Students will work in partners OR in groups of 3, 4, 5 or 6 through a series of prompts based in reading and reflecting on an assigned book. book, will notify the course instructor of the names of your partners or group members in the Forum topic designated for that purpose. Once the partners or groups have submitted their names, the instructor will set up a Response and Comment Rotation. This will be posted in the course hub – likely within a Learning Management System (LMS). Groups will be posting their own response to the prompt and commenting on another group’s post. This ongoing work will keep you on track for timely engagement with the course material.
Each group will submit a FINAL SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS on the book in the form of an 800-1200-word executive summary, which will include:
- identifying the premises and concepts associated with the book
- identifying policies, contexts and other socio-political forces discussed in the book
- commenting on autobiography, biography, newspaper, policy, legal or other forms of composite or public domain narrated lived experience that was discussed in or which influenced the book
- An overall analysis of the book that highlights the issues, actions and any remaining challenges using the work done in the iterative and recursive response posts and comments
The Executive Summary will be submitted in the LMS assignment tool following the final week of the term and will be developed from the ongoing response posts and comments that are responses to iterative and recursive prompts from the instructor.
The Book responses will be done on a schedule finalized by the instructor. One example might be to straddle this response window over the period of three weeks, with each week starting with a prompt provided by the instructor. Group responses to this prompt and group comments to all group responses would be due on a staggered basis.
The instructor will construct the comment rotation and post it in the LMS with guidance and deadlines. It is encouraged that group responses have a limit of 800 words and comments have a limit of 500 words.
The LMS Discussion Forum is the platform that will be used – with the typical ‘post and comment’ representing the responses/comments. The responses and comments will represent the work of all the students in the groups, so students must collaborate so that the work represents all of them. To encourage engagement and to prevent claims of ignorance, we will use the declarations templated below in each post and comment. NOTE: THE DECLARATIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE WORD COUNT.
The response (to the instructor prompt) post must begin with the following declaration: This post has been prepared and written by PERSON A, PERSON B AND PERSON C after a consultation with the other group members. The post that follows reflects the majority opinion of the group as it pertains to the prompts provided AND includes the minority opinion of group members who did not agree with the majority opinion (if a minority expresses this).
The comment to each group’s response post must begin with the following declaration: This comment has been prepared and written by PERSON A, PERSON B AND PERSON C after a consultation with the other group members. The comment that follows reflects the majority opinion of the group as it pertains to the requirements provided in the prompt AND includes the minority opinion of group members who did not agree with the majority opinion (if a minority expresses this).
Instructions for Students:
Comment on the response by considering the following:
What are the similarities and differences in your group’s response and the response of the group you are commenting on? What insights do you now have about the ways that seemingly reasonable, so-called well-intentioned people can subvert rights-based processes and legislation and make laws and regulations disappear? What connections can you now make about stressed embodiment and peoples’ relationships to the natural, interpersonal, built, and constructed world?
Learning Management System
Facilitation Tips/Course Example
This assignment was used in a course at Brock University, and the book under discussion was Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. The following describes the prompts and timelines used.
Prompts for Module 2
Respond to the following questions about Section One of Being Heumann:
Provide a brief background on Judith Heumann which includes historical, familial, medical, educational and career information. In your background summary include at least two examples of Heumann’s early activism. THEN explain the significance of the butterfly metaphor in Chapter 1 and describe what Heumann did to be considered insubordinate in Chapter 2.
Comment on your classmates’ response by considering the following:
What were the similarities and differences in your group’s response and the group you are commenting on? How do Heumann’s embodied experiences of discrimination prepare her for her future forays into activism? and what insights does this offer you about disability rights activism in general?
Prompts for Module 3
Write a response to the following questions about section two of Being Heumann:
The 26 days of protest prior to the signing of the U.S. enabling legislation for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 had numerous significant events. Select THREE events, describe them briefly, and explain what made each event you chose significant. Connect your events to at least TWO course concepts (two total, not two per event).
In your comment write about the following:
Compare your response to the group you commented on in terms of your similarities and differences. What have you learned from reading the other group’s response? What, if anything surprised or frustrated you in the other group’s response? If nothing surprised or frustrated you, what points of agreement do you feel most relieved about? What lingering ambiguities do you have about collective disabled experience and embodied activism?
Prompts for Module 4
Respond to the following questions about section three of Being Heumann:
In Section Three, Heumann describes her experiences within several U.S. breakthroughs regarding disability rights (eg, IDEA, Section 504, ADA and the signing (but not ratifying) the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities-UNCRPD). Throughout this section she provides important background on how alliances and processes unfold which both help and hinder progress on disability rights. On page 194 she claims that lack of exposure to and lack of knowledge about disabled people are two of the main impediments to progress. Compare the U.S. breakthroughs to similar Canadian breakthroughs (eg, Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1985; the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992; the AODA, 2005) and comment on the relevance of Heumann’s claims about lack of exposure and knowledge for the Canadian context.
Due dates for book response entries and comments
Module 2,3 & 4 weeks: RESPONSE entry by Tuesday; COMMENT by Saturday
Final Report and Analysis due at the end of the course. One submission per group, submitted as PDF.