11 Course Design

The importance of the guidelines is, in part, rooted in the lesson of the guidelines, so the way that they are introduced is impactful. Feel free to take or leave any parts of this outline to fit your class. Keep in mind during discussion that the two primary goals of the guidelines are to integrate a wider variety of perspectives into academic writing/research, and to connect students personally and actively to their work/subject matter. Try to make clear connections to specific course subject matter, and introduce the guidelines early on in the class calendar to provide time to find interviewees.


Reorient the classroom: if possible arrange desks in a discussion circle, or find a way for students to be able to see each other rather than only the instructor


Name the dynamic: It may help some students feel more comfortable participating to explicitly state that the goal of the discussion will be for students to learn from each other. The instructor will guide the discussion rather than lead it.


Begin the discussion by meeting students where they are. These questions should help students understand the value of expanding citation practices before learning how to implement them.

  1. What have you learned through your schooling about what gives a source value or makes it credible in academia?
  2. What is the purpose of citing, and what does formally citing a source say about that source?
  3. What is “truth”? Who determines what “the truth” is? Is it possible to have more than one truth?
  4. When writing research papers how much value do you think your personal experience has?
  5. If you have personal experience with a topic or know someone who does, how comfortable would you feel integrating that information into an assignment/project?
  6. Do you think scholarly standards limit the number or variety of voices which can be heard on X topic we are discussing in class?
  7. How do you think X topic could benefit from the voices of those who potentially lack formal or official credentials, but which might otherwise give their voices scholarly value?
  8. What hierarchies can you observe within citation practices?


Introduce the guidelines to the class. Read through the ‘How to’ section together and take time to show examples of appropriate and inappropriate use, ask students, and discuss: what distinguishes them?


Check in: Ask students about their interest in using, and initial reactions to the guidelines.


Get critical:dive into questions and criticisms (understanding potential problems is crucial to understanding proper use).

  • What problems could potentially arise from expanding citation?
  • How is information from non-traditional sources integrated into assignments?
  • How are non-traditional sources introduced and identified? Are they treated differently than peer-reviewed sources? Why or why not?


Talk about Positionality:

  1. Example: What potential problems might arise if a white student were to study abroad in S. Africa and write a paper discussing apartheid?
  2. If a white student did want to write about a study abroad trip to South Africa, how could they incorporate their own experience into a paper about aparthied that takes into consideration their own positionality?
  3. What questions can we ask ourselves in order to ensure we are staying critical of our position as researchers if we are discussing the experiences of a community that is not our own?
    1. How does my identity affect the way I experienced a situation or how an interviewee responds to my questions?
    2. How might my past experiences impact the way that I am interpreting a situation?
    3. Imagine a third person perspective, and question where you might be over-extrapolating/reading into things versus communicating the actual concrete words of your interviewee.
    4. STAY CRITICAL – and ask for second opinions
  4. If we are basing evidence off of our own experience how can we ensure that we are not over generalizing or speaking for an entire community based on individual or narrow experience?
    1. discuss the role of supporting data/evidence – personal citation is meant to enrich your argument, make the information personal and nuanced, but to complement other sources – this does not however mean that they have to agree with one another.


Review interview best practices sheet and consent forms



  1. Have students break into small groups (4-6 people)
  2. Brainstorm – get everybody on the same page-  What are some topics in which you could use your own experience or know of someone whom you could interview to enrich discussion of that topic? Write down an idea or a few then share with group.
  3. Each group shares one idea with the class – poll the other groups: Does this work?
  4. Each group chooses an idea to flesh out further:
    1. come up with a quote, real or made-up that could be used as evidence for your idea
    2. Write a single paragraph embedding the quote or the sentiment of the quote
    3. Properly cite the quote using the guidelines
  5. Groups can share their work with the class again for feedback

Summarize today’s lesson, ask the class for feedback, and ask if there are questions

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