My “Introduction to Business” Assignment Instructions

Likely, only college instructors might be interested in wading through my assignment instructions. Business, Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities prophessors, especially non-Progressive ones, will feel emboldened to provoke rational thinking from students, even in the Woke and illiberal atmosphere of today’s campus.

Assignment Instructions (weekly posts, debate project, peer-editing, group topical presentations)

Discussion Board Posts/Replies

Required Post/Reply/Links outline instructions:

I. Explanation of a section of interest (from the textbook or from a closely related scholarly article). For greater depth, use primary sources—perhaps those our textbook suggests.

II. Defend or criticize the argument explained above. (Sections I and II amount to at least 400 words total.)

III. Related scholarly article link perhaps from the GRCC library.

IV. Related video or audio link (with captioning, ideally; appropriate and in good taste, from 5-10 minutes. Write the minute markers we’re to watch/listen from.).

These are graded for completion–almost as pass/fail; if the conventions, directions, and rigor are acceptable, showing good-faith effort, you’ll receive an A. This bolsters confidence in your academic freedom—no need to fear me or your peers!

Cut and paste this outline into your document:

I. Explanation of a section of interest

II. Defend or criticize the argument explained above.

III. Related scholarly article link

IV. Related video or audio link.

Debate Outline for Group/Individual Project

Find your group’s topic in the Assignment Calendar. Choose a topic of interest to you, from that week’s chapter, to write on. 

Follow the outline given below.

See My Groups, at the top-left window of our Bb, to find your group members; there, you’ll find your group’s email, Discussion Board, and other tools. Communicate with each other on this GROUP project, even if you choose to write it individually–don’t be shy. Some groups choose to form a Google Doc or maybe to give their phone numbers. 

This outline makes learning to write logically, and from various viewpoints, much easier, like “filling in the blanks”.

Include a works cited page, and a title page with each group member’s name (if you write one project as a group).  Don’t included the title page or works cited page in the page count.

The project must be topical and persuasive, not interpretive or research, at least twelve pages long (assuming at least three group members), using a standard 12-point font and standard margins and spacing. (Page length may vary, depending on group size.) For non-group, individual projects, the project must be at least 4 full pages.

Don’t use quotations. Students too often fall into the trap of just stringing them together or over-relying on someone else’s thinking.

You’ll hopefully proof-read each other’s papers, within your own group, before submitting them, using the rubric below. Peer-editing within your group, before submitting your project(s), is not the same as the peer-editing assignment you submit for a grade; in that peer-editing submission, you’re editing a different group’s project(s).

Your group will peer-edit the group you were assigned to edit, for a grade; normally, group 5 edits group 1, G1 edits G2, G2 edits G3…. You’ll find the project to be edited in DB; after editing, you’ll submit it back to that same DB (and to SA). See the Peer-Editing instructions, below.

Page length indications below are approximate, assuming your group has at least three members.

Audio record your reading of your project. Use SnagIt, Audacity, YouTube, Podcast, or another recording tool. Perhaps you’ll choose to upload your recording to your college Google Drive. The audio serves as your presentation and adds interest for your readers.  In class, we can listen to your recording, with you pausing it periodically for class discussion.

Keep yourself and your peers on task, in your groups. While socializing sometimes adds levity, student tuition is paid to learn and develop; productively functioning groups provide a good return on that investment. Respectfully and honestly challenge one another’s positions, assumptions, definitions, textual interpretations, alleged facts, and arguments; this approach, in the spirit of academic freedom, engages and enhances one another.

As a group, decide between these three options. Whichever option your group chooses–each member is a part of a group that is to work together, at least by discussing and editing each other’s writing.

Option I

Write collaboratively, however your group decides to divide up the work. Perhaps those favoring the thesis choose to write sections I or III, while those opposed to it write section II. Perhaps one person researches to find the two articles and does the audio/video recording. If you have at least three members, it needs to be at least 12 pages long (8 pages if only two members).

Option II

Share one thesis and two scholarly articles (one for and one against the thesis), but each member writes their own four-page project. Each member submits to DB. Of course, you’ll read, discuss, and edit each other’s writing.

Option III

Each member may have their own thesis and research articles, writing their own four-page projects–but do work as a group, at least in discussing and editing your writing with group members. 

Outline with Instructions

Link to audio or video presentation (using SnagIt screencast, YouTube channel, MP3 with Audacity, your Podcast channel…)

Introduction (under a page)

                A. State a narrowly defined, plausible, and creative thesis in ONE sentence. wwww  (These w’s indicate that you begin writing here; if no wwww appears, that’s only a heading—you don’t write there. )

                B. Define your terms (ones you shouldn’t expect an average reader to know or ones you’re using in a certain sense, in dictionary format. wwww

                C. State your philosophical assumption(s) (not facts or trivia OR your thesis). These assumptions are statements that must be true, for your argument to be sound, but which lie outside the scope of your paper. Write this section last. You might need my help with this.  Wwww

I. Defend your thesis (sections I and II should each be over four pages—over eight pages total)

A Defenses of authors from a primary text (not our textbook) 

Argument 1  wwww

(Perhaps your paper has only one argument in a section, or maybe four. I use three arguments here simply as reference.)

Argument 2  wwww

Argument 3  wwww 

B Your own defenses

Argument 1  wwww

Argument 2  wwww

Argument 3  wwww (again, perhaps you have only one argument, perhaps four)

C Video Link (from 5-15 minutes, indicating minute markers)

II. Criticize your thesis

A Criticisms from  primary source

Argument 1  wwww

Argument 2  wwww

Argument 3  wwww (perhaps you have only one good argument, perhaps four)

B Your own criticisms

Argument 1  wwww

Argument 2  wwww

Argument 3  wwww (perhaps you have only one good argument, perhaps four)

C Video Link (from 5-15 minutes, indicating minute markers)

III. Disarming Section II A and B (about three pages.) Explain, in order, why each argument against your thesis isn’t sound.

A –                          Disarming 1  wwww 

Disarming 2  wwww

Disarming 3  wwww  (perhaps you have only one good argument, perhaps four)

B –

Disarming 1  wwww

Disarming 2  wwww

Disarming 3  wwww  (perhaps you have only one good argument, perhaps four)

C – Some members might wish to write a paragraph or two reflecting on their related intuitions, sentiments, or spirituality. This section B. isn’t required and isn’t included in the total page count.

Peer Editing

See the Assignment Calendar for due dates.

All assignments, weekly posts, projects (but not Journals), are peer-edited. Peer-edits all are graded; they’re submitted as a Reply on DB AND to SA in Assignments.

For group projects, it’s up to your group how you want to do the peer-edit project for the group you were assigned to edit. Your group could collaboratively do one edit, by all members contributing to a Google Doc. Otherwise, each of you could do your own edit, submitting individually to DB as a Reply and to SA in Assignments.

Peer Editing Rubric

Editing in three steps

I

First, peer-edit by Highlighting. This quickly and generally identifies potential problem areas. Use these four colors, each representing an aspect of the grading rubric.

Blue: Content (rigor or accuracy)    <B….> (Placing the color letter in carrots assists the color-blind.)

Red: Writing Mechanics    <R….>

Yellow: Writing Style    <Y….>

Green: Following Directions    <G….>

II

Second, peer-edit with this rubric:

Each category is assigned 0-4 points. With three main categories, 12 points (A+) are possible.

I. Conventions

a. Style (e.g., clarity, tone, simplicity, appearance, little passive voice, and personal pronoun)

b. Grammar (e.g., punctuation, spelling, well defined sentences and paragraphs)

II. Directions (given in Assignment Instructions)

III. Rigor

a. Focus (e.g. doesn’t restate points or wander, narrow thesis or topic)

b. Support (e.g. factual, logical, relevant, fair, and plausible)

c. Level and Accuracy of Understanding

d. Does it pass a plagiarism check? Y/N

Four points are assigned to each of three categories, for 12 points (12 = A, 9 = B, 6=C…).

Points for I: _  Points for II: _  Points for III: _

III

Add at least a few brief comments, perhaps explaining a highlight you made or questioning an assumption or alleged fact.

Ten Journal Entry Topics

1. Business as a calling. 

2.

Choose one of these topics. Define the terms and give your opinion on how far reaching its effect is on business today. 

– Crony Capitalism (“Crapitalism”), Private-Public Partnerships (big business working closely with government), and Fascism.

– Surveillance Capitalism and Technocracy.

3.

Given the paucity of accurate and fair reportage and analysis, suggest to your peers alternative sources of quality information (web sites, video channels, podcasts, and news sites).  Explain how your sources fill a needed information gap.     

4.

Journal Topic #4: 

Write a paragraph or so on your Journal.  

Journals aren’t due until Week 14–but you don’t want them to pile up on you. 

How should government and business interact for the general public interest, considering all relevant factors? Too often, each government agency and business focus exclusively on their specific interests, to the exclusion of other relevant factors. 

Here’s a recent study by Johns Hopkins economists to consider. This example also shows the need for checking a variety of information sources. 

https://www.detroitnews.us/2022/02/05/johns-hopkins-study-reignites-covid-lockdown-debate/

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/johns-hopkins-analysis-lockdowns-should-be-rejected-out-of-hand/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10474269/Mainstream-news-outlets-IGNORE-Johns-Hopkins-study-COVID-lockdowns-reduced-deaths-0-2.html

5.

Where do you hope to be, professionally, in ten years? How do you plan to get there (degrees, certifications, networking, professional memberships, savings…)?

6. 

Comment on any aspect of this topic that interests you. Refer to another article on this topic, if you like: 

“Collective Strength” 10 nations meet.

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/exclusive-imf-10-countries-simulate-cyber-attack-on-global-financial-system

7.

In what ways might Big Business be attempting to fill the personal needs of their employees (emotional, family, religious, intimacy…)? 

8. 

Comment on any aspect of this topic that interests you. Refer to another article on this topic, if you like:  

“Working Together, Restoring Trust” (World Economic Forum)  https://www.weforum.org/press/2021/09/world-economic-forum-plans-2022-annual-meeting-in-davos-klosters-c77de6b5fb/

9. 

On what ground or authority can we establish “professionalism” and ethics codes (e.g., regarding dress, speech, manners, deportment…), especially given that America is deeply and widely divided? How will you maintain a peaceful, cohesive work environment, given stark differences in cultures and deeply critical analyses of foundational documents and institutions?

10. 

What topic covered by our textbook helped or inspired you most? Explain.

Topics to consider, in conjunction with issues raised in our textbook, to help form your Extra Credit or G/I Project thesis

 

Group I

Forming a Business Ethics thesis from these general topical areas won’t be difficult; motivation for writing on them, given their current and critical nature, should be strong.

– The Fourth Revolution, A.I. Policing, Technocracy, Universal Basic Income

– Agenda 21 and 2030, The Great Reset, Sustainability, Building Back Better, Oligarchy

– Slavery Today, Sex Trafficking, Normalizing Pedophilia and Pederasty

– Hate Crime and Religious Liberty, Chinese Social-Credit Scoring, The Truth Commission of Robert Reich, Cancel Culture and Wokeness

– Propaganda and Indoctrination in American Institutions

– Speech codes, hate speech, micro-aggression, Gramscian Marxism

– Civil Disobedience (recent public violence and destruction), Civil War, Cessation

     The recent founders of influential organizations and their ideologies and religious practices

– The 1619 Project vs. The 1776 Commission

     Critical Race Theory, Equity

– Online Balkanization, e.g.:

~ CNN, MSNBC, ABC, PBS… vs. OANN, Newsmax, NTD, Epoch Times…

~ Signal Messenger vs. WhatsApp Messenger

~ Parlor or Minds vs Twitter or Instagram

~ Rumble or BitChute vs. YouTube

~ Facebook vs. MeWe

~ iPhone or Android phone vs. Pine64 Pinephone or a De-Googled phone

~ Protonmail vs. GMail

~ Brave or Firefox Focus vs. Chrome or Edge

~ DuckDuckGo Search vs. Google Search

Group II

Considerations before purchasing, accepting advice for acting, or adopting an intellectual position. (Just for interest.)

Does it involve a need or a desire? Perhaps there is not sufficient incentive for making the purchase (for acting or for changing one’s mind).

Does it match its advertising? Is it what it claims to be?

Does it have a long record of success? Why commit to something that doesn’t?

Does it have many good, qualified, and reputable reviews?

Are authoritative sources of information available? Are those sources free from conflicts of interest? While the salesperson’s information might be sound, given their financial interest, it’s prudent to double-check it. “Follow the money.”

Has it been rigorously tested for an adequate period of time, perhaps being approved or licensed by all relevant agencies?

Have studies/tests/arguments against it been fairly and openly evaluated, with counter-points rationally overcome, or has counter-evidence been suppressed (blacklisting, digital book burning, de-platforming, intimidation)?

Do (or would) those advocating for it trust it themselves?

Is irrational persuasion used, through informal logical fallacies? E.g., Appeal to the People (everyone’s doing it), Appeal to Force (agree or I’ll call you names and get you fired), Appeal to Pity (given his plight, what he says must be true), False Authority (the physicist says this medical treatment is sound, so it must be), Slippery Slope (if you do x, y will happen, then, heaven forbid, z will happen–but unlikely)….

Is one being unduly pressured to act quickly? Some decisions must be made soon; is there good reason for believing this is one of them?

What is the likelihood of future positive or adverse consequences occurring to one’s self or to others? Does it set a bad precedent or lead to future unethical behavior? Do its advantages offset its disadvantages, risks, or cost?

Was it created unethically? Perhaps I should choose not to purchase a product from a business I know treats its animals or workers inhumanely (over crowded dens or slavery) , or that created or derived it unethically (harvesting organs from prisoners).

Group III

What ideas, events, movements, or person(s) is one (or was one) not to question?

    Which of these is one, in polite society, expected to agree with and praise?

        Who or what makes this so?

What methods of persuasion or propaganda are being (or have been) employed by various institutions, groups, or individuals, to shape your thinking or behavior?

Is it immoral to question authority?

To what degree is one programmed, determined, by one’s philosophy/ethics?

Do you want to be intellectually and verbally free, understanding topics from alternative worldviews and studies, or would you rather go along to get along?

What strategies might one employ for discovering diverse viewpoints, for developing one’s philosophy/ethics?

Given the power and pervasiveness of political correctness and cancel culture in today’s society, will you defend minority viewpoints or question establishment agendas, slogans, and talking-points?

Define these terms: conspiracy, theory, conspiracy theory.

Do people form conspiracies? Explain.

Is it ever advantageous to try to anticipate the actions of others?

Who might want to prevent one from understanding a conspiracy? Why?

Does answering these questions help or hinder one in freeing one’s mind from deception and manipulation?

Group IV

Subjectivity and our reasoning

Critical thinking, essential to Business, focuses on clarifying one’s terms, validly and soundly forming deductive and inductive arguments, factual correctness, and accurately interpreting quality sources. Subjective factors, though, color our beliefs and affect how we weigh evidence; this phenomena is extreme, but real: https://www.ua-magazine.com/mass-psychogenic-illness-hysteria/

Trigger Warning: My pedagogy is ordered for giving students intellectual space for freely probing ideas from various angles.

Extra Credit: Informal Logical Fallacies

Assignment Instructions

  • Choose an informal fallacy committed in the last twelve months by mainstream media (CNN, MSNBC, New York Times…). Do the same, twice more; you’ll paste the Required Assignment Outline three times.
  • Post to Discussion Board and to Safe Assignment in an accepted document format, checking the I Agree button for plagiarism checking.
  • Type in New Times Roman, 12pt., double-spaced.
  • Don’t use quotations.
  • Copy the outline below and paste it three times into your document; follow it for each of the three fallacies you chose. Write under each heading.
  • Successfully completing this assignment raises your final grade one full letter.

Explanation of the six outline steps:

I. Name the informal logical fallacy you’re showing to have been committed by a mainstream media source.  II. Describe the fallacy being committed, in one sentence.  III. Using MLA format, cite the source committing the fallacy.  IV. In one paragraph, explain the report’s coverage/story/argument/message.  V. In at least 300 words, explain how this report is committing the informal logical fallacy.  VI. Find an alternative media source (mainstream or not) covering the same story, but without having committed a fallacy; simply cite it.

Helpful Sources Explaining Informal Fallacies

With these five resources on informal logical fallacies, you’ll have a firm grasp of the most common offenders against reasoned debate.

  1. From our GRCC Bb/Resources/Logic: download HurleyLL and study chapter 3. (This excellent resource, unfortunately, is only for PCs; it’s optional.)
  1. Read this article from the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fallacies/#CorFal

  1. In this lecture I introduce informal fallacies: Against the Person (Personal and Circumstantial), Appeals to Pity and to Force and to the People, Straw Person, Missing the Point, Red Herring, Weak Induction, and Ambiguity.

Required Assignment Outline:

I. Fallacy name:

II. Fallacy description:

III. MSM citation:

IV. Description of the coverage committing the fallacy:

V. Explanation of how the report commits the fallacy.

VI. Citation of a source covering the same topic, but that didn’t commit the given fallacy:

New Group Discussion Topics

I.

In our newly randomly formed groups, discuss your favorite podcast player; see our Bb Resources folder for help in finding one. Each of you, play five minutes or so from your favorite business-related podcast to your group. Discuss each selection. Perhaps you would benefit by sharing opml files.

II.

Each of these African-Americans regularly are ridiculed with racially charged slurs, even from mainstream media–NOT acceptable in a business promoting Diversity, Equality (Equity?), and Inclusion.. Each person in your group selects one person to research. Play a five minute audio or video clip from them to your group. Discuss each.

Justice Clearance Thomas, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Lt. Col Allen West, Larry Elder, Candice Owens, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams….

III.

Each person selects one of these studies to read and to explain to the group. Is your selection scientific and authoritative (even if incorrect)? Businesses must “trust the science” in forming policies for employees and customers–but is “Science” settled and absolute? How tenaciously, dogmatically, should we accept and promote the claims of those, who are especially vocal and popular, who claim to speak for “Science”? Is epistemic humility and viewpoint tolerance necessary to some degree, to practice legitimate science and to avoid scientism (“The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry”)?

Mask Studies:

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4586

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0002101

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19193267

https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/744899/facemasks-hand-hygiene-prevent-influenza-transmission-households-cluster-randomized-trial

The studies countering these are likely the only ones commonly promoted. Consider their findings,  juxtaposed to the conclusions drawn by the above studies.

IV.

Consider the nature of a contemporary, popular, and influential social/political theory one likely must manage in business.

Is it falsifiable? If so, state the condition under which, if they obtain, the theory is shown false or unsound.

Does it best explain the known evidence or do other theories at least equally account for the evidence?

Is it a “conspiracy theory” (define)? Explain. 

Managing Wokism and Religion in the Workplace

1. Define Wokism.

2. Define Religion.

3. Is wokism a religion (or is it religious)? If it is, to what extent and in what ways?

4. Should wokism (or religion) be promoted or enforced in the workplace?

  a.  If so, in what ways? training seminars and quizzes, email messages and tracts, flags…?

  b.  Should employees be allowed to place a copy of the U.S. Constitution on their desk (since some authors were slaveholders)?

  c.  Should employees avowing traditional interpretations of a “Religion of the Book” (Jews, Christians, Muslims) be allowed to show religious artifacts (or continue employment), since they generally hold to conservative views on marriage, gender, sexuality, and nationalism?

Conservative and Traditonalist Links

There are so very few conservative professors in the academy. Since their writings are relatively uncommon as peer-reviewed articles in leading academic journals, and their views are often caricatured in college textbooks and classrooms, I point you to some .com and .org sites (even though academic web research is normally done in .gov and .edu sites). Therein, you’ll hear or read arguments presented by scholars with impeccable academic credentials, brilliant and informed minds like Thomas Sowell, Richard Neuhaus…. Whatever your paper’s philosophical thesis, especially if it’s social/political or ethical, finding an opposing viewpoint is essential.  But here’s a fair warning: fifty years ago or so, the likes of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Che Guevara were typically considered dangerous radicals—not any more. Now that designation covers thinkers you’ll read from the following sites (none of whom encourage violence or Rules For Radicals tactics).  The links are in no particular order. 

Home | The Acton Institute

https://news.theepochtimes.com/

http://www.nationalreview.com/

http://www.claremont.org/
http://www.heritage.org/research/
http://www.firstthings.com/

Podcasts:

https://www.prageru.com/

https://www.hoover.org/publications/classicist

https://www.wsj.com/podcasts

https://ricochet.com/series/aei-events/

https://acton.org/acton-line

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