Grading and Assignments

Grading System:

Blogs – 45 pts (5 pts each x 9 blogs)

Paper 1 – 30 pts

Paper 2 – 40 pts

Presentation – 15 pts

Participation – 25 pts

Amazon Book Review – 10 pts

Total: 165 points

Grading standards:

A:  Demonstration of superior work (written and oral) in fulfillment of course requirements;

improvement during the semester will be weighed in evaluation.

B: Excellent work (written and oral) in fulfillment of course requirements; improvement during the

semester will be weighed in evaluation.

C:  Satisfactory work (written and oral) in fulfillment of course requirements

D: Assigned work is not satisfactory or not completed and/or student fails to meet

minimum attendance requirements.

F: Failure to meet minimum course goals.

Breakdown of Assignments:

Blogs (9 posts required, 1 skip allowed): Students will be asked to post a weekly blog entry (around 300 words, or 1-pg double spaced) in which they will discuss aspects of the assigned readings for the week.  Blogs will be due at 8:00am on Friday morning, and students will be expected to have read their classmates’ posts before class.  There are two types of blogs that students may write.  The first type is analytical. The majority of your blogs should be of this kind.  Here, you may brainstorm about important themes, quotes, motifs, problems, characters, questions, etc., or you may relate the reading to other discussions we’ve had throughout the semester.  It will help you to focus your blog on one specific topic rather than trying to write an overview of the book. You should think of each analytical blog as having a mini-thesis statement, or a hypothesis/argument that you are trying to make about your interpretation of the text.  These posts may be in conversation with other classmates’ posts or the may be of your own initiative. Either way, the requirements for the analytical post remain the same. The second type of post you may also choose to write is a research post.  Here, you can provide any type of historical, political, or cultural background that you find might help your classmates to better understand the assigned reading. In all cases though, avoid posts that are centered on your likes or dislikes – this isn’t a book review – or that center primarily around your own feelings.  You need to focus on analysis or research rather than on what makes you happy, or sad, or angry.  Blogs may be informal, but they should be grammatically correct and articulate.  I want to emphasize that blogs are places for you to think through problems and issues and pose questions or concerns.  I am NOT looking for a fully developed essay and I therefore will not provide individual feedback for each post, unless I feel that you haven’t met the requirements described above.  Blogs are meant to provoke discussion and thought and therefore are, by definition, incomplete and not fully developed.  Posing questions that you don’t know the answer to is entirely legitimate.  Each post will be worth 5 points and students will receive all 5 points as long as they write a satisfactory post. If a student receives less than 5 points for the blog, I will provide them with a reason and let them know how to improve. Please check the gradebook on Blackboard to see how you are doing.  There are 10 possible weeks to blog, and students are required to post 9 times.  On the week you present, however, you will have a slightly different blog assignment and will be blogging about a scholarly source rather than the primary text. See below. I encourage students to include images, links, videos, etc. and to be creative. PLEASE REMEMBER TO TAG YOUR POSTS WITH AN APPROPRIATE KEYWORD!

Papers:  There will be two papers due throughout the semester (8-10 pages) and (10-12 pages).  Graduate students may elect to write one longer paper due at the end of the semester (18-22 pages). Essay topics will be handed out for the first papers. For the second paper students develop and propose their own topics.  You are strongly advised to start the writing process as early as possible and to bring drafts to my office hours.  I will not, however, comment on drafts over email.

Presentations: For many of our sessions (these are marked with an * below) we will have a student present on the reading material.  When it is your turn to present, you will be in charge of guiding our discussion for the day.  You have four main tasks in your presentations: 1.) You should provide us with some background and context for the text. This does not need to be in the form of the author’s biographical information.  Rather, you can, and in fact will, find it more useful to talk about relevant historical and cultural topics.  2.) You should bring us to several important passages in the text, so that we may engage in close readings. This means analyzing the details of the text, including its language, style, and significance. 3.) You should present some of the scholarly work about the book or about topics related to the book.  4.) You should pose discussion questions related to the text and/or to topics related to the themes of the class as a whole. If you present on a Friday, be sure to incorporate your classmates’ blog posts into your discussion.  Keep in mind that you do not need to know everything about a text (in fact, it is quite acceptable and often helpful to point the discussion towards something that you find confusing).  Also, creative or experimental presentation formats are highly encouraged. Furthermore, on the week you present, you will have a slightly different blog assignment.  Instead of writing only about the novel, your blog post should primarily be about one of the scholarly sources that you are going to present.  The length requirement is the same and this will count as one of your 9 posts.  However, on the week you are presenting you cannot skip your post, and if you are presenting on a Tuesday, your blog needs to be posted by 8:00am Tuesday instead of Friday.

Amazon Book Review:  Each student will be required to post a 600-word review of a global novel that is not assigned and that they have not already read.  Unlike the blog posts, here you can and should discuss what you liked or didn’t like about the novel.  However, you should also make use of your expertise on global literature and draw on what you’ve learned throughout the semester.  I will provide a list of possible novels on our website that complement the assigned readings and cover areas that may be of interest to students.  If you would like to review a novel not on the list please discuss it with me first. Students will be required to post their reviews on Amazon.com and on our blog page along with the appropriate link to the Amazon review.

Participation: This grade will be determined by the quality and quantity of your contributions to the course in general.  The general participation grade will be a factor of the following five elements: your level of engagement during class discussions; your level of engagement on the blog; your demonstrated effort throughout the semester; your attitude and openness towards others; and your improvement and progress throughout the semester.  Please note that participating on the blog, like participating in class, means responding to your classmates’ points. This can be done using the comments feature on the blog and should be done at least twice during the semester. For students who are less comfortable with speaking in large groups, I encourage you to email me with questions and comments about the readings, to attend office hours, and to increase your participation on-line by writing longer posts, more responses, or posting links to videos or articles that are relevant to the course. Also, please note that part of participating in class means having the assigned reading materials in front of you and ready to reference. If you do not bring your books/assigned reading (either in digital or printed form), you will not receive participation credit for the day!