Scriptorium Monk at Work via Wikimedia

In-Class Work

Assignment Overview

  • Includes written reflections, quizzes, and/or group work
  • Students will sometimes work individually and sometimes with classmates
  • Due during most class periods
  • 20% of total grade

The Nitty Gritty

This course relies on active, engaged participation in class activities and discussions. There will be few lectures. You should come to every class having read all of the required texts (or watched the required videos, played the required games, &c.) and prepared to discuss them with your colleagues. I plan to assess your reading and course engagement through writing exercises, reading quizzes, and group work. Assuming you all seem to be reading with engagement, I will usually ask for in-class writing or group exercises, but I reserve the right to quiz if reading seems to be slipping.

In-class writing

You should be prepared to write in any class session and have appropriate materials (e.g. paper, a table, a laptop) available to you. Responses will require you to work with our readings for the day, so these must also be available to you. Not all in-class writing will be collected, but when it is such work will be graded on a five-point scale. I do not expect your responses to in-class writing exercises to reflect the same polish as papers. I do expect your writing exercises to evidence your careful reading our our class texts and to reflect critical thought about our course topics. In-class responses should:

  • Respond directly to the prompt or activity. Your thinking may wander in new and unexpected directions (this is very good) but its connection to the source assignment should be clear.
  • Refer to specific aspects of our assigned reading. The more specific you can be, the better. For instance, if you can quote or paraphrase from a course text to illustrate the point you hope to make, you should do so.
  • They demonstrate depth of thought about the topics on hand.

Individual and Group Work

In addition to discussion of course texts, our classes will frequently ask you to complete small projects and exercises that will help you apply course concepts, learn new software, and/or contextualize course materials. For group exercises, I will ask each group member to assume a specific task related to the project; I expect each group member to contribute in significant ways to their team’s effort. The outcome of group work will be various and thus will be assessed in diverse ways.

Assessing In-class Work

Here’s a brief rubric for my assessment of in-class writing:

Response does not engage the prompt or the readings for the day, discussing something entirely unrelated, or is incoherent.Response touches on the broad themes of the prompt but does not address the readings at all, save perhaps by mentioning their title(s) or the name(s) of their author(s).Response touches on the broad themes of the prompt and engages in cursory ways with the readings, but few specifics are offered.Response demonstrates a solid command of the day’s reading through summarizing its ideas and relating these to the prompt.Response connects ideas across readings and ventures creative (or even risky) interpretations in response to the prompt. Response demonstrates sophisticated analysis beyond comprehension.

Reading quizzes

I would prefer not to resort to reading quizzes, which test basic comprehension rather than synthesis and analysis. However, if it becomes clear that significant portions of the class are not completing the readings (which will be obvious by the resultant lulls in conversation) then I will turn to quizzes to motivate closer attention to the readings. Reading quizzes are intended to reward careful reading, not to test your recall of obscure facts from our texts. If you read the assigned texts attentively—if you read the assigned texts attentively—you should do well on the quizzes. Each quiz will have six questions; if you correctly answer five of them you will receive full credit, while all six garners extra credit.