GEN 103: Week 5 Guidance

Everything You Need to Know for Success in Our Course!

Welcome to Week 5!

"I write by hand, making many, many corrections. I would say I cross out more than I write. I have to hunt for words when I speak, and I have the same difficulty when I am writing."
Italian journalist and writer Italo Calvino
This week we will be learning about a very interesting topic that relates to information literacy, internet use, researching and privacy: the Internet filter bubble. For many if not most of my GEN 103 students, this is a completely new topic and I am already looking forward to the insights that will be shared on our Discussion 1 board! Strong opinions and emotional responses really encourage thoughtful collaboration and learning together in this final week of our course!

While the internet filter bubble is a topic I like to expand upon in my weekly guidance, I will wait until the weekly forum to address it. With a thesis statement looming for the Week 5 assignment, I felt that my guidance may be more useful if I focus on that. Many of you are returning to college after a significant time away from an academic environment. The term "information literacy" is an intimidating one, although by now I can see that everyone is more comfortable with it than they were a few short weeks ago.

Thesis statements can also be intimidating, especially to those who have been out of academia for a while; however, in an academic environment they are very important. What is a thesis statement? Our very own Ashford Writing Center defines a thesis statement as stating "the purpose and main idea of your essay to your audience. Your thesis statement conveys your position on a topic and provides focus for your essay."

Worth repeating is that a thesis statement conveys your position on a topic. This is why when assessing your Week 2 assignments, I was adamant that you not choose a question that could be answered with a simple yes or no, or with a simple answer. "Do students who attend preschool do better in elementary school?" is a yes/no question. However, "in what ways do elementary school students benefit from having attended preschool?" is sufficiently open-ended and an effective thesis can be written based on this research question.

For example: Elementary school-aged students who attended pre-school for at least one year prior to kindergarten score higher on standardized tests, handle social relationships with greater ease, and develop spatial skills earlier than students who do not attend preschool. It is clear that children benefit from at least one year of preschool education prior to elementary school. (Please note: this is a sample thesis I came up with; the assertions within were made for the purpose of the sample and are not necessarily true. The structure is what I want you to be looking at.)

A thesis statement isn't something that one comes up with quickly or without putting thought and effort into it. You have all been dealing with a research topic, and research question, in some form since Week 1 of our course. For your annotated bibliography assignment, your thesis statement will be the culmination of a month's work. Over the last 4-5 weeks, you have looked at your topic from different angles and your research has no doubt given you new insights. These weeks of effort are the foundation that will help you formulate a strong thesis statement.

I included the above quote because this is how you might find the process of thesis crafting. You may erase-cross out-delete more than you keep. Don't despair! Revision is a necessary part of the writing process. The feeling of working on a writing piece brings about a wide range of emotions, but the feeling of relief and satisfaction when you know you are done - and believe me, you'll know when your thesis statement is just right - are worth all of the blood, sweat and tears that go into your assignment!

Week 5 Assignments

Discussion 1: Internet Filter Bubble. Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to at least two classmates. Your initial discussion post must total a minimum of 350 words.

Discussion 2: Post a minimum of 100 words in this forum sometime during the learning week. Please review the guidelines for this forum on the Week 5 Discussion 2 page. Remember, if you have a question or concern specific to your grade or performance in the course, those questions are best addressed to me via email.

Quizzes: There is a quiz on Module 4 as well as one on Factual and Analytical Information.

End of course survey: Worth .50% of your grade.

Assignment: You will complete your final annotated bibliography which is due Day 7 (Monday). Please be sure to read and follow all instructions, and be sure to complete the assignment in its entirety, and please adhere to any word count requirements.

Be sure to pay close attention to my feedback to you on Weeks 3 and 4's assignments! This will help you do your best!

Please keep in mind - Grades are due very quickly after the course ends. Therefore, you need to submit this assignment on time. Late penalties can really harm your grade so please do your best to submit the final one on time!

Contact Your Instructor

When I'm not promoting YA literature in my high school media center, I can be contacted through the "Ask Your Instructor" board or via email. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have throughout the course!


Italo Calvino. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from Web site:

Thesis Statements. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from