Assignment Overview

By: Phillip Zapkin

Hey. So this video will give you guys a basic introduction to the grading and the assignments for our online summer Brit Lit 2 course. So broadly speaking there are four types of assignments for this class. The first will be weekly discussion posts.

So we have six weeks in the semester, so obviously this will mean six discussion posts. I'm looking over at the computer, so I can make sure I get these numbers right for you. So the discussion posts will be worth 20 points each. There are six of them for a total of 120.

The second thing that you will have to do is a discussion response. And then I'll talk more about what all of these things mean after I get through the numbers. The discussion responses are worth 5 points each for a total of 30 points. So this is the least weighty component of the grade really. The, there will be six weekly quizzes. You'll have to complete the quizzes.

Those are 20 points each again, so that's another 120 and then you will write a term paper, which is worth 30 points. So this class is scored out of a total of 300, which means that on all of the assignments, discussion posts, discussion responses, quizzes and the term paper, if you score between 300 and 270, you get an A. If you score between 260 and 240 or 269 and 240, you get a B.

Assignment Overview

If you score between 239 and 210, you get a C, 209 to 180 is a D and then below 179 or 179 and below rather, is failing the course. So what each of these assignments entails: your discussion, your discussion post will be due by Wednesday at midnight every week including week 1. So you really want to get a jump on the reading for week 1. So by Wednesday at midnight, you will have to post a discussion post to, to the eCampus forums. So what this will entail will be roughly 200 words, so these aren't very long. It's about a little bit less than a full page double spaced in Microsoft word, and basically what you're going to have to do is a short focused critical response to one of the pieces of literature that we're reading for that week.

So for instance for week 1, if you chose to respond to Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn," you would give me about 200 words focused on making an argument about Keats' poem. This should probably follow a claim evidence interpretation structure, which means that you need to give us a claim, you need to make some kind of argument about the text that you're responding to, preferably one that's fairly focused. This doesn't have to be a high stakes argument. This doesn't have to be sort of fully developed, but you want to give us an argument.

You want to provide some evidence from the text, whether that's quotes, whether that is summarizing a particular scene or something like that, whether that's paraphrasing, whatever it is. Give us some kind of concrete evidence that supports your argument and then interpretation, which is where you explain how the evidence that you've given supports your claim. This claim evidence interpretation structure is the basic structure, the basic building block of academic writing in the U.S., in Western rhetoric and so on and so on. So writing these six discussion posts will give you a good chance to practice the basic sort of fundamentals of making an argument in Western rhetoric. These will also give you potential ideas for your term paper, which I'll talk about in just a second. The next category is discussion responses.

So one of my big concerns, one of the things I don't like about teaching online, is that we lose the opportunity of in-class discussion. So we don't get to see one another face to face. We don't get to talk. We don't get to have conversations about what these pieces of literature mean.

So the idea here is that discussion responses will replace that to a certain degree. It's not a great system. It's not perfect, but it's functionally probably the best that we can do in an online environment. So by Friday at midnight of every week, you will have to respond to one of your colleague’s discussion posts. This means you will have to read your colleagues’ discussion posts. And then you will have to post a response, short response, two to three sentences. You can ask questions, you can make suggestions for, for their thinking about an idea. You can present a different interpretation.

You can, whatever you want to do as long as it's a critical response that begins engaging in a conversation with your fellow students. Six weekly quizzes, these again will be due by Friday at midnight. I hate quizzes. I don't, I think they're a terrible way to evaluate whether or not people are learning in a literature course or in an English course of any kind, composition, creative writing, whatever it is.

But because this is an online course, the easiest sort of structure for me to make sure that you're reading and comprehending the material, is to do it through quizzes. So I don't like doing it, but structurally this is the reason I'm doing quizzes, rather than just having you write a series of papers. So every week you will have quizzes. The quizzes will consist primarily of a mix of multiple choice and short answer questions, so fairly standard kind of quiz stuff. There will be at least one question about each of the texts that I asked you to read for that week. Now here's the trick with both quizzes and discussion posts.

Obviously the second week of each historical period, by the way if you haven't watched the sort of course overview, course description video yet, you probably should, because I'll explain more about how this works. But the second week of each of our historical periods, weeks 2, 4 and 6, you will have the option to choose, to choose one out of three potential reading lists. So these reading lists will be focused on three different topics relevant to that historical period.

You pick one, read all of the stuff in it. You can read more if you want, but, so there will be three discussion threads, three sets of quizzes for that second week of every historical period. You only have to do one.

So for instance, if you choose in week 6, for instance if you choose to read about postcolonialism, postcolonialism and multi-ethnic Britain, there will be a specific discussion thread, a specific discussion forum for postcolonialism and multi-cultural Britain. There will be a specific quiz for postcolonialism and multi-cultural Britain. So if you've done the reading for postcolonialism, you don't have to take the quiz for World War I and its aftermath or an epistemology crisis. That would be insane to require that. So, so basically you take [cough] sorry, basically you take whichever quiz and you write a discussion post in response to whichever list you are reading for that week. Obviously weeks 1, 3 and 5 where we have the common reading, everyone will respond to the same thing. There will be one quiz that everyone will take, but in the "choose your own adventure" weeks, you guys will get to choose obviously which quiz, which discussion forum you post in. So just because there are three, three quizzes posted and three discussion forums up, you don't have to do three of them.

You only do one of them per week. So hopefully that's clear. I think it will make more sense when you get into it and get to week 2. OK.

The last assignment for this class is the term paper, worth 30 points. So this on its own is the weightiest single assignment, and basically this is an extended critical response to one or two of the pieces of literature that we've read this semester. This is where you get the chance to do what scholars actually do. You can choose to do outside research if you want for this paper, but it's not required. You can also choose to use The Norton Anthology's critical introduction as a critical source if you want to. But essentially, essentially what you'll have to do for the term paper is just an extended argument based on thesis statement and I will, I'll give you guys some more information about thesis statements and about critical writing in English, when we get closer to the end of the term. The term paper is going to be due at the very end of the semester, so you will have anything in the, in the, anything in the entire course of the semester that you can choose to write about.

And you can, you can build your term paper based on expanding one of your discussion posts if you want to. So, so that's how the grading materials will work. Oh, also for the term paper I will post an assignment sheet and a feedback blank, so that you guys will know what it is that I'm looking at and you'll know how I'm grading that paper. So. Good.

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