GEOG 432
Energy Policy

Lesson Activity Grading


Lessons 9-12:  Discussions: The Evolution of an Informed Opinion

Think of these as exploratory conversations. Each week, we’ll work together as our understanding of that week’s topic evolves. We’re going to share our first impressions of a topic without doing any extra research into the subject. Then, after we’ve had a chance to look into it a bit more, we’ll come back and discuss how that first impression evolved into a defensible position on the topic.  

In other words, you have three types of contributions to make:

  • Early in the week (Monday/Tuesday) - You’ll share your first impressions of the topic. As you read through your groupmates’ first impressions, you’ll start to form ideas about what you want to better understand about this topic.
  • Middle of the week (Wednesday/Thursday) - From there, you’ll dig into the reading assignment, course content, and any helpful external resources that help you answer those questions about what you want to learn.
  • End of the week (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) - After you’ve had a chance to learn more, you’ll share with us your now defensible position on the topic.

Expectations for Successful Contributions - While these requirements are not built into the rubric, failure to adhere to them could result in loss of points as described below. I’m working on the assumption that as students in a 400-level class, you are beyond capable of meeting these basic requirements:

  • Formatting and Mechanics:  posts should be edited and cited appropriately as needed. While a conversation has a decidedly more informal tone, please refrain from foul or offensive language, texting abbreviations, or the like. Egregious errors related to formatting and mechanics can carry up to a 20% penalty external to the content grading rubric below.

  • Timing:  these assignments are deliberately structured to allow you to participate throughout the week, and I require it.  Your first impressions should be shared on Monday/Tuesday, your areas of inquiry by Wednesday/Thursday, and your defensible position by Sunday night. Sustained conversation between groupmates throughout the entire week is key to earning full credit.  Even if your contributions themselves are stellar, failing to adhere to the timing structure could result in a loss of up to 50% of your grade.


  • Canvas > Modules > Lesson __ > Lesson __ Activity: Discussion
Lesson Activity: Discussion Rubric (Lessons 9-12)
Criteria (Standards) Total Possible Points (50)

First Impressions (What I know) - These initial contributions should be honest and exploratory. You’ll likely want to include ‘evidence’ of your first impressions. (Examples: I read an article in National Geographic about this a few years ago / My uncle works in this field / I’ve been following this issue closely in our local newspaper / Aside from seeing this discussion prompt, I’ve not really had any exposure to this topic). Your first impressions can be neither right nor wrong, but rather honest and complete. If you haven’t heard anything about the topic, speculate about what you think it might relate to. This is really your gut reaction.

To earn full credit, your earnest first impressions must be accompanied by discussion of similar/dissimilar first impressions with your groupmates.


Areas for Inquiry (What I want to know) - As you work through your first impressions, you’ll already be thinking about what you want to know about this topic to help you better understand it. Your discussion here should focus on at least several key variables of the topic which are at least moderately targeted. (Example: A properly developed area of inquiry would be “I want to understand how a change in the production tax credit would influence residential solar panel deployment” but a poorly developed area of inquiry would be something much more general like, “I want to understand how the economy influences solar energy.” Your areas of inquiry may also target specific details you hope the reading assignment will cover, “I hope the Bert and Ernie (2018) reading discusses how best to address the social cost of carbon in the products we purchase.”)

To earn full credit, your earnest first impressions must be accompanied by discussion of similar/dissimilar first impressions with your groupmates. Your responses should stimulate the conversation in some way (ask a good question or raise a new point to consider) You might even want to bring in an outside source material that speaks to the subject or connect it to material we’ve already covered in class.


My defensible position (What I learned) - These comments will come closer to the end of the week, after you’ve shared your first impressions, identified things you want to know more about, and had a chance to go through the lesson content. Successful contributions in this category include a discussion of whether or not your first impressions were confirmed or debunked by your research as well as thoughts on what surprised you the most and if there are other areas you’d like to address further.

To earn full credit, you must compare your defensible position to the ones developed by your groupmates. Did you come to similar conclusions or have you reached different conclusions researching similar topics? Make sure to demonstrate your critical thinking and support your comparison with literature in your post.


    The Lesson Activities are designed to not only assess your understanding of key course concepts, but also to keep you thinking about your Research Project. This semester, we'll employ three types of lesson activities sequentially.

    Lessons 1-4:  Automated Quizzes

    The first four lessons utilize automated quizzes in Canvas to test your comprehension of course content and reading assignments. These quizzes are timed, and I will reopen them for you to review your performance and see feedback for incorrect choices after everyone has completed each quiz. 

    Instructor expectations:

    • Take the quiz on time.
    • Take the quiz independently.
    • Take the quiz without utilizing the course website, your notes, or the reading assignments.

    Failure to adhere to these criteria is an academic integrity violation.


    • Canvas > Modules > Lesson __ > Lesson __ Activity: Quiz

    Lessons 5-8:  Written Assignments

    The middle portion of the course is where we dig into the details of policy process and apply that knowledge to real world energy/climate policy scenarios. The writing assignments here will provide you with the opportunity to express your position on complicated issues and will challenge you to support your claims with appropriate literature. Your written assignments will be graded both on the merit of the content as well as the quality of the writing. Think of these assignments as preparatory work for the Research Project submissions to come. 

    Instructor expectations:

    • Answer each question thoroughly and thoughtfully.
    • Follow all writing assignment formatting requirements.
      • Word Count: 400-500 words
      • Double spaced
      • APA citation style for parenthetical in-text references and Works Cited
      • Appropriate academic tone - no first person, no contractions, no overly conversational/informal language
    • Submit only the most polished and complete finished product.


    • Go to Canvas > Modules > Lesson __ > Lesson __ Activity: Writing Assignment
    • Click the Submit Assignment button.
    • To upload a file from your computer, click the Choose File button. When the file window appears, locate and click the name of the file. At the bottom of the window, click the Choose or Browse button (depending on your browser).
    • Click the Submit Assignment button.

      Grading Rubrics

      In this class, full credit is awarded to exceptional work. Earning 100% on a written assignment requires mastery of the content and effective and eloquent written communication. I strongly encourage you to review these rubrics before you submit work, using them to maximize your opportunity to tailor your assignment to specifically meet the grading criteria.

      Lesson Activity: Writing Assignment Rubric (Lessons 5-8)
      Criteria (Standards) Total Possible Points (50)

      Content (this section will be populated specifically in each rubric for Lessons 5-8 in Canvas based on that lesson's writing assignment)

      Completed the activity with exceptional thoroughness and careful relation to other concepts discussed in the course.


      Presentation of Content

      Assignment is well-written, edited, and properly cited.