Integrating and making sense of interdisciplinary information from various sources is a major objective of this course. Synthesis sessions are designed to allow interaction with your peers in a small group setting to discuss the implications and linkages of each topic in more detail.
Small discussion groups of 4 – 5 students will be formed for each synthesis session. Prior to each session, a handout of Synthesis Session discussion questions (see above) will be made available electronically. In small-group format, each group member will be responsible for answering one of the questions in detail and leading discussion within the group on this topic, integrating the material presented from all sources within the thematic framework of the course. Each group member will be allotted about 30 minutes for discussion and presentation within the first 2.5 hours of class. You will be asked to evaluate your peers on their participation and performance in the small-group discussion sessions.
A properly formatted written synthesis report must be submitted electronically on Sakai to all your peers in the course by midnight two days before each synthesis session. Each synthesis report will consist of a concise (maximum 1500 words) response to the question for which you are responsible.
Substantiate your response and conclusions with properly formatted, academically credible references from outside sources and from course readings. Aim for a minimum of 10 references, at least half of which should be from peer-reviewed academic journals or similar credible academic sources.
Prior to the synthesis session, prepare four brief questions for your peers, one for each of the other topics that you do not report on yourself. These questions do not have to be submitted with your synthesis report. You will prepare them to ensure that there will be plenty of relevant discussion in your group during the question periods, and to evaluate the way in which your peers respond.