Remote Learning Calendar

Final Assignment (due May 1)| Week of April 20-27 | Week of April 13-19 | Week of April 6-April 12 | Week of March 30-April 5 | Week of March 23-March 29

I’ll hold live online office hours via Zoom during our regularly scheduled class times: M, W, F at 10 am (Eastern).

Check your UNE email for the link to join the Zoom session. Be sure to save that link. We’ll use the same one for all live sessions. If you have Writing Lab, there’s a second link sent to you in a separate email.

Week of M. April 27 – F. May 1

Final Assignment (due May 1)

Please answer the following questions and post them on your ePortfolio:

  1. What have you learned about how to read a complex piece of writing this year?  Which of the active and critical reading techniques have become part of your standard approach to coming to terms with texts? 
  2. What challenges did you face in the course?  What did you learn from facing them?
  3. Describe one or two of your most rewarding moments of success in the course?  What did you learn from them?
  4. What will you take away from the course to use in the writing situations you will face in the remaining years of your college education?

Week of M. April 20 – Su. April 26

Assignment List

Activity Set One – Learn how to spot Fake News by creating some – Reflection due Thursday, April 23 at 2 pm (your local time).

**Be sure to complete the writing prompt below my score**

Try your hand at creating fake news. Play the Bad News game to the end (about 20 minutes) and try to maximize your influence and credibility by publishing the fakest news possible. When asked during the game, please participate in the survey to help researchers study how to fight fake news. Once you’re done, there’s a short reading assignment and a writing prompt to complete.

See if you can beat my score!

Reflection Writing Prompt for Activity One: After you have played the game and read the Bad News Game Information Sheet for Educators, write and post an essay of 500 words or more explaining what you learned about how Fake News works by playing the game and reading the information sheet. Also, use the resources in this activity to explain why fake news is a problem and what can be done about it. Include a screenshot of your final score in your post!

Activity Set Two – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Sunday, April 27 at 11:59 pm (your local time). Please don’t post your answers before 11:59 pm on April 27. Use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of “Is A Conspiracy Theory Protected Speech” by Jared Keller.
  2. Review the writing prompt in item 4. Then read and annotate the article looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to compose your mini-essay. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Friday morning at 10 am to discuss the article and the questions.
  4. Using materials from the Keller article, compose answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the article. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain Keller’s thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. What is the “Brandenburg test” for protected speech? How is it different from the “clear and present danger” test?
    2. What is “stochastic terrorism”?
    3. How does “stochastic terrorism” make it difficult to apply the Brandenburg test to conspiracy theories?
    4. Using at least two quotes from the reading, write a paragraph or two explaining your view on whether conspiracy theory should be protected free speech.

Week of M. April 13 – Su. April 19

Assignment List

Activity Set One – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Thursday, April 16 at 2 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your mini-essay before 2 pm on April 16. Instead, use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of “Trapped in a Hoax: Survivors of Conspiracy Theories Speak Out” by Ed Pilkington
  2. Review the writing prompt in item 4. Then read and annotate the article looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to compose your mini-essay. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Wednesday morning at 10 am to discuss the article and the questions.
  4. Using materials from the Pilkington article, compose answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the article. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain Pilkington’s thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. What role did the Internet (from 4chan to Infowars to Facebook and Twitter) play in the victimizing of Marcel Fontaine?
    2. What were the immediate and lasting effects of being mistakenly cast as the Parkland shooter for Fontaine?
    3. Why has Sandy Hook father Lenny Pozner had to move so often? What has he done to combat online conspiracy theorizing? For Pozner, where does the right to free speech stop?
    4. What drives Dr. Paul Offit to continue his work (despite death threats) debunking the “vaccines cause autism” conspiracy theories?
    5. How does sexism play into the harassment of video game development Brianna Wu?

Activity Set Two – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Sunday, April 19 at 11:59 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your answers before 11:59 pm on April 19. Use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print The Conspiracy Theory Handbook (12 pages) by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook and “Coronavirus Is Spreading — And So Are the Hoaxes and Conspiracy Theories Around It” by EJ Dickson.
  2. Review the writing prompt in item 4. Then read and annotate these articles looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to compose your mini-essay. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Friday morning at 10 am to discuss these articles and the writing prompt.
  4. Using materials from this week’s readings, compose answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the article. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain your thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. List and explain the 7 traits of conspiratorial thinking.
    2. According to Lewandowsky and Cook, why do people believe in and share conspiracy theories?
    3. Use what you learned answering questions 1 and 2 to speculate about 2 of the Coronavirus conspiracies described in “Coronavirus Is Spreading — And So Are the Hoaxes and Conspiracy Theories Around It.” For each of the 2 conspiracy theories identify some of the traits of conspiratorial thinking you see in it and explain why people believe it. For each theory, discuss whether believing or sharing it might cause harm in the real world.

Week of M. April 6 – Su. April 12

Assignment List

Activity Set One – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Thursday, April 9 at 2 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your mini-essay before 2 pm on April 9. Instead, use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of “What is Pizzagate”by Andy Cush and “Pizzagate: Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal” by Amanda Robb.
  2. Review the writing prompt in item 4. Then read and annotate these articles looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to compose your mini-essay. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Wednesday morning at 10 am to discuss these articles and the writing prompt.
  4. Using materials from the articles, compose a 600-750 word mini-essay in response to the prompt below. Your mini-essay should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the articles. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain the writers’ thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    • PROMPT: Drawing on the work of Frank Donner, Anna Merlan claims that “Conspiracy theories tend to flourish especially at times of rapid social change, when we are reevaluating ourselves and, perhaps, facing uncomfortable questions in the process. In 1980, the civil liberties lawyer and author Frank Donner wrote that conspiracism reveals a fundamental insecurity about who Americans want to be versus who they are.” Adding to this, Jan-Willem van Prooijen asserts that “the root of conspiracy thinking lies in our ancient instinct to divide the social world into ‘Us’ and ‘[th]em’ categories.” Therefore, he continues, “citizens are most likely to believe…conspiracy theories when they perceive the government as ‘[th]em’, not representing ‘Us’.”

      Write a 600-750 word mini-essay drawing on these ideas of Merlan and van Prooijen to explain how the Pizzagate conspiracy theory could inspire conspiracist Edgar M. Welch to plan and launch an armed invasion of the Comet Ping Pong club to free supposed victims. First, orient readers to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and the real world events that happened in response to it. Next, introduce readers to Merlan’s and van Prooijen’s ideas as a way to make sense of both the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and Welch’s response to it. At some point, explain what it was about the Pizzagate story that resonated with a person with the beliefs and life experiences of Welch. Also, explain what Welch wanted to believe about the federal government and himself. Then consider the reporting of Anna Robb on how the Pizzagate theory originated and evolved to explain who else (besides Edgar Welch) you think is to blame for the potentially lethal violence Welch decided was necessary to address the wrongs falsely asserted in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory?

Activity Set Two – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Sunday, April 12 at 11:59 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your answers before 11:59 pm on April 12. Use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of “‘Pizzagate’ and the Nocturnal Ritual Fantasy: Imaginary Cults, Fake News, and Real Violence” by Michael Barbezat.
  2. Review the questions in item 4. Then read and annotate Barbezat’s article looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to answer the questions. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Friday morning at 10 am to discuss this article and the discussion questions.
  4. Using materials from the Barbezat essay, compose essay-answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the essay. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain Barbezat’s thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. What is the “the nocturnal ritual fantasy” and what did believing in it do for the people who disseminated it? [Right There + Right There]
    2. Given your correct answer to question 1, what made the Comet Ping Pong restaurant a likely target of a conspiracy theory based on the “nocturnal ritual fantasy”? [Right There]
    3. What is “persecuting society?” How did the “nocturnal ritual fantasy” contribute to the establishment of a “persecuting society” in medieval times? [Right There] To what degree are the people that dissemeinated and acted on the Pizzagate conspiracy theory members of a “persecuting society”? [Text + You]
    4. Barzebat says that the nocturnal ritual fantasy “is a tried-and-true strategy of the literal demonization that gets used when the basic pillars of a society are being remade. Modern America is undergoing just such a remaking.” According to Barbezat, what pillars are being remade in American society today? What other pillars would you say are also being remade? Are they reflected in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory? Or in another conspiracy that you’re aware of? [Right There + Text + You + All You]

Week of M. March 30 – Su. April 5

Having finished Paper 2, we’re moving on to the last unit of the course, where we will read about America’s obsession with conspiracy theories. We’ll discover who conspiracy theorists and conspiracy believers are and what motivates them. We’ll learn what makes some conspiracy theories dangerous. We’ll see what we can learn about reality by studying conspiracy theories. And we’ll think about what we can do not to fall prey to conspiracy thinking ourselves.

Throughout this project, in a series of short informal pieces of writing, you’ll practice your critical and active reading strategies, you’ll continue developing your coming-to-terms, forwarding and countering skills, and engage your classmates in (written) dialogue.

I’ll hold live online office hours via Zoom during our regularly scheduled class times: M, W, F at 10 am (Eastern).

Check your UNE email for the link to join the Zoom session. Be sure to save that link. We’ll use the same one for all live sessions.

Assignment List

Activity Set One – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Thursday, April 2 at 2 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your answers before 2 pm on April 2. Instead, use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of  “Why Are We Addicted to Conspiracy Theories?” by Anna Merlan.
  2. Review the questions in item 4. Then read and annotate Merlan’s article looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to answer the questions. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Wednesday morning at 10 am to discuss the Merlan article and the discussion questions.
  4. Using materials from the Merlan essay, compose essay-answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the essay. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain Merlan’s thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. What is Merlan’s operating definition of a conspiracy theory? [Right There]
    2. Merlan says that conspiracy thinking has been part of American culture and governance since it’s very beginning. Summarize her reasons for thinking so and explain what she thinks is new about conspiracy theory in the last decade or so. [Pull It Together]
    3. What are the characteristics of the times in which conspiracy theory tends to survive? [Right There + Pull It Together]
    4. How does Merlan categorize the different types of people who tend to believe medical conspiracy theories? [Right There]
    5. What are the [multiple] reasons that Anna Merlan uses to answer the question: “Why are we addicted to conspiracy theories”? [Pull It Together]

Activity Set Two – Active, Careful Reading – Notice – Summarize, quote paraphrase, synthesize – Due Sunday, April 5 at 11:59 pm (your local time).

Please don’t post your answers before 11:59 pm on April 5. Use this process to schedule your post to be published at that time (how-to video).

  1. Print and number the paragraphs of “Suspicion Makes Us Human” by Jan-Willem van Prooijen
  2. Review the questions in item 4. Then read and annotate van Prooijen’s article looking for the key words, passages, concepts, and examples that you’ll need to answer the questions. Post photos of at least three pages of your annotations on your ePortfolio.
  3. OPTIONAL: Join our ENG Zoom session Friday morning at 10 am to discuss this article and the discussion questions.
  4. Using materials from the van Prooijen essay, compose essay-answers to the questions below. Your answers should stand alone and be understandable by a reader who has not read the essay. You will need to define key terms, give examples, and explain van Prooijen’s thinking to make it understandable to your reader.
    1. What is van Prooijen’s definition of “conspiracy theory”? [Right There] To what degree does van Prooijen’s definition match Merlan’s? [Text + You]
    2. What is van Prooijen’s (with Mark van Vugt) argument in support of the claim that conspiracy theories have evolutionary origins over 12,000 years old? You’ll need to Pull Together and summarize the information in paragraphs 9-14 to answer this question.
    3. What does van Prooijen mean by “evolutionary mismatch” (paragraph 20), how does it apply to conspiracy theory (paragraphs 20-22) and what kinds of problems can conspiracy theory as an evolutionary mismatch cause in the world? [Right There + Pull It Together]
    4. How could understanding conspiracy theories in the way that van Prooijen does contribute to our understanding of the rise of populist political movements and extremist organizations that endorse violent conflict with others? [Right There]

Week of M. March 23 – Su. March 29

Please be sure to follow the instructions in the links below. Don’t attempt to complete these assignments without reading the instructions and using the materials contained in the links.

Assignment List

  1. Send an email to Eric confirming that you have found this assignment list.
  2. Use the instructions on the linked page to review and comment on your own draft of your ethical questions about music paper submitted F. March 13. Comments due on your Google Drive version of your paper by Wednesday, March 25 at midnight (your local time).
  3. Read these revising instructions to understand my expectations, then make significant improvements your paper. Revisions are due by Sunday, March 29 at midnight (your local time).
  4. Ensure that your final paper meets MLA manuscript formatting and citation-system standards. Formatting due by Monday, March 30 at 9 am (your local time).
    • Use the Sample Citation below as a model to use to write a Works Cited entry for your Aesthetics for Birds debate.
A sample MLA works cited page for an artists roundtable on a website.
Click to enlarge

I’ll hold live online office hours via Zoom during our regularly scheduled class times: M, W, F at 10 am (Eastern).

Check your UNE email for the link to join the Zoom session. Be sure to save that link. We’ll use the same one for all live sessions.

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