Requirements and Grading

The requirements for this class fall into three categories: Attendance, Preparation and Participation, and Written Work.  

Attendance: This is a discussion/workshop-based class and will only succeed if everyone is a fully involved participant. You may miss one class meeting without penalty, but attendance is required at all other class meetings unless you have obtained my permission in advance or can document a medical or family crisis after the event. Students with 1, 2, or 3 unexcused absences will be graded 3, 6, or 9 percentage points lower for the course; students with more than 3 unexcused absences will fail the course.  You should also make an effort to be on time for class; after your first tardy, I will deduct two points from your final participation grade for each time you arrive more than five minutes late to class during the term.
Preparation and Participation: You are responsible for reading all of the assigned texts, or viewing an assigned film, at least once before the corresponding class meeting.  I also expect that you will come to class ready to participate in our discussions or peer review workshops.  At the end of the semester, I will assign you a grade for your class participation using the following grading scale:

A+/A= You regularly participated multiple times during our class discussions by responding to discussion questions, adding to your classmates’ comments, posing questions of your own, offering an interesting reading of the day’s texts, or advancing class discussion in other ways.  During workshops or small group activities, you actively listened and responded to group discussions and gave constructive criticism to your classmates’ writing.

A-/B+= You participated in discussion at least once a class and regularly demonstrated your knowledge and understanding of the assigned text in your comments.

B+/B= In addition to showing active engagement and interest in class or workshops, you occasionally participated in our discussions.

B/B-= You may not have verbally participated in class very often, but you showed an active engagement and interest in class discussion or workshops.

C/D= In class you were typically unengaged: you daydreamed, read the newspaper, slept, or were otherwise not involved with what was going.

Your participation grade will also be based on the following:

Opening Remarks:  At least once this term, I will call on you to introduce our discussion of the day’s readings.  These presentations should be very informal and consist mainly of your interpretations, responses, and questions about the readings.

Written Work: The required written work for this class takes several forms, not all of which will be graded, but all of which are important.

Short Assignments and Essays—You will complete several short assignments (no longer than two pages) throughout the term..  These assignments will each be directed at building specific writing skills.

Final Essay--Your final essay in this class will call on you to synthesize the skills you acquire throughout the term. You must revise this essay once (with guidance and feedback from me and your peers).  Your final grade for an essay will be the average of your grades on the original version and the revised version.

In-Class writing Assignments and Discussion Board Posts--  I will frequently ask you to complete brief in-class writing assignments or respond to a question on our class’s listserv.  These essays and short responses will not be graded, but I will expect you to share your writing with the class in our discussions.

Grading Your final grade will be based on the following percentages:

Preparation and participation as follows:

Class Participation (Including Opening Remarks)    25%  

Written work, distributed as follows:
Short Assignments and Essays                                 50%   
Final Essay                                                               25%

***Please note that if you do not complete or otherwise receive a failing grade on any one of these assignments, you may receive a failing grade for the course.  

A Note on Plagiarism:  In this our internet age, there are many temptations and opportunities to cut and paste, borrow, plagiarize, and otherwise cheat on your writing assignments.  If I receive work that seems suspicious, I will hand it over to the University Office of Student Conduct for further investigation.  Punishment for cheating or plagiarizing at Penn can include a failing grade, a notation on your permanent transcript, and even expulsion.  If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, please talk to me about anything you are unsure of before you turn it in.