Topic Suggestions for Course Readings

For the rest of the semester, we will be critically analyzing articles and other readings. To make these readings engaging and relevant to your interests, please recommend at least two topics that we can explore as a class. Controversial and current issue topics work best for the work we’ll do in class.

If you come across a specific article that your want to share, please provide a link here as well.

Reading Reflection #3: Issues, Conclusions, and Reasons (due 2/18)

To complete this reading reflection assignment, (1) Go to your personal blog, (2) Click on New -> Post, (3) Title the post Reading Reflection #3: Issues, Conclusions, and Reasons, (4) Select the Category box for Reading Reflection Assignments, and (5) Add a few descriptive tags. Remember to respond to all five prompts below.

Based on your reading of ARQ chapter 2, “What Are the Issue and the Conclusion?,” respond to the following prompts:

  1. In order to figure out how reliable a person’s reasoning is, you must first be able to identify the issue they are presenting. What are the two primary types of issues discusses in the book? How can you tell the difference between these two types of issues?
  2. You must also be able to identify the conclusion that the person is presenting. What are some questions you can ask yourself to try to determine the author’s conclusion? Describe the clues to can help you locate the conclusion.

Based on your reading of ARQ chapter 3, “What Are the Reasons?,” respond to the following prompts:

  1. How does the book define an argument? What are the necessary components of an argument? What are some characteristics of an argument?
  2. What is the main question to ask yourself when you’re trying to find an author’s reasons that support a particular conclusion? What are some indicator words (words that suggest a reason) to look for?

Read the article, How ‘Intellectual Humility’ Can Make You a Better Person.”

  1. Identify (a) the overall issue discussed, (b) the author’s conclusion, and (c) the author’s reasons that explain why we should believe the conclusion.

Reading Reflection #2: Implicit Bias and Race (due 1/23)


To complete this reading reflection assignment, (1) Go to your personal blog, (2) Click on New -> Post, (3) Title the post Reading Reflection #2: Implicit Bias and Race, (4) Select the Category box for Reading Reflections, and (5) Add a few descriptive tags. Remember to respond to all six prompts below.

Based on your reading of “Trouble in Mind: To Be Black Is Blue in America” by IBé [link in D2L], answer the following questions:

  1. What was your emotional response when you read about IBé’s experiences as a Black man in St. Cloud? What personal experiences of your own can you connect or compare to those he describes?
  2. On page 74, IBé shares his thought process when he encounters microaggressions or discrimination. He then quotes James Baldwin as saying, “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” IBé adds, “Even if you are not raging mad, you may be losing your mind. In other words, trouble in mind.” What do you think he means by this?

Based on your viewing of Microaggressions in the Classroom, answer the following questions:

  1. Describe a time you witnessed or experienced a microaggression, in the classroom or within another group experience (if you can’t think of one you’ve experienced personally, describe one you’ve seen in a movie, etc.). What happened? How was it addressed (or not addressed)? How did people react? How did it make you feel?
  2. How important do you think it is for students to feel a sense of belonging within the classroom and within the university? How can feeling like you belong and are welcome affect one’s ability to do well and succeed?

Based on your reading of “Do Conversations About Race Belong in the Classroom?,” respond to the following questions:

  1. How diverse was your high school? If you identify as white, how much did you talk or think about what it means to be white in the United States? If you didn’t talk or think about being white, do you think that was itself a privilege? If you identify as a Person of Color, Latinx, or Indigenous, how has whiteness been visible to you?
  2. Do you think conversations about race should happen in school? Why or why not (please answer thoughtfully)?

Reading Reflection #1: Critical Thinking (due 1/21)

To complete this reading reflection assignment, (1) Go to your personal blog, (2) Click on New -> Post, (3) Title the post Reading Reflection #1: Critical Thinking, (4) Select the Category box for Reading Reflections  and (5) Add a few descriptive tags. Remember to respond to all prompts below.

Based on your reading of Asking the Right Questions (ARQ) Chapter 1: “The Benefit and Manner of Asking the Right Questions,” think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. What are some characteristics or values of a person who is a critical thinker? Which, if any, of these themes did we suggest for our Classroom Agreement on Tuesday?
  2. How do strong sense and weak sense critical thinking differ? Why is strong sense critical thinking usually so much more difficult than weak sense critical thinking?
  3. When we talk about an “argument” in this class, what do we mean? How is the book’s definition different from an argument we might have with our parents or friends?
  4. Why, do you think, is it so difficult to find the “right answer” to many questions about human behavior and society?

Based on your reading of “Why Questioning?,” think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. How does this chapter relate to your experiences? What role has asking questions had in your life?
  2. Why do you think children stop asking questions? Why do some people (like Bezos or Jobs) keep questioning?
  3. As a college student, what role does asking questions have in your education? What role does questioning have in your future profession and work environment?

Welcome to our HONS 250 class blog!

Our HONS 250 class blog will list all assignments for your Reading Reflection Blog Posts. I will post the reflection prompts here that you will use as a basis for your reading reflections that you post on your own personal blog. We may use the blog for a few additional activities so be sure you follow the directions on using categories and tags.

We will also use this course blog to post information that we want all of our class to see. This can include a link to an article of interest, an announcement for a campus or community event, links to group assignments or presentations that we share with the whole class, and whatever else we might want to share.

I have only used a blog in class once before so I will try to be very clear about your blog assignments. I will take your advice on how to make it easier to use. When you have questions, please let me know right away.