Course Project: Advancements in the Humanities

Objective | Guidelines | Sample Assignments | Milestones | Grading Rubrics


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This course will take you through huge chunks of human history from the Paleolithic era through the Vietnam War and into our postmodern world. In Week 7, you will be asked to deliver a five- to seven-page research paper on any subject within the humanities of your choosing, providing you have cleared it with your professor. Your research paper will require a minimum of three sources and a maximum of five sources. You must document your research scrupulously—both in text and in a reference page as specified by the APA style sheet. Scrupulous documentation plus high originality, analysis, insight, and fresh applications of ideas are highly prized. Mere reporting, describing, and finding others’ ideas are discouraged, and copying and pasting is just wrong. Your paper is to be 70–80% original and 20–30% resourced (documented via


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Your final grade includes points accumulated for your



•an annotated bibliography;

•a Final Paper; and

•a Final Exam.

The following are guidelines to assist you in completing the course successfully.

Guidelines for Discussions: Please do not merely cut, paste, and attribute in the discussions. For every idea you paraphrase or language you quote, you must have at least two lines of your own original analysis, evaluation, or personal connection. Learning the humanities is not about finding information, but it is about engaging originally and authentically with what you are reading.

Guidelines for the Outline/Proposal: An outline is a convenience to help you tack down the topics you hope to cover in a Final Paper, and a proposal is the extended and full description of your project (as best you know it at the time of writing). Understand that you are making a best effort to describe your project early on, but allow yourself to be open to growth and change as you conduct research and focus your intentions.

Guidelines for the Annotated Bibliography: Good annotations make for excellent papers. You are required to have three (but no more than five) scholarly resources. A scholarly resource is written by an academician with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, is published in a multivolume, peer-reviewed journal, and has ample references of its own. Your annotations should succeed in the following.

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1. It should establish the title, author, journal, and page numbers.

2. It should briefly summarize the article, book, or chapter.

3. It should analyze the text—say what the implications are, what assumptions are held, what historical context is represented, and the like.

4. It should locate at least one quotation to be used in your paper.

5. It should evaluate—say whether you agree, disagree, and why.

Guidelines for the Final Paper: The essay must be five to seven double-spaced pages in length (not including the title or reference pages). Include a minimum of three and a maximum of five scholarly sources. The margins should be no more than one in. (right and left). The essay should be composed in 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font. All of the sources must be documented and cited using APA format.

Please refer to the Guidelines above for specific details.

Annotations (150 points)

A good annotated bibliography provides the publication details, describes the key points of the source, uncovers controversies introduced by the source, and evaluates the merits of the source. Each of your three (minimal) to five (maximal) annotations should be approximately 200–250 words. This is due Week 4.

Outline and Proposal (100 points)

Following the annotations, you will be ready to plan your paper. An outline (one and one half pages) and a proposal (two to three pages) of your intended project are due. Quality proposals and outlines will not merely describe or find information but will have a strong and original point of view. The highest points are conferred for originality, the locating and detailing of controversies, and for nuanced papers that sensitively explore topics with deft subtlety. This is due Week 2.

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Discussions (350 points)

Each week, discussions will focus on text readings and explore the nuts and bolts of some of the major historical events, artwork, literature, political thinking, and culture of specific historical periods. Your discussions require that you NOT ever merely cut and paste someone else’s ideas with an attribute––such discussions have absolutely no value and will not be recognized. If you wish to include external source information substantively, you may do so. The rule is for each line you quote or paraphrase, you must give two lines of your own analysis. You must state why this inclusion is relevant, what we are supposed to think as a result of reading it, what controversy it raises, and why you think it’s important that we know about the source information. Additionally, when you quote something, you must offset it with quotation marks so that it is clear to your reader when you are quoting and when you are analyzing originally. The same holds true of paraphrasing––please offset the paraphrase in such a way that is clear that it is a derived idea, and then offer your analysis. Whether you quote or paraphrase, you must provide both a parenthetical in-text citation, as well as the full reference at the bottom.

In other words, the only way to be original when you are reporting information is to think about it, form an opinion about it, evaluate it, critique it, and then write it clearly. You are expected to craft six high-quality posts on three separate days each week. This is due Weeks 1–7.

Final Paper (200 points)

See details under the Guidelines above. This is due Week 7.

Final Exam (200 points)

To write a successful exam, you must keep up with the readings and demonstrate knowledge acquisition and critical thinking in the discussions. The exam consists of multiple choice and essay questions. The essays must be original, thoughtful, and where outside sources are used, impeccably cited (both in text AND in a final full reference). Essays should be no more than 30% cited material; they should be at least 70% original thinking. This is due in Week 8.

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See the Syllabus section “Due Dates for Assignments & Exams” for due date information.

Grading Rubrics

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Course Project Final Paper Rubric Total Points Possible 200 Total Points Earned 0

Points Possible Points Earned Comments

Ideas/Content: Ideas are strong and relevant to a humanities paper. The thesis includes a clear statement of purpose and sensitively explores its subject matter. It is supported with effective, specific, and relevant details selected with a humanities audience in mind. Body of the paper is five to seven pages of text (not including the title page and references). 50

Organization: It has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. The writing is structured to enhance meaning. Transitions are used to move from point to point. Transitions provide logical sequence appropriate for the purpose. Each paragraph ends with an original statement that connects to the thesis. 50

Word Choice: The language is rich, effective, natural, precise, and vivid. Words used to convey images are appropriate to the audience and purpose. Vocabulary is varied, specific, and accurate. It is appropriate for college-level writing. 10

Sentence Fluency: Sentence structures vary and contain no major flows such as run-on sentences, fragments, and verb errors. Sentences add interest and flow to text. There is strong control over simple and complex sentence structures. 15

Mechanics: The paper reflects correctness of expression and has been edited for spelling, style, grammar, and punctuation. 25

APA Formatting: The paper is double-spaced and is in a 12-point Times Roman font. The APA title page is not required or desired. Let’s be green. 20

References: There is a minimum of three academic sources. The references page includes full citations, and in-text citations are included when material is used from a source. Sources do not exceed