Written Assignment Details

Consult the Course Calendar for Due Dates/Times.  Consult the Grading and Academic Integrity Page for point values.

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Personal Statement

Confidential submission to professor:

In one to three single-spaced pages, write a statement telling me about yourself, your interests, your background, and your areas of expertise.  Describe your initial understanding of and reaction to the following topics, which will be foci of the class:

– strengthening the city’s infrastructure to adapt to the effects of climate change

– disposing of urban garbage by treating it as fuel to be turned into energy

– conceiving of the future (not just your own future, but also the future of the world)

Tell me what you think about the class as you understand it so far.  Is there anything else you want me to know at this point?  Then discuss your expectations for this course.  Let me know if you have any concerns about workload or other matters.  Let me know what, after reviewing the syllabus, you might like added to what we cover, and tell me how you can contribute in this regard. How can I help you enjoy and do well in this class?

Optional: Public Posting

Using some, all, or none of the information you submitted to me, post information about yourself  in the “Personal Statement”category.

Memo 1:  Propose your topic

A memorandum (or memo) is a brief, to the point form of communication that consists of a header that specifies the following pieces of information:

Re: (stands for “Regarding”)

The memo then goes on to succintly make a point in businesslike language of one, two or three paragraphs.  Unlike other pieces of writing, it needs no introduction or conclusion, nor does it need to contain any pleasantries like “dear” or “sincerely”.

In this memo, explain to me what your topic will be, and specify a research question that you will be answering, following the guidelines described on the “Expectations and Assignment Overview” page.

If your topic is about a policy or program, make it clear what the problem is that your policy or program is supposed to solve. If it is about an intellectual tradition, explain how that is relevant to the topic.  Make sure you are very specific, and err on the side of making your topic more narrow as opposed to broad and wide.  Explain to me where you plan to get information for your research, and whether  you anticipate any obstacles to your research.   Let me know if you have any questions for me.

If you want to do a group project.  Choose one person as the communication coordinator.  That person will be responsible for communicating with me via email and posting for the group. Email me ahead of time to let me know you are planning to do this, and copy the others with whom you will be working.  You do NOT need to choose others from your numbered assigned groups.  You can create a new, ad-hoc group.

How to submit your memo:   Write your memo in the body of a new post and assign it to the “Proposals” Category.  Consult the Course Calendar for Due Date and Time.

Memo 2:  100 Year Timeline

Historical background on any issue is essential to understanding contemporary phenomenon.  In at least three pages, outline the key events going back roughly 100 years for your topic, citing reference at the end (not counted in the three page minimum).   Organize the timeline as follows.

1905       Text describing important event occurring this year (Author YYYY).

Note:  Your ITF, Ben Miller, will work with you to explain researching a timeline.  We will integrate the results of various timelines into one or more overall timelines using Verite timeline software.

Memo 3: Annotated Bibliography

Y0ur annotated bibliography is due by 10:30 April 15th. Submit it as a post on the Annotated Bibliography section of the website.

Guidance on Assembling an Annotated Bibliography

1. The goal of the assignment is to demonstrate to me that you are doing thorough, original research that is relevant to your research question, and informs the point you want to make in your presentation. This will ultimately help you in the long run

2. Do not over-rely on general webpages for information. Academic journals published online, government reports, nonprofit organization reports posted online are different than general webpages with unreviewed information posted. (for an example of such a general webpage, see e.g. http://inventors.about.com/od/estartinventions/a/History-Of-Electric-Vehicles.htm). It is fine to get your research off the ground with such sites, but remember, no one is checking this information. Get facts from reputable, published sources.

3. Cite properly. Use the quick reference page from the Chicago Manual of Style. Note that online journals and reports are cited differently in citations than simple websites. Note also that I do not require a DOI number, URL or access date for a book or academic article that you have accessed online instead of in print. I do require a URL and access date for a website or other purely online source. Let me know if you have questions.

4. Recommendation: At least once, go to the library and look at some actual, full length, printed books on your subject. Even flipping through them will give you a deeper and better perspective on your subject. The Baruch Library is good. The New York Public Library Schwartzman Center, NYPL Science, Industry and Business Library, and Brooklyn Public Library Main Branch are works of art.

4. Here is information to include in your annotated bibliography (thank you to Ben for compiling). Include:

  1. A full citation of the source, in a Chicago style of your choice (see above):
    • This should be easy if you’re using Zotero: right-click the source in your library and choose “generate bibliography from selected item.”
  2. A concise, selective summary of the source
    • by concise, I mean 150-350 words
    • by selective, I mean written with a particular use in mind — e.g. summarizing a particular argument the source makes that you wish to agree or disagree with, or summarizing a particular exhibit within the source that you wish to analyze.
  3. A concise yet detailed rationale for why and how you intend to use the source
    • this should relate to the selection made for the summary, and either make it explicit or begin doing the work of (dis)agreeing or analysis.
    • by concise, I again mean 150-350 words
    • by detailed, I mean to avoid single-sentence rationales, such as “I want to quote the statistics here.” Why are those statistics valuable? What will you do with them once they’re shown? Don’t assume that any mere data speaks for itself, or says the same thing to every audience; use the rationale to begin writing the follow-up paragraph.

There are many online resources and examples for you to consult, e.g. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/ and http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/02/ from Purdue, or http://www.lib.umd.edu/ues/guides/annotated-bibliography from the University of Maryland.

4. Share information with your colleagues. There is a great deal of overlap among your topics. This is not a competition. Share information, ideas, divide up approaches, run things by me and each other.

5. Use assigned readings from the class, and try to make interesting connections between them and your topic. I want you to incorporate our readings into your presentations and research.

6. Do your research and compile your annotated bibliography with your final presentation/paper in mind. In both deliverables, you will need to make a strong, clear, original point that is relevant in some way to Shaping the Future of NYC in an era of climate change. The relevance can be constructed in various ways. Again, if you are unsure, speak up!

7. In response to student concerns, I have reduced the page requirement for the final paper to a minimum of five single space pages. Make them mean something!

Present Your Research

You will create a compelling, visually stunning 10 minute powerpoint presentation that makes an important point drawn from your research. Further details will be provided.

Write Up Your Research

You will synthesize all that you have learned in a research paper that is a minimum of five pages singles spaced, excluding title page and references.