There will be two graded discussions each week on topics addressed in the readings. The first initial post to the discussion must be completed by Wednesday night; the other two responses must be completed by Sunday night (except in Week 8, when all work is due by Saturday).
The initial post to the second discussion must be completed by Friday night, and the two responses (minimum; more are always welcome to any discussion) must be completed by Sunday night.
A minimum of six (6) substantive posts per week is expected.
Your initial response to each discussion question or prompt should be a full paragraph in length (8-10 sentences) and demonstrate your familiarity with and thoughtful analysis of the readings.
In addition, you are expected to respond to at least 2 classmates in each discussion by the deadlines. Responses should be substantive posts that advance the discussion. Reflect the strengths of their comments and/or challenge them when you disagree (politely, of course). Pose questions that will engage your classmates in further discussion.
You do not have to have significant citation for use in your posts, in fact, I urge you to present your own opinions and responses, rather than someone else’s (you can’t have your own facts, though). Do not post lengthy quotes from your text or other sources without a really good reason for doing so.
You will write two (2) shorter papers, and one longer research paper for the course. The shorter papers are due at the end of Week 3 and Week 5, and should be a minimum of 800 words in the body. These papers will involve your understanding and analysis of a case covered in our readings.
Papers 1 and 2: For Paper 1, choose one case discussed in Chapters 1, 2, 7, 8, or 9 (material from weeks 1-2). For Paper 2, you will choose any case from Chapters 3, 6, 10-15, 17, 19, or 24 (material from weeks 3-5).
You must look up the full case either online or in an official reporter and give the full and correct citation for it, and follow it with the page in our text on which it is found. Identify and list the relevant facts of the case, the issue presented, and the applicable law; and then, discuss the court’s ruling. Keep your facts focused on only the relevant ones, and carefully elicit the crucial issue of the case; thinking about why this case is included in our book and its significance.
Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the decision, but most importantly, why, not just what Pozgar states. Cite your text and other sources (including cases, if appropriate) that support or contradict the court’s decision. Identify key facts determinative to the court’s decision. Then, discuss your case; include evidence of critical thinking.
Your analysis can take many forms, but one approach might be to describe a different fact pattern that might lead to a different outcome. For example, if the court found one party to be liable, list the facts or issue that would have changed the case. Or, perhaps the court used a law that is no longer applicable, or the decision is very narrowly made on a very peculiar set of facts and or law.
Make an attempt to choose a case to analyze that both interests you, does not seem clear-cut, or that at least poses some challenges in its analysis.
The longer research paper is due at the end of Week 7 and should be a minimum of 2000 words. This paper will discuss a minimum of four (4) related court decisions, either from our text, or reported elsewhere (check with me when you propose your topic if you want to use other cases). You will compare and contrast the facts, issues, and holdings of these cases, identifying both the similarities and differences. “Related” refers to cases with the same general subject matter, such as cases regarding birth control, cases dealing with end-of-life issues, or cases regarding employer-employee law. Refer to the analysis examples for Papers 1 and 2.
You can find a rubric for the research paper in the Content section of this course. The paper will be graded on your demonstrated grasp of the basic subject matter, critical thinking, and analysis, supported by existing research and logical thought. The paper should use The Blue Book, A Uniform System of Citation (www.legalbluebook.com) format for citations, and include materials from credible and authoritative sources, such as those found at the Columbia College Stafford Library and reported court decisions. Some citing of other news sources such as newspapers, magazine articles is acceptable; however, the bulk of your research should include current authoritative sources from acceptable authorities on your chosen subject and current data.
All three of these papers will be posted and shared with your classmates and discussion will be encouraged.
You will have a quiz each week to test your understanding of the readings for the course. Quizzes will include 15 multiple-choice questions and include a short answer question requiring about a 5-sentence minimum response. You will have 50 minutes to complete each quiz.
This course does not allow you to submit work that has been previously submitted for any other course, or, that has been submitted for any other assignment earlier in the course.