ENGL 299/HUM 299/PSYC 298 is an optional 2-credit class that students can take in conjunction with the 10-credit “Sex Sells” Coordinated Studies class. This 2-credit class requires approximately 40 total hours of work in addition to the work for our Coordinated Studies course. The grade for the Independent Study course will be separate from the grade given in the Coordinated Studies classes, since it’s possible to do quite well in the Coordinated Studies class but not fulfill the requirements for the Independent Studies credit (and vice versa). Independent Study is a student-driven course with some instructor oversight, but you are entirely responsible for your own learning and work. Below are the steps you need to complete for you to earn the 2-credits of Independent Study:
Choose a Topic: Select a very specific aspect of gender/media that you’re especially interested in and would like to focus on. This topic could be literally anything related to gender and media: the way CNN delivers the news, the way Calvin Klein sells underwear, the way Barbie dolls are marketed to young girls, the way commentators work a televised football game, the way online dating sites are set up, etc. These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. You need to consider what you’re interested in and want to understand better.
Checkpoint: Meet with JC or Melissa to refine your topic by the end of Week 3.
Research and Read: Once you’ve selected a topic to focus on, do as much reading as you can on the topic. Using Library and internet resources, find information that gives you some insight on the topic and helps you to understand what others have already said about it. For help doing your research, contact Aryana Bates (Aryana.firstname.lastname@example.org) Aryana is a Librarian specializing in the Social Sciences in the NSC Library.
Checkpoint: Meet with Aryana by the end of Week 4 and do the background reading necessary by the end of Week 5.
Develop a Thesis: Think carefully about your topic and your research and develop an interpretive thesis/claim that adds a new perspective on the topic. You’re not just going to be compiling what others have said about it, but instead you’ll be adding your own ideas to the mix. Think of the kind of evidence you'll need to support your interpretations.
Checkpoint: Meet with JC or Melissa to refine your thesis by the end of Week 6.
Do more research: Using your thesis to guide you, and using Library resources, find at least 5-7 sources that can be used to substantiate your thesis. The articles you choose should interpret and analyze using a using a media, gender, or cultural studies approach. As you find appropriate articles/research, make sure you keep a record of the bibliographic information. You'll need scholarly research, which is likely going to be acquired through the databases in the NSC library.
Checkpoint: Meet with Aryana and do the additional research you need for your paper by the end of Week 8.
Outline: Now that you have your research complete, write an outline of your paper. Put your thesis at the top and then decide how you're going to make your points (in what order) and what research you're going to incorporate where (to substantiate your points).
Checkpoint: Meet with JC or Melissa to review your outline by the end of Week 9.
Draft: Once you have your outline/plan, begin drafting your (thesis-driven) interpretive paper. Incorporate your research to substantial your claims. This analytical paper should not simply be a summary of your research, but instead you should have your own perspective that you use your scholarly sources to provide evidence for. This paper should be written in MLA format with all of your sources properly cited. For information on how to craft a paper in MLA format, go to: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ (click on “Research and Citation” and look for the MLA information). Aim for a paper at least 8-10 pages long (plus the Works Cited page and not including any graphics you use).
Checkpoint: Meet with JC or Melissa to review your draft by the end of Week 10.
Final Due: The final draft is due on Tuesday of Week 10 at 10:00 a.m. No late papers will be accepted.
Grading Criteria: Your grade will be determined based on how thoroughly, completely and competently you:
Followed the steps outlined above (meaning whether or not you have followed instructions and met all of the checkpoints on time).
Wrote a 8-10 page paper in MLA format which includes a Works Cited page with 5-7 scholarly sources.
Crafted an analytical, unique, focused, and persuasive thesis that adds a new interpretation to the gender/media topic you chose.
Defended the thesis; Incorporated, integrated, and documented research as evidence to support the thesis.
Demonstrated an ability to write in an academic style/tone. The essay included a title, introduction, conclusion, cogent organization, and clear transitions.
Edited writing carefully (writing is grammatically and syntactically correct with no spelling or usage errors).