For each module, a designated group of students (ranging from 1 to 3 members, depending on the module) will be assigned to write a research essay related to that module’s readings. This will be required only once per semester per student. A listing of group members and assigned dates will be posted in the Announcements section of the Discussion Board. If there is more than one student assigned to your group these tips on group writing may be helpful.
The essay should demonstrate your understanding of concepts and information presented in the assigned readings and independent research. The purpose of the essay is to draw connections between readings and discussions; formulate a thesis and supportive arguments; identify, interpret, and evaluate sources; and effectively communicate in written form. Include a table of numeric data supportive of your thesis statement. Copy/paste for the text; use the “table” icons to insert your table. Attachments or links to other sites are not acceptable.
Your essay must address ONE of the following questions, relating this to your assigned module, and to a specific region or place:
A. To what extent have natural environments been shaped by human action?
B. To what extent have human societies and cultures been influenced by natural environments?
The focus MUST be on your assigned module, and on a particular society and culture. The more narrow your focus, the better. For example, an essay on Ecosystems might address the disappearance of Lake Victoria cichilid fish in the 1980s. If you selected question A you would detail how the problem was caused by humans; if you selected question B you might show what consequences there have been for local communities.
Your essay should have a minimum 750 words not including header, tables, quotations, or references. It should contain a clear THESIS STATEMENT as the LAST SENTENCE OF THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, followed by three or more paragraphs of supporting evidence from readings, discussions, and your own research. Each paragraph of supporting evidence must begin with a TOPIC SENTENCE. Complete your essay with a conclusion summarizing the results and significance of your research. Include a table of relevant numerical data. Don’t forget to include caption and source, following MLA format.
You will be graded on research, content, and how well you present your information.
The essay should begin with a title and the names of all group participants. A single grade will be assigned for all members of a group.
In-text citations need to be in parentheses by author. References need to be listed alphabetically by author in a Works Cited list, in accordance with MLA format.
Online word counters are not always reliable. To be sure you’ve met the minimum length requirement you are advised to exceed the minimum by several words.
You cannot edit a submitted essay. If you need to make a correction or add a reference resubmit the ENTIRE essay including references using Reply to your original post and I’ll grade the latest one.
The works cited list must be in the same file as your essay. If submitted as a separate file it will not be accepted.
It is best to copy and paste from a plain text editor such as notepad (depending on your operating system). If you want to paste from MS Word use the special MS Word icon above the posting box.
Use the Canvas Table button to create your table (rows and columns of numerical data, NOT a graph). Do NOT include photos, maps, or other attachments.
Submissions that are less than the minimum length requirement do not “combine” to meet the minimum length requirement. You are advised to exceeed the minimum by several words just to make sure you met the minimum length requirement.
Students can only receive credit for a maximum of 1 essay per term.
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