EM SC 240N
Energy and Sustainability in Contemporary Culture

Lesson 9: Group Discussion of a Book



During the final week of Module 3, you will have a robust discussion with your fellow students on Yellowdig. Please make sure you are only engaging in the discussion about the book you chose to read

By now, you have read the book and had some time to reflect on how the information presented impacted your thinking (or not), in particular, the assumptions you had going into the book. Now, you will critically analyze the beliefs of other students in the course and, in turn, will have your belief(s) critiqued. I want you to keep two things in mind while having this discussion. These are absolutely essential, so please don't lose sight of them:

  1. The bulk, if not the entirety, of your analysis should be as evidence-based, defensible, logical, and as objective as possible. If you make an assertion, you need to provide at least a logical explanation, but, ideally, you will have verifiable facts to back it up. E.g., "Biodiversity is a serious problem" or "Humans are impacting biodiversity" are both weak arguments. You would need to provide data to back these statements up, and of course, keep in mind the quality of the information source. You can provide opinions, but you must clearly state that they are opinions, and realize that they do not carry as much weight as verifiable data.
  2. This is not a debate! This is an enlightened, informed conversation taking place between respectful individuals. If the dialog becomes disrespectful or combative, it may result in a loss of points (at best) for the assignment.

Remember that the context of this course is that we are investigating these artifacts in light of the ability of humans to live within the ecological limits of the planet! Do your best to stay within the framework of that theme.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • critically analyze assertions made regarding the subject matter of the book;
  • analyze the evolution of your own thinking with regards to key energy and sustainability issues related to the book.

Required Reading/Viewing

  • none

What is due this week and next week?

Lesson 10 Checklist
Requirement Submission Location
Lesson 9 Critical Analysis Yellowdig discussion Canvas - Modules tab > Lesson 9


If you have any general course questions or questions about this lesson's content, please post them to our HAVE A QUESTION? discussion forum located under the Modules tab. I will check that discussion forum regularly to respond as appropriate. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses and comments if you are able to help out a classmate. If you have a question but would like to remain anonymous to the other students, email me through Canvas Inbox.

If you have something related to the material that you'd like to share, feel free to post to the Coffee Shop forum, also under the Modules tab.