Through the guidance of Clemente Abrokwaa, Sr. Lecturer of African Studies, this office was able to help craft an online scholarly debate exercise for African Studies 192. The team project is initiated by the assignment of students into groups, whereby each group is assigned one of three questions:
- Should the US Government pay reparations to African Americans for the suffering and humiliation of their ancestors from Africa during slavery in this country?
- Is the educated person more productive at work than an uneducated person?
- Is academic education more useful than vocational education?
The larger groups will be split into two teams, each arguing opposing answers to one of the questions listed above. For example, given the first statement listed above, one half of the larger group will argue as a team that the US Government should pay reparations. The other half will argue that the US Government should not pay reparations.
For five weeks, teams both construct their own arguments and deconstruct their opposition’s position. Students each fulfill four roles: an architectural role for the construction of the digital paper, author of one of their team’s points of argumentation, author of one rebuttal point and co-assessor of member performance. It is anticipated that students will compare and discriminate between ideas, verify the value of evidence, resolve controversies and recognize strengths and weaknesses of arguments.
Sites.psu.edu is the forum of choice for this exercise. We will also employ the use of two plugins CommentPress Core, which enables by-paragraph comments and Contributor Log, which issues the ability for Clemente and his TA’s to monitor the activity of each user.
Please check out the home site for this exercise at: http://sites.psu.edu/afr192/. Feedback is welcome.