DQ 4: Words are symbols, people give words meaning
This discussion forum highlights the interconnection between language, meaning, experience, and culture. Because we each come to interactions with different perceptions about the world, we will not perceive exactly the same meaning when we hear a word or phrase. Even among culturally similar individuals, meanings will differ. The maxim “meanings are in people” refers to the notion that words do not hold meaning; people hold meaning. Words are merely symbols.
This exercise asks you to reflect on the meaning of certain words and how those meanings might be different for people in other cultural groups. From the list below, select three words characterize what you think your selected terms mean by using each term in a complete, “illustrative” sentence. By “illustrative” I mean a definition that vividly illustrates or characterizes to your classmates what you think each of your selected term means. For example, as a parent of three teenagers, for the word “teenager” I might write: “Someone who doesn’t listen to their parents, doesn’t trust anyone over forty, and believes they are invincible.” Your response should be one full illustrative sentence for each of your three selected terms.
affirmative action democratic bigot gay preacher
heterosexuality feminist sexist communism capitalism
conservative liberal atheist patriot celebrity
Keep in mind for full credit, a thoughtful, original response to the weekly discussion questions posted is required. Original responses to the threaded discussion questions should be in the range of 1-2 paragraphs.
In addition, you are required to respond to the original postings of classmates through threaded discussion at least three times within each weekly unit, using at least two separate dates. At the end of the unit, you should have a total of four posts for full credit.
Tips for Meeting Online Discussion Requirements
One of our course requirements is to participate in weekly online discussions. This aspect of the course allows us to continue our class discussion to the online arena. To meet this weekly requirement, posts must be “meaningful” reactions to the threaded discussions are required for full credit. To determine the quality of your posts, I have provided a few questions to take into consideration:
Does the posting contribute to the overall discussion thread that is being developed?
Does the posting add value to the discussion, or is it simply a response to fill a square?
Does the posting expand on the main theme (in the discussion question, assignment posting, or weekly summary)?
Your posts should meet at least one of the above criteria to be considered meaningful.
Below are some additional ideas for possible contributions you can make to these posts:
Share a related experience.
Comment on others’ experiences.
Ask other students questions about their ideas/experiences.
Consider an idea being discussed, and offer a different perspective on it.
Describe an interesting idea from the week’s reading, and explain what insights you gained from it.
Ask the group a question about the week’s reading if you would like more information.
Disagree (respectfully, of course) with a point that someone else has made.
Discuss a related work issue on which you would like some feedback.
Describe how you have applied the recent course concepts to your personal/professional life.
Share another resource you have used as you explored the course topics.