How the Electoral College works

Please make sure your post is in the appropriate format, i.e. post directly to the site—no attachments please. Look (again) at the system requirements and basic technical policies that are listed in the modules and the syllabus. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have adhered to these technical standards and failure to do so will result in you receiving zero points for the assignment.

Make sure that you have read and have understood both the writing section requirements and Plagiarism policies—for you will be held accountable to all policies and protocols.

Do not use Wikipedia–if you do you will receive zero points.

Make sure to couch your response based upon the materials found in the readings and modules. Your essay is being graded here on the quality of your insights and these should be critically evaluative.

You can access the assignment at any time and you will only be locked out when the deadline has been reached.

Due Sunday, January 27 at 11 PM.

Respond inline to:

In your own words, write an essay (of around 1000-1250 words) that explains how the Electoral College works. More importantly, analyze how the Electoral College itself shapes the campaigning strategy and tactics of presidential candidates.

The paper is worth a maximum of 200 points.
Here’s what the grading points system here equates to:

A: 180-200 Points

B: 160-179 Points

C: 140-159 Points

D: 120-139 Points

F: 0-119 Points

Plagiarism Policies

I have a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism. Please make sure that you have read and understood the strict policies and penalties regarding Plagiarism for all written assignments (Discussion Boards and Writing Assignments) in this course. This is outlined in more detail on the syllabus. If after reading this section you are unsure as to what constitutes acts of plagiarism then please contact me. Remember plagiarism is solely based upon behavior not intent—ignorance (whether actual or artificial) is no defense.

Plagiarism is intellectual property theft. Plagiarism is a serious academic violation. If you are found to have engaged in plagiarism you will receive a zero for the assignment. Plagiarism is behavior not intent–please don’t tell me later that you “didn’t mean to” or “were unaware” of what acts of Plagiarism consist of. By turning the assignment in you are consenting to all of my stated policies on Plagiarism.

Writing in an Online Class

Remember when you write and/or post in an online class you need to adhere to collegiate level style and grammar rules. I’d suggest writing in a traditional word processing program (MS Word for example) first and then edit and polish and shine before issuing your final online post. Poor writing will be punished just as much as good writing will be rewarded. In short, whether your written work is on paper or in cyberspace the academic expectations remain the same.

Paper Writing Guide
Here’s a writing guide that I’ve developed over the years that should help you plan and implement a successful project. Keep in touch and good luck!

Referring to this guide will help you plan and execute a successful research project. For stylistic issues (footnoting, bibliography, etc.) please refer to any of the major college-writing guides. The bookstore has several writing guides available for purchase.

I. The Before Writing Stages

a. Start Early. A research paper is an evolutionary process. In order for you to have sufficient time to reflect upon the question(s) at hand, you must allow yourself ample time to filter the material through your own cognitive lens. If you don’t give yourself enough time, you will not be able to ponder and revise your original thoughts and hypotheses. Moreover, trained readers can smell an insufficiently prepared paper at seventy paces! In short, give yourself plenty of time and start early. Rule #1 about preparing a research paper: They always take more time than you originally anticipate.

b. Break down the component tasks of the assignment AKA how to AFOS (Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed Syndrome). AFOS strikes all students at some time in their career. AFOS can be a debilitating condition–but it can be overcome. To avoid AFOS make a plan (this is not an outline) of attack that breaks down the various tasks of the assignment (collecting the materials; making an outline, revising and polishing stages, etc.). By apportioning the entire assignment into easily digestible tasks and components you should be able to avoid AFOS. One final point about AFOS: it is always better to apportion your time on the entire process into many small to medium time periods rather than setting aside several ”mega” sessions. This way not only do you feel that you are making incremental progress, but also you will be able to revise your original ideas better.

c. Hunting and Gathering Stage. Before writing your first outline, make sure that you have conducted a sufficient amount of research. I know “sufficient” is a nebulous term, but you need to be sure that you have canvassed a wide swath of opinion, facts and information. Don’t worry that after conducting your research your original ideas about the topic at hand change. In fact this is a sign of intellectual growth and maturity. At this stage, you are ready to begin pondering the writing stages of the assignment.

II. The Writing Stages

a. AFOS Revisited. AFOS is particularly dangerous at this stage. Don’t succumb to its degenerative lure!. Like in the prewriting stages, break down the component aspects of the assignment into: introduction; thesis; body of the paper; conclusion, etc. Remember this is a conceptual device that makes the process more manageable–but do not forget that all aspects of the entire final draft be fully linked in a logically consistent manner.

b. The Outline. At this stage construct an outline. Where are you are going in this paper, why are you taking this approach, what materials are you using, how are they linked, are some of the questions that you must address in an outline. An outline is a perennially changing document of intent. You will probably make numerous revised editions of the outline–which is entirely appropriate. An outline serves as an in-progress road map for the writer. It does not have to make sense to anyone but you–remember that the outline is your own document. Moreover, the outline is a tool that guides the evolution of the writing craft. Keep your latest outline close by, whenever you feel that you have reached the writing stages.

c. The Introduction. Most students slight this aspect. They shouldn’t, as an introduction lays out the where, why, and how questions that you will be addressing throughout the paper. An introduction should be far more than just a regurgitation of the main questions that you have been assigned. In essence, a fully developed introduction acts as a formalized conceptual road map for the reader, much as the outline serves as your own conceptual road map. Personally, I write my introductions last. That way, I know the flow and development of the final product. Be sure to link the introduction, with your thesis, and the conclusions. This is conducted in what I call the polishing stages (see below).

d. The Thesis Statement. Let’s define what a thesis is. A thesis is a theoretically consistent set of linked propositions that underpin the entire body of your paper. In short, the thesis is the conceptual locomotive of the paper. The thesis statement shapes and molds everything that is to follow. Note that it should appear no later than page 2 of your paper.

e. The Body of the Paper. This is where you make sure that you address all aspects of the research assignment. This is typically, the least problematic area in the writing division of labor. But be careful to fully develop all relevant facts and interpretations here.

f. Conclusions. Your conclusions should not come as a surprise to the reader. The conclusions are the final opportunity to forcefully press home your conceptual and theoretical points that you have prior introduced and developed. Don’t be timid here–at the same time don’t go overboard. Think of your conclusions as a final summation of the entire assignment. Make sure that you have fully addressed the questions you set you would in the introduction and in the thesis. Finally, make sure that the introduction, thesis, body, and conclusions all dovetail one another–the paper at this point should no longer appear as a project of loosely connected parts–it should be an entirely seamless product.

g. The Polishing Stage. After you are convinced that have finished the above, take a day off. That’s right, take a day off. Then pick up the then final draft and begin to address the grammar and presentation issues of your work with a fine tooth comb (obviously you have not ignored these aspects up to now, but its now time to polish and shine the final product). Make sure that what you have constructed is forceful, clear, and concise. Don’t use jargon, or “big” words that you don’t normally use. Make sure that there are no spelling errors, no instances of poor grammar, etc. I believe that there is no separation between what are deemed issues of “style” as opposed to “substance.” Step aside from your paper for a while (at least half a day) for hopefully the final time (at least for this assignment). Now read your paper aloud, or better yet, get someone to read it aloud for you, while you are present. Any final problems? No? Then hand in your completed paper.

 

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