The above links demonstrate a basic structure of this course moving from the top of the page to the bottom in a sequence that relies on your building of demonstrable skills that move from recall to synthesis.

The core approach starts with demonstrating your abilities: to define terms, to logically order your evidence, so that you better inform your readers, and to demonstrate how to formally analyze the examples, arguments and data that fill the works of the authors we read in this course.


All written work of a formal nature is submitted as a complete draft. I read your draft to comment on your essay's content. I do expect these formal writing assignments to be revised and rewritten with the intention that you and I are moving toward more clearly expressed concepts.

All writing should be filled with related examples from the texts that can carry the weight of your

A) descriptions

B) arguments, or

C) interpretations of the assigned material.





The use of vocabulary and development of concepts related to the course as discussed in class are one means of ably demonstrating to the me and other participants your familiarity, comprehension and beliefs about the ideas presented during class-time in the course.



Assigned writing





What do I look for in your writing?

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth


So that you have an opportunity to experience transformative learning, and understand the importance of becoming actively engaged in and curious about learning more, I have identified the following base-line objectives.

These intentions reflect my hopes for you in our class to become so enthralled in some subject that you know, practice, and analyze challenging ideas and concepts. Know that with some additional work you can well exceed my expectations of your learning new ideas, exercising your skills, and gaining confidence with new approaches to supporting your arguments based on our readings and discussions.

end of course expectations | 1st month expectations | 2d month expectations | use of logic

In summary, I offer you several opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, and posing appropriate text-based questions in order to use your knowledge to solve problems and evaluate competing concepts of ethical development required to understand each author's criticisms of society. There are some examples of learning outcomes for you to consider here.

1) At the end of this course students should be able to demonstrate and identify both verbally and in writing how the use of numbers, or the uses of hyperbole, or the means of applying of evidence in an assigned text or argument is or is not convincing in three to five separate and distinct examples.

Getting there:

2) By the mid-point of the course, you would be able to demonstrate how two or more rhetorical elements are used in an assignment and how the rhetorical style of an assigned reading is informative, descriptive, argumentative, or is using analogies to convey:

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth

Critical use of Method is the initial step.

1) By the initial month of the course you should be able to identify, distinguish, and demonstrate from assigned readings any uses of:

    1. literal from figurative meaning
    2. descriptive passages
    3. factual data
    4. passages that contain an argument
    5. explicit as opposed to implicit points in an argument
    6. an analogy and be able to demonstrate its meaning
    7. irony and analyze how it is used
    8. symbolism and to what the symbols refer
    9. metaphors
    10. evidence to distinguish core from extraneous information in an assigned essay or chapter.

You may exhibit the above skills by drawing out and describing verbally and in writing three (3) to five (5) pertinent examples for each of the above.

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth


Building on what you are learning:

2) By the second month of the course you should be able in writing and verbal explanations to identify evidence used in arguments made by the authors. Do this by connecting the concepts from two or more authors around a contrasting or a common theme.

3) Before the end of the term in the third month you should be able to demonstrate in writing and verbally examples that distinguish the more than two author's use of facts as opposed to opinions and link these arguments with your own interpretations of the assigned readings.

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth

Investing in visual interpretation to learn precision.

Understanding the importance of placement

Within a visual image be able to distinguish for the class the background, foreground and elements of shading or contrast that convey the image's significance.

To demonstrate verbally and in writing the content of a map, photograph, or painting as it conveys facts, impressions, or moods to those of us who see the work.

To place the artifact in its historical context and understand a chronological order by explaining verbally or in writing the antecedent and subsequent artifacts that you relate to one another in some logical and descriptive manner.

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth

Handling Internet Materials in a discerning manner.

  1. Be capable of explaining in written or verbal formats if the texts or graphics taken from the internet are inconsistent or consistent with logically related information in another source.
  2. In that written expression be capable of coherently distinguishing the use of facts from the use of opinions in the formulation of interpretations of people's actions, events, or concepts when you present an explanation.
intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth


The means to show what you know:

skill building

Exercising your talent in the form of expressive skills is a means of allowing participants unlimited practice to use and apply concepts you may have previously been taught to our assigned authors. Skill building exercises often provide feedback to you as participants, thereby explaining how to recognize the most accurate –if not more correct– answers. Think of the display of your proficiency as a management system to keep track of your progress:

Remember the reading in sufficient detail to descriptively write or present an argument using more than three concepts or translate more than four facts, events or concepts in a coherent and comparative context.

Apply the examples in the text to a frame that includes two or more texts.

Create analogies based on the readings and discussion points raised in class drawn from examples based on free writing.

Logically convey the arguments of three of more writers as they relate to a common theme or larger context. For example:Since the Reformation (1517), the differences in Protestant and Catholic dogma had the consequence of dividing believers, if not weakening, the authority of both groups of believers with regard to promoting Christian virtues, behavior, and beliefs. [ The larger context is Christian religious history and the common theme is undermining authority. ]

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth

Digging deeper by applying concepts and criteria to new situations.

Where are we headed?

To give you further opportunity to develop deep background to inform the class how you use evidence, I would expect that you demonstrate how to formulate an argument, show it's importance, and present brief but thorough summaries of your conclusions.

By the end of the course be able to examine, analyze, and judge the importance of an example of a case where you are called upon to explain discernibly significant details that require some background data from the discussions of the texts, video lectures, or the web site.

Clarity is crucial in how you describe concepts or arguments to be analyzed. Do this in order to make use of the evidence you have selected to reveal pertinent information that relates sequential details to your main points.

A sequential detail is one where two conditions are tied; thus acid water in the oceans erodes limestone and weakens the shells of calcium-carbonate creatures.

Another example is: that prolonged drought may lead to crop failure.

By doing the above, demonstrate in written discourse an analysis that in some specified way becomes informative of one, or more, of the following themes:

A) People at key turning points (leverage) influence history.

B) How individuals are swept along by events and influenced by:

    • material things, or
    • ideological (or cosmological) views, or
    • shared spiritual values, or
    • economic constraints.

C) The way unexpected occurrences can make lasting impacts with consequences over many or at least several generations.

intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth


An excellent display of your comprehension would be to present describe and analyze a paradox that you discern in an the analysis of an argument made by one or more authors using appropriate evidence from all of the authors we have discussed and assigned.

Case study:

√ Drawing in Perspective, Florence in 1420. (describe)

Nitrogen predicament of uptake in a dying forest. (analyze)

√ Describing, recognizing, & applying evidence of Bacon's Four Idols.


intent | critical method | skill building points | visual evidence | internet sources | depth