Tag Archives: participation

Your first blog post

For Friday, August 30, everyone in the class will write a brief blog post.

1) Follow the link in your email to register for the private student blog.

2) Use the “tour guide” assignment we discussed in class to write a blog post about either Meiland or Rampton and Stauber.  Before  you write, think about your online persona:  when you are writing about class materials, do you use the same style as in emails to your family? posts to Facebook? a formal essay for class?  The context here is academic.  How will you present yourself and your ideas?

3) The blog post should be 300-400 words long.  It will count toward your class participation grade (up to 10 points; see the section syllabus on grading and participation)

4) you are welcome to comment on other students’ posts if you wish.  I will consider this part of your class participation.

 

Expectations

Since we will all be members of a learning community this semester, enthusiastic and dedicated class participation is essential.  We will discuss what makes a positive learning environment for you during the first week of class.

Daily assignments should be completed before class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus.

My own expectations for seminar are:

  • Informed, thoughtful, and respectful engagement in discussions, group activities, and in-class writing activities on a regular basis
  • Preparation of assignments before class (including bringing issues and questions for discussion)
  • Listening and responding to the professor and the other students on a daily basis (not just talking to talk, or talking in isolation from the larger conversation)
  • Leading class discussion once during the semester
  • Attendance and participation.  More than three absences will severely affect your grade.  See the main syllabus (5.1) about unexcused absences.  See the MAKEUP section below about excused absences.
  • Responding to your fellow students Blog Posts.  These responses will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course.

Some classroom conduct is disrespectful to your fellow students, because it distracts everyone in the class from the learning process.  Please turn off cellphones and other digital communications devices.  Please arrive to class on time; late arrivals are disruptive.  Students who  read the newspaper, do the crossword puzzle, Facebook or browse the web, or engage in some other such activity during class time can expect a public request in class to cease the activity, a prohibition from the use of a laptop, and/or a lower Participation and Attendance grade in the course.

I take academic integrity very seriously. Integrity means more than “not cheating.” We are a learning community, and our collective journey this semester depends upon mutual trust.  As your professor, I pledge to be honest with you, and to do everything in my power to create an environment that enables learning.  I hope that you will do the same for me as well as your peers.

Discussion Facilitation

In pairs, each student will lead class discussion once during the semester.  The goals for the discussion will be to facilitate a deeper understanding of the readings and to enable participation by all students in the class.  More instructions will be provided during the first few weeks of class.

The Discussion Facilitation will be graded and will count toward your Attendance and Participation grade for the course

Policy on Make-ups, Extensions, and Late Assignments

Papers submitted late will be penalized one letter grade per 24-hour period late.  The clock starts ticking when the assignment is due.  Late penalties are calculated based on the time the paper is submitted to Sakai.  (E.g., an “A” quality paper that was due Wednesday in class but was submitted on Thursday at 9 am will receive a B; if submitted at 5 pm Thursday, it will receive a C.)  For papers, anything turned in past deadline C will be considered late.  Deadlines A & B are fixed.

Students who miss a graded in-class assignment (such as a presentation or discussion facilitation) will receive a zero for that assignment.

Extensions on assignments and rescheduling in-class presentations/discussion facilitations will be provided only in emergencies (e.g., death in the immediate family, severe illness, etc.) or unavoidable conflicts with another required university commitment (such as an athletic competition) with advance notice.  Students with an emergency should contact the professor to make alternative arrangements as soon as possible.

This course has an Absence Policy (see section 5.1 of the main syllabus): “After three unexcused absences, your final grade for the course will be lowered by one-third of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a “B”) for each day that you are absent from class without a valid excuse. This means that if you miss five days of class without a valid excuse, your final grade for the course will be lowered by two-thirds of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a  “B-”). A valid excuse for missing class will require written documentation from a person who can certify the seriousness of your illness or other misfortune. Your instructor may require some form of make-up work for participation missed during an excused absence (emphasis added).”  This make-up work is described here.

  • Students may make-up their missed participation if they have documented illnesses, required sports games/meets or other university event, or a personal or family  emergency (such as a death of a close relative). It is the professor’s discretion as to which absences can or should be made up.      
  • To make up an absence, students will provide a written analysis of the readings/websites/films for the missed day.  The response will be a minimum of one page long , typed, 12-point font, and will be submitted via email within 24 hours of the student’s return to class.  It will be evaluated for quality and will count toward missed participation that day, depending on the quality of the paper.
  • At the beginning of the semester, athletes/debaters/etc. should provide me with the dates of class to be missed due to official university activities.
  • Students who are too ill to come to class should go to health services and provide documentation with their make up assignment if they choose to make it up.
  • Students with a personal or family emergency should email me to see if the absence can be made up.
  • Lying to avoid a penalty is a violation of the Honor Code
  • Make friends: Students who miss class should get notes from a peer before coming to talk to the professor about missed material.
  • The make-up policy outlined above is designed for students who have unavoidable commitments or emergencies, which will lead to more than a week of absences.  Students with multiple absences at the beginning of the semester should not expect accommodation late in the semester.

 

Grading Additional Writing and Participation

Additional Writing assignments (including Blog Posts) will all be given points.  The Additional Writing grade will be given a letter grade corresponding to the percentage of points earned.

Participation has many components, including in class activity, the discussion facilitation, blog post responses, and other assignments.

40% of the participation grade will be based on in class regular class participation

20% of the participation grade will be based on the discussion facilitation

40% of the participation grade will be based on blog post responses and other assignments designated CP (Class Participation) on the course schedule.  These assignments will have points.  This part of the Participation grade will be a percentage grade:  the percentage of points earned.

Don’t forget:  Participation and the final course grade are also affected by absences.

 

4. Assignments

Formal Essay #1                                              20%

Formal Essay #2                                              20%

Formal Essay #3                                              20%

Additional Writing Assignments            20%

Class Participation                                         20%

4.3 Participation

Class participation is crucial to your success and the success of this course, including how much you learn and how much fun you have with your classmates. Come to class having read and/or viewed everything assigned for that day. Be prepared to ask and answer questions about the assignments, be prepared to dissect the arguments and figure out what you think about them and why you think that, and be prepared to engage in informal in-class writing about the readings if your professor builds that in as part of participation. Be prepared to consider and talk about the different kinds of works you will be exposed to: research articles, articles making a philosophical argument, stories, poems, paintings, and photographs.

“Participation” may include asking your own questions, responding to the instructor’s or fellow students’ questions and comments, contributing to group learning activities, completing in-class writing exercises, doing presentations, or participating in various other in-class activities designed by your instructor. Thus, it is more than simply talking in class each day. Class participation is an important way to develop individual critical thinking skills and to contribute to a collective learning process, which often yields greater results than studying in isolation.

Please see the grading rubric attached to this syllabus and your section syllabus for more information on the parameters, expectations, and criteria for class participation in your particular section.

5.1 Attendance

Participating in class discussion is an essential part of the Pacific Seminar experience, and regular attendance develops the habit of being responsible for your commitments. In this course, students are allowed three unexcused absences during the semester. After three unexcused absences, your final grade for the course will be lowered by one-third of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a “B”) for each day that you are absent from class without a valid excuse. This means that if you miss five days of class without a valid excuse, your final grade for the course will be lowered by two-thirds of a grade (i.e., from a “B+” to a
“B-”). A valid excuse for missing class will require written documentation from a person who can certify the seriousness of your illness or other misfortune. Your instructor may require some form of make-up work for participation missed during an excused absence.

Participation Grading Rubric

PACS 1 is a seminar, and its primary classroom activity is discussion; this is why participation counts for 20% of the course grade. The components of class participation are attendance, attentiveness, and contributions.

Attendance means being present, mentally as well as physically, AND being prepared with the day’s materials—like having read the day’s assignment carefully. Working on other courses, surfing the web, texting friends, napping, etc., mean that you’re not really mentally present. Note that the course has an attendance policy.

Attentiveness means listening carefully, being a good audience for whomever is speaking, incorporating ideas into your own thinking, and preparing to respond with your own contributions.

Contribution means adding something worthwhile to the class’s progress. Obvious examples are speaking up to engage ideas from the readings or to respond to other students, or to the instructor’s questions. Less obvious but also valuable contributions might be to ask questions to clarify meaning—a passage in the text, another student’s remark, or something the professor said.

Example of a question: “What does the author mean by______?”
Example of an interpretation: “I think the author means ______ where she writes ______.”

The A is earned when a student almost always contributes thoughtful ideas, asks interesting questions, and responds reflectively not only to the professor’s questions but to other student comments as well. These students are highly attentive. A-level participation can be recognized as offering insightful connections between ideas and/or readings, as being well grounded in the readings, and as provoking more discussion without dominating the discussion.

The B is earned when a student usually contributes thoughtful ideas, asks relevant questions, and responds not only to the professor’s questions but to other student comments as well. These students are reliably attentive. Their engagement is evident but the analysis may not be as deep or wide-ranging as an A-level student’s. They will have almost always completed the readings and other course materials and be prepared with questions and interpretations.

The C is earned when a student comes to class and listens and occasionally offers an observation, question, or critique. These students are unevenly attentive. They may show minimal engagement with course readings and other materials. They may occasionally show lack of respect for other students and instructor by not paying attention, such as texting or surfing the Internet, or studying for other classes.

The D stands for deficient participation. This may be a result of not having done the reading, of being inattentive in class, of not interacting with classmates respectfully, sleeping or doing other work during class, or some combination of these and similar poor classroom performance.

The F is for unacceptable participation; it is a failing grade.