Critical Thinking about the Viet Nam Conflict

Course Description

Students use a variety of media components and participate in online discussions with the instructor and other students. You will learn the techniques and practice of expository and argumentative writing based on personal experience, observation, research, critical reading, and critical thinking. Students are required to have access to a computer with e-mail and World Wide Web capabilities to post assignments and participate in course activities.


Prerequisites: EWRT1A

Be prepared to spend a minimum of 15 hours each week studying course materials, working and collaborating on assignments and projects, and participating in class activities.
  1. Attend the First Class Meeting. (If a traditional or hybrid class, attend all required meetings)
  2. Complete all assigned readings in the books, handouts and instructional syllabus.
  3. View a minimum of one film checked out from video store or the DeCillis Collection
  4. Write and post four paragraphs on course material to the class forum, as assigned.
  5. Write and turn in two short papers, a mid-term examination, one research paper,
    and a take-home essay final exam.


After completing the readings and writing assignments, and participating in the class forum and listserv, you should be able to:

A. READ CRITICALLY (including visual images and other non verbal texts)
  • Distinguish between direct perception and inference, between surface, "literal" reading and interpretation.
  • Recognize the interdependence of language and thinking.
  • Analyze relationships, organize information, and apply concepts.
  • Recognize and evaluate alternate points of view, values, and meanings.
  • Discover connections, patterns, and analogies that cut across conventional classification schemes and intellectual domains.
  • Learn to use the web for research and to assist in your reading of texts. The specific search engine that I recommend for scholarly purposes is an intelligent Search Engine known as Google. CAUTION: WIKIPEDIA is very inaccurate on matters concerning the Viet Nam Conflict. Why do you think this is so? [Do NOT cite it as a source, unless you have to use it for some reason]
  • Recognize the interdependence of reading and writing.
  • Practice writing as a complex, cyclical process of discovery, planning, drafting, and revising.
  • Articulate analyses and interpretations.
  • Formulate arguments.
  • Synthesize analysis and personal experience, moving from a critical examination of others' ideas and values to a critical examination of one's own.
  • Learn to use email and posting to a BBS, or Bulletin Board System.
    If you do not already have an email account, you may get a free, web-based email account at or

Fall '10 Course Objectives

  1. To learn to write an effective, well-organized, and supported research paper, argumentative theme and a variety of paragraph forms.
  2. To examine the relationship between the Vietnamese culture and the Vietnamese experience in the early 1960s, and American culture and the American experience.
  3. To critically examine a work of fiction, the classic Vietnamese folk tale, THE TALE OF KIEU (K).
  4. To critically examine one of two works of non-fiction that are commentaries on the Viet Nam conflict and the aftermath.
  5. To then apply what you have learned in a well-organized, logically argued research paper on either an aspect of Viet Nam or current conflicts such as Afghanistan or Iraq or other.



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