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HUM 321 M1D2: Death Cafe

We have been exploring issues and concerns about how we die in America. For the most part, our focus has been end-of-life care and treatment decisions. Some of our readings have discussed how certain decisions that surround our death may not result in a good death. It is now time for us to explore our own feelings about our mortality.

Discussion Questions:

We cannot come together in real time as a class at a cafe and order coffee over which to discuss our concerns, wonderings, fears, and plans regarding our mortal condition, and our inevitable death. Instead, we will express our thoughts in the discussion board. Read the article by Wong and listen to the NPR report. Look at the websites for “Kicking the Bucket (Links to an external site.)” and “Death Cafe (Links to an external site.).” This activity aligns with module outcome 3.

  • When you think about your own death or the death of one of your family members or friends, what are or have been the greatest fears and concerns?
  • At the end of the NPR story, it states, “And as the death cafe movement expands — talking about everything from advanced care directives to grieving rituals — it ends up being about not so much how we die but how we live.” Do you agree or not? Please explain. Are death cafes really about how we live? If so, what specific actions can you take now to have a good death and that will lead to living life more fully? 

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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