Tips for Creating “Reading” Responses

The purpose of these “reading” responses is to help you learn and think about all of the course materials in relation to one another, as well as in relation to your own experiences. If you do these assignments with care, they are one of the best ways to gain a better grasp on the content of the course material.

Each week you will be tasked with making a conceptual map of the course materials using freely available concept mapping software. Please choose a platform that will allow you to download or otherwise share your concept map with the rest of the class. During or after completing the course readings/videos for the week, you should make a concept map of the interrelationships among the various theories and topics covered in ALL of the course materials.

Next, please provide a reaction to the course materials. Your reaction and “processing” of the material is just as important as your concept map. If you feel like you’re having trouble coming up with something other than a summary for your reaction, try asking yourself some of the questions below to dig deeper.

  • How does the material relate to you? Can you make it connect to your life?
  • Do you agree with some/all of the material’s main points? Why or why not? Be specific and really explore those opinions in depth.
  • Is the author/speaker biased in any way? What could have caused it? Does this unfairly limit the scope of the material or leave out important points of view?

This kind of writing is not just saying whether or not you liked the material (though that can definitely be a part of your response), but why. Critical thinking and analysis (especially in regards to topics you have been covering in class) is important, and hopefully some of the above suggestions for questions to ask yourself will help you get started.

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