texts in dialogue with one another in some way (comparison/contrast, for example), and/or how to relate/apply secondary sources to primary sources. You should also think about how to build choice into your prompts, sometimes allowing the writer to choose to discuss one or two texts from among several possibilities (without, however, sacrificing the specificity of your prompts).
  • As we have been discussing in class, your prompts should provide the opportunity for independent, creative and critical analysis. In other words, they should NOT be yes/no type of questions; in fact, your questions shouldn’t necessarily have only one “right” answer. Nor should they be opinion-based (i.e., “Do you think x is a good idea/fair/unfair/etc? Why or why not?”).
  • I highly recommend you compose your prompts offline in Word (or an equivalent program), only posting them to the Blackboard forum once they are done and you have saved all of your work. This way, if something goes wrong or your computer/Blackboard crashes, you won’t lose your work.

I will review the prompts you submit and base the exam prompts on those you submit, although I reserve the right to revise/reword/edit/expand on/combine and otherwise alter your initial prompts (usually what this means is that I make them more difficult — try to preempt me by going high in terms of concepts, not low). The final form the prompts take will be up to my discretion. There will be 7 of them. You will receive the exam prompts via email by Friday, December 2. On the day of the exam, you will choose 3 prompts out of a hat, and whichever prompts you choose will be the ones you write about for your exam.

Posting these prompts is part of your participation grade in this class. Failing to post them will lower your overall participation grade, and it will also mean that your ideas will not be represented in the final exam prompts.