Assignments: online

Writing assignment: Responding to topical readings

Access to assigned readings:

Twice during the term, you will be asked to respond to questions based on a set of readings on a specific topic. In this class, the two topics will be: 1) understanding how tax dollars are spent (and where social welfare spending programs fit), and; 2) understanding Social Security and what elders are facing with an aging population and pressure to reduce benefits and ‘reform’ the system. The readings are posted. When you have completed them, you can start the clock on responding to questions (they will appear as a quiz in Canvas). You will have 48 hours from the time you start until the ‘quiz’ closes to respond to the questions. Here’s how points will be assigned:

  • Do an ‘abstract.’ An abstract is basically a summary of the readings—a couple of sentences that show you got the main points of each—and analysis (show me what you learned about the topic from doing readings and synthesizing different sub-issues and perspectives). Your abstract can be attached as a file in the Canvas quiz—you’ll see it as an additional question. Include in that file the citations (there’s an easy way to do this . . . hint). The abstract is worth up to five points. I’m looking to see that: 1) You demonstrated that you read each article and briefly summarized it; 2) You showed that you were able to synthesize the readings and examine the topic and come away with new learning, and; 3) You cited the sources. Abstracts need be no longer than a page, double-spaced (the reference list can spill over into a page 2).
  • Complete the questions in the Canvas quiz. There will be four or five questions, prompting you to think about the topic and how it relates to welfare, directly and indirectly (for instance, actual budget allocations for welfare programs versus budget priorities that often put social spending on the chopping block when it’s time to make cuts). The quiz is worth up to 20 points.

50 points possible, two assignments (due no later than the fourth and eighth weeks), each worth 25 points (20 for responding to quiz questions, 5 for attaching an abstract, following the guidelines above).