Instructor: David Owens
e-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (509) 524 - 5153
Office: Main Building - AAA 101A
Office Hours: By Appointment
ANGEL Help: http://www.waol.org/general_info/help_desk.aspx
Required Texts and Materials: (click on the link for more detailed information)
· Diaz, Junot – The Brief Woundrous Life of Oscar Wao (a novel)
· Kraiem, Eliam - Sixteen Wounded (a radio play)
· Lee, Spike – Do the Right Thing (a film)
· Paley, Nina – Sita Sings the Blues (an animated film)
· Satrapi, Marjane - The Complete Persepolis (a graphic novel)
Weekly Reading Quizzes 100 points
Discussion Board Forums 500 points
Elluminate Sessions 40 points
Literary Analysis of Persepolis 50 points
Analytical Interaction w/ a Class Text 80 points
Creative Response to a Class Text 100 points
Total 870 points
· Contacting the Instructor: The best way to contact me, at any time of day, is to email me at [email protected]. I check this e-mail address several times a day and, if I am in front of my computer, I am alerted when an e-mail arrives. Therefore, responses to your e-mails can sometimes be instantaneous. At any reasonable time of day, you can usually get a response from me within two hours, if it is clear that a response is called for.
I usually check my campus e-mail a few times each week. It is not the best way to contact me or submit late assignments.
During my office hours, I can be reached at 524 - 5153. At other times of day, you can leave a message at this number, but I usually only remember to check my messages once a week, so it is ALWAYS better to e-mail me a quick message at [email protected] (is this becoming clear?)
· Reading: I don't believe in setting a schedule for reading a longer work chapter by chapter, so I will expect you to have an entire novel, film or play read by the beginning of our discussion. You may then feel free to go back and re-read, re-watch or re-listen to it in part or whole during the week we discuss it.
I hope that you will find many of our texts enjoyable, but I know that you will find some of our texts challenging. I expect that you will approach all readings in this class by trying to understand each text in its own context as well as being able to productively articulate your own thoughts and feelings about it. Even if you find something boring, confusing or even offensive at first, I hope that your response will be to re-engage with it, ask questions about it, re-read it, roll it around in your head, write about what you don't understand or what bothers you on the discussion board. When all else fails, read the text again. Even if you think you understand the text perfectly, reading it (or parts of it) again will often yield different interpretations, expanded understanding and deeper insight.
If you want to read more about how I chose the texts for this class, you can read my explanation HERE.
For an overview of the reading schedule for this quarter, look HERE.
· Weekly Reading Quizzes: We will have 8 quizzes, worth 10 to 15 points each, over the reading that is supposed to have been done by that day, often applying our literary concepts to them. Each quiz will open on Friday and close on the following Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (check the Class Calendar, but it is probably best to attempt each quiz at least once before Monday) at midnight, so you will usually have three days to attempt a quiz up to three times, and you will receive feedback after each attempt telling you which questions you got right and wrong. It is to your advantage to attempt the quiz early and use the Quiz Forum to talk about questions that are stumping you. Treat it as a learning tool and use the quizzes to help you look more deeply into the text. Quizzes cannot be made up after they are given, so please arrange your schedule so that you don't miss any.
· Discussion Board Forums: As you can see from the point distribution above, most of your work for this class will take place on the Discussion Board. I will frequently post questions and prompts as topics on the online forum. You are expected to contribute 6 - 7 substantial paragraphs to these topics every week that we hold class. You need to respond with at least one paragraph per forum, but you may choose whether to respond directly to the prompt or to another student's post. However, at least one paragraph per week should respond to another student’s contribution rather than to the original prompt. I will evaluate your contribution at the end of each week and assign you up to 70 points. Part of the purpose of this exercise is to make sure you are keeping up with the reading, so you may not make up points for previous weeks by writing on a previous week’s topics or earn more than 70 points per week by writing more paragraphs, though you may want to write 8 paragraphs in a week to make sure you have contributed enough to earn your full 60 points. You will be penalized 5 points for failing to contribute to a forum.
The best responses will:
§ Contain at least 5 compound/complex sentences per paragraph
§ Contribute materially to the discussion generated by the prompt (but does not need to respond directly to the prompt)
§ Reflect an accurate reading of the text and make a specific reference to it
§ Be thoughtful rather than casual, perfunctory, slap-dash or merely humorous
§ Be clear, effectively worded, polite and academic
§ Attempt to use literary terms to ask questions or explain something about the text
§ Often propose another prompt or question to move the conversation forward
If you fall behind on the Discussion Board, I will allow you to write ONE make-up essay about one of our texts that can be worth up to 100 points (almost two weeks' worth of posts). Be warned, however, that I have higher expectations for essays than I do of forum posts, so don't count on getting the full 100 points unless you write an extremely original and exciting essay.
· Elluminate Sessions: Elluminate is a program designed for real-time interaction between instructors and students. I will hold at least one hour long class discussion per week on Elluminate. Participation in a session will earn you 10 points. I will vary the day and time so that each of you will find a way to work at least 4 into your schedule. In order to participate in the session you will at least need to be able to listen through speakers or headphones. A headset with a microphone can be more convenient, but it isn't necessary. If you are not able to participate in as many sessions as you would like, you can make up the points by increasing your participation on the Discussion Board. I will also post recordings of each session so that you can listen to them at your convenience. This will be important because lecture materials from the sessions might show up in quizzes.
It is important to know that Elluminate is a java application that pops up in a new window. In order to run it successfully, you will need to make sure that your java software is updated and that you can set your browser to allow some pop-ups if it tends to block or filter them automatically. I will provide a link to the classroom whenever I set up a session.
· Literary Analysis of a Chapter of Persepolis: Satrapi's Persepolis is separated into many little self-contained chapters, each with its own themes and concerns. Although they are all tied together by the main character, Marji, each one is a complete story on its own. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate your understanding of literary terms and concepts by writing about the theme of a particular chapter while explaining how that theme is expressed through a close reading, utilizing literary terms wherever appropriate.
· Analytical Interaction w/ a Class Text: The purpose of this exercise is to give you another opportunity to interact analytically (and more extensively) with one of our class texts (or a selected set of optional texts). I will give you a list of activities you can choose from, but you can also just do another literary analysis, as with the chapter from Persepolis.
· Creative Response to a Class Text: This will be your final project for this class. The response can take almost any form imaginable as long as it can be represented or reproduced in digital form (a series of photographs, for example): short story, essay, power point, collage, photography, poetry, etc. You will submit this along with a written explanation of what part of our texts inspired you, what idea you were attempting to represent, and your evaluation of how you think it turned out. Your concept will count for considerably more than your execution, but you will be marked down for an obvious lack of effort. I am open to group work on this assignment.
· Submitting Assignments: Most of your interaction with the class will happen on the Discussion Board so that other students can see what you are doing, get inspired by it, think about it, and respond to it. I will make it clear through Discussion Board titles where and when to submit certain assignments. However, if you are having technical difficulties uploading assignments to Angel, you may submit any written assignments by e-mailing them to me at [email protected]
· Evaluation: Your final grade will be calculated as a straight ratio of points earned to points possible and translated into a letter grade based on a fairly generous scale. In order to calculate your letter grade at any given point in the quarter (or on any particular assignment), simply divide your current points by the points possible, multiply the result by 100 and consult this chart.
For the most part, I try to be very specific about my expectations for class work. If you feel confused about why you have a particular grade on any given assignment, or at any point during the quarter, please feel free to e-mail me about it. Here are some more specifics about how I grade the Discussion Boards:
I am looking for at least 5 solid paragraphs per week (Thursday to Wednesday) from each student, spread throughout the different forums. All of the sentences in your paragraph should be compound or complex and vigorously explore the text (none being introductory or filler - they are allowed, I just don't count them). A paragraph like this will earn you ten points.
Notice that on most weeks there will be fewer than five forums, so you will want to contribute multiple paragraphs to at least one of the forums. For example, if you only contribute one paragraph per forum, and there are only 4 forums, you have only earned 40 points for the week, so, to get your full points for the week, you will want to write at least two paragraphs for two of the forums. Doing even more than that will ensure that you get full credit - just in case some of your sentences are not really about the text or are too short.
I also tend to favor full paragraphs over short replies to other people's posts. It is fine that you reply, just make your reply a fully developed paragraph or you may not earn full points for it. So, for example, you may write 8 short replies consisting of 2 or 3 sentences a piece, but that would still only earn you the same 10 (or perhaps 15) points as if you had written a full paragraph response to one post.
Finally, I have asked that students post to every forum. By not posting to a forum, you are essentially telling me that you have not read the text, which is like being absent, and is definitely not participating in the class. I will deduct 5 points for each forum you fail to post to. This could really add up if you miss a whole week with 5 forums in it (-25 points).
Hopefully, setting the bar this low will encourage people to contribute because they are interested rather than because they are forced to.
I would like to say that I will update your overall grade every week, but I don't think I will be able to fulfill that promise. However, I should be able to update your grades every other week. It will actually be fairly easy for industrious students to earn the maximum points each week by attending extra Elluminate sessions and contributing well over the minimum on the Discussion Boards, but I will not grant more than 100% at given any point in the quarter. You may do extra work to make up for lapses during previous weeks (up to a point), but I won't grant extra credit over 100% in advance so that students feel like they can slack off at the end of the quarter.