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HUM 321 M1D1: A Good Death in a Death-phobic Culture

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HUM 321 M1D1: A Good Death in a Death-phobic Culture

This is an opportunity for you to digest all that you have read and viewed in this module. For some of you, what you have learned may be totally new. You may have never gotten sick yourself or had to deal with ailing or aging loved ones. You may have never experienced the death of a loved one. It may be inconceivable for you that death can ever be embraced or planned for.

Discussion Questions:

Prepare for your discussion by viewing the required videos and reading the articles by Erickson, ZitterByock, and Scarre. View JenkinsonAlecson, and the members of the Institute of Medicine, and read all of the authors concerned about the way we die in America. Read “The Beauty of Death” by Gibran; listen to Laura Nyro song “And When I Die”; and view the analysis of Klimt’s “Death and Life.” This activity aligns with module outcomes 1, 2, and 4.

  • How is death conventionally viewed or approached in our culture? What might be the obstacles to having a “good death”? Is the view of Jenkinson or Alecson valuable? Why or why not?
  • Gibran asks us to embrace death. Nyro is almost casual about her death, reminding us that when each of us dies, someone is born. Her words bring to mind that we need to make room for the next generation. Some have viewed Klimt’s painting of death as a threat to a family. Which of these three artistic expressions most speak to your own views of death and why?

Discussion Expectations

Your initial post should be at least 250 words and must substantively integrate the assigned readings, terms, and concepts from the module.

Your initial post is due by Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. Your responses are due by Sunday at 11:59 PM EST.

This is a “post first” discussion forum. You must submit your initial post before you can view other students’ posts.

After you have posted, read through the postings of your peers. Choose (at least) two of your peers’ posts to respond to. The posts you choose to respond to do not necessarily have to be classmates’ initial posts.

Each response to a peer should be (at least) approximately 100 words in length and should contribute to the discussion in progress. All responses to classmates should be substantive. That is, they should go beyond simple agreement or disagreement with classmates’ posts.

Superior participation in the discussion is demonstrated when you include a variety of some of the following: 

  • Expand on ideas, analyze and evaluate, compare and contrast, synthesize, debate, seek common ground, inject knowledge, provide current information from cultural or world events, etc.
  • Integration of the reading or viewing materials into posts is evident, engaging and appropriate.
  • Reach out to different peers in each thread so that everyone is included and everyone receives a response. 
  • Monitor the discussion often and respond to feedback and comments in a prompt manner.
  • Welcome feedback from others, both appreciative and constructive feedback. Share what you learned from the peer’s post that has changed your view. Discuss how your views have been expanded because you have heard other perspectives.
  • Add a question at the end of your post so that others are more likely to respond to you. 
  • Describe what was difficult for you to understand in the reading or viewing materials. Discuss what you still have a problem understanding and why.

Your instructor will be grading the discussion posts for modules 1-3 together as well as modules 4-8 together.

See the Course Calendar for due dates for posts and responses.

Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.” 

To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.


This discussion will be graded using a Discussion Board rubric. Please review this rubric, located on the Rubrics page within the Start Here module of the course, prior to beginning your work to ensure your participation meets the criteria in place for this discussion. The instructor will grade discussion modules 1-3 together and modules 4-8 together. All discussions combined are worth 50% of your final course grade.


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