Most of these posts are reading responses. A strong post demonstrates that you understand the arguments being made in the article (or other media) and how the media theory presented can be useful in understanding, explaining, or critiquing media.
When I evaluate reading responses, I am primarily examining three distinct criteria, with each criteria being a third of the grade. While I do not have a distinct category for grammar or syntax, please keep in mind that these do factor into clear communication. If I or others cannot interpret your writing, then you have not succeeded in effectively communicating about the material.
The three criteria are as follows:
Accuracy: This criteria looks to how effectively and accurately the student summarized the arguments made in the article. Since students have a limited amount of words, they should strive to succinctly explain the key points of the article, its reasoning, and its evidence. Focus on the relevant and most important points the author made, the most convincing (or non-convincing) evidence, and the most salient logic (or logical flaws).
Argument: This criteria looks at how well the student makes a convincing case. Each reading response should be framed around making your own argument about the piece. For instance, a student might argue that an author’s argument only applies to a particular genre, or that the author’s piece misses an important technological discovery. Similarly, the response could also focus on applying the theory discussed to a particular film or video game and show its utility. Either way, the student is tasked with effectively creating a convincing case, using evidence effectively, and demonstrating a logical thought process.
Synthesis: This criteria examines how effectively the reading response organizes both the argument the student is making and the summary they present on the material. Think of this category as how well the student presents a complete picture–did the puzzle pieces fit together effectively, or are the pieces of the argument strewn about haphazardly. Strong reading responses are able to present coherent, well organized arguments that are clearly understood.
If students find themselves struggling, they might look over at the following two websites:
- Ehow: This source has a good overview of the process of writing and what to do as you read the article assigned. http://www.ehow.com/how_8170630_write-article-evaluationreaction-paper.html
- LEO Writing a Response Paper: This source has a good set of tips for organizing your response papers. It suggests using language that is a bit overly personal, so be wary how you approach this in your writing. Often, sentences that start with “I feel” or “I think” is often redundant. We know you think/feel that way, because you are writing it. The rest of the tips are pretty effective. http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/reaction.html