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WR 13300 / McLaughlin / Spring 2017

Discussion Facilitation
(20 points)
To explore some threads of our course theme more deeply, and to engage topics that you may
wish to examine in the research paper and video projects later this term, you will be
responsible for facilitating a 20-minute discussion on a topic of your choice that relates to our
course theme. Groups of 2-4 people will sign up to lead the discussion.


Possible topics to choose from (you may also suggest other topics to me for approval):

Happiness (or related concepts) and its argued connection (or lack thereof) to.
money/material wealth/poverty
advertising/consumer culture
technology/social media
minimalism/de-cluttering movements

Dates for in-class facilitation (one group per day; plan for a facilitation of about 20 minutes):

Tuesday, 2/21
Thursday, 2/23
Tuesday, 2/28
Thursday, 3/2
Tuesday, 3/7

Once you decide on the topic and day you wish to present, I will be in touch with your group to
plan the reading(s) you would like to facilitate. I will suggest some readings your group may
consider assigning the class, but ultimately the choice of reading (which should be around 10-
15 pages) is up to you. The reading should be from a credible source (some options include
academic articles, book chapters from experts on the topic, in-depth newspaper pieces, official
reports from reputable organizations, and so on); the readings should be oriented toward our
academic exploration of the subjectin other words, you should be attuned to drawing out the
key claims, reasoning, evidence, audiences, context, and counterclaims underscoring the topic.
WR 13300 / McLaughlin / Spring 2017

Once your group has selected the reading(s), I will add it to the course homework schedule.
Thus, you should let me know your choice at least 4 days in advance of your facilitation, to give
your peers enough lead time to read the text (and to give me enough lead time to add any
resources to Sakai, if necessary).

You should plan to facilitate discussion for approximately 20 minutes. Your role as a facilitator
is not necessarily to dominate the discussion; rather, your goal is to keep the discussion moving
in a productive direction, encouraging meaningful participation from the class. How you
choose to structure the time is up to you, so long as your facilitation includes the following:

1) Thoughtful, open-ended questions about the reading that encourage both

comprehension and analysis from the class. You may choose to write these questions on
the board, ask them informally in class, or share them in advance.

2) Attention to the argument(s) or points of disagreement surrounding the topic. The goal
here is not simply to report or assume that what we read is the correct response;
rather, your group should give our class a sense of how the topic fits into the larger
debate about happiness, its definitions, its origins, its measurement, its relevant
contexts, and the extent to which it can be increased by specific behaviors.

3) An example or hands-on activity that your group feels may prompt discussion or
deepen understanding of the content

4) Inclusion of as many students in the discussion as possible (this may at times involve
asking students to elaborate, referring back to earlier comments, inviting quieter
participants to share responses, offering counter perspectives, etc)

5) A short, 1-page written assessment of the facilitation process, including how your group
worked together, the responsibilities you had within the group, and your overall sense
for how the facilitation went (this self-assessment will be submitted independently in
Sakai within 2 days of the completion of your facilitation and will not be shared with
your group members).

Note: regular participation standards apply for the days you are not facilitating. This means
that active participation, preparedness for class, and thoughtful discussion of the assigned
reading are required. Failure to do so will negatively impact your participation score.

You must sign up for your DATE and TOPIC for facilitation no later than Friday, February 17,
at noon. At that point, I will begin working with groups to plan readings. Please sign up using
the appropriate web form:

11:00am class:

12:30pm class:
WR 13300 / McLaughlin / Spring 2017