*Critical essays: You will write two critical essays in the course: a 7-8 page paper, due at the end of the first module, and a 5-6 page paper as part of your final project (see below). Writing a draft and a substantial revision is an excellent way to improve your writing (not to mention your grades), so you will be writing a draft and a revision of the first paper; we will workshop the drafts in small groups.
* Response papers: Six times during the semester (three times in each module), you need to post a 1-2 page response to the course blog; please see the handout on blogging for more detailed information.
*Presentations: Working with two or three other classmates, you will make a twenty minute presentation once during the semester. Please see the handout on presentations for more information.
*Class Engagement: This requirement has two parts: (1) Active participation. Discussion is the life-blood of an English course. It is NOT enough to read the texts; you must come to class prepared to discuss them. This means taking notes with wild abandon as you read and thinking hard about the texts and their relation to our ongoing discussions. Contributions to discussion will be judged not only on quantity, but also on quality. You need to come to class with notes on the readings. (2) Attentiveness and collegiality: It’s important not simply to speak, but to listen to what your professors and your classmates are saying. You should respond to comments, both in class and on the course blog, and you should actively seek to contribute to the current discussion. Avoid simply repeating comments. A tip: you’ll want to print out any online readings so that you can annotate them and bring them to class.
When we assign the grades for class engagement, one of the central questions we’ll be asking is whether or not we would write a letter of recommendation or be willing to serve as a reference for you. Remember, your performance here may well have ramifications beyond the classroom.
*Reading: You must do all the reading. Frequently we’ll do in-class writing; sometimes, this will be collected and graded.
*Final Project: In the second half of the semester, you will be working on a digital storytelling project that offers a personal consideration of how a particular historical, cultural, or social force has helped shape your identity. We’ll be discussing this project more in class.