Authors & Contributors

Analysis of Events

Although this heading may suggest that only historians can assign this WTL task, in fact an analysis of events can be useful in most fields. This task can take two shapes:

Post hoc analysis: After an event is reported in the general news media or in your disciplinary media, ask students to reflect on

Various engineering disciplines, for instance, could analyze the Pathfinder mission to Mars by focusing on appropriate elements of the actual event.

What-if analysis: Take an actual event and ask students to write about how the outcome might differ if one crucial condition were changed. For example, what if Dolly, the famous cloned sheep, had been successfully produced on the first try? Students in science disciplines can speculate about scientific elements of this event; students in agriculture courses can focus on the immediate impacts in food production; students in ethics courses could examine the balance of world-wide patterns of food production v. individual identity; students in political science could focus on government funding issues; and so on.