Since this is a 'gateway' course for the major, close reading, interpretive strategies, and research skills must be stressed. Since it can be used to fulfill a skills requirement in oral communications, some assignments are designed to provide occasions for you to further develop these skills.
You will be expected to keep an ongoing portfolio of your commentaries on the readings. These brief (1-2 typed pages), biweekly (more or less), well-focused commentaries are to be e-mailed to me at least 1 hour before the session in which they are due and should address that session's assigned reading(s). Your portfolio will consist of all of your commentaries on the readings. It is due at the end of the term. Only the completed portfolio, not the individual commentaries, will be graded.
Directions for commentaries: choose a passage, a scene, an image or set of images, or some other specific aspect of the work (or works) that you find especially remarkable, odd, enigmatic, or confusing. Write up the thoughts and questions about the text(s) that this passage, scene, or image raises in your mind. You will often be asked to read your commentaries aloud in class, so please be as clear and coherent as possible. These commentaries may evolve into topics for your short paper or your special project. Commentaries must be typed and dated.
CLOSE ANALYSIS ESSAYS
A short (4-5 pp.) close analysis paper is required. These papers may build upon your commentaries, when appropriate. We will talk more about this assignment in class.
A special project involving research is also required. In most cases, this project will take the form of a research paper and will be 7-10 pages in length. These projects may build upon your commentaries or your SLEDDS. Proposals must be approved. We will talk more about this assignment in class.
STUDENT-LED DISCUSSION SESSIONS (SLEDDS)
For our Student-led Discussion Sessions (SLEDDS), the class will be divided up into four groups of three or four; each group will be assigned two sessions to lead. You and the other members of your group will work together to select and present passages from the readings for those sessions that illustrate certain points, problems, or questions you think we should discuss. You will be expected to read these passages (or parts of them) aloud expressively and fluently, to clarify why you have chosen them, and to generate and lead group discussion of your points or questions. Your group will be expected to lead approximately the first half of our 75-minute class session.
ORAL SKILLS REQUIREMENT(INCLUDING SLEDDS)
For criteria which will used in evaluating various aspects of your oral participation in the class (including SLEDDS), click here.
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