Baccalaureate Learning Outcome - Critical Thinking and Information Literacy
Students will formulate a question on a topic that is transdisciplinary, locate and evaluate appropriate evidence that addresses the question in relation to the problem's context, and articulate conclusions that follow logically from such analysis.
The paper I chose for this category is one written for the Introduction to Religion course. It was a research paper where we were allowed to pick any topic to write on as long as it was related to the course. One of the themes in the course was religion and pop culture. During that section we covered religion and religious theories as they appear in popular media such as movies, books, and comics like Batman and Hunger Games. The pop culture portion of the course was one of the most fun to study, in my opinion, so I thought it would be interesting to take a series that I love, Harry Potter, and study the religious criticisms behind it. Through my research I discovered the reasons why some fundamental Christians won’t allow their children to read the series, as well as some parallels between the stories of Jesus and Harry Potter. Click here to read the paper.
The sources I used were taken from scholarly journals and articles accessed through the library database using keywords such as “Harry Potter,” “Christianity,” and “bible.” The articles I chose were based on whether they provided valuable and reputable information that presented both or either sides of the argument of Harry Potter’s conflict with religion as well as whether the articles supported the ideas of parallels to Christianity that I had seen in the story myself. Not only did I find information to support my claim, but I also learned of other parallels that I hadn’t specifically thought of before.
Looking back, I see that one of the things I could have done better is explain the parallels better. I wrote this paper with the assumption that those who read it would have an existing knowledge of the story of Jesus, but even with that assumptions, I should have better explained the connections. Instead, I spent more time summarizing the story of Harry Potter when I ought to have made the parallels more explicit.
When looking at the rubric, I would score myself as having earned a three in the Explanation of Issues dimension. Within the paper, I state, describe, and clarify the issue I’m addressing, but not with all relevant information needed for full understanding of the parallels as I previously noted. For the Evidence category, I do interpret information from my sources to develop an analysis of the issue on both sides of the argument, but I do not thoroughly question experts’ viewpoints, earning a score of three. When presenting the position, I identify and acknowledge assumptions and the points of views of others, as well as present context, though it isn’t thoroughly analyzed, earning a three in the Influence of Context dimension. For the Student’s Position category, I scored my work as a four because I present my position while taking the complexities into account, acknowledge other points of view thing, and acknowledge the limits of my position (my bias as a fan of the series). Finally, when presenting my conclusion, my statements are logically tied to the presented information, including the opposite position’s views, and the outcomes are identified, but evidence and perspectives are not discussed in any particular order of priority, earning a three on the rubric for Conclusions and related outcomes.