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This page contains resources that may be of help to students in successfully navigating and completing the course.

If you come across additional resources that you think would be helpful to students in the class, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Hackett so she can add them!



Active reading is an important college skill that will allow you to delve deeper into your course material and help you understand and remember key concepts and ideas more deeply.  Annotation of course readings is an important practice for active readers.   Below are some tips to help you get started with annotating your reading and actively engage in the reading of course material.

What/How to Annotate: 

General Tip: Use a pen, pencil, post-it notes, or a highlighter (although use it sparingly!).  You want key ideas to stand out!

  • *Summarize important ideas in your own words.
  • *Add examples from real life, other books, TV, movies, and so forth. *Define words that are new to you.
  • *Mark passages that you find confusing with a ???
  • *Write questions that you might have for later discussion in class.
  • *Comment on the actions or development of characters.
  • *Comment on things that intrigue, impress, surprise, disturb, etc.
  • *Note how the author uses language. A list of possible literary devices is attached.
  • *Feel free to draw picture when a visual connection is appropriate
  • *Explain the historical context or traditions/social customs used in the passage

Methods for Annotation:

General Tip: Try to be consistent in your methods so you can easily see why something is marked the way it is.  For example, maybe your yellow highlighter is always used to highlight key concepts, while your green highlighter indicate key social actors.

  • *If you are a person who does not like to write in a book, you may want to invest in a supply of post it notes.
  • *If you feel really creative, or are just super organized, you can even color code your annotations by using different color post-its, highlighters, or pens.
  • *Brackets: If several lines seem important, just draw a line down the margin and underline/highlight only the key phrases.
  • *Asterisks: Place and asterisk next to an important passage; use two if it is really important.
  • *Marginal Notes: Use the space in the margins to make comments, define words, ask questions, etc.
  • *Underline/highlight: Caution! Do not underline or highlight too much! You want to concentrate on the important elements, not entire pages (use brackets for that).
  • *Use circles, boxes, triangles, squiggly lines, stars, etc.


An additional resource:



Purdue Owl Writing Lab is an important resource when it comes time to cite a text.  The lab offer instructions and examples for in-text and reference-list citations in 3 different citation formats: MLA, APA and Chicago.

Queens College Writing Center is another important writing resources for Queens College students.  The QC Writing Center offers a number of different services for students including weekly standing sessions, scheduled drop-in appointments, non-scheduled walk-in appointments and online tutoring.  For more, visit their website.



If you are a student who really enjoys learning about contemporary urban issues and would like to join a group of students who convene to discuss urban issues outside of class as well as host events such as film screenings and lectures, then consider joining the Urban Studies Club!  For more information, visit their website.




The New York Times – for National, Regional and NYC news

The Guardian – for Global and National news

The Washington Post – for National and Regional news

The Atlantic – for news analysis and social critiques of National and Regional issues

CityLab. from the Atlantic – for news analysis and social critique of urban issues, developments and innovative ideas

The Nation – for news analysis and social critiques of National and Regional issues – for NYC-based news (can filter by borough), highlights issues at the neighborhood level

Queens Chronicle – for Queens-based news, highlights issues at the neighborhood level

Gothamist – for local/NYC-based news




At this point in our world, email etiquette is a life long skill, and college seems like a appropriate place to develop the habit of sending clear, professional emails.  Thus, I expect that when you email me, you will engage these skills.

Some specific characteristics of clear, professional emails that are important to me:

  1. The student is easily identified both in their email address and in the email itself.
  2. The intent of the email is clearly stated.
  3. The student is not asking for information that they already have available to them (whether on the website or Blackboard, or found in the syllabus).
  4. The email is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.  (This is both for professional purposes AND for clarity – spelling and grammar mistakes can make the email difficult to interpret, and thus difficult to adequately respond to.)

For more information on email etiquette:




  1. Signing up and signing in to Qwriting:
  2. Adding a post to the course blog:
    • Sign in to Qwriting (
    • Access the ‘Dashboard’ of the Urban Studies 101 website
    • Use the ‘+ New’ > Post (in the top tool bar) or the ‘Posts’ > ‘Add new’ (in the side tool bar) to begin a new post.
    • Add unique title.
    • Copy and paste the text for your blog into the content box.  (You should always be copying and pasting these from a Word document, Google doc or something similar. This is to avoid losing your work if there is a glitch with the website or Internet that may cause you to lose your work).
    • Insert hyperlinks using the link-looking symbol above (next to the ‘right alignment’ button).
    • Insert images using the instructions below.
    • Select the appropriate category for this post.
    • Insert 3-5 tags that best describe your post according to you.
    • If you ever want to update or change anything about an already published post, you can access it by signing into Qwriting, visiting the post on the website, and clicking ‘Edit’ written at the bottom of the post in gray.  This will bring you back to the editing page on the dashboard.  After you are done making your changes, be sure to click the blue button again (which will now say ‘Update’ now).  IF YOU LEAVE THAT PAGE WITHOUT CLICKING THE BLUE BUTTON, ALL OF YOUR WORK WILL BE LOST.
  3. Embedding an image into a post (See slight amendment below video):

Amendment: After you retrieve the standard url from you will:

  1. Return to the dashboard of your site where your unpublished blog post is.
  2. Place the cursor in the place where you’d like to upload the picture, and click “Add Media”.
  3. In the left section of the ‘Add media’ screen, select “Insert from URL”.
  4. Insert the link in the first bar, and then click Insert at the bottom.  The image should now be visible in your post.
  5. You can resize using your mouse, and alter the alignment of the photo by left clicking and selecting from the options.  You can also add a caption to the photo by left clicking and selecting the writing icon.  A window will open where you can resize, (re)name, or realign the photo, and/or add a caption.

*You should consider storing your image file on your Queens College Google Drive.  To set up and access your QC Google Drive,

After your initial set-up, you can access the drive at later times by visiting:

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