Reading Commentaries

Most lectures have two associated readings that are closely related to the topic of that session. For each session of the class (we have two sessions per week), students are expected to read and submit a thoughtful commentary on the two assigned readings. In each session of the class where we have reading assignments, one (or more) students will lead a discussion (~30 minutes) on the two readings (~15 minutes each). The discussion lead is not expected to submit the reading commentaries for the session they are leading the discussion for. For other students, the deadline for submitting the commentaries of each class is at 7 p.m. the day before that session.

Expected Content of Commentaries

The submitted reading commentaries should include the following items:

  • Short summary (2-4 sentences) of the reading.
  • Two discussion prompts. Please see below for more information on what constitutes a good discussion prompt/question.

Discussion Prompts

An important part of the reading commentaries is the discussion prompts. Students are asked to write two discussion prompts per reading (four in total for each class) in their commentaries. These prompts can take a question or statement form. Regardless of how these prompts are formatted, they should demonstrate a deep understanding and critical thinking of the paper. The only requirement for the discussion prompts is that at least one of the prompts for each reading should be directly focused on the methodology of the reading. Below are a few questions that might be helpful to consider when designing the prompts:

  • What human-centered methods are used in this work and what are their limitations and strengths?
  • Are the used human-centered methods appropriate for the research objectives and how can they be improved?
  • Did the authors follow ethical human-centered research procedure when conducting this study?
  • What future research directions could be informed and inspired by the current study?

Grading of Commentaries

For each class, students will receive two grades, one for each reading commentary. The assigned grade for the submitted reading commentary will be one of the following:

  • Complete Plus: The commentary is detailed and the included prompts demonstrate a deep understanding of the intellectual content of the reading.
  • Complete: The commentary is sufficiently detailed and the included prompts demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the intellectual content of the reading.
  • Incomplete: The commentary either lacks the expected components or provides incorrect, incomplete, or shallow details about the reading.

The two lowest reading grades will be dropped. There is no deadline extension policy for reading assignments and they are expected to be submitted by 7 p.m. the day before the class. However, life is full of surprises, which requires flexibility. So if, for any reason, it becomes challenging to submit the assignments in time, students should reach out to the instructor to discuss possible accommodations. Students' health and happiness are the most important goals, so if there are any concerns about this class, the instructor is always available to chat.